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Group details plans to improve region's economy

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Kevin Hoffman
October 28, 2010
— Southeastern Wisconsin's economic growth council is confident exposing local resources to larger, national markets will drive job creation and establish untapped revenue streams.

The Milwaukee 7 held its final meeting of the year at George Williams College, presenting its outlook for water technologies and food and beverage industries throughout the area. Research conducted by the council indicates the two markets are ripe for improving the economic climate.


Shelley Jurewicz, vice president of Milwaukee 7, revealed a new advisory committee designed to network and expand the reach of local businesses. There are 253 food and beverage companies in the region, employing about 14,700 people with $590 million in annual payroll.


The Milwaukee area is known for its beer and cheese industries, but Jurewicz compiled a list of at least a dozen other markets that have room for worldwide growth.


Organic, health, and locally-grown food industries are projected to be in greater demand in the coming years, according to one economic study.


"The Midwest is the sweet spot for healthy eating," Jurewicz said. "We really want this network to encompass the entire value chain of the food and beverage industry."


The Milwaukee 7 comprises community and business leaders in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Ozaukee, Walworth, Waukesha and Washington counties.


The proximity to Lake Michigan, one of the nation's largest fresh-water resources, puts southeastern Wisconsin in a position to expand its water technologies industry, said Dean Amhaus, executive director for Milwaukee 7.


Amhaus said the council is "actively pursuing" foreign investments.


American Micro Detection Systems, a water technology company headquartered in California, announced plans to build manufacturing operations in Milwaukee. Helios USA, a solar module manufacturer, is establishing a plant in Menominee Valley.


Milwaukee 7 wanted to help create more than 18,000 jobs by 2014 and estimates about 6,159 this year are earmarked for the area. That accounts for about $260 million in total payroll, according to the council.



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