Monday, September 15, 2014
Johnson Controls announces reorganization of its Building Efficiency business
September 15, 2014 09:58 AM
Glendale-based multi-industrial firm Johnson Controls Inc. announced today a significant reorganization of its Building Efficiency business that includes the succession of a new division president. The company said the move was made to better align the division with the company's long-term strategies and to position it for profitable global growth.

Effective immediately, the North America branch business will operate separately from Building Efficiency's global products business. The core heating, ventilation and air conditioning products organization will reportedly drive profitable global growth through investments in key HVAC product offerings such as the recent acquisition of Air Distribution Technologies and the planned Hitachi joint venture for variable refrigerant flow technology. This focus on product offerings, manufacturing, supply chain and channel support for distribution is said to provide efficient and cost-effective operations designed to serve the changing global marketplace.

"As we continue to evolve as a global multi-industrial company, reorganizing Building Efficiency, along with our ongoing investments and growth initiatives, solidifies our focus and commitment on the business as a core strategic platform for Johnson Controls," said Johnson Controls chairman and chief executive officer Alex Molinaroli.

As part of the reorganization, Dave Myers, president of Building Efficiency, has resigned and is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Bill Jackson, who most recently served as executive vice president of Corporate Development, will immediately transition into the role.

After joining the company in 2011, Jackson was responsible for leading performance improvements and defining strategic options for the company's Automotive Electronics and Interiors business. Prior to joining Johnson Controls, he worked as a business consultant for 20 years, ultimately serving as senior vice president and board member of Booz & Company.

The North America branch business will continue to operate in its current form as a direct channel providing HVAC systems, services and solutions to customers in more than 120 locations throughout the United States and Canada. The restructuring of Building Efficiency is said to enable the organization to enhance its focus on customers through increased attention and investment in its North American branches. Trent Nevill, vice president and general manager of the North American branch business, will continue in his current role and report on an interim basis to Molinaroli.

"I want to personally thank Dave for his 20 years of service and dedication to Johnson Controls and York," said Molinaroli. "I have every confidence that Bill and Trent will effectively lead their respective teams through this reorganization while serving our customers and executing on our strategies for the buildings business."

comment »

WCTC extends Integrated Manufacturing Center fundraising deadline
September 15, 2014 09:51 AM
Pewaukee-based Waukesha County Technical College is extending the deadline to raise $2 million for a new Integrated Manufacturing Center to Tuesday, Sept. 30. The previous deadline was Sept. 8.

WCTC announced in August that an anonymous donor had pledged $1 million toward the new building. The pledge was contingent on the college raising another $2 million in private funds for the project. The total cost for the project, which will be approved by the Wisconsin Technical College System, is expected to be $4.5 million.

“WCTC worked closely with the Wisconsin Technical College System state office to extend the deadline by which we need to obtain their approval for the project,” said Ellen S. Phillips, president of the WCTC Foundation. “We did this with assurances from our architects and engineers that a late September deadline would provide them with sufficient time to design the new building. This extension allows WCTC additional time to continue the fundraising efforts to meet the ultimate goal of a $4.5 million building addition.”

She declined to say how much money has been raised so far, but said she is “very optimistic” that the campaign goal will be met by the extended deadline.

A state capital spending limit means WCTC can spend a maximum of $1.5 million of its funds on a building expansion product, unless the additional private funds are available as cash on hand when it seeks approval for the project, said Kaylen Betzig, interim president of WCTC, in August when the pledge was announced.

The college began planning the IMC addition in January to meet growing demand for manufacturing courses and skilled workers. The WCTC Foundation has been fundraising in cooperation with the Waukesha County Business Alliance.

The 24,000-square-foot IMC would be connected to the Industrial Building on campus, and house several School of Applied Technologies programs, including automated systems, electronics, welding, computer and numerical control, engineering, industrial machine technician, robotics and industrial maintenance.

The proposed building includes two Automated Systems Technology labs, an integrated manufacturing and engineering lab, an industrial maintenance technician lab, two electronics labs, an electronics fabrication lab, a technology lab, an engineering lecture hall, an AST classroom, two engineering classrooms and two conference rooms.

comment »

Palermo's to donate more than 50,000 pizzas to national food banks
September 15, 2014 09:40 AM
Milwaukee-based Palermo's Pizza will be donating more than 50,000 pizzas to food banks across the country, including one in Milwaukee, during the company's 50,000 Pizza Giveaway for Our 50th Anniversary campaign. In partnership with key grocery retailers, the national frozen pizza manufacturer will tour the country, marking each donation with an event at local grocery stores across the Midwest and southern regions of the U.S., as well as at the Fort Bragg military base.

Milwaukee's event, benefiting the Hunger Task Force, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 27 at noon at Pick 'n Save, 1717 N. Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa. Attendees may also bring their own nonperishable food items to donate.

"Palermo's has been supporting communities since the company was founded in 1964, and it feels natural to put our social mission at the forefront of our 50th anniversary celebration with our largest giveaway ever," said Giacomo Fallucca, chief executive officer of Palermo Villa Inc. "We could not be more thankful for the support of our valued grocery partners as well as their local food banks for their help in distributing more than 50,000 pizzas to consumers in need across the country, from our
families to theirs."

The three-month anniversary celebration began on Sunday with an event in Green Bay. Palermo's will also visit: Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, Oct. 6; Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 11; Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, Oct. 18; Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sunday, Nov. 2; Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Nov. 6; Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 8; and Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 9.

Consumers are invited to attend these dedication events and share their experiences using the #50kfor50 hashtag.

For more information about Palermo's 50,000 Pizza Giveaway for Our 50th Anniversary campaign, click here.

comment »

GPS Education Partners awards local individuals, organizations
September 15, 2014 10:03 AM
GPS Education Partners held an annual benefit on Sept. 10 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering to honor eight individuals and organizations that have played a key role in advancing its mission in youth and community investment. The Butler-based nonprofit organization aims to prepare students for continued education and meaningful careers through hands-on education in the manufacturing environment.

The award winners were as follows:

• Jeff Clark,  president/chief executive officer of Sussex-based Waukesha Metal Products, who won the Recognition of Innovation Award, which is presented to an exceptional leader whose creativity and ingenuity efforts inspire GPS students to reach their full potential.

• Lakeside Manufacturing Inc. in West Milwaukee, Strattec Security Corp. in Glendale and Capitol Stampings Corp. in Milwaukee were presented with the Trailblazer of Community Impact Award, which recognizes businesses for their innovative thinking and bold willingness to support the rigorous and relevant efforts of GPS.

• Gloria Stearns, the executive director of the Milwaukee-based 30th Street Industrial Corridor Corp., and Linda Kiedrowski, the chief executive officer and owner of the Wauwatosa-based Paranet Group, were awarded the Community Ambassador Award, which honors leaders that have demonstrated initiative, enthusiasm and spirit on behalf of GPS while inspiring others to get involved.

• Mike Erwin, chief executive officer of Menomonee Falls-based Tailored Label Products Inc., and Mary Steinbrecher, executive director of MMAC’s Council of Small Business Executives, were the recipients of the Champion of Community Leadership Award. It honors individuals who exemplify community leadership by serving and influencing others for the greater good and committing to initiatives that have a far-reaching, lasting impact.

comment »

SEEK Careers/Staffing to host first-ever workplace safety summit
September 15, 2014 10:17 AM
SEEK Careers/Staffing Inc. is scheduled to host a safety summit on Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The event, which will be held at SEEK's Grafton corporate headquarters, 1160 Opportunity Drive, is a moderated panel discussion on building a successful safety culture.

Three panelists from manufacturing companies will discuss key elements of a successful injury and illness program, as well as compliance among upper-management and employees. Additional insights and expertise on creating a work environment where safety is part of the cultural structure will be shared by a team of experienced panelists.

The summit will be moderated by Jay Shelton, senior vice president of risk management at Assurance, an independent insurance brokerage firm headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill. Among the panelists are Chad Mayer, safety and compliance manager at Calibre Inc. in Grafton; Carol Jamrosz, vice president of risk management at Checker Logistics Inc. in Neenah; and Lucas Schulz, health and safety manager at Pace Industries in Grafton.

“SEEK’s safety summit is a great opportunity for businesses in our community to share ideas on this important topic,” said Laurie Stueber, vice president of human resources at SEEK. “It is well-known that company values help shape beliefs and attitudes of individual employees, which play a significant role in determining individual behaviors within the workplace.”

To register for this event, RSVP today to Stueber at (262) 377-8888 or by email at

comment »

Johnson Outdoors appoints new independent directors, expands board
September 15, 2014 10:22 AM
Racine-based Johnson Outdoors Inc., a global leader in innovative outdoor recreation equipment, has appointed Casey Sheahan and Katherine Button Bell as independent directors, expanding the board's size to eight members.

A long-time veteran of the outdoor industry, Sheahan is a senior advisor with Backbone Media, an active lifestyle public relations and marketing firm. He previously held a number of roles, including chief executive officer of Ventura, Calif.-based Patagonia and president of Boulder, Colo.-based Kelty.  

Button Bell is vice president and chief marketing officer at St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. She has been named to B2B Magazine's list of top marketing strategists for nine consecutive years, and was the 2013-2014 Chairwoman of the Business Marketing Association.

"We are very pleased to welcome Casey and Kathy to Johnson Outdoors' board of directors, both proven business leaders and with many years of experience in our industry,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer. “We look forward to benefitting from their insights and counsel as we move forward in our ongoing efforts to deliver ever-increasing value to our markets and consumers.”

comment »

MRPC re-shores manufacturing operations from China
September 15, 2014 10:26 AM
Two clients of Butler-based medical device components and assemblies manufacturer MRPC have returned their manufacturing operations to the United States from China.

The companies previously transitioned their manufacturing production to offshore molders to drive cost savings, but the cost of international shipping, the reduction in component quality and the challenges of meeting certification requirements were among the factors that led them to return production to the U.S.  

“It is important for manufacturers to consider all aspects of a project when selecting a molding partner–not just cost,” said Greg Riemer, president of MRPC. “While cost savings are certainly a critical factor for many companies, there are various other benefits that come from working with a local manufacturer, including ease of communications, streamlined logistics, patent coverage and industry-specific certifications.”

MRPC also operates a facility in Largo, Fla.

comment »

Midland Plastics plans expansion of New Berlin HQ facility
September 15, 2014 10:29 AM
New Berlin-based Midland Plastics Inc., a distributor of plastic stock shapes and a manufacturer of plastic custom components, plans to build a 40,000-square-foot addition to its 75,500-square-foot facility at 5405 S. Westridge Court.

The cost of the project is estimated at $3.2 million. The company is seeking industrial development revenue bond financing for the project through the City of New Berlin. The city would act as a conduit for the company to get the bonds, which would enable the company to borrow the funds at a lower interest rate. The city would not be liable for payment of the principal or interest on the bonds.

With the expansion, the company plans to move eight employees from Franklin to the New Berlin facility, according to information filed with the City of New Berlin.

comment »

New hires and promotions
September 15, 2014 10:35 AM

Menomonee Falls-based Herker Industries, which specializes in precision machining, contract welding and mechanical assembly, has hired David Barta as vice president of business development. In addition to leading the company's team of business development professionals, Barta will focus on expanding Herker's relationships with clients for the engineered medical technologies and engineered assemblies divisions of Herker Industries. Barta has more than 30 years of experience serving the medical device and technology industries.

comment »

Hilary Dickinson This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Hilary Dickinson. This bulletin is published every Monday morning. Send manufacturing industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7123.

Manufacturing resources
Manufacturer Associations » Association of Equipment Manufacturers
» The Association for High Technology Distribution
» APICS – the Association for Operations Management
» Fabricators and Manufacturers International
» National Fluid Power Association
» Polyeurethane Manufacturers Association
» Precision Metalforming Association, Wisconsin District
» Society of Manufacturing Engineers - Chapter 4
» Society of Plastics Engineers - Greater Wisconsin
» Tool, Die and Machining Association of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Truss Manufacturers Association
» Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association
» Wisconsin Sign Association
» Wisconsin Electrical Machines and Power Electronics Consortium
» Water Quality Association of Wisconsin
Manufacturing Advocacy, Leadership Training and Continuing Education » Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) at the University of Wisconsin
» Independent Business Association of Wisconsin ((BAW)
» MSOE's Business Excellence Consortium
» The Paranet Group
» TEC Midwest
» UW-Milwaukee Center for Continuing Engineering Education
» Waukesha County Business Alliance-Manufacturing Alliance
» Waukesha County Technical College Center for Business Performance Solutions
» Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Other resources » American Society for Quality
» Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation
» MATC's Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing (ECAM) facility
» Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
» Milwaukee Export Assistance Center – U.S. Commercial Service
» Milwaukee World Trade Association
» MSOE's Applied Technology Center
» MSOE's Rapid Prototyping Center
» Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
» Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
Current Issue