Kenosha Area Business Alliance

“Chalk Talk Kenosha” makes its way to Madison

Do you remember the community art project that was on display in various business in downtown Kenosha last summer?  Well, it has made its way to the state capitol art gallery in Madison.  See below for some pictures:

What are you

In a photograph a young woman holds up a sign that reads, “A man robbed me and put a knife to my kid’s neck.” With her hair pulled back in a practical ponytail and chips evident in her brightly colored fingernail polish, the young woman poses purposely for the camera. But is her message a plea for help, some kind of message the viewer is supposed to act upon?  Written in chalk on black construction paper, this chilling statement is a response to seemingly simple request:  Describe an incident that changed you. The request, stark response, and subsequent photograph are all part of a “chalk talk” workshop conducted at the Kenosha Literacy Council.

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City Council approves application for Wisconsin Main Street Program

Downtown Near LakeAt Wednesday night’s Common Council meeting, the Council approved a resolution to support the city of Kenosha’s application to the State of Wisconsin Main Street Program, which is a state program that will provide help with ongoing efforts to improve the downtown area.  The resolution to submit the application was approved by a roll call vote of 13 to 0.  (Four alderpersons were not in attendance on Wednesday night:  Alderpersons Patrick Juliana, Tod Ohnstad, Rocco LaMacchia, and Jesse Downing.)

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Public speaks out on streetcars

Streetcar 4617, recently donated at no cost to Kenosha Transit, is towed by one of the city’s existing streetcars. /Earlene Frederick photo

At Monday afternoon’s Transit Commission, Ron Iwen, transit director, and other members of the Transit Department heard from the public on their views on the proposed streetcar expansion.  The city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes $10.2 million for the proposed expansion of the streetcar over the next two years.  The project, which would have all but $2 million of its costs covered by federal funding, could extend the streetcar through downtown with a track going south on Eighth Avenue and north on Sixth Avenue from 50th Street to Library Park.

Several people were concerned about traffic congestion and traffic jams which might be caused by the slow movement of the streetcars in the traffic lane of the street.  Iwen said that “mass transit hauls more people faster than cars.  At Bradford High School, it took 68 seconds to dump 70 students.  This will not cause congestion.”

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Meijer acquires Supervalu facility

The village of Pleasant Prairie made the following announcement regarding Meijer, Inc. acquiring the Supervalu Midwest Distribution Facility in Pleasant Prairie.

Supervalu is working to keep regional office jobs that were located at the facility here, the press release says.

Here’s the whole statement:

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KABA fills new post

There is a newly created position at the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), the director of talent development, with Brooke Infusino being tapped to fill it.   She will join KABA on October 29th.

Brooke Infusino

In the newly created position for the organization, Infusino will have a variety of duties relating to the development and advancement of Kenosha County’s workforce.  Her role will include serving as a liaison to our primary, secondary and post-secondary education system; administering its mentor, scholarship and other programs supported by the KABA Foundation; and serving as the executive director of Y-Link,  Kenosha County’s young professional organization.

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$5,000 for 3 Minutes: Deadline to Enter FastPitch Business Contest is Aug. 9

Photo by mensatic via

Entrepreneurs, business owners and students are all invited to deliver a three-minute “pitch” about their business or business concept to a group of judges from the business and investment community. On the line: $5,000 for the individual who knocks his or her pitch out of the park in the 1st Annual Racine/Kenosha FastPitch Competition.

Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) and the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) are coordinating and promoting the event.

Individuals must strive to make every second count: on Wednesday, Aug. 29, they have 180 of them to describe their business, or their idea for one. Even for those who do not walk away with the cash prize, there are many benefits: the setting offers competitors the chance to refine their business focus, enhance their presentation skills, network with fellow entrepreneurs and connect with potential investors or individuals who can accelerate the realization of their idea.

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Downtown strategic planning meeting held tonight

Todd Battle, president of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) opened the meeting, which was held at the Kenosha Public Museum earlier this evening.  This was the third and final interactive workshop in relation to the downtown Kenosha strategic development plan.  There were over 100 residents, business owners, and civic officials present.

A presentation was made by The Lakota Group representatives, and other organizations such as the Goodman Williams Group, Ty Lin International, Clue Group, Josh Bloom, and Carolyn Dellutri.  Click here if you’d like to view the entire presentation for yourself:  Presentation.  After the presentation, the audience was then broken up into groups based on the number shown on their name tags, and asked to provide their feedback on certain concepts.  Tonight, The Lakota Group wanted to collect residents’ input on their plans.

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Last “Future of Downtown Kenosha” workshop is Tuesday

The third and final community workshop focused on the future of Downtown Kenosha is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17, culminating months of input from a variety of stakeholders. The session will be from 7  to 9:00 p.m. at the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 First Avenue. The workshop will build off the previous two workshops and present for review a refined draft master plan/land use strategy for downtown Kenosha with supporting analysis.

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Bradshaw Medical to Expand, add 80 – 100 advanced manufacturing jobs

Bradshaw Medical is the first recipient of funding from Kenosha County’s new High Impact Fund.

Due to strong demand for the company’s products, as well as growth in the healthcare industry, the company plans to add 80 to 100 full-time positions over the next three years. The company specializes in the design and manufacturing of medical instruments for spinal implant surgery, the fastest growing segment of the orthopedic industry. Other applications for Bradshaw’s instruments include knee and hip replacements and trauma surgeries.

Bradshaw Medical’s operations are located in the Business Park of Kenosha in a state of the art manufacturing facility that was opened in the fall of 2010. A start-up company in 2006 with only 4 employees, Bradshaw expects to employ approximately 200 workers once the expansion is complete. Bradshaw holds 24 U.S. patents and has an additional 12 pending.

Bradshaw Medical’s President Keith Easter said:

“We will use the funds for additional personnel and equipment to help support our growth. A key component of this project is the development of an innovation center to better serve our customers and provide cutting edge technology and innovative products. This will allow us to focus on penetrating new markets faster and providing additional services we do not currently have.”

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Milisauskas named KABA Mentor of the Year

John Milisauskas /photo courtesy of KABA

Helping people find their place in the world—that’s the thread that has coursed through the life of John Milisauskas.

For the past 12 years, through the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) Mentor program, he has channeled that passion to guiding third- to fifth-grade students at Jeffery Elementary School in Kenosha.

On Thursday, April 5, Milisauskas will be recognized as Mentor of the Year at KABA’s Annual Meeting at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha. In his nomination, Tom Schock, a counselor at Jeffery Elementary School, cited Milisauskas’s warmth, patience and commitment with those he has mentored.

“John understands children,” Schock wrote. “John understands that children often show hurt and loneliness different than us adults. He understands their needs including the need to just listen. Listening can sometimes be the best medicine for loneliness.”

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Revived business investment sparks surge in KABA’s Revolving Loan Fund

KABA’s Revolving Loan Fund program just completed a blockbuster year, granting over $5.3 million in funding to local businesses in 2011.

The program makes low-interest loans available to businesses throughout Kenosha County, stimulating business growth and expansion and encouraging private investment and economic development.

It was the second-best year on record for the financing program, which began in the 1990’s and has provided over $50 million in loans to Kenosha County businesses since its inception.

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Downtown strategic development plan meeting

One of three boards for the Visual Preference Survey

The Lakota Group hosted the first of three community workshops tonight at the Kenosha Public Museum.  It was a casual evening with snacks, candy, and drinks.  Participants visited the five interactive stations at their own pace during the open house format, giving their opinions on transportation needs, downtown buildings and areas to develop or tear down, and also a visual preference survey.  This survey asked participants to rate their response to a series of pictures of downtown.  They had to mark whether they liked the picture, didn’t like it, or had a neutral response to it.  Representatives from The Lakota Group manned each of the stations, and asked participants for their input by either placing dots on maps, or by completing surveys.  About 150 people participated.

KABA hired The Lakota Group to serve as the lead consultant on the project.  Lakota intends to engage several partner companies in the effort.  Collectively, these firms have expertise in planning, urban design, landscape architecture, community relations, real estate analysis, transportation engineering, and environmental engineering and analysis.

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KABA and KACC announce local business award winners

A pair of Kenosha County business organizations will recognize seven local companies and one individual for their success on Thursday, Nov. 3.

The 2011 Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards, presented by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Student Center University Ballroom at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The revised format for this year’s awards includes a distinction between smaller and larger businesses, as well as recognition of emerging companies known as the “Fast Five.”

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Finance committee meeting notes

Photo by mensatic via

At last night’s Finance Committee, the following major items were discussed:

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) gave their 2nd quarter loan report.  The revolving loan fund and the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) fund were reviewed.  The KABA representative was pleased to report that there were no past dues in either fund.  Both Chairman David Bogdala and Alderperson Daniel Prozanski had questions for the KABA rep regarding who at KABA is responsible for going out, seeking and attracting new business to locate here in Kenosha.  Todd Battle, the president, does this.  Prozanski requested an update on what the organization is doing regarding the economic development of Kenosha.  The 2nd quarter report was received and filed.

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KABA adds economic development director

Brian Rademacher /submitted photo

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance has hired Brian Rademacher to fill its newly created position of Economic Development Director.

Most recently, before beginning work with KABA on May 26, Rademacher worked for four years as Economic Development Coordinator for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

In that capacity, he worked with the planning commission for a seven-county region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will) in Northeastern Illinois. He also worked closely with economic development corporations, local governments and business leaders to provide insight into the economy and to identify needs ranging from industry analysis to workforce development.

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Young Leaders in Kenosha to hold installation breakfast

What do bowling for charity, a cocktail party featuring a young entrepreneur’s talk and a business executive breakfast series have in common?

In May alone, it’s Y-Link, which stands for “Young Leaders in Kenosha.” The burgeoning non-profit group has grown to about 125 professionals, including emerging leaders and relative newcomers to Kenosha.

The group was formed in 2009 as a partnership between the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Kenosha County. One of the group’s overarching goals, in alignment with KABA’s strategic plan, is to attract, retain and engage young talent.

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Four KABA members honored in Madison for excellence

Some six weeks after receiving word that they were among 33 businesses selected as Wisconsin Companies to Watch, four members of Kenosha Area Business Alliance  gathered recently at the ceremony honoring their excellence.

Centrisys Corporation, Equity Creative, Regulatory Compliance Associates and Xten Industries were honored on May 5 in Madison by the Wisconsin Entrepreneur Network and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

As in the past, KABA was a sponsor of the annual awards program, developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation and which puts the spotlight on second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, exhibit innovative products, services or processes, or otherwise make their company “worth watching.”

The Edward Lowe Foundation broadly defines a ‘second-stage’ company as one that has 10 to 99 employees, between $1 million and $99 million in revenue and has moved beyond its start-up phase and is entering a period of significant growth.

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Agreement between city and KABA for new Jockey site deferred

The license agreement between Kenosha and the Kenosha Area Business Alliance for the building at 55th Street and 6th Avenue, which was deferred from the April 18 meeting of the Finance Committee, was again deferred tonight.

The building has been acquired by KABA and is expected to house the Jockey Closeout Center now on 39th Avenue.

Todd Battle, KABA president, requested the deferral for two more weeks in order to ensure that adequate parking would be included in the agreement. The items will appear on the Finance Committee’s agenda in two weeks, on May 16.

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Illinois exhibit company moving to Pleasant Prairie

Pleasant Prairie village President John Steinbrink at the press conference. /Submitted photo

UPDATE 5:04 p.m. — Additional info and photo added.

Catalyst Exhibits, Inc., will receive a $500,000 loan from the Community Development Block Grant–Economic Development (CDBG-ED) program of the Department of Commerce to relocate its operation from Illinois to Pleasant Prairie, Gov. Scott Walker announced today.

The governor attended an announcement of the move today in Pleasant Prairie.

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KABA acquires downtown building; Jockey to move closeout center there

The Jockey Closeout Center now on 39th Avenue in Kenosha will be moving downtown into a building at 5500 Sixth Avenue acquired by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, the KABA announced today.

Jockey Chairman and CEO Debra S. Waller made the following comment on the move: Continue reading