Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons Bidding Opportunities

Now that we’ve hired our general contractor – Gilbane Building Co and C.G. Schmidt – we’re inviting local and small business enterprises (SBEs) to join us as we build our future and change the Milwaukee skyline with the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.

There will be scores of subcontractor opportunities, and we are committed to fulfilling our promise to  hire SBEs engaged in the construction trades. We want our fellow businesses to be partners in the process of making our vision a reality, and we’re asking community-based organizations to help us get the word out to their constituents.

Click here to view more information about the project and job opportunities.

The Littoral Combat Ship is the Navy’s newest class of warship. The INDEPENDENCE variant LCS is an aluminum Stabilized Slender Monohull ship and the FREEDOM variant LCS is a steel Double Chine Advanced Semi-Planing Monohull ship.

Navy war games, fleet experiments and analytic studies conducted after the end of the Cold War and Operation DESERT STORM determined the need for a new class of small surface combatants designed to operate in the congested near-shore region. In response, the Navy announced it would build a new generation of small, fast, and agile ships designed to neutralize small boats, quiet diesel electric submarines and mine threats found in the littorals.

SBIR grant-matching program aims to fuel high-tech small businesses

MNADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will provide $1 million in funding to entrepreneurs through a new program aimed at commercializing high-tech innovation. The program, called SBIR Advance, will be administered by the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) and will be accessible to young companies throughout the state. Applications will open August 1, 2014.

Funds from the program are available to recipients of federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. The U.S. government created the SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $2 billion of federal research funding each year.

WPS secures $484 million government contract

WPS Health Insurance has received a major government contract renewal valued at $484 million over six years that will help preserve several hundred jobs, the Monona  company announced Friday.

WPS was awarded the contract to continue to administer TRICARE for Life, a Medicare supplement program that serves about 2 million military retirees over the age of 65.

The program accounts for about 11 percent of WPS’ overall revenue, according to a company official.

“This is a major success story for WPS,” said Brian Brugger, executive vice president of the WPS TRICARE Division. “TRICARE is an important part of our business at WPS, and we worked very hard to retain this contract. It’s a significant contract for WPS to be able to retain.”

WPS originally was awarded the TRICARE contract in 2004 and had it renewed once before. The new contract will go into effect in June 2015 and run for six years.

WPS has about 3,300 employees, including close to 2,300 at its Monona headquarters. Two years ago, WPS lost a contract for the Western Region of TRICARE, which resulted in the loss of about 500 jobs, including 250 locally.

“Because we were re-awarded this contract, we’ll be able to maintain many of the jobs we have in place today,” Brugger said. “We went through a similar contract process where we lost the West Region contract and had to lay off all the employees. It would’ve been fairly similar to what happened. It’s a very large contract for us, and we wouldn’t have been able to absorb all the employees if we were not awarded this contract.”

WPS President and CEO Mike Hamerlik said the contract will help secure the future of WPS.

“At WPS, we have been making significant investments in new technology and processes to meet the needs of our customers, including the federal government,” Hamerlik said. “We have visionary plans to move forward as a company and winning this contract proves we’re on the right track.”

The company will continue to seek new government contracts when there’s a good match with its capabilities, Hamerlik added.

WPS still has one more potential obstacle. The two other companies that bid for the contract will have an opportunity to meet with the Department of Defense and the Defense Health Agency to learn why they didn’t receive the contract and could file a protest. Brugger said he is confident that the award to WPS will be affirmed.

“This is a performance-based contract and a competitive bid contract,” he said. “So you have to go in there with a very competitive price, but you also have to show that our performance has been outstanding. The government recognized that through this particular procurement process.”

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The Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI), in conjunction with the Northwest Michigan Procurement Technical Assistance Center, has received national recognition for its work on the Littoral Combat Ship Project from the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC).

The award will be presented by Marinette Marine on July 24th at the conclusion of a 2 day training session for Department of Defense contractors hosted by the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Chuck Goddard, Senior Vice president of Operations for Fincantieri’s Marine Group in Washington DCwill be speaking at the presentation.

Oshkosh Corp. armored truck passes military test

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Oshkosh Corp. says it has reached an important milestone in the creation of a new truck meant to replace Humvee troop carriers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle made by Oshkosh Defense recently transferred critical mission data from onboard computer systems to external networks during a test at a U.S. Army facility in Arizona.

Oshkosh Defense says in a statement that the new truck has passed every test so far in the JLTV program.

The Wisconsin-based company is one of three bidding on a contract to produce vehicles to replace about 55,000 military Humvees.

The new trucks are intended to provide better protection from the roadside bombs that have killed many troops in Afghanistan.

U.S. Senate Committee Moves Forward LCS Funding Proposal

This week the Senate Committee on Appropriations approves funding for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program as part of the 2015 Defense Authorization Act.

Half of the Navy’s contract is being built at Marinette Marine, the other half at a shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The measure the committee approved would fully fund three ships, along with advanced procurements for a fourth. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks.

Eventually it will have to match a House version, which only approved funding for two ships.

“It’s so important the Navy keep its commitment,” U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said in an interview with Action 2 News. “We still have to be very, very focused on the steps that are yet to come, especially when we get to conference with the House.”

Baldwin said she’s been actively meeting with both supporters and critics of the program.

The Wisconsin delegation, both Democratic and Republican members, support continued funding for the LCS at the state and federal level.

“We invested significant money in our capitol budget to built a maritime center of excellence to make sure these ships were still built here in Northeastern Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said. “And we’re going to continue to make the case to our counterparts in Washington.”

Other lawmakers on Capitol Hill have questions, and the Defense Department has proposed ending the program early.

“I’ve also taken the time to sit down with some of the critics of the program to more fully understand their arguments and to frankly help rebut them,” Baldwin said.

The Senate is expected to take up the Defense Authorization Act in September.

Sysco Baraboo, Baraboo, Wisconsin, has been awarded a maximum $16,500,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for prime vendor food and beverage support.

This contract was a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Location of performance is Wisconsin with a July 13, 2019 performance completion date. This is a two-year base contract with one one-year and one two-year option periods. Using military services are Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-14-D-3029).