(WisBusiness) TUES News Summary — 16 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Two companies have filed notice with the state about a combined total of more than 100 layoffs:

*Mortgage IT Inc. filed notice of plans to close its Middleton facility beginning Feb. 9, 2009. The closure will affect 72 individuals.

See the filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/081215mortgageIT.pdf

*Regal Beloit filed notice it will be closing its facility in Neillsville, which will be shutting down permanently between Feb. 10, 2009 and April 30, 2009. There will be 37 workers affected by the closure.

See the filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/large/081215regalbeloit.pdf

— Gov. Jim Doyle said the bidding and approval process for infrastructure projects funded under a potential federal stimulus package would need to be streamlined to “get more projects moving more quickly.”

Doyle and other governors made a push last week in Washington, D.C., for an aid package to boost lagging state economies. The package, which Congress will begin working on in January, will include money for road and building projects. Doyle has said a package could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Wisconsin.

Doyle told reporters Monday that the timing for project bids and the state’s response will speed up to meet Obama’s goal of getting people to work quickly.

“We’re going to have to take a number of steps to do it, and we’re going to have to do it obviously in a way that protects the integrity of the process and assures the appropriate design work and engineering and everything has been done,” Doyle said.

See the list of potential building projects:


— The state unemployment compensation fund won’t become insolvent, but Doyle said the situation is becoming a “huge national problem.”

Doyle said the state has yet to begin to borrow from the federal government to cover short-term shortfalls in the program, as some other states have. He said states are talking to Congress about extending unemployment insurance as claims rise due to layoffs brought by the crumbling economy.

“As the economists really give us a clearer picture of whether or not we’re in this for the next year or year and a half, we may have to make some adjustments in the rates in Wisconsin as well to make sure that the unemployment compensation fund is sound,” Doyle said.

Listen to the interview with Doyle for more:

— Is Wisconsin poised for a turnaround in the real estate market?

WisBusiness columnist Jennifer Sereno says the answer may be “yes” if the recent results of a statewide public opinion poll are any indication.

Read her new column for more:


— Harley-Davidson Inc. announced that president and CEO James Ziemer has informed the company’s board of directors that he intends to retire in 2009, capping a 40-year career with the Milwaukee-based firm.

The board has formed a search committee to review both internal and external candidates to succeed Ziemer, who will remain in his current role until a new CEO is in place.

See more from Milwaukee’s BizTimes:


— Madison-based Platypus Technologies LLC announced that Richard S. Schifreen has joined the company as president and CEO as of Dec. 10.

Schifreen was formerly vice president of research products at Mirus Bio Corp. in Madison and before that he was director of technology and business development at Promega Corp. in Fitchburg.



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Press Releases
· AG Van Hollen: Reaches $12 million settlement with toy maker Mattel resolving investigation over toys recalled for excessive lead paint
· Alliant Energy: Wisconsin Specialty Protein is “going green” with its new facility
· Dept. of Commerce: Offers winter season maintenance tips for private onsite wastewater treatment systems
· John Harbor’s Main Street Coffee House: Main Street bails out itself
· Mercury Free Wisconsin: FDA proposal not about protecting people
· Mpower Campaign: Seeking applicants for Mpower Business Champions program
· Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: Consumer advocates give Dilweg Consumer Advocacy Award
· State Engineering Association: Cutting state staff will waste stimulus dollars, risk sound public policy

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


Middleton’s Mortgage IT to close, lay off 72: Bad economic news continues. Mortgage IT Inc. in Middleton has informed the state Department of Workforce Development that it plans to shut down its Middleton office, 1350 Deming Way. “This mass layoff, which resulted from the severe economic conditions, will affect approximately 72 employees and is expected to be permanent,” parent company Deutsche Bank said in a letter to the DWD.

Gehl Shrinking Work Force by Nearly A Fifth: The economic downturn in housing and construction is forcing the West Bend-based Gehl Co. to begin letting go of some of their staff. On Monday, the company announced it’s cutting 62 salaried employees and 19 hourly workers, or about 18 percent of its total workforce. Gehl says it has also laid off 19 hourly workers at its South Dakota manufacturing plant after eliminating nearly 50 hourly positions about six weeks ago.

ThedaCare jobs get secure: ThedaCare has a no-layoff policy. No kidding. In a very real sense, the Appleton-based health care system, the Fox Cities’ largest private employer, guarantees its 5,400 workers a job. “We actually call it a no-layoff philosophy,” said Dean Gruner, president and chief executive officer of ThedaCare. “We ask people to work hard and to improve the work that they do each day. It seems to us it would be foolish and unrealistic to expect people to improve the work they do every day if the end result would be to work themselves out of a job.”

Oshkosh Defense receives $9M deal: The defense arm of Oshkosh Truck Corp. has landed a $9.4 million contract modification from the U.S. Army. The contract will require Oshkosh Defense to upgrade the engine horsepower and incorporate lightweight composite armor in the A3 variant of Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) to improve protection for the crew.

State reaches lead settlement with Mattel: Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, along with the attorneys general of 38 other states, have reached a $12 million settlement agreement with toy maker Mattel Inc. and its subsidiary, Fisher-Price Inc., resolving a 16-month-long investigation over toys recalled for excessive lead paint in 2007.

New York Stock Exchange to drop Spectrum Brands : Eleven years after its triumphant return to Wall Street, Spectrum Brands shares will stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. The NYSE notified the company on Monday that its common stock, sold under the symbol SPC, will be suspended before the market opens on Monday and could be delisted by the Securities & Exchange Commission. That’s because Spectrum Brands has fallen below $25 million, the NYSE’s required minimum market capitalization over a consecutive 30-day period. Market capitalization is the number of shares of common stock times their price.


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)
– Program will focus on basics of e-commerce

– Study: Business suffers when Web is slow

– Spectrum Brands, Energizer Holdings settle lithium battery patent dispute

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Holy Grail of stem cell research within reach

– University of Wisconsin researchers find hope for heart attack victims

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Yacht builders feel crunch of tightening belts

– ARI sees jumps in 1Q operating, net income

– Harley receives $500M advance from lenders

LABOR (back to top)
– Workplace preferences of Gens X, Y and Z

– Recession could help city tackle ‘brain drain’ problem

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Frank Beer Distributors buys H&M Distributing

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– WaterMark development launched in November

– Ghazi seeks extension for Wisconsin Avenue project

– Midtown Commons day care center OK’d despite neighbors’ objections

– Fox River Mall owner still needs $900M debt extension

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Experts predict push for biofuels

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Teams turn elsewhere as Midwest ends charter service

REGULATION (back to top)
– Manitowoc liquor ordinance will stay as it is

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Fond du Lac County Wind Farm Begins Generating Power

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Aurora to buy Great Lakes Radiologists

– Citizens Bank names Fleshner regional president

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Gannett promotes news executive

– Harley CEO Ziemer to retire in 2009

– New president named at Platypus

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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