Friday, July 31, 2009

Queen of Bartertown Finds New Home in Downtown Sun Prairie (Sun Prairie Star)

The Queen of Bartertown has made a new home for herself in downtown Sun Prairie. Five years after she founded Badger Barter, LLC, Mary Jo Mangan has built her passion for helping businesses cut costs into a full-blown enterprise that boasts roughly 460 members and is growing fast.

Badger Barter is the Madison area's only locally owned barter and trade exchange. Their mission is to establish a business-to-business network for trading goods and services. Badger Barter is a clearinghouse for trading your inventory, goods and services into something you want or need. Badger Barter acts as a sales agent for its members creating exponential growth from business to business.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Governor Doyle Announces $28 Million Available for State Clean Energy Manufacturing Projects

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced that Wisconsin has been approved for $28 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal funds for its State Energy Program (SEP). The funds are the first part of the $55 million in Recovery Act funding the state is receiving for this program.

“With these funds, Wisconsin can work with state businesses and take a leadership role in clean energy manufacturing and create good jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “Wisconsin is the only state to target its SEP funds exclusively to manufacturing. Wisconsin has a larger percentage of employees in manufacturing than any other state, and we can leverage our innovative, high-skilled workforce to create clean energy products and processes.”

The Department of Commerce (Commerce) will administer the program. Eligible activities will include:

  • Reducing fossil fuel use in manufacturing by deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies;
  • Retooling Wisconsin businesses to enable them to produce components of renewable energy systems and energy efficient products; and
  • Investing in renewable energy projects.

  • Projects must create or retain jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce fossil fuel use, and/or deploy renewable energy. Applications and program information will be available at the Commerce website:

    For more information on the SEP, contact Amy Cumblad at Commerce,; or David Jenkins at the Office of Energy Independence,

    Wisconsin Touts New Economic Development Programs (

    A discussion of Wisconsin's new economic development programs made's Money section. Click here to go to and read the full AP article.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    National Manufacturing Survey Finds Economic Optomism (

    A new national survey of manufacturing executives found that most believe the U.S. economy would improve over the next six months, even as nearly half expected their own firms’ performance to decline.

    Overall, the survey found medium and large manufacturers were much more optimistic than small ones, which disproportionately made up the 12 percent of survey respondents who said their firm was in danger of failing. A majority of all executives cited customer demand as the top challenge to growth, followed by access to credit over the next 12 months.

    In other results:

    • Seventy percent of manufacturers said they planned to maintain staffing levels.

    • A majority expected to cut costs over the next 12 months, including operational (80 percent), supplier (65 percent) and labor (51 percent), while 66 percent planned to look for tax advantages and 65 percent planned to increase the diversity of their product or customer base.

    • Despite cost pressures, many were still investing in their companies, including 51 percent for quality improvement systems, 48 percent for research and development and 40 percent for capital improvements. Only 36 percent and 31 percent were investing in skills training and green programs, respectively.

    The June telephone survey of 300 executives by KRC Research for accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause also found that views reported by Midwest executives aligned closely with national results. The survey had a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.

    For additional information on the survey or to request the full report, click here.

    To see the full original article at, click here.

    Fan 4 Ever retail store to close; online business to continue (

    After 4 ½ years, a Sun Prairie store specializing in Brett Favre memorabilia will close on July 31st. The business will continue as an online outlet ( ), operating from the back of a framing store owner Brian Anderson will open in Columbus.

    Blogger's Note: This was a great store that brought in Packers players for signing autographs right to our own backyard, not to mention they carried a great variety of sports memoribilia. You can blame the economy some for this happening, but I think Brett's actions this last two years played a major part in the store closing.

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    Continental Mapping Consultants Awarded Tennessee DOT Contract (Press Release)

    Company: Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc.
    Industry: Photogrammetry & Aerial Surveying
    Location: Sun Prairie, WI, United States of America

    Sun Prairie, WI-- Continental Mapping Consultants was recently awarded a contract for on-call photogrammetric mapping services by the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Design Division. The award is for two years and is the result of successful relationship building with TDOT and the successful completion of the qualifications-based selection process.

    Continental Mapping has a growing reputation for providing high-accuracy photogrammetric mapping services to departments of transportation and other government and private clients across the country. Tennessee is the 12th state DOT that Continental Mapping has performed photogrammetric mapping services for, and is also the firm’s 3rd state master services agreement signed in the past 12 months.

    "We are honored to be selected by TDOT, and look forward to working with them on innovative solutions to their photogrammetric mapping and geospatial data development needs” said David Hart, President of Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc.

    With three offices located in Madison, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Portland, Oregon, Continental Mapping was founded in 1999 in Wisconsin and specializes in providing photogrammetric mapping and other geospatial data development services to clients with demanding specifications, like the US Army Corps of Engineers, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, state governments, and many private engineering and survey companies.

    Ben Redding (
    Phone: 608.834.9823

    Click here to read the story in the Sun Prairie Star.

    Click here to see the full press release from Continental Mapping.

    Click here to go to the Continental Mapping web site.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    City Uses Blogging to Track Events and Share Information With Local Manufacturers

    With the success we've had using this blog to track news articles relating to economic development in Sun Prairie, I've decided to expand our use of this handy dandy, no-cost tool for sharing information between individuals in some of our special areas of interest.

    For local and regional technology based manufacturers on the eastern portion of Dane County, Wisconsin including Madison, we have been facilitating a High-Tech Breakfast meeting on the third Thursday of every month. Meetings are from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. at Market Street Diner in Downtown Sun Prairie. Its a quick, efficient networking event that continues to pick up momentum. The agenda consists of ordering something to eat, everyone introducing themselves, a brief presentation on a targeted company (what they do, what issues they are facing, etc.), and wrapping up with a speaker on a topic selected by the attendees. Topics have included the federal stimulus package, avaiable resources through the UW Small Business Develeopment Center, sales and use tax, and research and development tax credits. In order to help attendees keep track of information or updates on these topics, we've created a blog to allow for information to be posted and shared.

    Visit the East Side High Tech Breakfast Network Blog at for more information.

    More recently, we've rolled out a third blog for the Wind Power Happy Hour, a group created to promote networking and resource sharing between organizations and companies interested in the wind energy supply chain. Our first few events have been well attended and have included companies all the way from Milwaukee. Manufacturing companies, attorneys, consultants, utility professionals, renewable energy advocates, state government agencies, university representatives have all attended so far. The primary objective of this group is to encourage existing manufacturing companies here in Wisconsin to consider how their product might fit into wind generation products and equipment. In addition, the group allows manufacturers to network with other groups and organizations involved in the wind industry. The format is largely informal, but we are trying to incorporate presentations from specific companies and resource groups once every three months or so.

    Visit the Wind Power Happy Hour Blog at for more information.

    Blogging allows for a highly cost effective and efficient means of sharing data. It also provides an great way of tracking interest in the topics presented and the actual use of the blog sites. By using code provided by Google Analytics (no charge), I am able to track visits by frequency, geographic location, duration and repeat visits. It allows me to see what search engines and specifically what search terms are used to generate hits to each blog site. This information is only a fraction of the data that is gleaned by Google and provided in a readily accessible online report format that I can pull at any time. For private businesses, there are commercialization tools that are extremely useful. All this is made possible by simply adding several lines of HTML code to the site you wish to track. This can be done with regular websites too, not just blog sites.

    For more information on Google Analytics, go to: to learn more about how this tool might help you better understand how your websites and blogs are being utilized.

    If you want to know more about blogging or are thinking about starting one of your own, I suggest going to You'll be amazed at how easy it really is.

    Finally, leave me a comment to let me know you were here! Its another great aspect of blogging that we can take advantage of!