MadREP Report: July 26, 2017
Company Profile: E.K. Machine Invests in Equipment & People

The Village of Fall River in Columbia County is home to nearly 2,800 residents and a strong manufacturing base. In fact, between 2011-2016, Fall River's employment in the manufacturing industry nearly doubled. Among the area's key employers is E.K. Machine -- a machine and fabrication shop founded in 1970.

Garry Errthum started E.K. Machine in a former brewery in Columbus, updated to accommodate machining, welding, and metal fabrication that catered to local farm, construction, food equipment, and trucking companies. By 1990, E.K. Machine outgrew its Columbus facility, and a new plant was built in nearby Fall River. Today, the company's 120,000+ square foot facility has state-of-the-art equipment including lasers, brake presses, CNC milling and turning centers, manual and robotic welding, and powder coating to manufacture parts, components, and assemblies for a diverse customer base.

E.K. Machine employs a workforce of 130+ and continually invests in its equipment and people -- earning recognition for their efforts including the Columbia County Large Business of the Year Award and the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award for Workforce Development. To learn more about E.K. Machine, visit  

Thank you to Michelle Eilbes at E.K. Machine for contributing to this story.

Business Expansion:
Potential Foxconn supply chain could mean good things for local businesses

As Gov. Scott Walker and top state economic development officials continue to work on convincing Foxconn to choose Wisconsin as the location for a U.S. manufacturing facility employing up to 10,000 people, local economic development officials are thinking about the supply chain for that new plant. Madison Region Economic Partnership President Paul Jadin believes the Madison Region stands to benefit from a Foxconn plant, even if it is based in southeastern Wisconsin. Jadin said that if it's built anywhere in Wisconsin, Foxconn will need things like electronic components, precision tools, and glass for its production line. "This area, along with several other parts of Wisconsin are very strong in precision manufacturing -- medical devices for instance," said Jadin. "That capacity is something that would serve us well in any kind of supply chain for iPhone assembly or televisions, computer monitors, those sorts of things."

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Capital Connection:
Energy Bolt: UW-Madison to get funding for bioenergy center
The U.S. Department of Energy announced last week the UW-Madison will receive a new, five-year round of funding for its energy research center that has produced 160 patents and spawned five start-up companies in its 10-year history. The exact level of federal funding remains unclear. In a statement, the Energy Department said that it was funding four research centers, including the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at UW-Madison, for a total of $40 million in the federal government's 2018 fiscal year. In past funding rounds, the research center has received about $25 million annually. "I don't want to ignore the financial piece of this, but this is a huge win for the University of Wisconsin," director of the center Tim Donohue said.
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Startup Scene:
Madison among cities luring tech jobs from traditional hubs on the coasts 

Although Silicon Valley remains a stalwart tech hub, metros like Toronto and Atlanta are breaking into the rankings of the best markets for tech jobs, according to a new study. And smaller markets -- say Madison, Wisconsin -- are showing up as locales with momentum as they rapidly increase their communities of tech workers. The secret weapon these cities all have in common: rents that aren't through the roof. A recent analysis from real estate and investment firm CBRE ranked the top cities for tech talent. The analysis also identified cities with "momentum" in tech job growth. In Madison, Wisconsin the tech job market grew 5% in 2013-2014 and a whopping 30% in 2015-2016, making it the market with the most momentum. Madison is followed by Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Salt Lake City, Utah, which both grew significantly in 2015-2016 after the market shrunk in the previous two year period.

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Regional Economy:
Arts impact in Dane County measured at $250 million  
According to a new study, arts and culture nonprofits in Dane County generated $249.9 million in economic activity in 2015. Dane County did well in comparison to the rest of the state: the $250 million makes up about 38 percent of the entire state's arts and culture economic impact of about $657 million, the study found. Dane County also did better than similar regions around the country with populations between 500,000 and 999,999, which had a median of just over $235 million. Those numbers equate to the support of over 9,000 full-time jobs and over $125 million in household income, the study said. "Arts add to the economy, influence the education process and are good for vibrant community," executive director of Arts Wisconsin Anne Katz said.

Read more.

Business Expansion:
Wisconsin manufacturer Fisher Barton to add 80 positions at Watertown locations

Wisconsin-based manufacturer Fisher Barton Inc. announced Wednesday that it is expanding operations at two of its Watertown locations, adding 80 positions."Our commitment to manufacturing in Wisconsin continues, and we're excited to be able to expand our business at our facilities here in Watertown," said Igor Zelenovskiy, CEO of Fisher Barton. In an effort to streamline its operations, the company is transitioning more of its manufacturing work to Watertown, where the facilities can operate closer to the technology center, allowing for faster product design and implementation to better serve customers. "We're really happy to have them in Watertown," Mayor John David said. "They provide a lot of people with employment and are community-minded."

Talent & Training: 
Big Ideas at UW-Madison: The university is an innovation powerhouse 
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a big-idea powerhouse. UW-Madison is a $15 billion economic engine for the state, generating $24 for every Wisconsin taxpayer dollar spent and attracting $890 million a year in competitive federal grants alone. "If Wisconsin did not have a research university of the scope and magnitude and reputation of UW, we would not be able to retain what is increasingly advanced manufacturing in this state, advanced agricultural work, the whole growth of the biotech industry here, the growth of startup companies," Chancellor Rebecca Blank says. And that's the point: It's a critical symbiotic relationship between the state and the university. UW-Madison isn't cultivating big ideas in a small bubble; all of Wisconsin -- maybe even the entire globe -- fits inside.

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Madison College South Campus Initiative Community Survey
Deadline: July 28

Madison College is planning for a new South Madison Campus and needs your input. Complete the community survey by 7/28 for a chance to win 3 credits at Madison College. Learn more about the initiative.
WWBIC 30th Anniversary Statewide Reception
August 15, 4-5:30pm
Wisconsin State Capitol

WWBIC celebrates 30 years of impact supporting those who start, strengthen or grow small business in our state. Meet WWBIC's team and enjoy food and beverages from several Wisconsin small business clients. RSVP here.

Applications Being Accepted for FaB Wisconsin
Deadline: August 16, 5pm

FaBcap is a business and finance program designed to build the capacity and capitalization of growing food and beverage companies. Ten companies are selected to participate in the one-year accelerator. Apply for the class of 2017-2018 here.
The Forward Festival
August 17-24
Various locations, Madison

Join fellow entrepreneurs, nerds, geeks, hackers, foodies, and creatives from the Midwest in an 8-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. In conjunction with Forward Fest, Wisconsin Games Alliance will host its quarterly social on 8/21. View the full calendar of events.

MITA Summer Social
August 17, 4:30-7pm
5614 Schroeder Road, Madison

Madison International Trade Association will host its Summer Social on 8/17 at Babe's Bar and Grill. Join your peers for a toast to summer. Find out more.
Value-Added Feed Ingredients Buyers Misson at the 2017 Dairy Expo
October 2-5
Alliant Energy Center, Madison
Meet with pre-qualified buyers from around the world in pre-arranged, one-on-one meetings right here, generate new sales leads, and build relationships with key industry players in conjunction with the World Dairy Expo. Early registration deadline ends 7/31.
View more events and opportunities at

Thank you to Madison Gas & Electric and all of our investors.


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