WED AM News: Metro Milwaukee’s economic growth continues on sluggish path, report shows; SHINE closes $50 million round

— The latest report from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce shows the metro area’s economic growth “continues on a sluggish path.” 

Nine of the 23 economic indicators tracked by MMAC showed improvement in August. That’s the sixth time in the past nine months that under half of those indicators showed a positive trend, the report shows. 

Bret Mayborne, economic research director for MMAC, says the findings can be largely explained by two main factors. He says job gains across major industry sectors were increasingly uneven, and manufacturing and production indicators posted continuing declines. 

The number of unemployed workers in the state’s largest metro saw a “sharp increase” in August, up 12.5 percent compared to the previous year. That came after a 6.3 percent year-over-year increase in unemployment for July. 

But at the same time, employment for the metro area increased 0.5 percent in August compared to the prior year — down from the 1 percent year-over-year increase seen in July, and below the 0.7 percent average gain in employment so far this year. 

Mayborne says these seemingly conflicting trends could be explained in part by more people coming into the labor force who are between jobs. 

“They may not have jobs, but they could be looking for work,” he said. “That could be one factor for the unemployment numbers going up at the same time that employment numbers are going up.” 

Another potential factor he identified relates to the ongoing national economic recovery following the most recent economic downturn in 2007. 

“So at one point when you hit the low end of what the employment rate can be, then there’s only one way it can go and that’s up,” he said. 

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— SHINE Medical Technologies has closed a $50 million funding round with financing organized by Oaktree Capital Management. 

A release shows the funding will support construction of SHINE’s medical isotope production facility in Janesville, where the company plans to produce diagnostic and therapeutic medical isotopes. 

Construction is expected to begin in 2021, with isotope production scheduled for 2022. The facility will produce molybdenum-99, which is used in more than 40 million procedures annually. 

Oaktree Capital Management, which has more than $120 billion in capital under management, joins health care investment firm Deerfield Management as one of the company’s key partners, according to Greg Piefer, founder and CEO of SHINE. 

Milwood Hobbs Jr., managing director for Oaktree, says millions of patients each year are affected by shortages in Mo-99. 

“Oaktree is confident SHINE will play a major role in ending that shortage,” he said in a release. 

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— WEDC has launched a new online supplier network to connect Wisconsin companies with suppliers, buyers and other businesses. 

The new Wisconsin Supplier Network replaces the previous Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace, according to a release. The original site was created in collaboration between WEDC and the New North, a regional economic development group serving 18 counties in the northeastern part of the state. 

That initiative was meant to boost supplier resiliency and offset “the cyclical nature” of national defense spending, according to a release. Now, New North and WEDC have expanded the site to include all regions of the state. 

The new site features a free online directory of suppliers and other services, and a communications network aimed at promoting opportunities. WEDC claims the new site has better quality data and an easier-to-use interface.

It was developed by DataChat, a Madison startup that uses artificial intelligence and analytics to deliver data insights to users. The company’s signature conversational chat feature will be applied to elements of the Wisconsin Supplier Network. 

See the release: 

Listen to a podcast with Jignesh Patel, co-founder and CEO of DataChat: 

— The Senate has signed off on a bill to extend the life of two tax incremental districts in the village of Lake Delton even though it was backed by 16 of the chamber’s 19 Republicans. 

GOP Sens. Dave Craig, of Big Bend, Steve Nass, of Whitewater, and Duey Stroebel, of Saukville, joined Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee in opposing the bill as it was approved 29-4. 

Typically, the state Department of Revenue authorizes a TID for 20, 23 or 27 years, depending on its type and what year it was created. The Lake Delton TIDs would be extended by 10 years to 37. 

TIDs are an economic development tool for local governments. The increase in property tax revenue from the development can be placed in a fund that is then used to repay infrastructure or other costs borne by the municipality as part of the development. Schools and others don’t benefit from the higher property tax collections until after the TID expires. 

The two districts in Lake Delton include a blighted area that has some of the original small hotels in the Wisconsin Dells area. The other is near the intersection of U.S. 12 and I-94 and includes an outlet mall and other retail and development in the area. 

See more at 

— Rep. John Nygren is touting legislation to ban firefighting foams containing PFAS following the DNR’s recent announcement that elevated levels of these chemicals were found in multiple waterways in the state. 

“Silver Creek in Monroe County and Starkweather Creek in Dane County are over 100 miles apart, but they are linked by a common thread: immediate proximity to airports where firefighting foams containing PFAS were used,” Nygren, a Marinette Republican who co-chairs the Joint Finance Committee, said in a statement. “The use and uncontained spread of these foams contaminated the environment near my hometown of Marinette and a growing list of locations across the state.” 

He says his legislation, written in response to this issue, would generally prohibit the use of “Class B” firefighting foams that contain PFAS. But the foam could still be used in emergency firefighting operations, according to a release from Nygren. 

See the release: 

— Applying companies for the upcoming Early Stage Symposium represent the fields of health care, software, and health IT, as well as business and financial services, consumer products, agriculture and more. 

Of the 87 companies, 36 applicants are from Dane County, while 35 others are based elsewhere in the state. Sixteen of the applicants came from outside Wisconsin, including California. 

A release from the Wisconsin Technology Council shows up to 45 companies will be selected by the conference steering committee to present during next month’s event. Others will be chosen for the Investor Intros segment, and will meet one-on-one with selected investors. About 40 investor groups have signed up to attend the event. 

The Early Stage Symposium will be held Nov. 6 and 7 at Monona Terrace in Madison. 

See the release: 


# Wisconsin Senate approves insurance for police survivors

# Waukesha IT firm pays ransom after cyber attack on dental office records

# Milwaukee doubles number of cruise ships to its port in 2019

# Direct Supply unveils $14 million Innovation & Technology Center renovation at MSOE



– Farm fields continue to be super soaked during harvest season


– Inside Exact Sciences’ $2.8B Genomic Health buy: A false start, rejections and a mysterious last-minute party


– WPA family & consumer science mini-grants available

– Bill would cap student fees for athletics at UW-Green Bay, UW-Superior, UW-Milwaukee

– Racial disparities persist in advanced coursework at Madison high schools

– Marquette University alumnus gives $5 million for first-generation student scholarships


– Sampling finds elevated levels of PFAS chemicals in Madison waterway

– DNR project monitoring muskie age, growth reaches 10 years

– State: $700M Nemadji Trail project wouldn’t have ‘sustainable’ water access


– Sitzberger acquires South Milwaukee-based Wolfgang Ritter CPA


– New sushi restaurant proposed in downtown Milwaukee

– New restaurant opening next year at Miller Park


– Adjustable desks: Health benefit or hype?


– Paranet Group, STUCK want to make it easier for small manufacturers to grow

– Rockwell Automation and Schlumberger close on Sensia Joint Venture


– State Senate to vote on hemp regulation, tracking sexual assault kits

– Senate OKs bills to combat Lyme disease


– Incentives for Strauss Brands new Milwaukee HQ advance

– to build 1 million-square-foot Beloit distribution center


– Senate prepares to vote on wetland-credit changes


– Bucks owner Marc Lasry on going from worst to first and transitioning to team governor


– WFTD board to forgo 2021 show; ’20 & ’22 still on schedule

– Last cruise ship of the season docks at Port Milwaukee


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

WEDC: Launches new Wisconsin Supplier Network website

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: August economic trends

Wisconsin Water Alliance: Builds team, strengthens efforts at critical time