Biz News

Quad/Graphics to close two more plants this year

Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. announced that it will close two more plants by the end of the year, in East Greenville, Pa. and Augusta, Ga.

There are about 400 employees at the East Greenville plant, which prints magazines and catalogs. There are about 250 employees at the Augusta plant, which prints retail advertising inserts and catalogs.

The work from those plants will be moved to other Quad facilities around the country. Some of the work will be moved to Wisconsin, but it was unclear how many jobs will be created here.

Those who do not transfer to other plants will be laid off, and are eligible for a separation package that includes pay, extension of health care benefits and career outplacement assistance, Ho said.

The closures are part of a plan Quad announced to reduce costs by $100 million. Also part of the plan is the reduction of selling, general and administrative expenses, an increased focus on productivity, and a recent organizational structure change.

HUSCO investing $20 million in HQ, hiring 30

HUSCO International announced it is investing $20 million in its Waukesha headquarters to support the launch of approximately four new automotive programs.

The programs, which are expected to start in the next 12 months, will create approximately 30 full-time direct manufacturing and office positions in Waukesha over the next 18 to 24 months, according to chief executive officer Austin Ramirez.

New products to be manufactured by HUSCO include the key components for cylinder deactivation, variable engine oil pumps and advanced transmission systems used in automotive powertrain applications. Ramirez said the programs will generate $20 million a year in sales revenue.

The $20 million investment includes modernization of 15,000 square feet of manufacturing space along with the installation of four highly automated assembly lines. The modernization is beginning to take place now.

HUSCO designs and produces hydraulic and electro-hydraulic components that aim to improve the overall efficiency, controllability and performance of automotive and off-highway mobile equipment.

The company has manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, Iowa, England, China and India in addition to offices in Korea, Brazil and Germany.

Bon-Ton hires new CFO

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the parent company of Boston Store with headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., announced that Nancy Walsh has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of the company.

Walsh most recently was the senior vice president of finance for Coach Inc., a luxury handbags and accessories brand. At Coach she previously worked as chief risk officer, vice president of finance and chief financial officer of the company’s worldwide wholesale division.

Before working for Coach, Walsh was assistant treasurer of Viacom Inc. and The Timberland Company.

Walsh will work in Bon-Ton’s Milwaukee office, spokeswoman Christine Hojnacki said. President and chief executive officer Kathryn Bufano also works in the company’s Milwaukee office.

Inpro to add 23 employees

Muskego-based Inpro Corp., which manufactures interior and exterior architectural products, has announced it will hire 23 new employees.

Among the positions to be added are outside sales, sales support, estimating, product development, business and market development, information technology, marketing and human resources. The company also said it will add more positions in early 2016 in manufacturing and distribution.

Inpro is adding the jobs because it projects increased construction in the health care, education, commercial office, retail, sports complex and airport sectors. Inpro’s products include door and wall protection, washroom systems, expansion joint systems, privacy systems, elevator protection systems and architectural signage.

The company also announced it has promoted longtime employee Marc Holland to president, and has made several other executive changes.

Inpro has been growing rapidly, and is currently building a new 36,000-square-foot production and shipping facility in Charlotte, N.C. that will be operational in early 2016.

Joy Global closing Orchard Street plant

Joy Global Inc. will close its Orchard Street plant in Milwaukee and move its work to Longview, Texas beginning in January.

All 51 union employees plus five non-union employees who worked at the facility will be laid off, according to a WARN notice filed with the state. The positions include inspectors, welders, punch press operators, winders and assemblers, among others, said Chris Chappelle, president of United Steelworkers Local 1114.

Some of those employees may move to other Joy Global facilities, and some may retire, Chappelle said.

Joy Global has been in contact with union officials, and said the closure was a cost-cutting measure, Chappelle said.

The Orchard Street plant closure is expected to be completed in April.

There are now about 300 hourly Joy Global workers in Milwaukee, and that figure is likely to be about 200 by next April, Chappelle said.

Joy Global spokesperson Caley Clinton said the Orchard Street plant is where motor assembly and electrical wiring work is done.

“We do that type of work at eight other facilities in our network – Longview is one of them,” Clinton said. “There is not as much work across the board. We’re looking at the overall picture and trying to prioritize what each location does.”

The Orchard Street building is 220,000 square feet, with 130,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Joy Global acquired it in 1968 and has not yet determined what it will do with the empty facility, Clinton said.

Joy Global’s largest plants are at its national headquarters in Milwaukee, in Longview and in Franklin, Penn.

Ridgestone Bank earns top spot in SBA loan volume

Brookfield-based Ridgestone Bank took the top spot in volume of SBA loans approved in 2015, the Wisconsin District Office of the SBA announced.

Ridgestone, which is an SBA Preferred Lender, approved 103 SBA loans totaling $95.9 million in Wisconsin last year. In addition to its home office in Brookfield, Ridgestone also has loan production offices in Madison, Kaukauna and Wausau.

The bank, which has a second full-service branch in Schaumburg, Ill. and additional loan production offices throughout the Midwest and in California, made 475 SBA loans totaling $474.3 million nationally last year, which ranked it seventh in SBA lending volume nationwide.

In terms of the number of SBA loans approved in 2015, Oconomowoc-based First Bank Financial Centre took the cake, with 240 SBA loans totaling $87.9 million last year. Nationally, FBFC made 299 loans totaling $143 million, putting it at 29th place in terms of volume in the U.S.

Local manufacturing index improves, but still shows decline

A key measure of Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity indicated a slight improvement in October, although it continued to be in negative territory for the seventh straight month.

The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index was at 46.66 in October, up from 39.44 in September, according to the Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.

Any number more than 50 indicates growth, while less than 50 signals contraction. The PMI has been at or above 50 for 17 of the past 26 months.

Employment, supplier deliveries, customers’ inventories and imports grew or quickened in October, while new orders, production, inventories, prices, backlog of orders and exports declined.

The seasonally adjusted blue collar employment index declined from 45.1 in September to 41.4 in October, and the seasonally adjusted white collar employment index declined from 58 in September to 55.1 in October.

In the six-month outlook on business conditions, respondents indicated a downward shift in positive expectations compared with September. Approximately 21.4 percent of respondents expect positive conditions, 57.1 percent expect conditions to remain the same and 21.4 percent expect conditions to worsen within the next six months.

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