Business Retention & Expansion Program


The Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) program is a FREE service to employers in the Fox Cities region. Its purpose is to:

It starts with a 45-minute visit and is followed by a quick and customized response based on your unique business needs. Let us help you in the areas of workforce, real estate, regulatory relief, marketing, financing, and other key issues and “growing pains.” It all begins with a brief in-person discussion about your company.


We want to fully understand your company and the factors critical to your success. To better address a wide array of areas impacting your business, we will invite one of our local government partners from the municipality where your business is located, as well as any other relevant private/public/non-profit organizations based upon your request.

Feel free to invite any members of your leadership team who could bring value to the discussion. All information shared, unless otherwise specified, will remain confidential.


After gaining a full understanding of your company, we connect you with available resources based upon your specific needs, and serve as an ongoing local contact for business support. We never charge for our services. Our organization is successful when you are!


The information gained through our BR&E visitation program is used to make the Fox Cities an even better place to do business. While many of the needs and challenges that we discuss will be unique to your company, our program also provides an opportunity for us to identify common themes across our region.


Contact Nick Oostmeyer, Manager of Business Retention and Expansion:


  • "The Fox Cities Regional Partnership reached out to Milk Products and requested an in-person visit to our facility in Chilton to talk about the company’s needs and challenges. I was able to identify a few during our initial discussion, and I quickly found out they were actually listening. From working with the Calumet Co. Highway Department to repair a damaged section of highway that passes right in front of our business, to providing us with resources and information on Canadian trade policies regulating our products and industry, the Regional Partnership has been a responsive source of knowledge for our company since we first made contact with their staff."

    Dave KuehnelPresident, Milk Products LLC
  • "Attracting and retaining workers continues to be a challenge for businesses in our region and across the state.  The Business Retention & Expansion Program of the Fox Cities Regional Partnership is a very effective way to dig deeper into this and other needs of local employers and be able to provide them concrete solutions."

    Chip GabbeyVice President, Pro Staff
  • "I accepted the invitation to meet because I was curious, and what I found was a group of individuals representing the local government, a local business and the Partnership who listened and asked how they could help us grow our business.  It was a great experience which I would whole-heartedly recommend."
    Dick MerbachRegional Vice President, Faith Technologies
  • "Fox Valley Technical College is a long-time advocate of the Business Retention and Expansion program. The professional staff at the Fox Cities Regional Partnership are difference makers when organizations identify potential opportunities or obstacles that can impact  their operations. Through their vast resource network and understanding of the regional economy, the Fox Cities Regional Partnership can make the right connections or bring needed resources to the table that can move organizations forward.  Fox Valley Technical College is proud to contribute to the Partnership and its client organizations when talent development, operational process, and specialized skill solutions are required." 

    Dale WalkerDirector-Business and Industry Services, Fox Valley Technical College
  • “Werner Electric broke ground on our brand new 200,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and regional distribution center in the Town of Grand Chute this past Spring. We are excited and proud of our growth in the Fox Cities. As company leadership was considering where to expand, we were looking at options locally as well as out of state. The Fox Cities Regional Partnership assisted Werner Electric and worked with the Town of Grand Chute in trying to keep us in the region by identifying real estate options; coordinating with WEDC for economic incentives; and bringing in other local partners whose support was necessary in the making of this project. The Regional Partnership’s focus on talent attraction is also a huge benefit to Werner Electric. Our company participated in their first Talent Upload program and will be doing so again this Fall. We appreciate this organization’s ongoing assistance as we keep expanding our footprint in Outagamie County.”

    Craig Wiedemeier--VP OperationsWerner Electric
  • “The Regional Partnership helped us by packaging the different local and statewide economic incentives available for growing companies like ours. It also provided us with economic and industry-specific wage data, which was valuable to the company as we continue to grow our local workforce. We look forward to the Regional Partnership’s continued support as we seek to hire and train more people in the near future.”

    Rick Pfrang--General ManagerBernatello’s Foods/Orv’s Pizza

Examples of Business Retention and Expansion challenges and solutions:


Employers in the region have expressed concerns around attracting entry-level talent. Our Fox Cities Days on-campus recruitment program will bring the Fox Cities to college campuses in the Midwest.


Provided demographic and economic data to local company debating to move entire operation to neighboring state, where they currently have a production facility. Highlighted the competitive advantages of doing business in our region and helped secure local financial incentives. This company continues to call the Fox Cities home.  


Growing company installed a new fire alarm system in their new building, which was considered an upgrade outside current State requirements (State policy requires meeting the minimum or the maximum standards and does not allow anything in between). Company was told they either had to remove all installed equipment or upgrade the entire facility to maximum standards at an estimated cost of $150,000-200,000. Contacted state officials on behalf of the company. Final outcome was that most of the installed equipment stayed in place and is being utilized.      


Employer was dissatisfied with skills of available workers, even those who had completed local technical training. Facilitated connections with FVTC staff to collaborate on program development/improvements to produce better qualified candidates for open positions.


Corporate consolidation will bring additional jobs and equipment to existing Fox Cities location.  Coordinated with local government and WEDC to secure available incentives and financing to support expansion of facility and workforce.   


Company interested in exporting to Western Europe but was uncertain about the market. Provided company with information on market-specific business development strategies, in-country expertise, international market access grants and other technical resources available through WEDC.


Company losing some top-level executives from local facility. Designed program to help executives, as well as trailing spouses, get connected to the community as a way to encourage new area talent to remain with the company.


Facilitated personal connections between company leaders and municipal staff to address an issue of timing of traffic lights that was creating a problem for company truck drivers.


Company is a federal contractor and is required to have a certain percentage of women, racial/ethnic minorities and veterans among labor force. Struggling to attain the required diversity, connected company to several Fox Cities agencies serving these minority populations. Company is currently advertising job openings through the agencies.   


Located within a residential neighborhood, facilitated connections to City, County and State officials to discuss creating an alternate truck route to the plant, limiting heavy truck traffic through downtown and the residential surroundings.


Employers are interested in engaging local high school students via on-site apprenticeship and internship opportunities. Our Future Fox Cities Career Expo & Conference provides an opportunity for students to be introduced to many employers in the Fox Cities, allowing them to learn about endless career pathways as they plan during their middle and high school years.     


Production results in scrap fabric that must be paid to landfill.  Shared alternative disposal technique that reduces cost and supports local charity.


A few companies were dissatisfied with customer service from railroad service provider. Issues included unpredictability of transit times; insufficient manpower to operate trains; insufficient equipment availability at point of origin; failure by crews to spot cars in proper location; and switching delays. Arranged one-on-one meetings between company leadership and railroad representatives to help mitigate concerns.