(WisBusiness) TUES News Summary — 9 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— U.S. employers are proceeding with caution when considering hiring for the first quarter of 2009, according to the results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

Of the 31,800 employers surveyed, 16 percent anticipate an increase in their staff levels during Quarter 1 2009, while 13 percent expect a reduction in their payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 3 percent. Sixty-seven percent of employers surveyed expect no change and 5 percent are undecided about their January – March hiring plans. The percentage totals exceed 100 percent due to rounding.

See more:


— These are trying times for many in the biotech industry, with funding sources buttoning up as a result of the deepening recession.

But at least one drug-related firm, Menomonee Falls-based DDN, is thriving as a third-party logistics company, handling warehousing and distribution of pharmaceutical products from its hubs in Tennessee and California. In addition, DDN also provides IT services and call centers for pharma companies, while also helping them bring products to market by navigating regulatory and logistical mazes.

Three years ago, however, things weren’t quite so positive for DDN. In 2005, the company’s revenues had declined 25 percent compared to the previous year and the profits were negligible.

Since then, however, the company has doubled its revenues to $50 million and President Ross Bjella — who spoke recently at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Biotech and Medical Device Association — says DDN has experienced strong profit growth.

“In this time of economic uncertainty, the life science community is increasingly relying on the services DDN offers to build a world-class company with only a handful of employees, while large businesses turn to DDN with a goal of simplifying their operations,” says Bjella.

Read more from a new WisBusiness interview with Bjella:


— In a new WisBusiness column, Marc Eisen writes that Epic Systems was the perfect host for the first annual Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Conference. From geothermal heating and cooling, to “100-year” construction standards, to a costly investment in 3,500 underground parking stalls, to a state-of-the-art but natural storm-water drainage system, Epic walks the sustainable talk, at least as well as you can in a rural office park.

Some 300 people turned out for the Monday event organized by the UW-Madison’s Center for Business, Environment and Social Responsibility. Big-time corporate players Alliant Energy, Grant Thornton and MillerCoors were co-sponsors as well as four-other UW entities. The mood was serious but upbeat, Eisen writes, with an almost palpable “Yes We Can” attitude towards remaking American business to recognize not just a financial bottom line but environmental and social responsibility ones as well.

Read more from Eisen on the conference and the sustainability movement:


— Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, has announced a new $2.5 million renewable energy program called Fuels for Schools & Communities. The new program is meant to help Wisconsin schools and communities save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs by switching from natural gas to heating their buildings with wood or other biomass.

The new program offers interested schools and communities pre-feasibility studies and feasibility studies at no cost and up to $250,000 toward the implementation of a biomass system.

See details: http://www.focusonenergy.com/biomassforschools

— Gov. Jim Doyle is planning to address business and investment leaders today at 1:15 p.m. at the Wisconsin Engine Manufacturer & Distributor Alliance (WEMDA) roundtable in Wauwatosa. Doyle will detail the impact of the national economic crisis on Wisconsin industries and the state budget, and discuss the next steps to move manufacturing and the state economy forward.

— The UW System awarded more degrees than ever before in 2007-08 and saw a slight increase in the number of undergraduate transfer students over the previous two years, according to two recent reports published by the UW System Office of Policy Analysis and Research.

See details: http://www.wisconsin.edu/news/2008/r081208.htm

— Over 800 people gathered together for the fifth annual New North Summit, held Monday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton.

“This year’s theme of collaboration highlighted the success we’ve had as a region working together to grow the economy,” said Jerry Murphy, Executive Director of the New North. “By focusing on targeted industry clusters such as the supply chain side of the wind industry and advanced manufacturing, we’re excited about the opportunities ahead for the region.”

Governor Doyle addressed the event in the morning, discussing his plans to continue growing Wisconsin’s economy, and Richard Longworth, a fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the author of Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism, gave the keynote address.

See more on the summit:


— A Milwaukee alderman has shelved his call for the state to allow municipalities to impose their own cigarette taxes after fellow members of the Judiciary and Legislation Committee voiced opposition.

The measure’s sponsor, Ald. Terry Witkowski, pointed to costs cities incur due to cigarette smoking and said the tax would be a good way to raise revenue to make up for that while discouraging smoking. He proposed a similar measure in 2006, but held it back as the state considered a $1-per-pack boost.

Others on the committee, however, argued that the measure would be unlikely to gain state support, do little to address smoking prevention and hurt businesses by making the city a “tax island.”

— Heavy snow and icy roads have forced closings of many schools, colleges and tech schools today.

To check on the latest winter road conditions, call 1-800-ROADWIS (762-3947) or view this information on the Web at http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/index.htm.



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Press Releases
· New North, Inc.: Business leaders meet in Northeast Wisconsin
· The Nature Conservancy: New initiative focuses on water quality improvement in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico
· UW-Madison: For nanotechnology, religion in U.S. dictates a wary view
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: Alissa Grenawalt wins Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award
· Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation: State Rep. Barbara ‘Bobby’ Gronemus receives Farm Bureau’s “Distinguished Service to Agriculture” Award

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


DAs want increase in alcohol taxes: The Wisconsin District Attorneys Association wants to raise the state’s beer and liquor taxes – something that hasn’t happened in nearly 40 years – to pay for more prosecutors. Wisconsin’s beer tax, third lowest in the nation, hasn’t gone up since 1969. The liquor tax, which is among the lowest nationwide, hasn’t increased since 1981 other than when a new tax on hard cider was added in 1997.

Sheboygan Falls Insurance purchased for $12 million: Donegal Group Inc. has acquired The Sheboygan Falls Insurance Co. for $12 million; a deal which officials said allows the Pennsylvania firm to expand its Midwest operations. Donegal Group, headquartered in Marietta, Pa., is a property and casualty insurance holding company that operates in 19 states in the East, Southeast and Midwest, including Wisconsin.

Midwest urged to think regionally: The Midwest can still be a global economic force in today’s world economy, though it has to adopt a regional mindset to move forward. That was the focus of the presentation by Richard Longworth, former Chicago Tribune reporter now a fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, who was the keynote speaker at the annual New North summit hosted by the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. “Globalization is not going away, it’s the future,” said Longworth.

Slumping economy hits Midwest hard: New census data shows that throughout the first half of the decade, the slumping economy touched nearly every community in the country. Incomes dropped while poverty and unemployment rose in the vast majority of the nation’s cities and towns.
Small and medium-sized cities in the Midwest, already suffering from an ailing auto industry, were hit the hardest, with unemployment rates doubling or tripling in communities throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.


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)
– Fiserv online bill payment system breached

– Century Farmhouse soap takes off online

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Waste morphs into energy

– Madison drug developer cleared to begin human trials

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Doyle: Obama plan will help Midwest

– Employers to freeze staff size, Manpower survey shows

– Falling gas prices put extra cash in consumer pockets

– Economic woes generate holiday worries

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Union meeting about Kimberly’s NewPage mill delayed

– Common Council committee favors $200,000 loan to Super Steel

– Anheuser-Busch InBev cutting 1,400 jobs

– MillerCoors’ Coors Light to debut in Sweden

– Sussex toy maker giving away its product

LABOR (back to top)
– Temp help numbers down

– Job forecast looking up for Green Bay area

INVESTING (back to top)
– Wisconsin Electric sets $250M debt sale

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Midtown Commons condo owners not eager to see a child care center added

– Plan Commission backs $45 million UWM residence hall

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– VeraSun bankruptcy puts corn growers on edge

– Bruins Re-Elected Wisconsin Farm Bureau President

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– SkyWest reports 12.9% drop in traffic

RETAIL (back to top)
– Be cautious when using payday loan stores

– New things in store at Memorial Mall

REGULATION (back to top)
– Court rules in favor of cell phone customers

TOURISM (back to top)
– Dells water park operator expands into Tennessee

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Wis. hospital joins donated breast milk program

– New SeniorCare cards coming — minus Social Security numbers

– Doctor, can you spare your time?

– Aurora to buy stake in Franklin surgical center

– Aurora, Associated Surgical to jointly operate Franklin center

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Baylake Corp. names president

– ‘Lake FM’ gets new program director

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Larry Avila column: Any bright spot is good when the economy is down

– Ken King column: Be cautious when shopping online

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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