Note - Notes - Ken Harwood Notes and KenHarwood.com is a collection of the writing and publications of Ken over the years. Most articles and comments may be reprinted without permission as long as both Ken and the Original source are cited.
As time passes many of the original articles are removed from the websites that originally posted them, I may have a copy but like the press I upgrade my systems and things do get lost in transition. I would be happy to address your group anywhere in the state on any issue where I feel we can create a conversation that is good for the State. ... Ken
Below are links to my current publications:
Our Current Publications:
Note - Notes - Apr 28, 2016
Dear Editor: Thank you for you excellent coverage of Earth Day and Earth Day events. I did notice that, once again, global warming was front and center as the key topic of discussion.
I want to remind readers that when Earth Day was created in 1970, global warming was not an issue. In fact, on the first Earth Day ecologist Kenneth Watt stated, "The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."
Oops — but we focused on pollution, water quality, land conservation, recreation, and creating a better world for our grandchildren. I believe we need to return to this vision.
Why focus on global warming? What we need to do is address the issues of expelling carbon into the environment. Global warming is ONE issue, but there are hundreds more and we never talk about them anymore.
We now have leaders suggesting that the debatability of the science surrounding global warming should allow for exceptions or outright elimination of carbon regulations. This would include our own governor and legislative majority.
Global warming is not the only reason to reduce carbon emissions. The fact is that cost-effective ways to reduce emissions that create new jobs, are good for business, improve our economy, return jobs to the U.S. and Wisconsin, improve land use, improve general air and water quality, reduce our dependence on foreign energy, and are good for our grandchildren should be front and center.
I am a pro-business environmentalist who does not give a damn about global warming. Why? Because I do give a damn about getting things done.
Note - Notes -
Mar 3, 2016
Dear Editor: In response to Mayor Soglin asking City Council members to restrict downtown liquor licenses, this is economics 101. Space on State has become too expensive for retail to stay afloat and new food/bars will be in line to fill in the gaps as retailers fall. I agree a retail balance is needed, but Soglin is literally asking building owners to take more risk and make less money. Even the retailers who own their buildings are realizing they can make more selling the building than by staying in business.
To get retail one needs investors to acquire the properties and lower the rents for retail business or attract high-volume, high-profit retailers. There is a gap here for the investor, because he or she can invest in higher-margin business like, well restaurants and bars. Taking away or limiting these entities does not fill the gap.
Restricting liquor licenses will prevent new attractive businesses from coming downtown and will keep the older watering holes in place. They will increase profits by lowering prices and encouraging the behavior the city is trying to curtail in the first place. High-margin retailers may come as well, but it will be Vaopor shops, not art, clothing and gift stores.
To create a retail vibe and market share, the downtown retailers need to operate like a single store or mall. Co-op advertising, events, tourist and resident hours, an eclectic mix of retailers, and other intensives like a cool little transit system would be a start. The BID (Downtown Business Improvement District) works in this direction and does a good job with limited resources. The mayor may want to turn there for ideas. Once all this is in place, you can be selective with liquor licenses and develop the mix you are looking for.
Note - Notes -
Nov 16, 2015
Dear Editor: Regarding your editorial "Shut down Scott Walker`s WEDC before the next jobs fiasco," I have suggested dramatic change for WEDC since before it was created. But when a company was hinting at leaving Lafayette County, WEDC was still my first call. The Lafayette company stayed and WEDC did help. I do suggest that WEDC should have been more communicative, made the process easier and more transparent, and been able to provide access to their resources without my having to know a "guy" on the inside. WEDC does need to be fixed.
That said, the only thing worse than the WEDC we have now is no WEDC at all. The ability to direct funds in a timely manner is imperative. A link to federal funds is crucial. Even the communication to the Legislature, as poor as it may be, is needed.
The bad: WEDC does not track the loans or grants they make, the communication is at best partisan, they do not work closely enough with the development professionals or elected officials at the local level, and they shoot their wounded. It is a mess but a strong leader could fix it. Should fix it. And if fixed, it would be a needed tool in a state with few tools at its disposal. The new mantra should be prioritize, justify, track, communicate.
Shutting WEDC down and returning the functions to the even more dysfunctional, more partisan, less informed state Legislature would be a mess.
Evansville and Madison
Note - Notes -
Sep 23, 2015
Dear Editor: Regarding the new distribution center for Dollar General in Janesville.
This is great! And we can do more. The I-39 corridor is considered a mecca for distribution and Illinois has been capitalizing on this since I was working on projects in Deforest a decade ago. There is an organization with a website and WISCONSIN should be better represented!
I have talked to the organization (The I-39 Logistics Corridor Association) and they would love to work with Wisconsin. In fact the Rock County Planning, Economic & Community Development Agency and Helgesen Development are members. Our Illinois-is-the-enemy and anti-rail approach is not helping, though. With Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi as prime targets, I-39 and Madison are right in the middle, a distribution home run of sorts.
I challenge the state and Legislature to strengthen our presence to bring even more Dollar General-like centers to the area!
Note - Notes - DAVE ZWEIFEL | Cap Times editor emeritus | Sep 4, 2015
A recent Voice of the People letter written by Ken Harwood said what a lot of folks feel about the state`s biggest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.
"It is too bad that (WMC) has an opportunity to take a lead role in working with both sides on an energy plan for Wisconsin and chooses to just say no," Harwood, of Evansville, wrote.
But that`s been WMC`s usual stance in recent years, staunchly opposing any proposal that it perceives as challenging the status quo, and then turning it into a partisan political issue.
WMC has been nothing short of apoplectic over the Environmental Protection Agency`s carbon reduction plans, contending that for Wisconsin to reduce emissions over the next 15 years will bankrupt everyone from business owners to homeowners.
The business consortium`s vice president for communications, Scott Manley, is dispatched to spread the alarm through alarmist guest newspaper columns and appearances on radio and television shows.
But, as Harwood asks, wouldn`t it be more productive to actually work on a solution that could not only meet what really are quite reasonable EPA guidelines with ample time to meet them, but could really be a blessing for the health of Wisconsinites and of Earth itself?
As Harwood pointed out, the WMC should mention that the cost of solar is way down and natural gas can now fill in many of the gaps that the organization claims are problems caused by onerous emission limits on coal-fired power plants. Instead, Manley`s op-eds focus on the limits of wind power.
"Why can`t Wisconsin take a lead role in energy production, environmental sanity and a nonpolitical approach to working together as a state to create new jobs, a better environment for our kids and political sanity?" he asks. "Remember when Wisconsin used to lead the way on some very difficult issues that the nation was dealing with? Why can we not do this again?"
Why not, indeed.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel
Note - Notes -
Aug 29, 2015
Dear Editor: It is too bad that Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has an opportunity to take lead role in working with both sides on an energy plan for Wisconsin and chooses instead to just say no. Scott Manley and WMC should mention that the cost of solar is way down and natural gas can now fill in many of the gaps he cites as problems. Wind will continue to come down in price and size, and increase in efficiency, and using it as the sole example is wrong and misleading.
Many of the energy companies are willing to work toward a more green distribution network. That said, why can`t Wisconsin take a lead role in energy production, environmental sanity, and a nonpolitical approach to working together as a state to create new jobs, a better environment for our kids, and political sanity.
Remember when Wisconsin used to lead the way on some very difficult issues that the nation was dealing with? Why can we not do this again?
Note - Notes -
Aug 11, 2015
Dear Editor: The issue of President Obama`s Clean Power Plan will impact the state and it is too bad that we have lost the bipartisan pro-environment position once so strongly a part of Wisconsin. If our governor truly wants to stand out in the crowd, he would do well to rethink his position on energy.
I may be missing something, but I hear a lot of business professionals and energy experts saying the new goals are attainable without impacting business. If I am wrong, let me know. I also hear about jobs in the coal industry, but do we have a clue as to how many jobs were displaced by computer technology? I suggest we ban the use of computers to put people back to work, oh — and ban cars to get the stable jobs back.
Also a thumbs up to Cap Times for including so much data in their editorial.
Note - Notes -
Dear Editor: Rep. Melissa Sargent`s column, "Don`t let go of dream for a better Wisconsin," sounds great, but where is the balance that suggests we work with employers to sustain a future that both provides jobs and protects our environment? She wants a great education for her children but statistically they will leave the state for good jobs if they are well educated. We need a nonpartisan viewpoint that understands the delicate balance between our resources, jobs, education and our future, and unfortunately neither party is close.
Note - Notes -
Apr 18, 2015
Dear Editor: Wouldn’t it be great if Melissa Sargent and others wrote more about hopes and dreams?
I noticed a couple of letters from Ken Harwood recently. In one he wrote: “Where is the balance that suggests we work with employers to sustain a future that both provides jobs and protects our environment?” There was another about the Clean Power Plan.
Balance or equilibrium is an important quality. If it were possible, all of our systems could be tuned for optimal performance. There is a sort of balance where the greatest benefit can be brought to the greatest number of people for the longest period of time. Thinking seven generations ahead is fitting.
I can suggest looking into the return on investment with energy efficiency. I can suggest looking at what the development of local, scaleable, distributed renewable generation would do for us.
There can be more than two sides to an issue. I feel the Clean Power Plan — energy planning — has more than two sides to it.
To exclude energy efficiency, demand response and local renewables from our energy planning is a grave error. Unfortunately, this may be what is happening with two sides of the issue being portrayed.
Note - Notes - MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | firstname.lastname@example.org | Mar 21, 2014
In what local officials call a sign of the area’s robust recovery, private sector wages in Dane County jumped 9.3 percent over the past 12 months, the second largest increase in the nation.
Only San Mateo County, southwest of San Francisco, saw average wages grow at a faster rate, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week.
The Dane County wage numbers were included in the quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (CEW), the same that showed Wisconsin 35th among states in private sector job growth.
Areas like healthcare, information technology and education services were driving the pay increase, with wages in those sectors jumping by double digits. Construction wages in Dane County were also up sharply.
Paul Jadin, president of the business boosting Madison Region Economic Partnership or MadREP (formerly Thrive), says the jump in wages here is reflective of the region’s strength in higher-paying, technology-based sectors.
“What is most telling to me is how it shows Dane County doesn’t rely on manufacturing as much as the rest of the state,” he says.
Manufacturing wages in Dane County were up only 2.7 percent over the past year, with about 24,000 workers in that sector out of a population of 503,000.
Ken Harwood, who edits Wisconsin Development News, credits Epic Systems for contributing to the wage growth. The Verona-based medical records giant is the Dane County’s largest private sector employer with more than 6,000 staffers.
“Epic is bringing in all these kids and paying them $50,000 or $60,000 right out of college,” he says.
But Aaron Olver, economic development director for the city of Madison, was quick to caution that Epic Systems accounts for only 2 percent of total employment in Dane County and doesn`t account for the entire pay boost.
“While Epic certainly has an important impact, this top-line growth in wages reflects a more robust economy,” says Olver.
One potential quirk in the data is the line showing a nearly 49 percent increase in wages in the education and health services sector, with 189 new establishments formed over the past 12 months.
Jadin had no explanation for those figures and said it may take some more research to figure out what was accounting for that huge figure.
“It might be related to Obamacare but we’ll need to do more drilling down to determine what it is,” he said.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi cheered the numbers, saying it shows the attractiveness of the region, its outdoor recreation, arts scene and diverse communities.
“Dane County leads the state in high-tech employment growth,” he says. “We have a culture of collaboration and innovation that suits this industry very well.”
The CEW is considered by most the economists the “gold standard” of data since it relies on actual job data gathered from 95 percent of U.S. employers. The data set released this week is for the 12-month period from September 2012 through September 2013.
Note - Notes - MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | email@example.com | Mar 7, 2014
If the people renting all those shiny new apartments in downtown Madison aren’t interested in buying real estate, what impact might that have on the broader housing market?
It’s a difficult question to quantify given that no one is keeping stats on recent arrival home buyers per se.
“People who are more tempted to rent downtown are really opting for that more urban lifestyle,” says Chad Sperry, owner of the Condo Shoppe, a division of Restaino & Associates. “They aren’t looking to commit long-term.”
The broader housing market has clearly rebounded since the recession, with Dane County seeing 7,397 total sales in 2013, about 7 percent below the record 7,981 sales set in 2005.
At the same time, sales of lower-priced homes which are often considered the best gauge of first-time buying activity are still lagging a bit.
Figures compiled by Troy Thiel of Keller Williams show 2,564 sales of homes in the $100,000 to $250,000 price range last year in Madison, Fitchburg and Middleton. That’s about 26 percent below the number of entry level sales for those cities in 2005.
Thiel cautions against inferring too much from the data, however, noting that a lot of sales activity in the lower prices ranges came in Verona, Sun Prairie and Cottage Grove — areas not included in his analysis above.
Still, Thiel concedes that workers in technology fields, i.e. Epic Systems, are perhaps not the best market for selling a home or condo.
“There may be some truth to the millennials being less likely to buy right now,” he says. “It also has something to do with high-tech employees moving more frequently."
Epic’s impact on the local scene — the apartment market or otherwise — has sparked a lively discussion over the past few days. Alan Talaga in Isthmus this week asked whether Madison might see a backlash against tech workers like the one that has occurred in San Francisco, a topic explored in this week`s Capital Times cover story, “Boom Town.”
For economic development officials, the question is: How do you get those new arrivals to put down roots here, investing in the community and adding to the tax base and school system?
“I actually think we will see some of these (apartments) convert to condos as that market rebounds and the inventory becomes tighter,” writes Ken Harwood, editor of Wisconsin Development News.
Harwood has long predicted that downtown living would become the hot new trend in Madison as both young professionals and empty nesters seek a more lively urban experience.
“Now the trick will be to keep the YP`s and Boomers downtown,” he says. “We will need great schools, entertainment, heath care, grocery and lest you think I forgot, transportation.”
Anecdotally, Realtor Liz Lauer says her firm sold 15 homes to Epic employees last year and advises against painting with too broad a brush when considering the impact of Madison`s emerging technology sector.
“What I’ve found different today is that people moving here don’t just grab a Realtor and buy something,” she says. “They want to feel like they have some liquidity and don’t know if they will be in the city that long.”
At the same time, Lauer says as younger people decide to stay here, get married or start having children, they will consider making a longer term housing investment.
“I feel like millennials will still be buying homes, maybe just not right now,” she says....
Note - Notes -
Sep 2, 2011
What if each state were to partner with educational institutions, their natural resource departments, the federal government and independent agencies (such as the Nature Conservancy) to set aside a parcel of land (say 500+ acres per state) as a living laboratory for advanced energy conservation and green technology research? The idea would be to create entire communities that are completely “off the grid.” A school, company or individual would receive a small parcel of land for free (and tax free) to develop a residence or other facility that is self- or community sustainable. These small “land grants” would be based on proposals for a project that would be built and maintained as permanent structures or projects by an institution, company or individual.
The entire community would have no access to outside electricity, natural gas or other utilities or services. No gasoline-powered vehicles or construction equipment (including cars, except carbon free). All carbon-based or non-green power and fuel usage would stop at the boundary of the community. Only institutions, companies or individuals committed to an onsite project would have any say in the development of the community, so that once the land grants are made the community becomes self-governing as long as the “off the grid proviso” remains intact. The community would not be subject to outside taxes or fees, and would not receive services provided by local governments. (An exception would be made for health and major emergencies – ambulance service and major fires, for example.)
Eventually the community would have to deal with issues that cannot be solved on an individual site or by a single project. These include power generation and distribution, retail, communication, employment, waste disposal, roads and transportation, land use, public facilities, trash and recycling, taxes or utility fees, parks, governance, public safety and the thousands of other issues that every community must deal with. The communities would of course remain under federal, state and local statutes, but would need to address many issues as an independent community.
As our 50+ “experiments” evolved, each community could eventually become a tourist destination so outsiders could explore a sustainable community functioning completely off the grid. Tourism could even become a revenue source for some of these communities. Media would no doubt take an interest in the projects and provide coverage that would attract corporate attention. I am guessing that companies like NEW Holland, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, GM, Hyundai, VW, Mazda, Ford, Caterpillar and others would be quick to bring electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles to the communities. Of course GE, Siemens, Vestas, Acciona and other wind companies would be very interested in power generation and distribution. This list would grow exponentially as solar power producers as well as bio-digestion, geothermal and other companies bid to participate and be seen as a solution to our energy problems. This list will not stop — think of: insulation, windows, building materials, power tools, sewage treatment, electronics, water delivery and purification, refrigeration, cooking, foods, pets, livestock, gardening... Clearly my one page mantra will abbreviate this list long before I run out potential problems or partners to solve them.
There are so many questions to answer. Communication, for example: Is using a powered cell tower or Internet provider not in the community fair? What about radio or TV signals? How does this differ from materials manufactured off site and then used for homes, businesses or projects in the community? Do we bring our trash to the “border” and pay someone to haul it away or do we deal with it internally?
By allowing the communities to address all of these issues without outside influence, additional funding, or specific mandates, we could learn from the attempts to establish next-generation power and other services, as well as governance. By having 50+ separate communities, we would see several different solutions to everyday problems. By not funding the individual projects we would see the true economics of the various solutions. Communities could range from survivalist camps to ultra-tech new urban cities and everything in between. The best of the ideas and technologies would quickly find their way into the mainstream and others would be found to be economically or otherwise unfeasible.
Well, there you have it — my one page solution to the world’s energy problems. Really though, I believe that with the right backing and support we could get some of the best minds in the world working on energy solutions with a very minimal investment. We poured billions into ethanol, only to see many of the projects fail and very little return on our investment. We invested little or nothing into Low-E glass and now it is a building standard seen by most developers as an investment. My suggestion is to grow solutions from needs and economic sustainability rather mandate them from our perceived notion of what the solution might be.
One of my favorite events is the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. It is this year and open to the public from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This is also the problem with the event — it is every two years for just one week. While the projects eventually are relocated, they become isolated and only address limited issues. My idea just raises the bar a bit....
Note - Notes - MIKE IVEY | firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
Nov 4, 2011
Apparently, the editors at Site Selection magazine have not heard that Wisconsin is open for business.
The leading corporate real estate and economic development publication has again left Wisconsin off its list of http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2011/nov/cover.cfm">Top 25 States for Business Climate.
Site Selection released its 2011 rankings this week, with Texas slotting in at No. 1 after being runner-up to North Carolina for the past nine years. North Carolina fell to No. 3 behind Georgia.
The magazine noted that companies are flocking, literally by the thousands, to the Lone Star State. The Atlas Van Lines annual study of corporate relocations in 2010 showed more than 7,200 business moves to Texas, 58 percent of all the relocations in the nation last year.
Moreover, nearly 40 percent of the new U.S. jobs created since June 2009 were created in Texas, the magazine reports.
In its rankings, Site Selection uses a 50-50 mix of hard data and interviews with business executives. Data measurements include new plant openings; total projects per million in population and 2011 tax climate as measured by the Tax Foundation.
Executives interviewed offered comments on why Texas is such a great place to do business. Among them were "a pro-business, entrepreneurial, right-to-work state" and "no state income tax, ease of pulling permits, available workforce."
The top five states named by Site Selection are all from the South but Indiana ranked No. 6, Ohio No. 9, Michigan No. 15, Illinois No. 21 and Iowa No. 23.
To find Wisconsin on the Top 25 list, you need to scroll all the way back to http://www.siteselection.com/sshighlites/1098/">1998, when the Badger State slotted in at No. 22 and Tommy Thompson was in the governor`s office. It hasn`t appeared in the Top 25 since.
States can move quickly up and down. California was No. 1 back in 2000 but has fallen to No. 20 in 2011. Michigan was No. 2 as recently as 2002.
Wisconsin did enjoy a nice mention in the May issue of http://chiefexecutive.net/">Chief Executive Magazine, which ranked the state as the 24th best in the nation to do business, up from 41st in 2010. That was the biggest increase of any state and http://walker.wi.gov/journal_media_detail.asp?prid=5809&locid=177"> a ranking that was http://walker.wi.gov/journal_media_detail.asp?prid=5809&locid=177"> cheered by Gov. Scott Walker.
The editors of Site Selection, based in Norcross, Ga., did predict a comeback of sorts in the Midwest http://www.siteselection.com/issues/2011/sep/Upper-Midwest.cfm">in this article published in September. It notes the Upper Midwest has lots of unused industrial capacity and is poised to rebound.
So how can Wisconsin improve?
"Hanging an open sign is only the first step in encouraging new business," says Ken Harwood, editor of http://www.kenharwood.com/">Wisconsin Development News and former mayor of Neenah. "We need to stock the shelves with products businesses want, like, great employees, good schools, continuing education, infrastructure improvements, and a stable tax environment."
Milwaukee area businessman and http://johntorinus.com/">columnist John Torinus says he doesn`t put a lot of stock in magazine rankings of business climate.
"To me there is only measurement that really matters and that is how many new companies are you creating," he says. "We need to make Wisconsin the kind of place where people want to start a business."
On the positive front, metro Milwaukee -- which includes Waukesha and West Allis -- has ranked near the top nationally of major metro areas for job growth for most of 2011.
"Wisconsin is doing better but there is more to be done," says http://www.refocuswisconsin.org/wisconsin-weve-got-a-problem-by-tom-hefty-john-torinus-and-sammis-white"> Tom Hefty, former CEO of Cobalt Corp. and a longtime state business advocate.
But Wisconsin http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/18/news/economy/poverty_perry_texas/index.htm"> beats Texas on a couple of important measures. It has both a lower unemployment rate and lower poverty rate.
Note - Notes - Nov 3, 2010
Dear Editor: I have some advice for the winners of Tuesday’s election. I base it on things I have done (or not done) as an elected official in the past, as an advocate for economic development and jobs in the present, and as a retiree in the future. It is nonpartisan and it is very basic.
• Don’t spend what you don’t have. If you do not have a known revenue source to support a program, don’t approve the program.
• Spend one-time money once. If your community gets a federal grant and hires three new police officers, next year it has no grant but three additional employees.
• Borrow only for things that will outlast the loan.
• Think globally by empowering locally. We need to focus on U.S. companies and opening overseas market to our products before we make cheap consumables available to the Walmart shopper.
• Banks don’t buy cars and houses, people do. Make loans and jobs available to the people so that they can stay in their homes, not to the banks so they can afford to foreclose.
• Use a cause and effect tax structure. If we need substantial road and transportation improvements, use gas and vehicle taxes to pay for them.
These are simple, obvious, logical rules -- most of which, if not all, will be broken before the next election. In two years I will be able to make the same recommendations, and I will sound as obvious then as I do now -- and that is the problem.
Note - Notes - Ken Harwood | Capital Region Business Journal columnist
Dec 27, 2009
There is a tidal wave of government regulation regarding the production of energy on the horizon. Both the U.S. House and Senate are currently considering bills that would require substantial amounts of energy to be produced from renewable or cleaner sources. The two bills both enact a set of mandates that “cap” future carbon emission levels and allow utilities to “trade” emissions on the commodities market. I would be negligent to not point out how well using these same markets worked for the banking and mortgage industries.
This system of “cap and trade” regulations will change the way we do business in the U.S. and the Midwest. States that rely on the use of coal -- and have less than ideal conditions for the production of solar, water or wind energy -- will suffer. These states will be forced to either pay for more expensive/less productive technologies or will have to purchase credits from areas requiring fewer resources or producing more carbon-free energy. The end result, in either case, will be higher energy costs for Midwest manufacturing states including Wisconsin.
Unfortunately the real winners may not be the U.S. at all. Countries that ignore environmentally friendly policies and are able to supply lower cost energy will attract new manufacturing. Nike shoes and Apple Computers, manufactured abroad, would benefit — while New Balance and Dell, with North American facilities, would suffer. The debate has also become extremely partisan, which makes little sense to me because at the heart of the issue are domestic jobs and the U.S. economy. In the end we may actually create substantially more carbon emissions worldwide as our heavy manufacturing moves to countries with lower or nonexistent emission regulations.
Let me outline the dilemma as I see it. Assume the UW-Madison develops new technologies for an electric vehicle. A Wisconsin company licenses the technologies and develops a cost-effective prototype for a car with zero emissions. Plans for production begin and the company is forced to another region or overseas because of energy costs and government regulation. Can’t happen, you say -- I would point out that there are no televisions that are made in the U.S., most other consumer electronics are foreign, most cars are imports, most toys, clothes, and even much of our food is no longer domestically produced. I am a fan of the global market but the playing field has to be somewhat level for the game to be fair.
Now for the positive side of the energy dilemma. One Wisconsin firm has seen the tidal wave and decided to grab a surfboard and ride it in. I sat down with Scott Neitzel of Madison Gas and Electric and asked about the future of energy production in Wisconsin. Scott shared an MGE initiative, the Energy 2015 Plan, to create economic and environmentally responsible energy. The plan outlines that the company will discontinue burning coal at the downtown Madison Blount Generating Station by 2011, increase its use of wind tenfold, involve the customer in energy efficiency efforts, and secure a cleaner more reliable and affordable product across the board.
To date MGE has made good on the promise. The Blount facility will soon no longer rely on coal, MGE has increased its wind generation from 11 to 137 megawatts, and the company has incorporated new cleaner technologies into its generation facilities portfolio. In addition, MGE has educated the consumer and offers a Green Power Tomorrow program, which allows customers to voluntarily purchase renewable energy for a penny per kilowatt-hour and sell solar energy back to MGE for $0.25 per kilowatt-hour.
Neitzel suggests, “Renewable energy is a part of our corporate culture from the top down.” In describing how they got here he used a sports metaphor from Wayne Gretzky: “You skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is.”
The most interesting observation I can make is that MGE was not motivated by current policy or the looming cap and trade initiative. In fact the 2015 Plan was adopted in January of 2006, a full two years before the new administration or current legislative agendas. I learned a lot about balancing good business with good policy from Scott and MGE. I hope this lesson will be shared on Capitol Hill before legislation is drafted. We must remember that energy, the environment and good business is, like surfing, a balancing act. If we are really going to ride the wave to shore, we need to see it coming.
One more confession, I stole the whole surfing analogy from Scott. Sorry -- Cowabunga dude!
Note - Notes -
Dear Editor: Today’s news is suggesting that Tom Barrett would not remove his children from their Milwaukee schools if he were to run for governor and that he would want to spend some time in Milwaukee if he was elected. I suggest that not only could this be a good idea for the governor, it would be a great idea for the rest of the elected state officials as well.
Spending time outside Madison would allow our legislators to spend more time in their districts talking to local businesses, having coffee with seniors, getting involved with the local schools, and getting to know the real problems and the real opportunities in their districts.
I have served on a school board, city council, or as mayor of a community in this state almost continuously since 1982 and I can count on one hand the number of times an elected official actually came to a meeting or sat down to talk with the local elected officials. I have seen countless pieces of legislation passed that would have no doubt benefited from the input of these local officials.
Specifically the qualified economic offer for teachers, tax incremental financing laws, and many of the grants and loans for business all slightly missed their intended mark. Just a little insight could have prevented errors that have had to be fixed or have cost the state real tax dollars, new business, or great teachers.
Wisconsin was founded on the ideal of part-time legislators in touch with their respective communities. While legislators retain residences in their district, the “in touch” factor is, in most cases, simply not there.
Note - Notes - Mike Ivey| firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 29, 2009
All we know for sure is that 1) President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Madison area next Wednesday and 2) he wants the Milwaukee mayor to run for governor.
But Ken Harwood, who puts together a good weekly recap of local and statewide business in his http://www.wisconsindevelopmentnews.com/">Wisconsin Development News speculates the two are linked.
"My crystal ball says you will see a (Tom) Barrett announcement tied to the Obama visit next week. They will use Wisconsin`s leadership in education to stress the importance of a an education friendly administration. Just a guess. WDN is not meant to be political but the next governor will have a huge impact on economic development in the state," Harwood opines.
Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the same thoughts you can read http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/noquarter/65957092.html">here.
Ah, nothing like a good political race to get your mind off the economy.
News - Harwood Family -
Original Work - Notes - Kat read me a chapter on positivity from an author she likes, thus this journal. A few brief positive thoughts each day. I am yet again venturing into a new career creating news blogs using this format for companies, communities, or organizations to stay in front of their client base. The positive side I like the work and the system for delivery is in place. Now we will seek the pay side....
Original Work - Notes - Positivity is a book that is on the required list for my certification for becoming a certified parenting coach. Of course, I love finding books of any kind about positive psychology so it's no stretch for me to read this one. But, I don't need to have it read until June and I have so many other things to read. It becomes a struggle to find time for the things that I enjoy right now. The idea of journaling is a good one yet I am afraid that it might become "one more thing to do" in an already too-full life. However, after this week I will not be working quite as much with the babies and journaling is one way to focus on the many positives in my life. On that note I will name a few of the many positives that exist in my life as a reminder of why I am working so hard right now: my Savior Jesus and all that He has done to forgive and restore me, my husband and our relationship that provides both a foundation and motivation to continue, our children and grandchildren, who add so much joy and a reason to demonstrate a well-lived life and our puppies, just because.
Original Work - Notes - test
News - Other News -
Developing Your Business" Environmental/Sustainability Credentials "
Information Sessions and Workshops on Applying to the Green Tier and/or Green Masters Programs
Presented by the WI Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and WI Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Choose your date and venue from the 4 remaining options below (registration links are found at the end of the email):
Wednesday, May 1st at 1:30 - 4:30
WI Institute for Sustainable Technology
University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point
Room 223, Dreyfus University Center
Monday, May 13, 2013 at 1:30 - 4:30
Tuesday, May 14th at 1:30 - 4:30
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Allen conference room in the Cleary Alumni & Friends Center
Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Whitewater Innovation Center Room 105
The State of Wisconsin has a number of programs for businesses interested in developing environmental or sustainability credentials. Perhaps credentials will increase your competitiveness or allow you to more effectively engage your customers. Perhaps senior management is looking for ways to build brand image around environmental leadership or sustainability. Or perhaps investors are asking your CFO what your company has done to become more efficient, productive or sustainable.
The Green Tier and Green Masters Programs are two credibility-building programs, and are among the most innovative of state programs in the country. Tom Eggert, who works with both the Green Tier and Green Masters Programs, has presented information on the programs to hundreds of companies in a variety of settings. The Profitable Sustainability Initiative is a technical assistance program run by WI Manufacturing Extension Partnership. We have added this program because of interest from the public!
The first hour of each workshop will be devoted to explaining the programs, describing the application process and identifying the benefits of participation. Following a short break, participants are invited to stay and complete an application to either Program. Assistance in completing the applications will be provided.
Both the Green Tier and Green Masters programs are free, and a recent analysis by UW Stout indicates that carving out time to apply to one of the programs is the single largest impediment to greater participation. The application process for either program is simple and straightforward, and can be completed during the workshop. By the time you leave, you will have applied to one, or both, of the programs.
The Profitable Sustainability Initiative does have a cost associated with it, but in exchange, you have access to a variety of technical assistance providers that will help you with specifics related to your facility.
Session Cost: Free.
For more information or to register, call Tom at 608 267-2761 or register online (links are hot links)
May 1st at WI Institute for Sustainable Technology at UW Stevens Point - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/366978
May 13th at Northland College - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/366982
May 14th at UW La Crosse - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/366988
May 16th at UW Whitewater - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/377390
Additional information about the venue of your choice will be provided once you register. You will need to bring a laptop or tablet along in order to apply to either program.
News - Other News -