Biz Notes


Milwaukee-based GRAEF has earned national recognition for its University of Wisconsin-Waukesha Field Station Master Plan. The Society for College and University Planning honored the plan with its 2014 Excellence in Landscape Architecture Award.

The UW-Waukesha Field Station, created in 1967, encompasses 98 acres in Waukesha where students, faculty and the community study the environment. The outdoor classroom features 13 native plant communities. GRAEF completed a Master Plan for the Field Station in 2009 to support the preservation and maintenance of the ecological communities onsite. The Master Plan also acts as a model for other UW-Waukesha landscape projects focused on sustainability. GRAEF’s project team for the Master Plan was overseen by Joe Pepitone, a landscape architect and principal at the engineering and consulting firm.

Cardinal Stritch University and Wisconsin Technical College System

Cardinal Stritch University, based in Fox Point, has established a credit transfer agreement with the Wisconsin Technical College System for students pursuing careers in respiratory therapy and working professionals interested in continuing education. The new agreement enables system graduates with associate degrees in respiratory therapy to augment their studies in Stritch’s new Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy Completion Program. That program, folded into the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing, is the first in Wisconsin to feature a bachelor’s degree option in respiratory therapy. Under the credit transfer agreement, system students who have earned an associate degree in respiratory therapy as of May 1999 can apply a maximum of 70 credits to a bachelor’s degree at Stritch. The program, to launch this fall, will be facilitated online and will take two years to complete.

Milwaukee Center for Independence

The Milwaukee Center for Independence, a nonprofit organization catering to youth and adults with disabilities and their families, will present the inaugural Spirit of Independence Awards at a June 19 gala. The awards, which celebrate MCFI’s 75th anniversary, highlight individuals who are committed to fostering independence for people of all abilities. This year’s recipients are Don and Sallie Davis, active philanthropists who helped MCFI create a special multi-sensory environment at its home facility; Dori Chortek (posthumously), who previously served on MCFI’s board; Alexis Hardin, a participant in MCFI’s L.I.F.E. Academy for recent high school graduates and young adults; and Richard Zalewski, a longtime chief financial officer of MCFI who is newly retired. MCFI plans to distribute the Spirit of Independence Awards annually.

Firehouse Communications

Hare Strigenz and the HS Design Lab have changed their combined name to Firehouse Communications. The renamed company, which specializes in marketing and communications, remains located at 172 N. Broadway, Suite 200, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. The new name was influenced by the restored firehouse that is home to the company’s offices. An iconic statue of a firefighter seated on a bench outside the structure also inspired the name change. In line with its new name, the company is preparing to launch a new website,

Johnson Controls

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. has formed a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the university’s Wisconsin Energy Institute. Through the partnership, Johnson Controls will donate a new laboratory to the Wisconsin Energy Institute with state-of-the-art battery testing technology. The lab, to be called the Johnson Controls Advanced Systems Test Lab, will “allow students, faculty and engineers to study and optimize energy storage systems,” according to an announcement by the company. Lab research, conducted by teams of industry scientists, UW professors and students, will then support manufacturers in building systems that use battery power more efficiently. Their research will focus on vehicular and stationary energy. The new partnership complements Johnson Controls’ existing partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where company scientists are collaborating with university research staff and students to develop new energy storage materials.

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