Business development 

Nicolet Bankshares, the holding company for Nicolet National Bank, acquired Advantage Community Bancshares Inc. through a definitive merger agreement. Terms of the all-cash deal were not disclosed.

Tomah Bancshares Inc., the parent company of Timberwood Bank in Tomah, is merging with Bank First Corp., the holding company for Bank First, N.A. On May 18, Timberwood Bank will open as a Bank First branch. Bank First Corp. is a bank holding company with headquarters in Manitowoc with total assets of approximately $2.2 billion. It operates 23 branches in Wisconsin.

Secura Insurance grew its direct written premium to $728 million in fiscal year 2019, an increase of 8.7 percent over the previous year. In addition, total assets grew to more than $1.4 billion, a new record level for the company.

The Department of Defense modified a contract to award Oshkosh Defense an additional $25.5 million to produce Joint Light Tactical Vehicles.

Gordon Flesch Co. acquired Information Technology Professionals, a managed service provider based in Madison with locations in the Appleton and Milwaukee areas.

Jewelers Mutual Group opened an office in Dallas.

QuiCK Transport purchased the open-deck division of Xtreme Trucking.

PMI Entertainment Group purchased Celebrations Party & Event, an event rental services company. The business, now known as Celebrations, relocated to 1011 Ashwaubenon St. in Ashwaubenon from its previous Velp Avenue location in Howard.

Breakthrough created a new transportation data management platform, FELIX, that provides shippers with a single, streamlined system to secure and strengthen strategic relationships with transportation partners.

Amcor announced its collaboration with British startup Garçon Wines to make its signature and more sustainable flat wine bottles available to the U.S. market.

Bay Area Granite and Marbleannounced plans to expand to a third location.

Kohler Co. began offering third-party verified Declare labels for plumbing products, a first in the category.

Business comings and goings 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Wisconsin opened a new office in Neenah.

Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists relocated its Oconto Falls clinic to HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital.

Titletown Development and Mahler Sotheby’s International Realty opened the TitletownHomes Sales Gallery for the 54-unit condominium development under construction in Titletown.

New businesses opening in Sheboygan include Denmark State Bank, Biggby Coffee and a Trek bicycle store.

Little Owls, a child care center available during first and second shifts, will open this summer in the Town of Wilson.

Lakeland Care opened an office on Riverside Drive in Green Bay.

Kohler Credit Union announced plans to open a location in Manitowoc within the Meijer store that’s opening this spring.

Construction news

Construction began on mixed-use development Block 800 College Ave. in Appleton. It includes retail/commercial space and 20 market-rate apartments.

ThedaCare completed a renovation project at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. It includes updates to the main entrance and lobby, Aylward Surgery Center registration area, new flooring, wall coverings and furniture. Donors to the ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah, including a lead gift from Bergstrom Automotive, covered the cost of the project.

Quasius Construction broke ground on construction of Nourish, a commercial demonstration kitchen in Sheboygan Falls.

Immel Construction began construction on a new front entrance for St. Nicholas Hospital. It also completed a $6.5 million expansion project for Freedom House Ministries.

Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction Inc. is completing renovation projects for Abby Bank, Appleton; Parker John’s BBQ & Pizza, Ashwaubenon; and ACOCA Coffee, Appleton.

Keller Inc. is completing projects for the following organizations: Town of Freedom Fire & EMS, Town of Freedom; Legacy Express, Fond du Lac; Country Inn & Suites, Green Bay; Oakfire Pizzeria, Kenosha; MH Oak Creek, Oak Creek; Scentability, Tomahawk; Scinico Family Dental, Madison; North Shore Eye Health & Wellness, Cedarburg; and Lamers Bus Lines, Weston.


Microsoft is investing $100,000 in CESA 7 to bring computer science education to Brown County schools. CESA 7 plans to implement the CS Talent Ecosystem Youth Pilot Program in Brown County school districts.

Lawrence University is the No. 3 impact school in the country in a new ranking released by The Princeton Review. The 2020 Best Impact School ranking focuses on both the student experience on campus and how alumni perceive their career.

The Small Business Development Center opened a new office location at UW-Green Bay.

Lakeland University and Esslingen University of Applied Sciences in Esslingen, Germany, signed a cooperation agreement, which will provide study abroad opportunities.

Parkview Elementary School and Plymouth High School in Plymouth debuted $31.9 million in renovations made possible through referendums.


Schneider received the 2020 CIO 100 Award for Innovation for its leadership position in utilizing technology and processes to improve the experience of customers, associates and carriers.

Oshkosh Corp. was named one of Barron’s “100 Most Sustainable Companies” for the third consecutive year. The company was also included in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook for the third consecutive year, recognizing its sustainability performance by placing it in the top 15 percent in its industry category. In addition, Ethisphere named Oshkosh Corp. to its list of 2020’s Most Ethical Companies.

The Chartis Center for Rural Health named ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano and ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca to its list of 2020 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Dura-Fibre a patent for its Foldable Crate System. It covers the unique paperboard fold which creates a 90-degree corner, improving the seal and reducing excess packaging.

The Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau honored organizations and individuals at its annual tourism breakfast: Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley, Fox Cities Exhibition Center and Laura Wackershauser of the Wisconsin Holstein Association for hosting and bringing the 2019 National Holstein Convention to the Fox Cities; Hands Up Wisconsin for bringing the National Deaf Evangelism Ministry Conference to the Fox Cities; and Bob Buckingham, community development director of the Town of Grand Chute, for his contributions to the new Community First Champion Center.

The United States Chamber of Commerce awarded the Oshkosh Chamber with 5-Star Accreditation for

its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community.

Festival Foods presented its 2019 Business Partner of the Year award to Badger Liquor.

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership presented awards at its annual meeting: Sam Meyer of 18 Hands Ale Haus, Exterior Design of the Year; Legendary Hotels for the Hotel Retlaw, Interior Design of the Year; HempWorks Wisconsin and Hair Lounge, Best New Business of the Year; and Fond du Lac Public Library, Downtown Legacy Award.

Reader’s Digest named the Osthoff Resort to its list of most beautiful lakeside resorts in the world.

The Immigrant Restaurant & Winery in Kohler achieved the AAA Four Diamond Restaurant designation.

The Brown County Library received a Governor’s Financial Literacy Award.

Weidert Group was named the North American winner in the Website Design category in HubSpot’s Q4 2019 Impact Awards.

Red Shoes Inc. earned an honorable mention in PR Daily’s 2019 Video & Visual Awards in the Interview Video category for “The Story of Hazel and Paisley Hardwick” campaign.

RealtyHive was named as a 2020 HousingWire Tech100 Real Estate winner, honoring innovative companies in the real estate industry. The company also announced it had reached the milestone of more than $2 billion in onsite real estate inventory.

Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin presented awards: Keller Inc., Project of the Year award for design and construction of Eagleview Dental Office in Prairie du Sac, Gold Projects of Distinction in Construction award for Tri City Glass & Door, and Silver Projects of Distinction Excellence in Construction award for J. J. Keller & Associates; Faith Technologies, three Projects of Distinction awards recognizing its work for the Secura Insurance headquarters, Illumina research facility and Exact Sciences manufacturing and production facilities; Consolidated Construction Co. Inc., Gold Projects of Distinction in Construction award for the United Public School District’s Des Lacs High School project it completed in North Dakota.

Elevate97, together with its advertising agency, KHROME, was honored at the 2019 American Advertising Awards, winning the Best of Show ADDY Award, three gold awards and six silver awards.

Faith Technologies received recognition from Healthiest Employers at the national level as well as receiving four regional recognitions for its healthy workplace initiatives.

Three Appleton ventures were among those to advance in the 2020 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest: NeoCortechs, and FixedPicks.

Capital Credit Union and Pillars received the Business Partnership of the Year award as part of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s Celebrating Volunteers awards.

Toyota Material Handling presented Conger Industries with its 2019 President’s Award.

Northern Sky Theater Creative Center & Gould Theater, designed by Madison-based firm Strang Inc., received the In Business 2020 Commercial Design Award for Best New Development or Renovation in the Retail category.

AdvisorSmith ranked Sheboygan County No. 5 on its list of Top Cities Where Manufacturing is Thriving. recognized Harbor Centre Marina in Sheboygan with the Boaters’ Choice Elite Fleet designation.

Security Health Plan of Wisconsin Inc. earned five service quality awards for 2019 from Service Quality Measurement, a North American research firm that specializes in customer service improvement.

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center welcomed its 400,000th student as part of its Amcor Education Series.

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin named Suburban Electric the winner of the 2019 Safety Award of Excellence (Large Contractor) at its annual conference.

Charitable Giving and Grants

More than 150 Wisconsin communities received grant awards from the Multimodal Local Supplement, a one-time $75 million funding program for local transportation projects. The grant includes funding for projects in these New North counties: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca and Winnebago.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund awarded the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority a Capital Magnet Fund grant of $3,375,000.

The U.S. Forest Service awarded $200,000 in grant funding to mitigating the impact of the emerald ash borer to Restoration Of Our Trees Sheboygan, the program known as ROOTS.

A grant from Associated Bank is helping the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. continue offering its Business Intelligence Team program in the county. The program works directly with business owners or executives to address strategic growth challenges such as developing new markets, refining business models and finding valuable competitive intelligence.

CompRex of De Pere received a $100,000 matching grant to commercialize its innovation through

the Small Business Innovation Research Advance program. CompRex plans to develop an advanced heat exchanger for use in aerospace applications while reducing the size and cost of the exchange.

Calumet County received a Wisconsin Assessment Monies program grant for a brownfields cleanup project at the former T&M Plating site.

The Clintonville Area Foundation awarded $12,500 in grants to nine charitable organizations serving the Clintonville area.

Festival Foods raised more than $232,000 for nonprofits in 2019 through its icon campaigns, which allow shoppers to donate at checkout.

The Women’s Fund of Door County awarded the United Way of Door County a Sustainability Grant to support the Door County Partnership for Children and Families.

The Canary Fund awarded $11,000 in seed grants to six individuals and their projects. The fund provides grants to those working toward creating more just, compassionate and sustainable communities in Northeast Wisconsin.

The group M.A.T.C.H. (Making Appleton Tennis Courts Happen) presented $14,000 to the City of Appleton as part of an ongoing effort to preserve tennis courts at parks in Appleton.

The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is offering nonprofits a census mini grant to assist with outreach. The application is open through April 15.

All the rest

The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the City of Sheboygan may annex 250 acres of land in the Town of Wilson where Kohler Co. plans to build a golf course along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The City of Menasha Common Council unanimously approved construction of a new $11.4 million public works facility on Baldwin Street in Menasha. It’s scheduled to be completed by June 2021.

The City of Sturgeon Bay and Door County have joined forces to help economic development projects.  The Sturgeon Bay-Door County Economic Loan program would combine $1.4 million in the county’s Community Development Block Grant Economic Development revolving loan fund

with the city’s $875,000 in similar block grant funding.

Ripon is one of 75 cities nationwide competing for a $25,000 prize in the 2020 America’s Main Street Contest presented by Independent We Stand and supported by Stihl Inc.

The Urban Hub added new resident entrepreneurs, who will use the co-working space in downtown Green Bay as the home base for their companies and will be able to answer questions from other entrepreneurs. They include: Joe Bashta, CEO of Axicor; Chad VanCalster, CEO of Qolos; Brandon Rohde, president of LiveTime Racing; Jim Rafter, CEO of GB News Network; and David Troup, CEO of Konect Sport.

Calumet County released its “Welcome to Calumet County” video designed to provide information about the county to current and future visitors, workers, residents and students.

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce announced the dates and locations of two Bazaar After Dark night markets: June 6 in New London and July 29 in Neenah. Vendor applications for both events are open.

The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. has partnered with the Business Intelligence Team, which was developed by the Center for Business Intelligence at the Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship within the University of Wisconsin System.

Oshkosh Area United Way launched the Volunteer Oshkosh website to help connect organizers and volunteers.

With a new temporary exhibit, the EAA Aviation Museum is honoring the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), who flew essential missions during World War II. It will be open through early 2021.

Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport began offering winter coat check.

The Green Bay Packers launched “Legacy: 100 Seasons of the Green Bay Packers,” presented by Associated Bank, on the team’s free connected TV streaming app. It’s a 10-part documentary series celebrating a century of the Packers, with every decade represented by an individual film between one and two hours in length. The Packers also launched a new online signup system for its Brown County Ticket Drawing, which allows all eligible residents of Brown County to sign up for the opportunity to purchase up to four tickets to a single Packers game each season, all at face value.

The Society for Marketing Professional Services Wisconsin Chapter announced that in addition

to offering programs in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, it is expanding to offer programming in Green Bay, Appleton, De Pere, Manitowoc and surrounding areas.

The Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative launched a new podcast, “Dairy Stream.”

Prevea Health became sponsor of the Winter Park snow tubing hill in Kewaunee.

Wello released the results of its 2019 Community Health and Well-Being Survey of Brown County residents. It looked at physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment. The results of the report are available at

Fox Communities Credit Union will once again sponsor Mile of Music.

The Oshkosh Public Museum is running the temporary exhibit “Then & Now: Old Photos as Today,” through May 24.

BayCare Clinic launched the BayCare Clinic Podcast.

3 Sheep Brewing Co. released a new beer, Pendulum IPA.

Foundations Health & Wholeness and Exceptional Equestrians announced a new partnership to support children and adults in equine-assisted psychotherapy. Foundations is also accepting nominations for its 2020 Ethics Awards beginning April 16.

In recognition of its 25th anniversary, On Broadway and its Street Art Silver Series put out a call for artists to submit their requests for proposal to help install 25 new public art pieces in the Broadway District in 2020.