Unemployment Fund Reaches Solvency, Reducing Employment Taxes

November 3rd, 2014 - By admin

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development recently reported that the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit has been eliminated after reaching a $1.4 billion deficit in January of 2011. The elimination of this debt is due to reforms enacted to the state’s unemployment insurance program and an increase in statewide economic output that has seen a reduction in unemployment.

The elimination of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit will result in a reduction in taxes for small business owners and employers throughout Wisconsin. The positive balance of the fund is expected to reduce Unemployment Insurance Tax from 1.5% to 0.6% of wages up to $7,000, saving a typical small business more than $2,500 in taxes for 2014. For more information on this and other news from the Department of Workforce Development, please visit their website or visit them on Facebook.

7th Annual Manufacturing Advantage

September 30th, 2014 - By admin


October 1 – 2, 2014

You can’t afford to miss this year’s conference highlighting hot topics & burning issues for manufacturers including:

  • NASA Glenn Research Display, Presentations and 1-on-1 Opportunities
  • Keynote Speakers, Presentations and Panel Discussions Exploring Alternative Strategies for cost Effective Healthcare for your Business
  • Workforce Challenges including Engagement, Empowerment, Skills Gap and more!

Energy Conservation Incentives and Best Practices

Polk County EDC Leadership Updates

September 30th, 2014 - By admin

The purpose of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation is to encourage and promote Economic Development and capital investment in Polk County in order to create and retain attractive jobs, enhance our community’s tax base, and facilitate positive sustainable economic Growth.

The following values articulate the principles and values held by the PCEDC’s Board of Directors and Staff:

  • Building Relationships
  • Collaboration
  • Promotion
  • Support
  • Integrity
  • Organizational Stability

At the September 23rd, 2014 board meeting of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation, the annual election of officers was held. The following pictures and captions depict the changes.

The board members on behalf of the respective organizations volunteer their time and talents, without any compensation or expense reimbursement,  to the support of economic development in Polk County and the Greater St, Croix Valley Region.


Polk County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and Staff.

Front row (L-R): Matt Johnson, Chet Johnson Drugs; Kelly Hibbs, Sterling Bank; Danette Olson, Danette Olson Consulting; Tom Braml, Century Link; Josh Hallberg, DN Campground and Polk County Board of Supervisors representative.  Back Row (L-R): Trudy Popenhagen, Xcel Energy; Bruce Noll, Eagle Valley Bank; Dave Rasmussen, MSA Engineering; Eric Duelholm, Colliers International; John Richards, Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company; Pete Kling, Bremer Bank; Steve Healy, Executive Director. Missing from the photo are Adam Jarchow, Bakke Norman; and Bill Schmidt, Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative.

Leadership Change

Pictured (L-R): Eric Dueholm, the new Polk County Economic Development Board President and Trudy Popenhagen, outgoing Board President who will move info the Past President position.

Executive Committee

Pictured (L-R): Bruce Noll, Secretary; Eric Dueholm, President; Trudy Popenhagen, Past President; and Tom Braml, newly elected Vice-President. Missing from the photo is Adam Jarchow, Secretary.

Featured Board Member – Josh Hallberg

August 26th, 2014 - By admin

Josh Hallberg was appointed to the board in May of 2014 as the representative from the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Josh was elected to his first term in April of this year, representing the villages of Balsam Lake and Milltown, in addition to the township of Milltown. Josh is also serving his second term as a trustee for the Village of Balsam Lake.

Josh brings good hands-on experience from his work as a trustee for the Village of Balsam Lake. He has been very active in their pursuit of bringing manufacturing to Balsam Lake’s industrial park.

With the communities effort and his leadership, Balsam Lake has been very close to securing a new manufacturer to Polk County. Josh has seen the value of having a strong Economic Development Corporation at the local level, with the limited resources each municipality and townships have. “Some boards are very active and some may not be as active which is not a sustainable model.

Aligning the right resources with the help of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation to develop a strategic action plan is what I recommend to all communities. We have a lot of the same needs, however, each community is unique.  I am honored to be appointed to this board, and look forward to watching Polk County grow and prosper in the future.”

Josh has a Logistics Management and Marketing degree from UW-Superior.  His prior experience includes Logistics Management, Project Management, and Consulting work. He currently owns and operates the DN Campground in Balsam Lake. In Josh’s free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and anything else associated with the outdoors.

Derrick Built Project Honored as First LEED Silver Certified Manufacturing Facility in Western Wisconsin

August 26th, 2014 - By admin

Air Motion Systems of River Falls was honored earlier this month, when they were presented with their official LEED Silver Certification for its facility in River Falls which was built by Derrick Building Solutions. The award was presented by Mark Johnson, VP of Project Management and Bill Derrick, President, of Derrick Building Solutions LLC to Steve Metcalf and Hans Ulland of Air Motion Systems.

Photo caption: Left to Right: Mark Johnson, Steve Metcalf, Hans Ulland, and Bill Derrick.

This is the highest level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification awarded to any manufacturing facility in Western Wisconsin. The certification is the result of an application process including rigorous reviews of facility design and construction as well as performance in energy efficiency and environmental practices over time. In the case of Air Motion Systems, the process took six years and Derrick Building Solutions completed the process with the U.S. Green Building Council to obtain the certification for the facility.

LEED certification is a third party program that verifies a project has been designed, built, and is operating in a manner that conserves energy, reduces consumption, improves air quality, and utilizes innovation in design and building materials.

Air Motion Systems is a manufacturer of high speed and high efficiency curing equipment for printing, drying, and industrial finishing located in River Falls, WI. The facility was constructed in 2008 by Derrick Building Solutions and was designed by Elliot Architects of Hudson.


August 2014 Featured Business Member

August 26th, 2014 - By admin
Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company (NWE)

Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company (NWE) is an investor-owned electric utility which serves approximately 14,000 retail customers in Burnett and Polk counties of Wisconsin as well as a small number of customers in Pine County, Minnesota. Most of NWE’s 390 stockholders are members of the communities it serves.

These communities include Balsam Lake, Centuria, Milltown, Cushing, and Frederic in Polk County, and Grantsburg, Siren, Webster, and Danbury in Burnett County. NWE also proudly serves many of the townships between these communities.

NWE has a rich history in providing local service to the area which began in the early 1900’s with a small dam owned by Aaron Dahlberg near Round Lake to serve the Village of Frederic. Since then, NWE has added additional hydro generation as well as three emergency generation stations located in Danbury, Frederic and Grantsburg to service customers in the region. NWE has most recently purchased 15% of the output associated with a 50 MW wind generating facility located in west-central Minnesota to complement its wholesale purchases as well as its renewable energy portfolio. In 2014, NWE expects to provide over 19% of its energy sales to customers via renewable energy.

NWE serves its customers with 43 full time employees who live throughout the service territory. Their corporate office is located in Grantsburg and there is an office in Frederic as well. NWE offers a full range of electric tariffs filed with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to accommodate customer’s needs. This includes a range of industrial demand rates to rates which provide a retail payment for a customer’s renewable generation. We are also a member utility of the Wisconsin Focus On Energy program which provides assistance to every customer class to not only save on energy bills, but improve efficiency as well (www.focusonenergy.com).

Northwestern Wisconsin Electric encourages all of its customers and prospective customers to take a look at the opportunities in the Polk County communities. We can help with all of your electric service needs.  Please visit us at www.nweco.com or call 800-261-1200.

WEDC to Lift Moratorium on Historic Preservation Tax Credit

July 29th, 2014 - By admin

Reported in press releases on July 14, 2014 from the Office of the Governor and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Governor Scott Walker announced the WEDC will lift the moratorium on the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

“The Historic Preservation Tax Credit has proven to be a successful economic development tool,” said Governor Walker. “While it was necessary for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to determine the best method to continue the program, worthwhile projects can now move forward to help grow local economies and revitalize communities throughout our state.”

On June 23, 2014, WEDC placed a moratorium on the receipt of applications for the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program pending a review of the program. Originally, the program was estimated to have a $4 million budget impact. However, due to the success and popularity of the program, the budget impact grew significantly beyond its original estimate to approximately $35 million.

After completing a review, WEDC determined that it can lift the moratorium on the Certified Historic Buildings program due to the rigorous application process required by State Historic Preservation Officer and the National Park Service prior to submitting applications to WEDC. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit program provides transferable tax credits to eligible entities rehabilitating certified historic buildings.

In addition, WEDC will begin collecting increased information under the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program regarding the return on investment to the State; including projected employment (construction and long-term), wages, leverage of investment, local participation, tax impact, and other relevant information.

To view the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Tax Credit Webinar and Fact Sheet PDFs go to:

Small Town Downtown Forums Are Coming To A Location Near You!

July 29th, 2014 - By admin
  • August 14 – Potosi, Grant County
  • \August 26 – Coloma, Waushara County
  • September 10 – Grantsburg, Burnett County
  • September 12 – Mellen, Ashland County

Small towns have unique issues and needs that are often very different from those of larger communities. These forums are intended to bring together those serving and working in and with communities of populations fewer than 1500 to learn from each other through case studies, roundtables and discussion groups.

Everyone who cares about the future of rural Wisconsin is invited to attend. These forums are about sharing ideas, learning and networking. Bring your “Brag Book” and examples of successful projects from your community.
Who Should Attend? Community leaders, elected officials, volunteers, business leaders, educators, and local and regional economic development, civic, and planning organizations. The cost is $10 per registrant.
The $10 fee covers refreshments, resources and program materials and can be paid online with PayPal or a check payable to WDAC mailed to: Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Inc.; 39 S. Marr Street, Suite 103; Fond du Lac, WI 54935.
Small Town Downtown Forums Are Hosted By: Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Wisconsin Rural Partners, UW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and United States Department of Agriculture.
For more information and to register online go to:

WDAC Members to Facilitate Roundtable Topics
An opportunity is available to facilitate a roundtable session at one of four upcoming Small Town Downtown Forums in the state.

Topics will be pre-scripted and your main goal is to assist participants in generating conversation on the topic. The roundtable topics are:

  • Helping communities get organized
  • Collaborating with neighboring communities
  • Business recruitment/expansion
  • How business incubators could work in downtowns
  • Community branding/rebranding
  • Customer service

If interested in this volunteer opportunity, contact Small Town Downtown Forums planning committee member: Sue Bessert, bbessert@centurytel.net.

ExporTech Program – Register Today

July 29th, 2014 - By admin

An Export Acceleration System for Achieving Profitable Growth

Dates: September 17, October 13, November 18, 2014

Time: 8:00am-5:00pm

Location: TBD, Menomonie, Wisconsin

Program Details: ExporTech was designed specifically for manufacturers that need innovative ways to grow, and see international sales as part of the answer. The program provides executive leaders with a systematic approach for entering or expanding in global markets. It is the only national export assistance program that offers a structured, yet customizable process that guides companies through every aspect of export growth.

Target Audience: Company Executives including CEO, Owner, VP/Director of International Sales, VP/Director of Sales and Marketing

Contact:  Joni Geroux, 715-232-5270, gerouxj@uwstout.edu

Register Here

This program is being hosted by University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Professional Education Programs & Services and UW-Stout Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC).

Wisconsin Fast Forward Addresses Need for Skilled Workers

July 29th, 2014 - By admin

The Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) program created worker training grants and other investments to prepare workers for jobs available today and in the years to come. The worker training grants deliver flexible, demand-driven training to companies that identify a specific workforce need. Companies can partner with other firms as well as workforce development boards, economic development organizations, technical colleges, and others. Recent grant recipients in Northern Wisconsin include:

  • College of Menominee Nation (Health Care), $208,750 and (Construction), $29,917
  • Veriha Trucking, Inc., $227,473
  • North Central Workforce Development Board, $191,935
  • Pro Products, Inc., $21,987
  • Superior Council of the Arts, $15,400

Learn More

Recent WWF Blueprint for Prosperity grants are supporting dual-enrollment opportunities for high school seniors. Grant recipients in northern Wisconsin included Northcentral Technical College ($149,641) and Oneida County Economic Development Corporation ($132,385). Learn More