(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 21 Feb. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …
— Led by surging agricultural exports that increased 45 percent last year, total state sales abroad rose nearly 12 percent in 2007 to a record $19.2 billion.

Gov. Jim Doyle lauded the news and said Wisconsin is now the 19th-largest exporting state, up two places from 2006. Since Doyle took office in 2003, he said exports have increased by nearly 80 percent.

“I salute Wisconsin companies for aggressively seeking new markets around the globe,” said Doyle, who has been on numerous trade missions abroad. “As Governor, I’m committed to doing all I can to support a climate that encourages success for our exporters.”

Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said the record agricultural exports “are a bright spot in the economy and show how important it is to continue our focus on growing Wisconsin agriculture.

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— The state Public Service Commission will hold a rescheduled meeting in Madison on Monday to get public input on a controversial plan from the American Transmission Company (ATC) to build a 345-kilovolt transmission line from the east Dane County to the west side of Middleton.

One of the proposed routes would run along the Beltline and be 55 miles long, while another would go through the county’s western and southern rural areas and run 32 miles.

ATC officials have said the cost for the northern route along the Beltine is around $220 million, while the southern route would cost about $200 million. Burying the Beltline section, as some have advocated, would increase costs several times, officials said.

Representatives from the PSC, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will be at the meeting to answer questions.

The session will be identical to the ones held earlier this month and will be in an open house format. The meeting will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Promega BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, 5445 East Cheryl Parkway, Madison.

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— Barbara Beck, president of Manpower EMEA, is being honored as one of the Top 15 Women in Business by PINK Magazine.

PINK selected the 15 “Innovators” in business, honoring the most influential women driving innovation and revenue at U.S.-based corporations around the world.

“We scoured the upper echelons of corporate America to find the most significant women driving innovation – and adding major dollars to the bottom line in the process,” said Cynthia Good, founding editor of PINK.

“Barbara Beck is one of 15 women who will soon claim the spotlight, having birthed new generations of products and services – creating and sustaining change that continues to transform their organizations.”

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Explore “The Issues and Science behind the Pending Great Lakes Water Compact” March 5 at a special Blueprint Briefing at Discovery World on Milwaukee’s lake front.

The briefing, open to the public, will feature “Great Lakes Water Wars” author Peter Annin; Kevin Wilson, assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s water division chief and member of the board of the Great Lakes Commission; Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee; and Ann Beier, director, Office of Environmental Sustainability, City of Milwaukee.

UW-Milwaukee officials also plan a briefing on the science and research behind the policy immediately following the panel discussion.

The special briefing is being presented by WisPolitics.com-WisBusiness.com, UW-Milwaukee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), the Government of Canada, and Discovery World.

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If you need to do a quick poll on an issue but can’t afford an entire survey, consider buying a question on the next statewide Checkpoint Survey.

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If you are a WisPolitics or WisBusiness subscriber, you’ll receive a 10 percent discount if you purchase two or more questions in the next monthly Checkpoint survey, a production of Wood Communications Group of Madison. That means the first question costs $900, and subsequent questions are $810 each.

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Press Releases

‘Mini Conference’ on Wisconsin Union Initiative Set for Feb. 25
Council of Great Lakes Governors: Governors renew call to enact Great Lakes protections
DATCP: Deadline for 2008 Agricultural Development and Diversification grants is March 15
Diamonds in the Rough Contest Rewards Youth Who Build Character Playing Baseball
First Clinton Climate Initiative Project Signed With Johnson Controls
Gov. Doyle: Receives interim global warming report
Johnson Controls Named One of America’s Most Shareholder-Friendly Companies
Officer of the Commissioner of Insurance: Commissioner cautions consumers of ice dams
PSC Reschedules Public Outreach Meeting on ATC’s Proposed Rockdale to West Middleton Transmission Line
Sen. Erpenbach: Cellular phones on “No Call” list passes state Senate
Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition: Failed trade agenda cooling on chilly primary election day

For these and more releases visit


Green Bay company acquires Weston’s Downwind Technology: A Green Bay-area private investment firm has acquired a Weston company that supplies aviation parts with plans to move its operations to Green Bay. Hamilton Smith Capital of Allouez acquired Downwind Technology LLC of Weston for an undisclosed price. David Cook, president of Hamilton Smith Capital, said Downwind is a manufacturer and distributor of aviation aftermarket parts, with its main product line being composite floats and skis for light sport aircraft. Cook said single-engine, light-sport aircraft should not be confused with ultralight aircraft. Downwind markets such products as Penguin Skis, Shark Series Floats and Toucan Exhaust Systems.

State’s export growth reaches new heights in 2007: Wisconsin’s exports of various products increased by 11.8 percent to a record $19.2 billion in 2007–making the state the 19th-largest exporter in the nation. Agricultural products, such as dairy foods, livestock genetics and small grains were a major contributor to that boost. According to Governor Jim Doyle’s office, exports to Canada, Wisconsin’s largest international market, grew by 7.3 percent to $5.8 billion. Mexican exports grew two percent to $1.9 billion. China took third place with a 35.4 percent increase to $1.2 billion, topping $1 billion for the first time ever. The United Kingdom shipments were six percent higher at $722.8 million. And Germany ranked fifth with a 13.4 percent increase to $660.8 billion.

Wisconsin housing market better than other areas: Statewide, local region has smallest decrease in sales… It’s like a broken record. As was typical throughout 2007, year-end statistics show Wisconsin’s real estate market, albeit down, fared better than many other areas of the country. And Northeastern Wisconsin fared well compared to other regions of the state. Wisconsin home sales declined in 2007 by 10.8 percent relative to 2006, but median prices rose 0.2 percent over the period to $164,000, according to a report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. Sales in the Midwest also were down by a similar margin, falling 10.5 percent over last year, but sales nationally were down nearly 13 percent.

County gives cool reception to Pabst Farms’ latest plans: New plans for a shopping center at Pabst Farms are getting a cool reception from Waukesha County officials who must decide whether to help build a freeway interchange at the development site. Some county officials say the developer has talked about trying to land such commonplace retailers as Target and Kohl’s to anchor the proposed shopping center in Oconomowoc. Those anchor stores would not likely create the sort of upscale attraction requiring the expenditure of taxpayer money on the infrastructure, officials said. “The expectation was that they were going to be a regional draw,” said Norman Cummings, the county’s director of administration. “It wouldn’t be a regional draw if we have them all over the place.”

ATC looks for new president: Pewaukee power line company needs to replace retiring leader… American Transmission Co. hopes to name a new president by the end of the year, as it prepares for the retirement within a few years of company leader José Delgado. The Pewaukee-based power line company is planning to interview candidates from within and outside the company, said company spokesman Randy Satterfield. The move by the company’s board of directors was announced earlier this month in an e-mail to company employees. Delgado, 61, formerly of Wisconsin Energy Corp., serves as president and chief executive and has run ATC since it was created in 2000. The company is responsible for owning and operating the high-voltage power line network in the eastern part of the state.


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)
– Northrop, Oshkosh team add partner for possible Humvee replacement

BIOTECH (back to top)
– InvestMidwest forum to feature one Wisconsin firm

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Neenah Council clears $5M Glatfelter redevelopment

– State raises exports to China

– Worries ripple over steel

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Brady Corp. feels sales squeeze in Asia

– Oshkosh Corp. picks armor supplier

– Valley firms seek award

LABOR (back to top)
– Pilots union says it’s not getting severance for cuts

– UW staff unions possible

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Sheboygan sees shops slipping away

INVESTING (back to top)
– Fed lowers growth projections, see inflation

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Real estate expo set for March 7-9 at SC Grand

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Farm Groups Call for ‘Fair’ Great Lakes Compact

– Wisconsin Goat Inventory Holds Steady

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Road salt supply at unsafe level

– AirTran CFO Gadek leaving airline

RETAIL (back to top)
– Erickson Chevrolet sold

– SABMiller not pursuing Scottish & Newcastle

REGULATION (back to top)
– State ban on plastic bags proposed

– Proposal exempts vendors from state fire code

– Mercury advisories could be lifted on 2 lakes, river

– Roundy’s, Nash Finch take dispute to court

TOURISM (back to top)
– Curtain dropping on American Girl theater

– Great Wolf resorts company lost $7.7 million in the fourth quarter

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Search to start anew for water utility manager

– Power outage affects 6,400 people in southeast Wis.

– Integrys reports income gain

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– States more set for disease outbreaks

– Credit unions to face new hurdle in mergers

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Track owner sent to prison in bank failure

– Menard wins round in court

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Peter King: Badger Sheet Metal to build new facility

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