Doyle, Leinenkugel praise arrival of AMS to River FallsGovernor Jim Doyle on Monday praised the arrival of River Falls Air Motion Systems to western Wisconsin as "just the type of high-tech firm that will make a difference."
By: Steve Dzubay, River Falls Journal
Governor Jim Doyle on Monday praised the arrival of River Falls Air Motion Systems to western Wisconsin as "just the type of high-tech firm that will make a difference."
"It's so important to get back to the basics," Doyle told a group of about 60 people gathered on AMS's production floor. "We need an economy that actually makes things."
Flanked by his new Secretary of Commerce, Richard Leinenkugel, Doyle presented AMS owners Steve & Kathy Metcalf and partner Hans Ulland with a ceremonial check signifying the $250,000 in tax credits the company will receive for building within Wisconsin's "Technology Zone".
Doyle said Wisconsin's exports have grown 80 percent since he became governor 5 years ago. Competition is going to get even more fierce but Doyle said he's confident "we can compete successfully with anyone else in the world."
Leinenkugel, 50, joined Doyle's cabinet just two weeks ago. He spent 21 years working in the family's beer business and working for Miller Brewing Co. after it purchased Leinenkugel's 1988. He left as vice-president of sales and marketing.
"I took this position because I love a good challenge. I want to raise the visibility of our department," said Leinenkugel, a former U.S. Marine and Waukesha County board supervisor. He urged business people present to keep in touch with him and freely share "what works and what doesn't" in the form of incentives to grow business in Wisconsin.
After brief remarks, Doyle was introduced to Metcalf's children, visited with local politicians and challengers, shook hands with city officials and listened attentively as Ulland used a demonstration printing press in the building's lobby to show how AMS's ultraviolet driers work.
Doyle and Leinenkugel flew into New Richmond earlier Monday where they visited Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and announced three workforce training grants totalling nearly $212,000. The grants will help WITC work with area companies to update worker skills, improve quality and productivity, improve productivity and communication skills and help workers advance, Doyle said.
AMS opened in early August, occupying a $3.5 million, 36,000-square-foot energy-efficient facility in River Falls Whitetail Ridge Business Park on the city's north side. The firm relocated from Arvada, Col.
AMS manufactures ultra-violet drying/curing systems for the printing and packaging industries.
River Falls offered AMS an incentive package that includes $300,000 worth of land and about $100,000 in site improvements. The city will recover its investment over the next decade through tax-increment financing. The developer’s agreement also commits AMS to generating 15-20 new full-time jobs over the next five years.
The firm is awaiting a high level of LEED certification for its building. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a third-party certification program created by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Among the building's features are skylights, motion-sensor lights, low-maintenance landscaping, rain sensing sprinklers, a reflective roof, geothermal heating/cooling, super insulated wall panels and super-high-speed air hand dryers in the restrooms.
Metcalf has said the company employs a mix of engineers, field technicians and skilled electrical and mechanical workers.
Doyle left River Falls about 11:50 a.m. in the back of a unmarked State Patrol squad car, bound for Chippewa Falls. There he was to award another $250,000 Technology Zone grant to Great Northern Corp., a 46-year-old firm that provides custom packaging and distribution services and employs 712 workers across the state.