(WisBusiness) TUESDAY TRENDS — 30 Jan. 2008

***************************
DISCOUNT TICKETS FOR FEB. 11 ENERGY EVENT AVAILABLE THROUGH THURSDAY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) member Philip Moeller
will join Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman F. James
Sensenbrenner Jr., and former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Chair James Hoecker as keynoters at the “Midwest Energy: Coping with
Climate Change” conference on Monday, Feb. 11.

The conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison will
bring together energy experts with Wisconsin, Midwest and Washington,
D.C. perspectives to discuss the ins and outs of how energy providers,
energy distributors and energy regulators are coping with the prospect
of broad and rapid climate change.

For more information go to
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116286
 
The event is open to the public. Individual tickets cost $50 if
purchased by Jan. 31; tickets after that cost $75 each. Tables are
available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of
$600. Student discounts also will be available. The ticket price
includes two meals. Contact Jim Greer at [email protected] or
608-237-6296 to register.

***************************

 



WisBusiness Tuesday Trends
29 January 2008
Exclusively for WisBusiness Subscribers

Please send questions or comments to Brian Clark at
[email protected]

WEBCAST: See C3K Live, featuring Channel 3000’s Dan Smith and
WisBusiness Editor Brian Clark, for a video discussion of this week’s
edition of Tuesday Trends: http://www.c3ktogo.com/news-video/?section=43


RISING

Madison and Brookfield jobs

Los Angeles-based Farmers Group Inc. has announced that it will open
new recruiting and development centers in Brookfield and Madison,
adding more than 1,000 jobs.

The Milwaukee area Farmers Insurance office will open Thursday and be
based at 300 N. Corporate Dr., Suite 100, in Brookfield. It will focus
on recruiting and training 400 new Farmers Insurance agents in the
metro Milwaukee area. The Madison recruiting and development center
will open Friday and be at 2310 Crossroads Dr., Suite 5000 in Madison.
 
Combined, the two new Wisconsin centers will mean an investment of more
than $20 million into the Wisconsin economy, said Scott Stice, senior
vice president of field operations for Farmers Insurance Group.

Milwaukee airport

In his State of the County speech delivered this morning, Milwaukee
County Exec. Scott Walker proposed building another major runway and
additional concourses at General Mitchell International Airport.

Walker called the airport an “economic giant” and said he wanted to
“avoid problems seen at O’Hare.” He did not give a cost for the
project. County Board Chairman Lee Holloway said he supports the
expansion plan.

See the text of Walker’s speech:
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116802

AirTran

AirTran Airways said today that it will begin offering new non-stop
service from Milwaukee to five destinations on the coasts. The news
comes just a week after AirTran said it would offer new year-round
service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport starting May 6.

AirTran said it will offer seasonal service from Milwaukee to LA
International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, San
Francisco International Airport, San Diego’s Lindbergh Field and Logan
International Airport in Boston. It is also adding new flights to Las
Vegas. The flights to LA, Seattle and San Francisco start May 6, while
the San Diego, Las Vegas and Boston flights begin May 21.

With the new flights, AirTran — which failed last year in a hostile
attempt to take over Midwest Airlines — will provide up to 20 daily
departures to 13 non-stop destinations from Milwaukee.

Susan Doyle

Susan Doyle has been appointed president and chief operating officer of
Wausau Insurance, succeeding Mark Fiebrink, who is retiring. Wausau
Insurance includes the operations of Employers Insurance Company of
Wausau, Wausau General Insurance Company, Wausau Business Insurance
Company and Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company.

Wausau Insurance is part of the Commercial Markets business unit of the
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group. Doyle joined Wausau as a senior vice
president in 2004 and has served as Wausau’s executive vice president
for field operations since 2005. In that role, she had responsibility
for all Wausau agent/broker divisions and Wausau Signature Agency.

Prior to joining Wausau, Doyle held senior executive positions with
Arch Insurance Group in Houston, Kemper Casualty Company in New York
and CIGNA/ACE in Philadelphia. She has nearly 28 years of experience in
property and casualty insurance.

Germantown jobs

Cambridge Major Laboratories Inc., a Germantown-based manufacturer and
developer of pharmaceutical ingredients, has announced plans to put up
a 120,000-square-foot facility near its existing headquarters and add
up to 50 employees.

The new building will be next door to Cambridge’s 50,000-square-foot
facility on Washington Drive. Officials said the company hopes to break
ground on the new structure — which will have manufacturing, support
and warehousing operations — by April.

Cambridge will also build a new “tank farm” to store chemicals and
by-products, and a thermal oxidizer to burn off any gases coming from
its chemical reactors. The project will cost more than $30 million.

Milwaukee entrepreneurs

Economists regularly note that Milwaukee has one of the most dense
concentrations of poverty for any urban area in the country.

But a new report from the Greater Milwaukee Committee says many
entrepreneurs in the city’s 11 poorest zip codes are succeeding.

The civic group said that more than half of the 81 companies that
filled out questionnaires reported an increase in sales and earnings
over the past three years and that only a few reported declines.

BadgerCare

Gov. Jim Doyle said Monday the expansion of BadgerCare set to go into
effect Friday will go on as planned despite the state’s looming budget
problems.

Dubbed BadgerCare Plus, the expansion will make health care coverage
available for all children regardless of family income.

Speaking at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Doyle said merging
Medicaid, BadgerCare and Healthy Start into BadgerCare Plus makes the
system “more streamlined” and “more efficient.” Various efforts to
streamline state medical programs have led to significant savings, he
said.

MIXED

Lands’ End

Dodgeville has to be wondering what effect the abrupt dismissal
yesterday of Aylwin Lewis, president and CEO of Sears Holding Corp.,
will mean for Lands’ End, a Sears subsidiary. The departure of Aylwin
— who did not have merchandising experience — leaves a void at the
top of the department store chain.

Kim Picciola, a Morningstar analyst, told WisBusiness.com today that
Aylwin’s termination was not a great surprise because the company had
struggled during his tenure.

“The change could be positive if they bring in someone with experience
turning around a retail company,” she said. “That would help brands
like Lands’ End that have struggled. That said, it’s going to be a big
undertaking to turn Sears around,” she added.

For the first three quarters of the year, Sears’ profit has fallen more
than 40 percent. And this month, the company said it managed to post
third-quarter earnings of just $2 million — down 99 percent from last
year.

CUNA Mutual

The Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 39,
which represents many CUNA Mutual workers, has put a billboard on
Madison’s heavily traveled Beltline that questions the company’s
commitment to Wisconsin. A billboard with the words “Proud to Call
Madison Home?” was posted in mid-January and then replaced by another
the words “Proud” and “Madison” crossed out and “Iowa” scribbled above

“Madison.”

The billboard, which CUNA officials describe as “pre-negotiation
theater,” are part of union efforts to put pressure on company
President and CEO Jeff Post. The union’s contract will expire in March
and negotiations are to begin soon.

Since Post took over three years ago, revenue and profits are up. But
CUNA has cut its staff by around 500 workers and is now down to 2,000
in Madison. In addition, it has transferred some jobs to Iowa (hence
the billboard) and Texas.

To help press its case, the union — which has seen its membership fall
from 1,350 in 2004 to 946 now — has hired former Madison Mayor Paul
Soglin and longtime Madison union leader Morris Andrews as consultants.

Kimberly-Clark

The papermaker reported increased fourth quarter with sales rising to a
record $4.8 billion, a 9 percent increase over 2006.

But profits for the company, which has a strong Fox Valley presence,
fell 5.5 percent during the period. The company reported net income of
$456 million, or $1.07 per share, down from $482.6 million, or $1.05
per share, for the same quarter a year ago.

Kimberly-Clark announced a restructuring plan in 2005 to cut 10 percent
of the company’s workforce by 2008. That plan included last month’s
closure of a diaper mill in Neenah and the pending shutdown of a
nonwovens mill in Neenah by the end of 2008. The closures mean the
layoffs of about 675 workers.

A.O. Smith

Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp., which makes electric motors and water
heaters, posted record 2007 earnings, but fourth-quarter earnings
lagged and its stock has fallen.

The Milwaukee-based company posted record 2007 net earnings of $88.2
million, or $2.85 per share, on record sales of $2.3 billion. Its net
earnings increased 15 percent from $76.5 million or $2.47 per share in
2006. The company said sales increased 7 percent over 2006 due to
higher sales in China, increased sales of commercial water heaters and
a full year of the GSW business that was acquired in April 2006.

Fourth-quarter sales totaled $570 million, an increase of 5 percent
from 2006 for the same quarter. But officials said net earnings
declined to $17.0 million from $18.9 million during the same period in
2006.

Paul Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, said
he’s concerned about 2008 because of the troubled economy. During
January, the company’s stock has declined, falling by more than 6
percent. Its share price closed Monday at $34, down from a 52-week high
of $52.48.

FALLING

Mosinee jobs

The continuing slump in national home sales has pushed Mosinee-based
window and door maker SNE Enterprises to furlough nearly half its
workforce this winter. The move will idle 300 of the plants 672
employees.

The company, part of the Peachtree Cos. owned by the Schield family of
Medford, said it hopes the layoffs are temporary. A spokeswoman said it
often calls for layoffs when construction slows during colder months.

Wisconsin stocks

It’s been a brutal month for Wisconsin’s publicly traded companies.

Overall, according to a report from the Robert W. Baird Co., they have
lost approximately 13 percent of their value during January and
performed worse than the Russell 2000 (-10.11 percent); NASDAQ
Composite Index (-12.29 percent); and the Standard & Poor’s 500
Index (-9.38 percent.)

Todd Parrish, an analyst with Baird, said the “weakness in the
Wisconsin index reflects the broader concerns in the market. Problems
that began last year with financials have spread.

“There is widespread acknowledgment that the economy is slowing and
could be entering a recession,” he said, noting that the Badger State’s
manufacturing companies have been hit especially hard.

“The assumption is that their business will be significantly impacted
by a slowing economy,” he said.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=116722

Brown Shoe Co.

Employees of Madison-based Famous Footwear, a division of the Brown
Shoe Co., are preparing for a possible relocation move outside the
capital city, a Madison TV station is reporting.

A move would be a blow for the city, as the corporate headquarters has
called Madison home since the shoe store’s inception in 1960. The
company has about 275 people at its offices on the west side of Madison
and another 130 at its 750,000 square-foot distribution center in Sun
Prairie.

Famous Footwear employees received information this week about
relocation procedures, severance packages and other answers to
questions that employees might have about the company’s intention to
consolidate all of its divisions into one location, WISC-TV reported.
In the past few months, St. Louis, Madison and Dallas have all been
considered for locations.

According to internal documents obtained by WISC-TV, the company
stopped short of announcing a move. “Please do not construe that
providing this information is any indication that a decision has been
reached,” one document said.

State Department of Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny echoed that and said
Commerce officials “have been involved in sensitive, confidential
discussions. No decision has been made, and Madison is still in the
running.”

La Crosse

Trane, which makes heating and cooling systems, has told state and
local officials that it plans to close its La Crosse parts distribution
center and lay off 128 workers starting March 25.

The company said workers have bumping rights. The terminations are
expected to be permanent. The closure is related to a decision by Trane
to create a national parts distribution center in Memphis, Tenn.

Miller/Coors headquarters decision

The early Saturday robbery and killing of a Miller Brewing Co.
executive in the Walker’s Point area should not play a big role in
deciding whether the headquarters of the joint operations of Miller and
Coors Brewing Co. will be in Milwaukee or Denver, real estate experts
told the Journal Sentinel.

Still, the murder of Lodewikus “Vic” Milford, 43, Miller’s director of
compensation and benefits, can’t help efforts to bring the combined
company’s main offices here.

“It certainly comes at a bad time, when decisions are being made,” said
Michael Fardy, executive vice president of Inland Cos. “I’m sure
someone will try to use that in an argument to move from Milwaukee.”

Speaking after a Monday news conference, Gov. Jim Doyle said he would
welcome discussion with Miller Brewing regarding any public safety
concerns following the shooting death of Milford.

UPCOMING BUSINESS EVENTS

Wednesday

9 a.m., Wisconsin Dairy Business Association Expansion Symposium, Green
Bay
http://www.widba.com/pdfs/calendar/Expansion_Symposium.pdf

9 a.m., Conservation Lobby Day, Madison
http://wispolitics.com/1006/080129conservationlobby.pdf

9:30 a.m., DHFS public hearing, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116643

10 a.m., Dept. of Commerce public hearing, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116644

10 a.m., Wisconsin Environment press conference: Packers losing home
field advantage, Green Bay
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116725

Noon, Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, Milwaukee

http://www.milwaukeepressclub.org/events/details/51

12:30 p.m., Ag Day at the Capitol, Madison
http://www.wfbf.com/archivej/htmArchive/showPage.aspx?page=15405.htm&id=15405

5 p.m., PSC public outreach meetings on proposed ATC transmission line
from Rockdale to West Middleton, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116821

6 p.m., Are You an Entrepreneur?, Kenosha

http://www.kenoshaareachamber.com/event_details.php?eventId=504&placeId=1184

6:30 p.m., PSC public outreach meeting on Alliant Energy’s proposed
power plant, Cassville
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116282

Thursday

8 a.m., Wisconsin Dairy Business Association Expansion, Green Bay

http://www.widba.com/pdfs/calendar/Expansion_Symposium.pdf

9 a.m., “Focus the Nation” event with Rep. Spencer Black, MATC Truax
Campus, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=115266

9 a.m., Circus World Museum Foundation Executive Committee, Baraboo
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116165

9 a.m., DHFS public hearing, West Allis
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116648

9 a.m., Wisconsin Wetlands Association annual conference, Oconomowoc
http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/080127_WWA_conf.pdf

10 a.m., Governor’s Council on Tourism, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116646

3 p.m., Young Professionals CEO Roundtable, Eau Claire
http://eauclairewicoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1972

Friday

9:30 a.m., Wisconsin Farmers Union annual state convention, Eau Claire
http://www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/newsroom_wfu_news_release.cfm?id=165

Noon, Downtown Revitalization Committee Meeting, Eau Claire
http://eauclairewicoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=2085

5 p.m., MMAC Annual Networking Reception for the China Business
Council, Milwaukee
http://www.mmac.org/display/router.asp?docid=488&event=1062&startDate=02/01/08

Monday

3 p.m., 2008 Green Tier Advantage event, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=115872

Tuesday

7:30 a.m., Milwaukee 7: What It Means to Your Business and the Region,
Milwaukee
http://www.mmac.org/display/router.asp?docid=488&event=1044&startDate=02/05/08

9 a.m., 2008 Green Tier Advantage event, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=115873

5 p.m., PSC public outreach meetings on proposed ATC transmission line
from Rockdale to West Middleton, Madison
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116820

5 p.m., PSC public outreach meetings on proposed ATC transmission line
from Rockdale to West Middleton, Stoughton
http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=116823

©2008 WisBusiness.com.
 All rights reserved. Reproduction or retransmission of this
publication, in whole or in part, without the express permission of
WisBusiness.com is prohibited. Unauthorized reproduction violates
United States copyright law (17 USC 101 et seq.), as does
retransmission by facsimile or any other electronic means, including
electronic mail.