(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 18 Aug. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) will invest $25 million in Baird Venture Partners Fund III.

Baird Venture Partners, a venture capital group affiliated with the Milwaukee-based, Robert W. Baird & Co., focuses on early- and expansion-stage companies in the healthcare/life science and business services sectors.

In addition to the $25 million commitment, $15 million will be used for direct co-investments in portfolio companies in Wisconsin that have been financed or will be financed by partnership funds SWIB has invested in over the past nine years.

The $40 million approved for investments will mean the entire $200,000,000 allocated to the Wisconsin Venture Capital initiative will be fully committed.

— A few weeks ago, S&S Cycle in LaCrosse threw a big party for its 50th anniversary that brought an estimated 28,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to Western Wisconsin from all over the world.

But just last week, S&S cut its workforce by 60 workers through voluntary separations and layoffs.

The contrast is striking and has made the job cuts high profile in the media and among the public. Some question whether S&S spent too much on its bash, in the long run at the cost of 60 people’s jobs.

S&S officials vehemently deny that. President Brett Smith said the costs of the 50th anniversary celebration were covered by sales of the 50 custom cycles made for the event, and support from the community.

See Gregg Hoffmann column: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=202

— Lauterbach Group Inc. is planning to build a 61,000-square-foot addition and purchase new equipment at its flexographic printing plant in Sussex. The $9.6 million project is expected to create 15 new jobs.

The company will receive a $6.5 million Industrial Revenue Bond allocation from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to help finance the addition. The firm also will receive up to $25,000 from the state in a Customized Labor Training grant to train 12 new and 28 existing employees on the new equipment and processes.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/8/15/#lauterbach-plans-expansion-in-sussex



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Press Releases
Dept. of Commerce: Governor Doyle announces funding for Data Specialists, Inc.
Dept. of Commerce: Marketplace 2008 to showcase Wisconsin Minority Business Awards
Fiserv: Launches source capture optimization approach to capture deposits from any location
Gov. Doyle: Announces training project with Appleton Papers
Marshfield Clinic demonstrates improved quality of care resulting in cost savings for Medicare
SonoPlot: Appoints distributor in Japan
TV4US Wisconsin: Wisconsin cable companies black out Brett

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


State’s minority contract process criticized: Critics are calling for a review of the preference the state offers to minority contractors after an out-of-state firm won a choice job despite charging taxpayers $1.3 million more than the low bidder. The $29.5 million renovation and expansion of a UW-Stout science building was won by an established minority-owned firm from the Twin Cities, even though two larger Wisconsin firms underbid the contractor, state officials said. The Minnesota firm received the contract in May after state officials invoked a law that allows a minority firm to be given a job if its bid is within 5 percent of the lowest bid. The UW-Stout project may represent the largest such state contract ever awarded to a minority firm.

Area’s water hub sputters: Water-engineering firm Pentair to shut Sheboygan plant, others on weak sales … The U.S. mortgage crisis has caught up with the vaunted water-technology sector that business leaders are promoting as a new economic engine for the Milwaukee region. Pentair Inc., the biggest of the water-engineering companies clustered around Milwaukee, recently announced that it will shut a plant in Sheboygan with 350 workers next year in a simultaneous closure of facilities in California, Illinois, China and France. While Pentair reaches markets around the world, supplying water treatment systems to industries and governments, many of its problems center on the division that supplies filtration equipment for homes and, therefore, relies on home investment.

Manufacturing group touts $226 million impact: The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership said the help it provided to state companies produced an economic impact of $226 million for the 12 months ended June 30, including $85 million in south central Wisconsin. The economic impact is based on 185 surveys completed by WMEP-assisted companies and compiled by an independent national research firm. Madison-based WMEP is a non-profit that provides expertise and business assistance that aims to help small and mid-size manufacturers grow and succeed. WMEP-assisted companies reported $128 million in increased/retained sales; $16.9 million in cost savings; $81.3 million in investment, including new plant and equipment; and 1,235 created/retained jobs. WMEP said it provided services to 531 state manufacturers last year.

Venture fund exceeds goal: Baird affiliate starts with $170 million to invest in start-up companies … Baird Venture Partners will announce Monday that it has raised $170 million for a third venture-capital fund. The Robert W. Baird & Co. affiliate exceeded by $20 million the amount of money it was aiming to raise, organizers said. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, with about $87 billion of assets under management, put $25 million into the new Baird fund, said Chris Prestigiacomo, portfolio manager for the Wisconsin private-equity portfolio managed by SWIB. Baird’s success in raising a large fund “creates a very meaningful co-investor here in the Midwest,” said John Neis, a senior partner at Madison-based Venture Investors, one of the most active Wisconsin-based early-stage venture-capital firms.

’08 winter wheat production could set record: Federal harvest forecast for state recently released … The amount of soybeans and winter wheat harvested in Wisconsin this year is expected to increase, while the number of corn acres expected to be harvested for grain is forecast to dip. Those numbers are part of the recent forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Door County, corn and wheat production looks good so far this summer countywide — a far cry from last year, when some areas of the peninsula got little rain in June and July and corn withered in the field. “Everything is looking good up here,” said Dean Volenberg with the Door County University of Wisconsin-Extension.


GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– UW researchers find gene marker for prostate cancer

– Microsoft file format approved as ISO standard

– Technical colleges offering alternative energy programs

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Analyst bullish on TomoTherapy competitor

– Airlines push for homegrown jet fuel

– UW-EC researcher takes on acid rain

ECONOMY (back to top)
– International companies fare better, study says

– Optimism drives Kaukauna’s Keller Inc.

– State approves $6.5M bond for Lauterbach expansion

– County considers joining business loan fund

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Rising steel, oil prices up cost to build ships for U.S. Navy

– Manufacturing enjoys modest growth

LABOR (back to top)
– La Crosse motorcycle company cuts 60 jobs

– City bus system on strike

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Passion for fishing spawned guide service

– Business start-up session set Sept. 9

INVESTING (back to top)
– SWIB announces $40 million in new investments

– Wall Street heads for higher open as oil slips

– Money manager says it’s time to check out bank stocks again

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– American real estate appraisal system is crippled

– Construction update 2008: Building jitters: Developers say business uncertainty appears to have depressed large projects

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– State farm expenditures rose 9 percent in 2007

– DNR to hold town meeting on emerald ash borer

– Event addresses soil, plant health

– Farm Groups Identify Weaknesses in Water Quality Task Force Report

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Cheaper oil prompts airlines to offer some deep discounts

– Town of Menasha considers eco-friendly transportation

– Marquette Interchange construction was a smooth ride

– Brighter skies with AirTran?

RETAIL (back to top)
– Sub-Zero says new fridges will help cut food waste

– Shoppers want a bargain, and that could hurt some retailers

– New Total Energy location opens

– Schlitz to be served on draft starting this week

REGULATION (back to top)
– Lawmakers to review mercury emission rules

TOURISM (back to top)
– Lake Delton cleanup begins

– Harley party plan roaring along

– DNR: Wis. duck hunters should have good season

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Proposal: Reduce water use with a high-efficiency toilet, get a $100 rebate

– Water sale’s chain reaction drains utility reserves

– Brookfield sludge could help Milwaukee sewage program

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Study ranks Meriter among best performing hospitals in U.S.

– St. Mary’s to build emergency center in Sun Prairie

– Wis. residents have 1 month to apply for storm aid

– Chaseburg still waiting for buyout offer for August 2007 flood damage

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Fuszard named to alumni board

– Neenah Paper gives to charitable causes

– Signs of the times

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mick Hager: Letting employees telecommute is a challenge

– Alan Prahl: Cutting back builds financial strength in lean times

– John Torinus: Medical advances offer better quality and value

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com
–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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