Saturday, September 25, 2010

French cyclocross champion, elite field roll into Planet Bike Cup (

Big-time cyclocross racing, with the top riders in the world, returns to Angell Park in Sun Prairie on Saturday and Sunday.

For a second year, the Planet Bike Cup will be part of the Greenware U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, and the clang of cowbells will replace the roar of engines in the park outside of Madison. The elite women will race at 1:45 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with the elite men taking the start line at 3 p.m.

The group of top-level riders registered to chase valuable UCI points is led by Francis Mourey, a five-time French national champion. He already has enjoyed a successful visit to the states, scoring wins at the Starcrossed/Rad Racing GP UCI-double and the CrossVegas race earlier this week.

Velo News reports that the top Europeans on hand to challenge Mourey include Swiss national champion Christian Heule (Gippingen-Champion System), former German national champion Rene Birekenfeld (Harvesterhude) and Belgian Tim Van Nuffel (Van Goethem-Prorace).

The best of the U.S. will be representing the stars and stripes: four-time USGP overall winner Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA), European-based Jonathan Page (Planet Bike), three-time Canadian national champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), and the powerhouse team of national champion Tim Johnson, CrossVegas standout Jamey Driscoll, and Jeremy Powers, who took a commanding win at the opening Planet Bike event last year.

In the women’s ranks, Velo News predicts a battle between Luna teammates Amy Dombroski and Georgia Gould, who finished second and fourth at Cross Vegas, as well as Cal Giant-Specialized rider Meredith Miller, Sue Butler (Hudz Subaru) and Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill-Seven).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Wisconsin Cheeseman Announces Grand Reopening of Company Store in Sun Prairie (Press Release)

Date: September 10, 2010
Contact: Lindsey Decker
608-837-5166 ext 364
Photos: Available upon request

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. – The Wisconsin Cheeseman Company Store is celebrating its Grand Reopening on Thursday, September 16, 2010 through Sunday, September 19, 2010. “The store has been completely remodeled to give it a contemporary look and make it significantly more appealing to shop. In an effort to connect with our community and broaden our in-store offerings, we’ve also increased our product line to include locally-sourced cheeses, ice creams and meats,” said Mike Repp, Vice President of Operations.

The event will include:
  • A ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Joe of Sun Prairie @ 1:00 pm on 9/17/10
  • Remote broadcast with Jonathan Suttin from 105.5 Triple M @ noon on 9/17/10
  • Discounts on in-store products
  • Games and prizes such as: Badger tickets for October 16th against Ohio State a personalized jersey signed by Mark Tauscher of the Green Bay Packers
  • Cheese tastings led by Fromagination, ice cream samples from Sassy Cow Creamery and 2011 Artisan Cheesemaker calendars on sale by the Wisconsin Cheese Originals.

For more information on The Wisconsin Cheeseman, contact: Lindsey Decker, Marketing Communications Manager, phone 608.837.5166 ext. 364, or visit

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

UW Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference - Sept. 30th, 8:30-4:30 at Monona Terrace

Organized by the UW E-Business Consortium, and co-sponsored by WMEP, this conference is Wisconsin's premiere event for business and technology executives. It features outstanding experts and visionary executives from Google, GE Healthcare, Newell Rubbermaid, Rockwell Automation, Whirlpool and more. Learn the latest trends and actionable best practices from parallel full-day tracks in:
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Marketing and Customer Experience
  • IT Strategy & Information Security

Click here for additional information or to register.

Click here for information on the UW E-Business Consortium.

Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium Set for Nov. 10-11th (Wisconsin Technology Council)

The Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium will be held Nov 10-11, at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. This conference is designed to help entrepreneurs learn how to pursue private equity - and to prepare them for regional and national venture conferences. Early-stage companies from Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest will be professionally "coached" by venture and service professionals, as well as veteran company executives with stories to tell. Conference highlights include:
  • The annual "Elevator Pitch Olympics" for very early stage companies
  • Separate investor-oriented tracks for angel-ready companies and beyond that are seeking private equity capital
  • A workshop for entrepreneurs to learn and practice their pitch to investors
  • A "First Look Forum" for presenting selected pre-commercial, campus-based discoveries
  • An invitation-only event for investors hosted by the Wisconsin Angel Network
  • A Nov. 10 reception celebrating early stage companies
  • A workshop for companies that may seek SBIR grants

Major speakers with messages of interest to Wisconsin investors, entrepreneurs and others in the tech-based economy. Returning by popular demand: Bill Joos of Go-to-Market Consulting.

To apply to present, click here.

To sponsor, click here.

To register, click here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Crown Operations of Sun Prairie sold to California firm (

Crown Operations International, a Sun Prairie company involved in making energy-efficient window glass, has been purchased by Southwall Technologies of Palo Alto, Calif., for $3.3 million.

Crown, at 347 Business Park Drive in the Sun Prairie Business Park, was founded in 1988 and has 14 employees. Privately owned by founder Marshall Krone, the sale was effective Monday.

“It’s business as usual; the plant didn’t skip a beat,” said Crown president Curtis Liposcak.

Crown applies energy-saving films to a plastic layer that can then be sandwiched between two sheets of glass, creating windows that reflect heat and block ultraviolet rays.

Liposcak said the plant will stay open, and all the workers will keep their jobs. “A lot of the glass lamination that occurs in North America is east of the Mississippi River,” he said. “There’s a good likelihood that we could even expand our head count in the coming quarters.”

Southwall, founded in 1979, makes films and energy-saving glass for homes, commercial buildings and vehicles and has about 160 employees worldwide. Its shares are publicly traded on the over-the-counter bulletin board.

Milwaukee Business Journal
Wisconsin State Journal

Frontier Communications Bringing Service To Sun Prairie Area (

Photo: Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter and Mayor Joe Chase at the Sun Prairie office of Frontier Communications.

Frontier Communications has set up an office in Sun Prairie to begin offering broadband to rural communities looking for a faster Internet connection.

For some living in rural communities, dial-up Internet service is the only option.

The Sun Prairie library's 40 computers allow people free Internet access. Librarian Debbie Bird said that two years ago, users logged less than 50,000 sessions. But Bird said the library has seen an increase in demand.

"We had almost 79,000 sessions, that's either on the computers or on Wi-Fi. This is a free opportunity to use a computer; all you need is a library card," Bird said. "A lot of people still don't have Internet in their homes."

The library services several rural communities, but it isn't the only one taking notice of an increased demand for Internet access, WISC-TV reported.

"Many customers that don't have access to broadband absolutely want it. We hear from them all the time," said Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications.

In July, Frontier Communications took over service in several areas previously owned by Verizon. Wilderotter said the company is excited to offer broadband Internet access to communities around the state, including Sun Prairie.

"One of our priorities here in Wisconsin is to expand broadband very rapidly, and our goal is to get to 85 percent of all consumer households in the next two to three years," Wilderotter said.

Frontier Communications said it will begin offering service to rural communities in central Wisconsin beginning in October. It said it is planning to expand to the rest of the state over the next few years.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Madison College Offers Training on Working with the Federal General Services Administration (Madison College)

The Business Procurement Assistance Center of Madison Area Technical College is hosting two seminars entitled, "Introduction to GSA Schedules Program" and "GSA Solicitations - Responding to Requirements" at the Madison College's Fort Atkinson Campus on August 17th. Each year more and more federal buyers use General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules to do their buying. Businesses can learn more about GSA by attending one or both of these seminars. These two seminars are recommended for commercial goods/services businesses.

Attached you will find a news release for the event along with a flyer that provides more details and registration information for the events. Hopefully you will share with businesses that may be interested.

If you have any questions about the seminar, BPAC, or government contracting, please contact our office at 608-243-4490 or email

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Isthmus Counts Taste of Sun Prairie as Being on "Madison' Eats Agenda" This Weekend (

The Taste of Sun Prairie brings together more than a dozen restaurants and other businesses together for a feast that doubles as a fundraiser for the Dream Park. Built in 2007 and also known as Fireman's Park in the Prairie and located within the confines of Angell Park, the intent of this recreational area is “to offer children of all physical abilities a safe, accessible and friendly place to play.”

Restaurants and other businesses and groups signed up to participate in the Taste include: Atlantis Taverna, Beans n’ Cream Coffeehouse, Big Apple Bagels, Cannery Grill, Cardinal’s Nest, Cousins Subs, Culver's, Golden Days Bakery, Herreman’s Supper Club, JB’s Italian Grille, Kwik Trip, Market Street Diner, My Menu, Panda Garden, Pizza Hut, Sassy Cow Creamery, VFW Post 9362 Men’s Auxiliary, and What’s Brew’n’.

Vendors will be donating a portion of their proceeds to the park. The benefit will also feature live music, kids' activities, special outdoor sales, and a beer garden hosted by the Sun Prairie Lions Club. Cannery Square Plaza, Sun Prairie, noon-7 p.m., dishes $5 and less. Call 608-837-5213 for more info.

WPPI Energy's sustainable building earns LEED 'Gold' certification (Sun Prairie Star)

WPPI Energy's office and operations facility achieved Gold certification through the U.S. Green public power system's image as a leader in the industry

Click here to read the full article in the Sun Prairie Star.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

THRIVE Releases "Capital Connections Inventory" (THRIVE/Wisconsin State Journal)

One of the barriers that companies and communities face when seeking economic development funding is the lack of concise, accessible information - there just isn't time to identify and understand each of the hundreds of programs that are available.

To address this barrier, Thrive has created a comprehensive inventory of financial tools that are available for businesses and economic development projects in the 8-county Madison Region. The inventory includes over 350 financial programs available at the federal, state and local levels to businesses, communities, and nonprofits. This inventory, coupled with Thrive's expertise, will allow businesses and communities to quickly identify appropriate financial resources.

The Capital Connections Inventory is free, and Thrive staff is here to help businesses and communities identify programs that fit their needs.

The inventory includes a brief description and basic eligibility criteria for each program. It also includes typical program terms such as loan or grant amounts, loan amortization periods, interest rates, and contact information. When a business owner walks through the door at Thrive, he/she will know what is available and if their project is eligible. If the business chooses to seek funding, it will receive skilled and informed support from the staff at Thrive.

Existing regional businesses, businesses interested in locating in the region, and local communities are encouraged to contact Thrive for assistance in accessing the region's diverse financial resources.

For more information about how you can use the Capital Connections Inventory, contact:

Brad Elmer, Project Director, 608-443-1967

Thrive is the economic development organization for Dane, Rock, Green, Iowa, Sauk, Columbia, Dodge and Jefferson counties.

Click here to read the full article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WPPI Energy Announces New Construction Design Assistance Program (WPPI Energy)

The New Construction Design Assistance Program provides financial incentives and technical assistance to encourage building owners, developers, architects and engineers to design and construct high-performance buildings. This program is available at no charge for any non-residential new construction or major renovation projects within the City of Sun Prairie.

Benefits include:
  • Financial incentives of up to $100,000 per project
  • Free technical engineering and architectural design assistance
  • Opportunity to save energy and lower operating expenses
  • Improved systems performance and greater comfort
  • Increased property value and reduced environmental impact.

Questions regarding the program should be addressed to Ben Dickson, Program Coordinator at (608) 834-4500 or, or Tamara Sondgeroth at (608) 444-1154 or

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sun Prairie and DeForest Team Up to Host the Dane County Manufacturing & Technology Network (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development)

The City of Sun Prairie and the Village of DeForest have joined forces to create the Dane County Manufacturing and Technology Network. This effort will consist of a monthly networking meeting featuring a speaker on a topic of interest to our manufacturing employers in the region. There is no cost to attend and participate, but an RSVP is generally required.

The staff from each community that is coordinating this effort is Neil Stechschulte, Economic Develoment Coordinator from the City of Sun Prairie, and Greg Frahm, Director of Economic Development and Planning for the Village of DeForest.

"Our communities here on the east side of Dane County certainly have a lot in common in terms of target employment sectors, and it just made sense to work together on this. I'm excited to be coordinating this with Greg, and look forward to growing this initiative over the next year. Our job is to make sure this provides some real value to our participating employers here in our region" said Stechschulte. "We'll be looking for other communities to join in once we get our core group of participants really established."

On Thursday June 24th, a group of about 20 employers from Sun Prairie, DeForest and Madison gathered in DeForest to hear about a variety of financing and funding options for economic development projects. Our presenters were Kate Crowley and Lisa Van Lieshout from Baker Tilly in Madison. Kate and Lisa covered a variety of programs including low-interest financing programs, tax credits and benefits, employee training assistance, and energy efficiency programs. Any persons interested in learning more about the presentation can contact either Kate or Lisa directly at:

Kate Crowley
(608) 240-6718

Lisa Van Lieshout
(608) 240-2671

The next meeting is likely to be scheduled for late July and will be in Sun Prairie, and will be announced after the 4th of July holiday.

Additional questions regarding the Dane County Manufacturing and Technology Network can be addressed to either Neil or Greg at:

Neil Stechschulte
(608) 825-0894

Greg Frahm
(608) 846-6751

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sun Prairie's Wind Power Happy Hour Continues to Grow (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development)

Photo: Steve Sletten from PBS&J and Jerry Murphy from the New North demonstrate a proven networking technique at the June Wind Power Happy Hour.

The Wind Power Happy Hour network of companies and partners continues to grow. The City has aggressively marketed the event to regional economic development partners around the State of Wisconsin, and has agreed to rotate the event to the Fox Cities and Milwaukee in addition to the Madison area (Thrive). This is being done in conjunction with the Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance. The June meeting was held in Wrightstown, Wisconsin at the Royal St. Patrick's Golf Course clubhouse, and featured guest presentations from Alliant Energy and Oshkosh based Renewegy. It is currently anticipated that the July meeting will be held in the Milwaukee area, with speakers and location yet to be announced.

In addition, the City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development agreed to "co-sponsor" the Wind Energy Speaking Series at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. This series of presentations scheduled for Fridays over the next several weeks in Room 5120 of Grainger Hall at the UW-Madison campus will feature several private sector companies involved in the wind industry from either a wind farm development standpoint or from that of a supplier in the wind industry supply chain. Our last presenter was Mr. Paul Schechter from Horizon Wind, who talked about his company's involvement in the development of wind farms and how they assess specific areas for wind turbine installation. Several additional speakers are scheduled for the month of July.

According to Neil Stechschulte, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Sun Prairie, "In a little over a year, this initiative has been tremendously successful in developing a network for a sector that is obviously ready to grow. Our job is to continue to provide value to our participants, and eventually leverage our relationships with these companies to get them to build or expand here. There is still plenty of work to do before something like this can happen. We are are doing whatever we can to better position ourselves to be of assistance to interested employers in the wind industry supply chain." The event mailing list now exceeds 460 people. A blog with relevant news stories that averages 400 visits per month has also been created:

We also maintain a presence on, to allow for individuals interested in the wind industry further opportunity to network and to share news.

Anyone interested in more information on the Wind Power Happy Hour, the Wind Energy Speaker Series, or the Wisconsin Wind Works Alliance can contact Neil Stechschulte at (608) 825-0894 or nstechschulte[at] for more information.

June 23rd Joint Chamber-City Networking Breakfast for Sun Prairie Business Park a Success

Special thanks to all the companies who attended our first jointly sponsored networking breakfast the morning of June 23rd. It is hoped that this will become a regular event for our business park employers.

The Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce helped organize the event, and the City of Sun Prairie provided the breakfast. Our speaker was Erin Roth from the Wisconsin Petroleum Council who talked about oil supplies and explained some of the factors that impact the cost of gasoline here in Wisconsin. Finally, special thanks to Wisconsin Distributors for allowing us to use their meeting room at their facility in the Sun Prairie Business Park. The Chamber is currently surveying participants to determine what level of interest there is in additional meetings, what the best time to hold them would be, and what topics companies would like to discuss. Watch for announcements on future meetings.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

St. Mary's Sun Prairie Emergency Center serves 10,000th patient (Sun Prairie Star)

Today, the St. Mary’s Sun Prairie Emergency Center has cared for its 10,000th patient, well before its one year anniversary of opening, and well ahead of what was expected.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sun Prairie Utilities Open House Saturday June 5th 11am to 4pm Commemorates 100 Years of Service

In recognition of 100 years of service, Sun Prairie Utilities will host an open house at the Utility office at 125 W. Main Street on Saturday, June 5th from 11 am to 4 pm.

Come for the free food, stay for the family fun! For the kids, we have bucket truck rides, a bounce house, a clown and a coloring contest.

In addition, the entire family can view demonstrations on water conservation, electric conservation and pole climbing.

Customers of Sun Prairie Utilities who attend are eligible for a 100-prize raffle.

Click here to read a great editorial from the Sun Prairie Star on the role of Sun Prairie Utiliities has had on economic development in Sun Prairie..

Click here for a copy of the event flyer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WPPI Energy to Hold Open House, HQ Anticipated to be Sun Prairie's First LEED Certified Building (Press Release)

Open House at WPPI Energy's Office and Operations Facility
Anticipated to be Sun Prairie's First LEED Gold Building

SUN PRAIRIE, WIS., May 20 - WPPI Energy and its 51 customer-owned member utilities invite you to view WPPI Energy's sustainably remodeled and expanded office and operations facility today.

WHAT: Open House Celebration
Tour of Green Building Features
Hors d'Oeuvres

WHEN: Thursday, May 20, 2010
Open House from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Program at 4 p.m.

1425 Corporate Center Drive
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

SPEAKERS: Michael L. Morgan - Secretary, Wis. Dept. of Administration
Judy Ziewacz - Executive Director, Wis. Office of Energy Independence
Roy Thilly - President & CEO, WPPI Energy

WPPI Energy's facility was designed and built to achieve U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-level certification. The $7.3M project is anticipated to be Sun Prairie's first LEED "Gold" certified building, demonstrating the commitment of WPPI Energy's members to lead by example in the areas of energy efficiency and conservation.

Media are encouraged to attend. For questions or to arrange an interview, please contact Anne Rodriguez, (608) 834.4569.

# # #

WPPI Energy is a regional power company serving 51 customer-owned electric utilities. Through WPPI Energy, these public power utilities share resources and own generation facilities to provide reliable, affordable electricity to more than 195,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Iowa. Visit

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Executive Q&A: Alice Hensen, president of the Bank of Sun Prairie (Wisconsin State Journal)

Alice Hensen was looking for a job close to home, a job that would let her spend time with her young son, when she left a clerical position at Madison's Rayovac Corp. in 1966 and started working at the Bank of Sun Prairie.

Forty years later, in 2006, Hensen became president of the bank. She is the only woman heading a bank in Dane County and one of the few ever to do so in the state.

Chartered in 1903, the Bank of Sun Prairie has 66 employees and four offices: three in Sun Prairie and one in Cottage Grove. It ended 2009 with $348.4 million in assets and net income of $1.2 million.

Hensen, 64, is a native of Cottage Grove, graduate of Monona Grove High School, the mother of two and grandmother of three. At the Bank of Sun Prairie, she worked her way up, learning on the job and through industry training courses. Little did she know she would have to guide the bank through some of the most trying times in its more than 100-year history.

Click here to read the full interview at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sun Prairie Utilities Celebrates 100 Years of Electric and Water Services (Press Release)

100 Years...and Counting!

This year, 2010, Sun Prairie Utilities celebrates the 100th year of providing electric and water services to the residents of Sun Prairie. Through the balance of this year, SPU will be posting items of nostalgia or historical note about the utility, and announcements of celebration and special events as they are planned to share this milestone with our customers.

Sun Prairie Utilities is proud of the service record of our first one hundred years, and look forward to the challenges and expectations of working into our second centennial. We are a public power provider with a mission to provide low-cost electric and water service while maintaining a high standard of service with public and employee safety a priority.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

City of Sun Prairie Conducting Manufacturing R&D Survey for Wind Industry Prospect

The City of Sun Prairie is coordinating a research effort for a wind industry prospect about the local supply chain and appropriate engineering/R&D support in the THRIVE (Madison) region, the Milwaukee 7 region, and the New North region (Fox Valley).

This prospect is actively seeking to identify companies with skills and support capabilities in the area of Power Electronics, Electromagnetics (Machine Design), and Reliability & Thermal Analysis.

The following companies have responded to the City's survey:

Research Products Corporation (RPC Tech. Services) - Madison, WI
Metalcraft of Mayville, Inc. - Mayville, WI
Cooper Power Systems - Pewaukee, WI
Synchrotek, Inc. - Green Bay, WI
R&M Mfg, Inc. - Milton, WI
American Superconductor - Middleton, WI
Design Concepts - Madison, WI
Energy Maintenance Service - Gary, SD (Madison area staff)
DRS Power & Control Technologies, Inc. - Milwaukee, WI
URS Corporation - Milwaukee (SOQ, no survey)
Renewegy - Oshkosh, WI
Bjorksten Research Laboratory/BIT 7 - Madison, WI (Pending)
Ingeteam - Milwaukee (Pending)
Vestas - Madison (Pending)
ABB Inc. - New Berlin, WI

Survey responses from this prospect information has been forwarded to the prospect. The City is leaving the survey deadline open at this time to allow for other potentially interested companies to participate.

Any companies within these regions with skills and services in the areas mentioned above should contact Neil Stechschulte at nstechschulte[at] or (608) 825-0894.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Video of Clean Energy Jobs Act Panel at Cannery Grill Available From the Star

Special thanks to our presenters: Roy Thilly (WPPI Energy), Secretary Matt Frank (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources), and Chairman Eric Callisto (Wisconsin Public Service Commission).

Click here to watch video of the Clean Energy Jobs Act Panel on March 31st, provided by the Sun Prairie Star' Facebook Fan Page.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Continental Mapping Awarded Corps IDIQ (Press Release)

Continental Mapping is pleased to announce that the Tulsa District of the US Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) surveying and mapping services contract to a team led by Continental Mapping. The 5-year contract has a limit of $6 million and will focus on photogrammetric and land survey projects, with an emphasis on dam safety studies.

Projects will be located in the four states the District and the Corps’ Southwest Division cover: Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Faith Technologies Wins National Safety Award (Press Release)

Faith Technologies proudly accepted the Construction Safety Excellence Grand Award from Associated General Contractors of America on behalf of the nearly 1,500 employees that made winning this award possible. The CSEA Grand Award is widely recognized as the premiere safety award within the construction industry.

The full service electrical and specialty systems contractor was chosen from 22 CSEA first place winners as the best of the best in construction safety excellence. Faith Technologies also won first place in its CSEA category for Specialty Contractors with over one million work hours without a lost time incident.

Faith Technologies (Town and Country Electric) offers a range of services including industrial, commercial, residential, specialty systems, instrumentation & controls and design services from their location in the Sun Prairie Business Park. They also provide renewable energy solutions and elite service plans (ESP) from Sun Prairie. Faith Technologies has 15 offices in five states.

Monday, March 22, 2010

THRIVE Helps Connect the Dots (Wisconsin State Journal Editorial)

Investment capital is the fuel needed to drive our local economy forward. And especially in tough economic times, that infusion of capital can be critical to weathering an economic storm. That's why Thrive, a nonprofit economic development organization based in Madison but serving the eight-county Capital Region, has made improving access to capital a top priority in its three-year strategic plan.

New DNR Initiative Focuses on Recent Plant Closings, Economic Recovery Webinar

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is launching a new effort - the Wisconsin Plant Recovery Initiative (WPRI) - to help communities expedite the environmental cleanup and revitalization of businesses that have recently closed their doors. Many companies have shut down manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities in the midst of the recent economic downturn. Some of these facilities will have real or perceived environmental contamination, which can discourage new owners from purchasing and redeveloping the property.

Under the Plant Recovery Initiative, the WDNR's Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program wants to speed up the return of these facilities to productive use and encourage economic revitalization by offering a variety of cleanup and redevelopment tools. One of the most important tools is $1 million in WPRI Assessment Monies (WAM), available to local governments to help conduct environmental assessments at closed or closing facilities.

Sign Up for the Informational Webinar: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

A webinar to inform our community and private partners more about the Plant Recovery Initiative and assessment funds will be held Tuesday, March 23, at 1:30pm. It will be held via Microsoft Live Meeting, and requires the free Live Meeting client to see and hear the webinar. For more information on the webinar, contact Eric Ballas with the RR Program at (

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Carl's Cake This Weekend at Market Street Diner (

Free slices of cake will be served at a kick-off party for Carl's Cake Club. The baker and cater, based out of the Market Street Diner, offers a variety of round and sheet cakes available in a variety of classic and custom flavors, not to mention cupcakes and made-to-order creations for special occasions. Club members can get more free cake on their birthdays, and need only to present an ID and purchase two entrees at the diner to join. Market Street Diner and Bakery, 110 Market St., Sun Prairie, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 825-3377 for more info.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Information on City TIF Districts Avaiable Online

The City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development has posted an overview of existing TIF Districts, maps, programs and guidelines. The document entitled "Current Development Opportunities in Existing Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) Districts" is available by clicking here or by visiting the Economic Development Department at

Questions should be sent to nstechschulte[at] or by calling (608) 825-0894.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SPWL Launches Energy-Saving Initiatives for Business Customers (Sun Prairie Star)

Local businesses are key targets for an energy-saving initiative being launched recently by Sun Prairie Water and Light and its power supplier, WPPI Energy.

Sun Prairie Water and Light and WPPI Energy offer programs, technical assistance and financial incentives to help businesses operate more efficiently, and now the utilities are ramping up efforts to encourage customers to participate.

Zach Brandon to Speak at March 18 Chamber Luncheon (Sun Prairie Star)

Zach Brandon, from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, will discuss business attraction and retention at the state level during the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s March 18 noon membership luncheon at The Cannery Grill, 315 E. Linnerud Drive.

For more information or to make reservations, call the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce at 837-4547.

Click here to read the full article at the Sun Prairie Star.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

State-of-the-art sports facility is a boon for Sun Prairie High School (Capital Times)

[Blogger's Note: The article was written by Jim Polzin, and the photo above was taken by Michelle Stocker]

The massive field house inside Sun Prairie’s new high school, which is scheduled to open in the fall, is a facility that can serve a great number of purposes.

As athletic director Jim McClowry is quick to point out, its primary benefit is that of a spacious classroom for physical education students that eliminates overcrowding and gives teachers myriad options of activities to include in the curriculum.

There’s also the obvious advantage to the school district’s student-athletes, who will have a breathtaking venue to call home.

But there’s an ancillary benefit to having a large facility with ample parking, and plenty of other bells and whistles, that has McClowry excited about the future.

For years, McClowry has applied to host the Madison area’s WIAA Division 1 boys basketball sectional — the biggest cash cow of the year when it comes to prep postseason events in the area that are held at school sites — knowing Sun Prairie had little chance of being selected.

Not anymore. McClowry is confident a state-of-the-art facility will make Sun Prairie a player in the eyes of the WIAA.

SPWL upgrades fiber optic network (Sun Prairie Star)

Ciena Corporation, the network specialist, on March 10 announced in a press release that Sun Prairie Water & Light (SPW&L) has deployed its Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery (CESD) platforms to upgrade the service delivery capabilities of the utility's fiber optic network throughout its serving area.

The network is run by the utility's communication services division, SPW&L Telecom, and is already connecting all 12 locations of the Sun Prairie Area School District, multiple locations for WPPI Energy, Brooks Tractor, Laker Software and other business customers, as well as providing the communications infrastructure for the utility's smart water grid.

SPW&L Telecom offers a variety of point-to-point and point-to-multipoint wide area network and Internet connections over the network that combine the reliability and performance of traditional carrier services with the cost-effectiveness of Ethernet. SPW&L Telecom's network was designed and is managed by its long-time partner, INOC, a global provider of outsourced network operations center (NOC) monitoring and reporting services.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prairie Heritage Quilters Annual Show and Competion - March 14-16th

Prairie Heritage Quilters - Quilt Show and Competition
March 14, 15, & 16 2010
St. Albert the Great Church
2420 St. Albert the Great Drive
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Show Hours:
Sunday March 14th 12-5
Monday March 15th 9-8
Tuesday March 16th 9-3

- 200+ Competition Quilts from all over the Midwest
- PLUS 2009-2010 PHQ "Nursery Rhymes" Challenge wall quilts
- Favorite quilt shop vendors
- Luncheon served by various St. Albert Groups

For more information, go to:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wind Power Happy Hour draws 75 to Cannery Grill (Sun Prairie Star)

[Blogger's Note: The above photo is the team from Vestas. From left to right: Peter Hansen (Madison Office), Henrik Lykke Sørensen (Århus, Denmark Office), William Dorner (Houston Office), Dr. Ramasamy Anbarasu (Lübeck, Germany Office), Jennifer Green (Houston Office), Henrik Vejergang (Århus, Denmark Office), and Professor Thomas Jahns, University of Wisconsin, Madison.]

Wind energy is a hot topic in Sun Prairie, not only for city planners working to add wind power companies to the city’s business roster, but also for the many wind industry representatives who convene in Sun Prairie once a month.

Sun Prairie Economic Development Coordinator Neil Stechschulte’s efforts to bring wind industry stakeholders together—including everyone from manufacturers to engineers to state government representatives—have led to a well-known and increasingly well-attended networking event—the Wind Power Happy Hour, held right here in Sun Prairie at the Cannery Grill each month.

The most recent happy hour event, held on Wednesday, Feb. 24, drew about 75 attendees including international representatives from Vestas—the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and home of the industry’s largest research and development unit.

With research centers in Denmark, Singapore, India, and the United Kingdom, and plans to establish units in the United States in Houston and Boston, their attendance at the Sun Prairie event shows that international industry experts recognize the Dane County area as a worthwhile place to participate in wind-industry discussions.

Stechschulte said he hopes those discussions will lead to economic growth and new jobs in Sun Prairie’s future.

“Our reason for holding these events is to develop relationships with private sector companies that have a high growth potential in terms of jobs,” Stechschulte said. “As far as I am aware, this was the first meeting where we had representatives from three of the most notable wind energy projects over the past year in one room—Vestas, Ingeteam, and Energy Composites. Sooner or later, one of these companies is going to be looking for space for a new facility. By using these events to build a relationship with these companies, this should greatly enhance our ability to put Sun Prairie in the running when they are considering possible sites.” Wednesday’s event—which was the most highly attended of any of the Wind Power Happy Hour events at the Cannery so far—showed that interest in the wind industry here in Sun Prairie is gaining enthusiasm.

Click here to read the full article in the Sun Prairie Star.

[Blogger's note #2: Special thanks to Star for their continung support of this event.]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trachte Building Systems, Inc. Acquires Tech-Fast Brand (Press Release)

Trachte Building Systems, Inc. has acquired the Tech-Fast brand from founders Dave Cook and Mark Duncan.

Established in 1901, Trachte’s fabricated steel products have historically dominated their respective markets and currently offers a comprehensive line of turn-key Self-Storage Building solutions, Roll Up Doors, Micro Units, Partition Systems and Portable Storage Units. Tech-Fast has been in business since 1989, and has supplied and/or built thousands of buildings in North America.

By purchasing the Tech-Fast’s brand, plans and designs, Trachte Building Systems will be structured to serve the needs of former and prospective Tech-Fast customers. “I’m pleased that we were able to put together this arrangement with Trachte to continue to serve our customers. I’m confident that they will be in good hands with the crew at Trachte,” commented Cook. Customers will now be able to select from Trachte’s traditional building systems or seamlessly opt for a Tech-Fast building design.

Trachte National Sales Manager Jamie Lindau is excited about the opportunity and looks forward to meeting and working with Tech-Fast’s customer base. “Tech-Fast has a history of offering their customers not only basic single story buildings, but also a very impressive portfolio of attractive multi-story projects. The acquisition of Tech-Fast, will serve to further expand Trachte’s already extensive product portfolio while increasing market penetration in the Western United States and Canada. This acquisition is an important step in implementing Trachte’s long term strategic growth plan of product, capabilities and market expansions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Elite Embroidery and Screen Printing Now Open Downtown (Sun Prairie Star)

Elite Embroidery and Screen Printing, which opened Feb. 2 on East Main Street in Downtown Sun Prairie, specializes in putting just about any logo a customer wants on a variety of apparel.

Sun Prairie BID looking forward to 2010 (Sun Prairie Star)

Members of Sun Prairie’s Business Improvement District (BID), which encompasses businesses and property owners in the city’s downtown area, have a lot to look forward to in 2010 according to BID Board President John Weishar and Sun Prairie Economic Development Coordinator Neil Stechschulte.Weishar and Stechschulte predicted an eventful 2010 for downtown businesses during the BID’s annual meeting held at Herreman’s Supper Club on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Click here to read the full article at the Sun Prairie Star online.

Fire Facilities Inc.: Expands Sales Force (Press Release)

For More Information Contact:
Linda Begley-Korth Fire Facilities Inc.

SUN PRAIRIE, Wisconsin – Fire Facilities Inc. is pleased to announce an addition to its sales department. This new sales position will assist Fire Facilities in its continued growth in the live fire training industry. Matt Doyle has joined Fire Facilities as sales representative servicing the east coast. In this capacity, Matt will oversee all aspects of direct selling, which includes facilitating the sales process from conception to completion and beyond. Doyle assists with coordinating the design and construction of Fire Facilities’ training towers. In addition, he handles all post-sale issues such as safety measures to follow while training with live fire.

Matt brings many years of experience in both the metal building and Fire Service Industries. Matt was a member of two different volunteer Fire Departments in Michigan, including service as an Assistant Chief. In addition, Matt served in the Michigan Army National Guard as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Specialist.

Fire Facilities welcomes Matt to his new position.

Fire Facilities Inc. (FFI), an employee-owned company, manufactures a full-line of pre-engineered steel fire training towers. From mobile units to high-rise towers, Fire Facilities training models are available in any configuration. Each tower contains at least one live burn room to allow for repeat fires at high temperatures. Burn rooms are lined with the Westec™ Insulation System. FFI designs and manufactures training structures to the specific needs of each fire department. Fire Facilities is devoted to providing superior products and uncompromised service throughout the entire customer experience. This commitment, along with experience in engineering, designing, and manufacturing, has given the company a leading edge in the fire training industry.

For more information about Fire Facilities and its products, please contact Fire Facilities at 800-929-3726; 314 Wilburn Rd, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, 53590; or visit the company Website at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feb. 25, 2010 is "Innovation and Economic Development Day" at the Capitol (UWEX)

THURSDAY, February 25, 2010
Innovation & Economic Development Day
UW Colleges and UW-Extension: Planting Knowledge; Growing Jobs

9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. - Exhibits on First Floor Rotunda, State Capitol
Exhibits showcase the UW Colleges’ & UW-Extension’s shared vision of innovative, educational programs that create jobs, promote statewide economic development, and foster vibrant communities.

Everyone Is Welcome!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sun Prairie's Jimmy the Groundhog Predicts EARLY SPRING!

Jimmy X arrived at the Prognostication Site in a stretch limosine, escorted by a Sun Prairie fire truck. A fireman shoveled a fresh path for Jimmy and his caregiver, Jerry to meet the mayor. It was a snowy morning in Sun Prairie, and Jimmy did NOT see his shadow! The crowd cheered as the mayor interpreted Jimmy's message, proclaiming an EARLY SPRING!

Check out Groundhog Central for more updates.

Click here for coverage from NBC 15 (video inlcuded).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our View: Super Jimmy - Attend Jimmy’s Big Day and the Warm-up Ceremonies, Too (Sun Prairie Star)

[An Editorial from the Star...]

Although the theme for this year’s Groundhog Day festivities is “Super Jimmy,” the famous furry forecaster will have to be some kind of superanimal to keep up with the Groundhog Day festivities occurring throughout Sun Prairie during the next few days.

Those activities begin on Saturday, Jan. 30 when St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 2420 St. Albert Drive, will host the annual Groundhog Day Community Celebration, which begins with a breakfast from 8-11 a.m., followed by entertainment and vendor booths.

A birthday party for Human Groundhogs (those born on Feb. 2) takes place at 8:30 a.m.

The 36th annual Groundhog Ball takes place Jan. 30 from 7-11 p.m. at The Round Table, 1611 N. Bristol St. featuring The John Roehl Eight Piece Band; tickets cost $7 each but individuals younger than 21 will not be admitted. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Sun Prairie Little League.

February 2: The Main Event
The eyes of the world focus on downtown Sun Prairie’s Cannery Square on Tuesday, Feb. 2, when the famous forecaster Jimmy the Groundhog arrives at Cannery Square via limousine escorted by a Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department engine.

Mayor Joe Chase, as legend has it, is the only person who can understand groundhogese and will relay Jimmy’s forecast of either an early spring or six more weeks of winter at 7:12 a.m. to the crowd assembled in Cannery Square Plaza.

The Sun Prairie Business Improvement District (BID) is co-sponsoring a Groundhog Day Breakfast Buffet at Market Street Diner -- at 110 Market St. -- on Feb. 2 from 6-9 a.m.

Whew! That’s a lot -- but we’re sure Jimmy is up to it.

Are you?

Click here for more coverage by the Sun Prairie Star.

Click here for the direct Groundhog Day updates from Groundhog Central.

Click here coverage by the Capital Times.

Friday, January 15, 2010

QBE in the News (Various Sources)

QBE's CEO O’Halloran Named To Insurance Hall Of Fame (National Underwriter Property and Casualty News)

The International Insurance Society (IIS) announced that Frank O’Halloran, chief executive officer of Sidney-based QBE Insurance Group, is the 2010 Insurance Hall of Fame winner. IIS noted that Mr. O’Halloran was directly responsible for over 125 acquisitions by the QBE Group over the last 20 years with the takeover of the Elders' insurance business in Australia the latest acquisition in QBE’s growth strategy.

“QBE's growth under Frank O'Halloran's leadership is nothing short of remarkable, both in terms of returns and global expansion,” said a statement from Michael J. Morrissey, IIS president and CEO. “I congratulate him on receiving the highest award in insurance, an honor he truly deserves.”

QBE has been a high-profit performer and now ranks in the 25 largest insurers in the world with operations in 45 countries driving three-quarters of its revenue from outside Australia, IIS said. The firm has weathered the recession by diversification of products, geographical exposure and conservative investments, and market capitalization has soared over $22.5 billion.

The Insurance Hall of Fame was created in 1957 and is administered by the IIS, which was founded in 1965 as a nonprofit corporation. IIS describes itself as the largest multinational organization of its kind with almost 900 corporate and individual members from more than 90 countries.

QBE Regional Names US Commercial Lines Leader (

QBE Regional Insurance, a unit of QBE the Americas, has named Andy Doll to lead its commercial lines operations. Doll previously served as vice president and chief actuary of commercial insurance for Fireman’s Fund, and before that spent 11 years at General Casualty/Winterthur Insurance Group in several roles, including assistant vice president of commercial lines and chief actuary. His new title is commercial lines senior vice president.

[Blogger's Note: Yet more signs for continued success and growth for QBE here in the States. Congratulations to both Mr. Halloran and Mr. Doll, and thanks for helping grow QBE here in Sun Prairie.]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dane County Ranks #7 in Best Places for Jobs (

The author's of this article looked at Money's top 100 Best Places to Live and highlighted counties that also enjoy jobless rates far below the 10% national average. Dane County was ranked #7 largely due to the City of Middleton's position on this list, and the stability of employment throughout the Greater Madison area--including those right here in Sun Prairie.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wisconsin Nonprofits Received More Than $172,000 From the Verizon Foundation (

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. -- Nonprofit groups in Wisconsin received more than $172,000 from the Verizon Foundation in 2009, enabling 174 recipient organizations to improve literacy skills, enhance educational opportunities for children, and help domestic violence survivors rebuild their lives.
In addition, Verizon employees volunteered more than 2,900 hours to nonprofit groups throughout the state in 2009.

"Verizon has a long-standing tradition of working to improve the communities where we operate by supporting organizations that strive to make a difference in the lives of individuals," said Carl Erhart, president of Verizon's Central region. "Through grants and the generous contributions of time and talent from our employees, we are having a positive impact on our communities."

Verizon maintains a regional office in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

Sun Prairie Man's Bank Quip Earns Him Champion Liar Title (NY Times)

[Blogger's Note: Since Larry Lagro is from Sun Prairie, and his winning entry is about banks I say this qualifies as economic development news (or at least some fun PR). Congratulations Larry!]

A quip that pokes fun at struggling banks has been named the top tall tale of 2009. The Burlington Liars Club has bestowed its highest award for this line: ''I just realized how bad the economy really is. I recently bought a new toaster oven and as a complimentary gift, I was given a bank.''

The line gives Larry Legro of Sun Prairie the dubious -- but serious -- distinction of being this year's World Champion Liar. The 58-year-old health inspector says he's ecstatic.

A judge says Legro's lie won because it was both clever and topical.

The Liars Club began in 1929 after local journalists fabricated a story about a lying contest.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CTI Paper USA joins Chicago Climate Exchange (

Sun Prairie's CTI Papers USA has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), a voluntary, legally binding integrated trading system to reduce all six greenhouse gases with offset projects worldwide. By joining the CCX, CTI will be able to meet its internal commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by offsetting 100% of the emissions associated with the production of its premium specialty papers, ASPIRE Petallics and Currency.

CCX Exchange Participants offset a prespecified number of tons of greenhouse gases associated with various activities, conferences, special events, or business activities, usually by offsetting electricity purchase or travel related to the activity.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Royle Printing Awarded Prestigious Benny (Press Release)

Royle Printing in cooperation with MCD of Madison, Wisconsin was presented with the esteemed Benny – Best of Category for the Premier Print Awards.

This prestigious print competition held by Printing Industries of America has over 3,600 entries from printers around the world. The Benny was awarded for the submission of Flaunt Magazine 92 in the Magazines Category, Cover—Sheetfed: Interior—Web.

A board of high status judges reviewed the entries for the following characteristics:
• Even application of color
• Registration
• Degree of difficulty
• And the many variables that go into producing the final product

Congratulations to all the employees at Royle Printing!