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September home sales up 11% in state

The number of homes sold in Wisconsin rose to 6,944 in September, up 11.1 percent from September 2014, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

The median price of homes sold in the state during September rose 4.3 percent to $155,375.

For the first nine months of the year, home sales in the state were up 12.6 percent and median sale prices were up 5.7 percent to $157,000.

In southeastern Wisconsin, September home sales were up 11 percent to 2,466 and median prices were up 3.1 percent to $165,000, according to the WRA report.

September median sale prices by county:

  • Kenosha: $149,900, +13.1 percent
  • Milwaukee: $132,500, +11.3 percent
  • Ozaukee: $255,000, +7.4 percent
  • Sheboygan: $125,000, +4.7 percent
  • Walworth: $171,000, +3.6 percent
  • Waukesha: $247,500, -0.7 percent
  • Washington: $189,450, -3.3 percent
  • Racine: $129,000, -4.4 percent

For the first nine months of the year, southeastern Wisconsin home sales were up 11.6 percent to 21,264 and the median home sale price was up 6.6 percent to $169,000.

Harley-Davidson to lay off 250

Harley-Davidson Inc. president and chief executive officer Matt Levatich recently announced plans to shift spending within the company, which is expected to cost about $30 million to $35 million in the fourth quarter.

The reallocation includes employee separation and reorganization, and about 250 employees will be laid off in the move.

“An early retirement incentive program will be offered to eligible employees in advance of what we believe will be a global reduction of around 250 salaried positions across the company, largely completed by the end of the year,” said Tony Macrito, a spokesman for the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer.

“Adjustments in positions and structure will be made in essentially every part of the business to achieve the right focus and support the increased demand-generating investments.”

“We expect a heightened competitive environment to continue for the foreseeable future, and now is the time for us to dial things up with significant additional investments in marketing and product development,” Levatich said in the company’s third quarter earnings release. “We have a strong plan, built on our incredible foundation, to further assert Harley-Davidson’s substantial market leadership and accelerate growth. We have great confidence in our plans to drive demand and grow our reach and impact with customers globally.”

The company reported third quarter net income of $140.3 million, or 69 cents per share, down from $150.1 million, or 69 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014.

Whitewater Sentry closing

Unable to compete with the Walmart Supercenter next door, Daniels’ Sentry Foods in Whitewater will close on Dec. 16, eliminating 53 jobs.

Ken Riley, general manager, said the company has tried unsuccessfully for two-and-a-half years to sell the 50,000-square-foot building at 1260 W. Main St., to another retailer. The building has been sold to an unnamed developer.

When Walmart, 1362 W. Main St., added 30,000-square-feet and began selling groceries four years ago, Sentry’s profits plummeted, Riley said.

“Whitewater’s population says 14,000, but that includes everyone on (the UW) campus – and everyone leaves on the weekends and comes back with a car full of groceries from mom and dad,” Riley said.

The Sentry store was built in 1997 by Fleming Companies Inc., which at the time was a major wholesaler. Fleming filed for bankruptcy in 2003. Sentry was purchased by Daniels Sentry of Whitewater LLC in 2002.

The Daniels company is based in Walworth and operates two stores in Janesville and one in Walworth, in addition to the Whitewater store.

Riley said the Whitewater employees cannot be relocated to another store because there is a union at the Janesville stores so positions cannot be filled by people who have less seniority. The Whitewater and Walworth stores do not have a union.

“It’s sad. I’ve been with the company since 1970, and I’m used to opening, not closing stores,” Riley said. “It makes it tough on individuals. We did our best to try to get a retailer in there. We tried to give low-lease rent and come up with a lot of scenarios, but no one wanted to give it a go.”

Aurora appoints diversity and inclusion leader

Aurora Health Care has announced the appointment of Erickajoy Daniels as the organization’s senior vice president of diversity and inclusion.

In the new role, Daniels will develop a team that will guide the systemwide rollout of Aurora’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Daniels’ team will focus on areas such as patient experience and community relations.

Daniels comes to Aurora with more than 15 years of experience in human resources. Prior to joining Aurora, she was responsible for organizational development and talent management at Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. She also held employee development positions at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C.

Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and is earning a master’s degree in management through Liberty University.

She is active in the community, serving as a board member for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Additionally, she’s a trustee for Mt. Mary University and a co-founder and board member of One MKE, an organization dedicated to addressing cultural divides in Milwaukee. Daniels is also a member of TEMPO Milwaukee Professional Women’s Network and a training and development consultant for non-profits through the Body Builders Training Group.

Milwaukee Ballet keeps Pink, names new executive director

Milwaukee Ballet Company artistic director Michael Pink will continue heading the organization’s dance productions for the next five years through a contract extension to 2020.

Pink has choreographed and directed ballet productions for Milwaukee for 13 seasons and has become “a major force” in the city’s arts scene, said Jud Snyder, president of BMO Harris Equipment Finance Co. and board chair and president of the Milwaukee Ballet.

The Milwaukee Ballet Company also recently announced a new executive director, dance industry veteran Julia Glawe, who brings international dance administration experience to Milwaukee.

Glawe’s career in the performing arts spans more than 25 years. Throughout the past 17 years, she has focused on booking and touring international dance productions. During 15 of those years, she worked as senior vice president for the Dance Division of IMG Artists.

Glawe also spent five years at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, a touring dance company located in Chicago, where she was responsible for booking and outreach activities.

With her background in the international dance scene, Glawe will “inject unique vibrancy” into both Milwaukee’s ballet company and broader arts community, Pink said.

She was selected for the role of executive director after a national search.

While solidifying its leadership team, the Milwaukee Ballet Company has launched a matching campaign to fund new stage works.

The “Campaign for New Work,” backed by Sue and Allan “Bud” Selig, the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and former commissioner of Major League Baseball, took flight during the ballet company’s annual board meeting on Tuesday.

Additionally, the ballet company has named a set of new board directors: Griselda Aldrete, president and chief executive officer of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee; Mark Benskin, senior vice president, managing director, U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve; William Bonifas, executive vice president, CBRE; and Chris Piotrowski, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Associated Bank.

EnSync names new CFO

Menomonee Falls-based EnSync Inc., which develops energy management systems for commercial, industrial and multi-tenant building markets, has appointed Jim Schott chief financial offer.

Schott has experience in accounting, finance, and investor and analyst relations in addition to operations experience with energy companies, including WEC Energy Group and Integrys Energy Group.

Prior to joining EnSync, Schott worked as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Integrys Energy Group.

In his new position, he will head the company’s finance and accounting activities and will also run its investor relations function.

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