Windmills will power S.C. Johnson’s Michigan plant
S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. has signed a five-year deal in which it will receive 46 percent of its electricity at its manufacturing plant in Bay City, Mich., from giant windmills.
The windmills are provided by Spartan Renewable Energy, which will generate 31.5 million kilowatt hours annually.
Racine-based S.C. Johnson is one of the first manufacturers in Michigan to use windpower.
The Bay City wind power project helps the company keep 29,500 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere annually. The energy saved is comparable to the energy needed to supply electricity to 1,800 average homes per year, and the CO2 reduction is equivalent to taking almost 3,000 cars off of the road annually.
"In addition to helping accomplish our global renewable energy goal, this initiative further reduces the company’s reliance on coal-fired electricity," said Fisk Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of S.C. Johnson. "As a family company, we’re committed to exploring innovative technologies that hold the promise of cleaner, more efficient energy. This is a great step for S.C. Johnson, and for the future generations that will be affected by the environmental choices all of us make today."
The addition of the renewable energy source helps S.C. achieve its goals of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Bay City project follows S.C. Johnson’s efforts to slash coal-fired energy dependence at the company’s largest global manufacturing plant, the Waxdale plant in Racine. In 2003, SC Johnson installed a cogeneration turbine that provided Waxdale with energy using methane piped in from a local public landfill. The company added a second turbine in 2005, which is powered primarily by natural gas. The twin turbines meet the average daily base-load electrical demand of the facility.
Trek mourns the loss of its founder
Trek Bicycle Corp.’s employees are mourning this week after the loss of Richard "Dick" Burke, the company’s co-founder and chairman, who died in a Milwaukee hospital March 10 from complications of cardiac surgery.
Burke was 73 years old.
"He said goodbye knowing that his wife loved him, his kids loved him, and that he had so many friends all over the world who followed his fight pulling for him all the way," said Burke’s son and Trek’s chief executive officer, John Burke. "There is a reason that a man five- foot-eight is called ‘The Big Guy.’ He was a small man with a very big heart. He leaves behind a great spirit and a legacy that to whom much is given much is required."
Born in Chicago in 1934, Burke attended Marquette University, earning a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business Administration.
After college, Burke worked for a handful of companies before landing a job with Milwaukee-based appliance distributor Roth Distributing in 1960. With a knack for finance, Burke eventually became the company’s treasurer and a shareholder. In 1976, with $100,000 in seed money from Roth and a hunch that a high-quality, American-made frame could fill the gap between Schwinn and the imported Japanese frame market, Burke started Trek Bicycle in a rented red pole barn in Waterloo, Wis.
Under Burke’s leadership, Trek grew to become the largest U.S. bicycle manufacturer.
Through his Trinity Foundation, Burke has also contributed tens of millions of dollars to community organizations in the greater Milwaukee area, including a cooperative program between Mount Mary and Alverno Colleges for future urban teachers, as well as a program at Mount Mary for women from the inner city of Milwaukee who are working toward a college degree.
On average, Burke’s Trinity Foundation gives between $2.5 million to $3 million to the Milwaukee area each year.
Burke is survived by his wife, Camille, five children (including former Wisconsin Department of Commerce Secretary Mary Burke), and 11 grandchildren.
Brady Corp. to buy back shares
Brady Corp.’s board recently authorized a buyback of up to 1 million additional shares of the company’s stock. Brady said it has nearly completed a 1 million share buyback authorized by the board in September. The company has about 50.8 million shares outstanding.