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BUSINESS REPORT: Wisconsin — Wisconsin Wind Works: A Powerful Partner In Wind Energy

Wisconsin Wind Works is a consortium of nearly 300 suppliers and manufacturers working collaboratively to satisfy foreign and domestic wind power supply chain needs. (Source: www.wiwindworks.com.)

By Ellen Hayes
From the May/June 2013 issue

Wind energy demands all levels of suppliers, from manufacturing to professional services, from educational resources to foundries.  Each link in the supply chain is vital to project completion.  In Wisconsin, companies of each supply chain level work together under Wisconsin Wind Works to guarantee a strong, comprehensive domestic supply chain to buyers.

Wisconsin Wind Works is a consortium of suppliers and vendors to wind energy within Wisconsin.  It is a targeted growth market initiative of New North, Inc., a regional non-profit economic development organization.  All members are organized under one online Supply Chain directory with 16 product and service categories to facilitate an actively updated online buyer forum.

Currently nearly 300 companies are part of Wisconsin Wind Works Directory, with 40 companies joining in 2010 alone. Wisconsin Wind Works is seeing major growth in wind participation of these companies with over 68 percent of companies within the directory reporting to be currently supplying the wind energy market in Wisconsin, and others with capacity to supply wind power in the near future.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) have published a wind resource map for Wisconsin (above) which shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at a height of 80 meters. Areas with an annual average of 6.5 meters per second or greater are considered suitable for wind power development.

Beginning in spring 2010, Wisconsin Wind Works transitioned into a formal trade council, known as the Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance. These roughly 25 members represent the elite suppliers to wind in Wisconsin.  Their expertise, paired with the focused approach of the Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance highlights the collaborative power of this comprehensive supply chain resource, making the Alliance the preferred partner of wind energy professionals.

Wisconsin has become a recognized leader in the wind energy domestic supply chain, and Wisconsin Wind Works members continually work to promote supply chain development in Wisconsin to serve the wind energy needs of Wisconsin, North America and beyond.

Lifeway Foods Expands in Waukesha

Lifeway Foods, Inc., a leading supplier of kefir cultured dairy products, has announced the $7.4 million acquisition of the Golden Guernsey dairy plant in Waukesha, WI, to provide additional manufacturing capacity for its growing kefir-based business. Adding the 170,000-square- foot plant to Lifeway’s existing 50,000-square-foot facility in Morton Grove, IL, will more than quadruple the company’s production capacity and provide much-needed expansion abilities.

The Golden Guernsey plant was shuttered this past January following a bankruptcy filing, leaving 112 employees without jobs. Lifeway plans to reopen the plant this summer and rehire a portion of the workforce to staff the facility.

Lifeway’s growth has been fueled in part by the burgeoning natural foods movement as well as mounting awareness of the health benefits of probiotic products like kefir. Sales of probiotic foods and supplements jumped 79 percent over the past two years, settling at US$2.25 billion in July 2012, according to data from natural foods market research company SPINS. Organic food sales in the U.S. alone jumped from$11 billion in 2004 to $27 billion in 2012, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, with growth in conventional grocery stores as well as natural foods markets.

Diversification of Lifeway’s product portfolio has also contributed, with innovations ranging from ProBugs™ organic kefir drinks for children to the market’s first packaged frozen kefir. The company’s newest products include freeze-dried Lifeway ProBugs™ Bites for infants, other new ProBugs varieties for older children, frozen kefir bars, and a Greek kefir line featuring extra protein.

WISCONSIN FAST FACTS

  • Population (2011 Est.): 5,711,767
  • Largest Cities (2011): Milwaukee, 597,867; Madison, 236,901; Green Bay, 105,809; Kenosha, 99,738
  • Targeted Industries: Paper & Wood Products, Plastics, Dairy, Printing, Medical Devices, IT, Wind Energy
  • Key Incentives: Dairy 2020 Initiative, Customized Labor Training Fund, Business Employees Program, Early Planning Grant, Angel Investment Tax Credit, IRBs, Tax Increment Financing, Film Tax Credit Program
  • GDP (All Industry 2011): $254.8 billion*

*Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce

Promega Opening New Facility in Fitchburg

Promega Corp. is expected to open its new Molecular Diagnostics facility in Fitchburg this summer.

Promega has over 30 years of expertise delivering reagents to life science and clinical laboratories. The company offers instruments and reagents for DNA and RNA extraction, PCR, STR analysis, genetic analysis and mutation detection.

Clinical labs rely on molecular tools for diagnostic testing, infectious disease research, HLA typing, and genetic testing; it is critical that these tools be simple, reliable and cost-effective. Promega provides diagnostic and research products, geared toward advanced molecular testing methods, clinical research and human identification. The company’s diagnostic products include automation-compatible in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products and general purpose reagents to simplify and streamline laboratory workflow from nucleic acid extraction to gene amplification.

EXPANSIONS KEEP PACE IN WI

  • Architectural Forest Products (recently formed with the asset merger of AFP, Two Rivers and Architectural Wood Products) will double its production capacity and add 18 employees at its Two Rivers facility.
  • WS Packaging (formed by the merger of WI Label Corp. and Superior Label Systems) in Algoma will invest $7.9 million to expand its operation in a three-year project that will retain 45 jobs and create 20 new full-time positions.
  • Green Bay Packaging Inc., a manufacturer of products used in retail packaging and labeling applications, is undertaking a $95-million expansion of its Coated Products operation in Ashwaubenon. The company will build a new 240,000-square-foot building including a new storage and retrieval system for inventory and movement of raw materials.

 

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