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JL Business Interiors of West Bend (www.jlbusinessinteriors.com) has been named National School Lines’ exclusive dealer in southeast Wisconsin. Based in Omro, Wis., National School Lines is a leading national manufacturer of quality furniture and accessories for the classroom.

"We’re excited about our new dealership status because it means that school administrators now have more price-competitive choices" in what had been a rather slim business niche, says JL Business Interiors owner, Jeff Lambie. "We feel that offering choices is critical today, in an era of tightening school budgets."
Lambie explains that the move also represents the expansion of JL Business Interiors’ focus, to the institutional side of the business. Says Lambie, "Our years of success in business interiors naturally led us to serve institutional clients in our area. When we considered the potential of that market segment, it made sense to expand in that direction."

In an expansion of its consulting services, Organization Development Consultants, Inc. (ODC), of Brookfield has collaborated with idTools, inc., a Brookfield-based technology services firm, to begin offering web-enabled tools and services. The result is a new Web-based software application called "idTools/hpmi" for "Human Performance Management Inventory" that allows companies to manage, conduct and analyze employee performance assessments through a secure system.
Commenting on this initiative, Dr. Daniel Schroeder, executive vice president of ODC said, "Information about employee performance is expensive and time consuming to collect, and management may lack the internal resources to effectively collect and interpret data relating to employee skills. Existing employee performance evaluation tools generate reports that are complex and difficult to understand. We saw this as an opportunity to expand our existing management development consulting practice by providing a web-based solution that captures our decades of advice and experience, and makes it available to our clients."
(Schroeder is a regular columnist for Small Business Times, writing on personnel and human resources issues.)
Dr. Michael O’Neill, president of idTools, said that "Our current offering, while successful, has been focused on survey and data analysis tools for Facility Managers. These tools include a "work practices" system that analyses employee needs around workspace layout and design, an "occupancy satisfaction" tool, and a "vendor service quality assessment" tool. Partnering with ODC was a sound business decision from our perspective because it lets us expand from our current market – but keeps our focus on serving the needs of internal service and support groups of organizations."

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Benefits 2000, of Brookfield, has changed its named to The Flex Company of America. The new name reflects the organization’s focus on its core business of flexible benefit plan administration, said Barbara Baade, company president.
"Obviously, our business focus has evolved and sharpened over the past 15 years," Baade said. "Simply put, our name no longer reflected our main service offering of flexible benefit plans and other plan administration."
The company engaged focus groups and other research for the name-change process. "We found of old name to be a barrier for clients and prospects to understand who we are as an organization," Baade said.
The company employs 17 full-time and two part-time persons.

Advertising Consultants for Business has opened in Cedarburg, offering services to firms that want to develop in-house advertising departments.
ABC offers direct consultation or workshops that teach the how-to basics of creating ads, brochures, press releases, Web sites, production and other areas.
Robert Cote of Chicago and Sal Grasso of Cedarburg are the company founders, and aim to focus on the Milwaukee and Chicago markets. They can be reached at 262-375-1051.

Former Stark Images minority partners John Halusan and Jim Lunde have purchased the Milwaukee company from its former majority owner. Halusan and Lunde are now equal partners in the multi-million printing services operation.
Hulasan will assume the role of president and CEO while continuing to oversee the sales and marketing functions. Lunde will remain as vice president of operations and production.
Stark (www.starkimages.com) recently purchased a Heidelberg two-color press and a Heidelberg Quickmaster DI digital four-color press.

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Malcolm Group, a $34 million company with a variety of subsidiaries including Malcolm Marketing Communications in Racine, has acquired Battista & Co. , a marketing and advertising agency in Madison.
Battista, which has been in business for nearly 25 years, is expected to bring in more than $3 million in capitalized billings for the Malcolm Group this year. Bob Battista will serve as vice president of marketing services for Malcom’s Madison office.

Automatic Fire Protection, Inc., of Brookfield, has acquired two more fire protection companies in Wisconsin: Arrow Fire Protection in Arbor Vitae and the Fire Protection Division of Per-Mar Security Services in Janesville, Lake Geneva and Delavan, and Rockford, Ill.
AFP’s 21st and 22nd acquisitions broadens and expands its business and customer base in northern Illinois and Wisconsin, according to Tim Bell, president of Automatic Fire Protection.
Automatic Fire Protection, an ISO-9000 certified company, provides a line of equipment and services, including automatic fire sprinklers, fire extinguishers, kitchen hood and duct fire extinguishing systems, fire detection and alarm systems, customized suppression systems including "clean agents," emergency and exit lighting, and fire safety training programs.

SEEK, Inc., has launched Guardian HealthStaff as a separate company, devoted to staffing in the health-care industry.
The company is specializing in the placement of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical technicians and certified nursing assistants.
The firm was started by SEEK CEO Carol Schneider and Kimberly Noon, who previously led SEEK’s South Region.
Guardian HealthStaff is based in downtown Milwaukee.

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American Linen Co., which has operations in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, has changed its name to Alsco. The company, based in Salt Lake City, is a global provider of textile services, including restaurant and medical linen supply, uniforms and cleanroom services.
It has Wisconsin locations at 10th and North in Milwaukee and just north of 124th and Capitol Drive in Wauwatosa.

April 26, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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