Green Bay Innovation Group

November 16th, 2022 Newsletter

Read the November 16th, 2022 Green Bay Innovation Group Newsletter here.

GBIG Mission Statement

Green Bay Innovation Group

The mission statement of the Green Bay Innovation Group is to bring together and create opportunities for networking between Wisconsin companies involved in the Paper, Printing, Pulp, Plastics, Packaging, Converting and Supplier Industries! GBIG creates an open dialog between companies. GBIG webinars, meetings, etc. talk about current and new products, technology, innovation, sales, marketing, social media/web design, new equipment, etc. 

GBIG is looking to create new products, new markets and expand the presence of our industries in Wisconsin. We are here to help you push the norm and challenge one another to help make our companies and our communities better.  

Finally, we are bringing financial support to our Communities especially to those most in need through the donations from our Sponsors!

GBIG NEWS | 75 Stories and Links on the Internet 11/16/2022


Get links to the latest news, events, stories, and interviews from our 5P news sponsors. Our goal is to remind the decision makers in Wisconsin of the importance of our industry both historically, and more importantly, into the future.

Read the latest 75 Stories and Links on the Internet below.


Menasha Corporation | Smart Girls Rock Event

Menasha Corporation was a presenting sponsor of 2022 Smart Girls Rock, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career exploration event for high school girls in the Fox Cities area of Wisconsin. The one-day event was held on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the Walbec Group in Greenville, Wisconsin and is coordinated by the Fox Cities Chamber.

Wisconsin’s Paper Industry is Under Siege by China

I have attached an article published December 9, 2012: Paper Under Siege and Wisconsin has failed to grasp of the impact on the Wisconsin economy! I have listed below a number of paper mills that went out of business, reorganized, no longer producing paper or simply left the State of Wisconsin. Each Shutdown means the loss of 300 to 600 high paying jobs draining millions and millions of dollars from areas that need the employment and income. We boast that the Wisconsin Paper Industry is number one producer of paper in the USA and has 30,000 employees today and continues to decline! In 1990, the industry employed close 50,000. It has been said, one job at a paper mill creates 7 jobs supporting them! These Paper Mills drive the Printing, Packaging Converting and Forestry industries supporting a large labor force across Wisconsin.

We see the China Government pouring in Billions of Dollars buying up US Paper Mills and investing into mega-mills betting that China can control the Paper Industry worldwide with low-cost paper. Simply, Wisconsin has to re-focus it support on the paper industry. If not, we will see China buying up our Converting, Printing, Packaging and Manufacturing Companies too! If you are interested in joining a group of industry professional supporting the paper industry, please contact me.

  • Appvion – Appleton – No longer producing paper. 
  • Appleton Coated – Appleton – Out of business.
  • Badger Paper Mills – Bankrupted and reorganized BPM, Inc.
  • Billerud – Verso mill in Wisconsin Rapids shut down
  • Clearwater Paper Company – Neenah – Closed
  • Flambeau Paper Company – Park Falls – Closed
  • George Whiting Paper Company – Menasha – Closed
  • Georgia-Pacific – Broadway – Green Bay
  • Georgia-Pacific – Oshkosh – Shutdown
  • Gilbert Paper Company – Closed
  • Glatfelter Mill – Neenah – Closed
  • Kimberly-Clark – Neenah – Moved Headquarters to Texas
  • Neenah Paper Company – Moved headquarters to Georgia
  • Nekoosa Paper – Nekoosa operating as Paper Excellence
  • New Page – Kimberly files for bankruptcy
  • Niagara Paper Company – shutdown
  • Whiting Plover Paper Company 
  • Port Edwards Paper Company – Port Edwards – Shutdown
  • River side Paper Company – Appleton – Shutdown
  • Ward Paper Mill – International Paper – Merrill – Shutdown
  • Wausau Paper Company – Wausau – Shutdown
  • Whiting Paper – Menasha – Shutdown

Worzalla Prints 17th Installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Over 250 million copies later, Worzalla continues to print wildly popular book series

Stevens Point, Wisconsin (October 26, 2022) – Worzalla, an employee-owned printing company specializing in high-quality children’s books, cookbooks, and hardcover best sellers, is celebrating the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diper Överlöde. This is the 17th book from the #1 internationally bestselling series Diary of a Wimpy Kid by author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney. Worzalla has been the domestic manufacturing headquarters of the popular series since the first book.

Publisher Abrams announced Diper Överlöde back in May of 2022 so that Worzalla could plan for the production of millions of copies of the 224-page hardcovered young adult fiction book. Worzalla managed the full process of printing the book from putting ink to page, binding, and delivery. The entire process took 80,000 manhours and 2 million pounds of paper, equivalent to the weight of about five blue whales or about two Boeing 747 aircraft at maximum takeoff weight.

Photo: Marley Cavanaugh, daughter of Worzalla associate Shasta Grosbier, poses with copies of the freshly printed book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diper Överlöde.

“Worzalla is proud to print a book that so many children and young adults see themselves in and can help them navigate friendships, bullying and growing up,” said Jim Fetherston, CEO and President of Worzalla. “We’re excited to see how readers will respond to this installment of this wildly popular series.”

In Diper Överlöde, protagonist of the Wimpy Kid series Greg Heffley finds out that the road to fame and glory comes with some challenges. Greg joins his brother Rodrick’s band on tour and learns the unglamorous parts of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle like late nights, unpaid gigs, fighting between band members and money troubles. The book is told through Greg’s diary and includes black and white cartoons.

Worzalla prints titles from some of the country’s largest book publishers, including Disney Books, Abrams, Simon and Schuster, Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and others. Worzalla currently has several open positions for supervisor, operations, and entry-level roles to assist in the book manufacturing process. Those interested in learning about a career at Worzalla can visit

About Worzalla

Worzalla is an employee-owned printing company headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Founded in 1892, Worzalla has 130 years of experience in creating high-quality custom products for its customers. Worzalla specializes in the production of cookbooks, children’s and lifestyle books, and is dedicated to exceeding expectations for quality, service, and delivery. From small to large publishers, Worzalla is the printer the industry turns to for manufacturing high profile projects and award-winning books. With numerous industry awards for safety and workplace culture, Worzalla is consistently ranked as one of the top places to work in central Wisconsin. For more information, visit

Rust to Tech, Part 1

By Susan Stansbury, Industry Consultant

Reprinted with permission from

This begins a five-part series, Rust to Tech. While some still think of the manufacturing engine of the U.S. as the old “rust belt,” those in the industry know it’s often a new technologically driven behemoth. Traditionally, it is concentrated in the Midwest, but that’s changing too.
Beginning with a look at the rust belt image and concentrating on mills making substrates and related converting—is part one. Parts two-four will provide commentary on some of the latest converting capabilities and associated markets. Part five will concentrate on emerging and disruptive technologies impacting industry.

The Rust Belt

Some “industrial archeologists” commenting on the Rust Belt from the 1960s onward, count states from western New York to the Midwest, and industries from coal, to steel, automotive, papermaking, converting and manufacturing in general. Access to raw materials from paper mills along rivers, plus shipping lanes along canals and the great lakes made the Midwest a hub. Other substrates including films and the development of nonwovens also came into play for converters.
When factories in various industries went down due to overseas competition, the Rust Belt label took off during the 1970s. In ensuing years, the lack of factory upgrades was also a factor. In addition, a transition away from the levels of unionization previously seen was occurring and wages stagnated. Still, certain manufacturing sectors remained relatively vibrant, such as the paper industry.

Paper and converting, primarily in the Midwest, stayed strong, particularly under Midwest ownership. When I served on the Wisconsin Paper Council decades ago, there were about 60 members while today there are less than a third of that. Consolidation, outside owners of local mills and shutdowns have comprised the papermaking scene. Through all this time, however, Wisconsin has been the number one papermaking state and change is occurring in terms of capabilities, sustainability, and technology.

The image of Midwest manufacturing and converting as Rust Belt remnants has persisted, though it’s changing, especially in the converting sector. The overlap of papermaking and converting has also been a factor with many mills that coat, cut, calender, and do more with jumbo rolls.
In recent years, mills have often outsourced the “converting” aspects to manufacturers who specialize in converting. One example was the outsourcing of rewinding-slitting by Georgia-Pacific in Green Bay to companies who are skilled at fast turnaround of precision cuts. In fact, many mills now turn to contract converting partners who have specialty operations.

More than ten years ago, I originated the tag “The Converting Corridor.” It’s the stretch from Green Bay to Milwaukee. If you drive that stretch along Hwy 41, it’s readily apparent that a string of factories lines the roadway attesting to this powerhouse of manufacturing. Wisconsin and Indiana constantly vie for the Number One position in U.S. manufacturing, and Wisconsin often has the title (in terms of employment). Yet, converting is always king in Wisconsin. In addition, the abundance of small-to-midsized converters means there is low likelihood of moving operations out of state or overseas. Their niche and specialty nature are another factor.

Converting by its definition means that these manufacturers add value to mill rolls of substrates. In many ways, it’s a newer, and more profitable, type of manufacturing as capabilities to convert through cutting, coating, laminating, printing, special finishes, and packaging offer marketers advanced potential to attract consumers. Accompanying the actual converter-manufacturing are the equipment and other suppliers, from adhesives and pressure-sensitives, to testing, controls and so much more.

Converting expertise is not only affected by the latest equipment, but a variety of other factors also have largely kept the “rust” away. These include:

  • The ability to adapt and upgrade current equipment to develop niche markets.
  • Improved process controls that result in more seamless production and productivity.
  • Increased expertise delivered both internally and assisted by external consultants. 
  • Fast response and increased converting offerings that result in trendy products.

Coincidentally, a television series (based on the book) American Rust is offered. It’s set in the heart of the East Coast Rust Belt, Pennsylvania, and illustrates the continued interest in this era of American manufacturing. Too often we hear, “Our country doesn’t make things anymore.” In converting, we say that is a misnomer in terms of this industry and the quiet success it continues to earn.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where the types of converting capabilities are examined along with associated technologies that keep this industry vibrant.
(This article was slightly edited since the original.)

Insights From The 2022 Wisconsin Manufacturing Report | First Business Bank

On the heels of a very successful Manufacturing First event, where we were so pleased to meet a record number of manufacturers and organizations, we’re sharing the 2022 Wisconsin Manufacturing Report, which provides valuable insight on key issues impacting Wisconsin manufacturers all over the state. First Business Bank is proud to sponsor the report again this year.

Commissioned by Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity (WCMP), the report reflects concern over raising prices and capital investment, among other revelations. First Business Bank’s Tom Dott, Senior Vice President – Commercial Banking, writes about his impressions in a blog.

Manufacturing is vital to Wisconsin’s economic prosperity, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help bring you this timely, important data.

SPL Consulting reaches milestone

With supply chain challenges continuing to confound label and package printers, saving time and money while driving efficiency in a manufacturing facility has never been more important. SPL Consulting has focused on the processes and procedures that help optimize performance in these plants.

Brian Van de Water, CEO, SPL Consulting, has helped bring Lean Manufacturing and strategic planning to countless label converters throughout the years. From working with leadership to identifying sources of waste on the shop floor, Van de Water has been instrumental in supporting the industry.

Most recently, SPL Consulting reached an impressive milestone: creating over 100,000 hours of additional capacity for the firm’s clients. According to Van de Water, these savings translate to 50 full-time positions.

“I want to thank the clients who trusted me enough to bring me into their organization and the people I met along the way for making my dream become a reality,” says Van de Water. “It’s an exciting achievement for me. The savings we’ve reached also equate to over $11 million in machine rate capacity and $35 million in revenue capacity. I didn’t initially set out with that as a target, I was just hoping to survive.”

SPL Consulting has emerged as a trusted partner of many leaders in the label and package printing space. Blue Label Packaging Company, Brook + Whittle, Creative Labels Inc., and Tailored Label Products are among those that have leaned on Van de Water’s services to help boost their operations.

SPL Consulting starts with a deep assessment of an organization. Through the assessment, SPL uncovers strategic, process improvement and organizational opportunities that clients often haven’t thought about – or they are unaware of. The firm then creates a detailed and prioritized course of action to improve through a combination of strategic planning, Lean Enterprise and organizational changes that generate results.

“When reviewing the financial impact after just three events, one client said, ‘Something must be wrong. Net income has never been this high,’” explains Van de Water. “The trailing quarter was four times higher than any quarter in the company’s 25-year history. I showed the direct correlation to capacity hours created to the drop through in net income. Another client, after just four months, generated and sustained an increase of over $1 million of revenue per month resulting from increased capacity.”

Prior to starting SPL, Van de Water successfully led seven turnarounds without eliminating positions, using the tools and leadership approach with which he now consults.

“One client said, ‘The other consultant was T-ball, you are the Major League,” he says. “Another had this to say: ‘If we had Fantasy Label Teams, he’d be a top first-round draft pick.’ If I don’t think I can add value, I will not take on the engagement.”

Van de Water has become a fixture at many prominent labeling events, from TLMI functions to the FLAG Annual Meeting. SPL has grown along with the businesses of its clients.

“When I started SPL Consulting, my wife was freaked out and frankly, so was I,” recalls Van de Water. “Most who attempt this don’t succeed. I committed 100% to stay the course and ignored offers of employment. I still have moments of doubt, but I am increasingly confident that SPL will be able to serve industry for many years to come. More importantly, I am blessed to have developed lasting, lifelong friendships with many of SPL’s clients.”

SPL Consulting’s services have become even more valuable as companies deal with supply chain challenges and staffing shortages. Companies often invest in new equipment. In the case of Van de Water, he works with clients to optimize the tools currently present in their facility. Oftentimes, making the decision to change is hardest part.

“It seems many companies struggle to make the decision to move forward for too long,” he remarks. “One of the philosophies I share repeatedly with clients is this, ‘Take action, and any action is better than no action – even if it is wrong – as long as we learn from it.’ You won’t improve if you don’t try. I hear repeatedly from clients that their teams gain trust in me very quickly and see that SPL’s efforts will make their lives better.”

As the industry evolves, advancements in automation will improve performance in speed, quality, and changeover times. Lean processes will continue to be a valuable tool in shaping standard work with these new processes.

“Those processes involve both transactional and manufacturing-based systems that will need to be reviewed periodically as companies grow,” states Van de Water. “Working with teams to create standard work will always be crucial to developing and maintaining scalable processes. SPL’s unique combination of strategic planning and process improvement expertise equip me to add value from the boardroom to front line.”

GBIG Sponsorship Benefits Update 2022

Wisconsin is the global epicenter of the paper, printing, plastic, pulp, packaging and converting industries. We have tremendous businesses, competitive advantages, and partnership opportunities that are concentrated in a compact geography.  The Green Bay Innovation Group (GBIG) is bringing together ALL of these industries. When you sponsor with GBIG, you’re facilitating critical business partnerships and with tremendous networking opportunities while ensuring the Converting Corridor has a voice equal to its economic impact.  Below is the cost of our sponsorship programs!  With our newsletter:  we are the key resource for information in the State of Wisconsin.  Go to: and click on GBIG Sponsors.  On the GBIG website, we have 50 plus sponsors and on the we have over 120 sponsors.   The Sponsorship is annually so don’t forget to renew for 2023!  You can pay online by going to: and go to JOIN.

GBIG Benefits

  • A number of educational webinars, seminars, an Expo and networking opportunities!
  • Industry meetings and plant tours throughout the year. 
  • Positioning Wisconsin as the world’s largest supplier of paper and packaging.
  • Educating and influencing elected officials, legislators and business professionals on our impact to Wisconsin.
  • Through the GBIG NEWS with our digital newsletter www.GBIGNEWS.COM and social media, we reach 2,000 – 10,000 companies on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Bringing companies together to build relationships and benefit ALL of our sponsors. 
  • Financial:  There are surprisingly more opportunities as partners than as competitors. Lucrative financial opportunities have emerged for our sponsors though networking.
  • Job Opportunities: Networking through GBIG has put together individuals and companies making big news together. 
  • Database Targeting: GBIG has developed a selected targeted database providing the opportunity to reach key individuals and companies in our industries through various communication venues.

Sponsorship Opportunities

  • There are no pricy membership dues. GBIG is supported by affordable sponsorships, meeting fees, and donations by our supporters. 
  • We currently have over 120 sponsors listed our web pages: and
  • Cost for GBIG website sponsorship: $250.00 for 2 years or annually $150.00
  • Cost for the (sent 24 weeks a year) is $250.00 for a Bronze Sponsor, $500.00 for a Silver Sponsor and $1,000 for a Gold Sponsor. 

A portion of the proceeds from sponsorships go to supporting community charities and causes, not salaries or administration. GBIG is run exclusively with committed industry volunteers that understand they win when the industry wins. 

To learn more or become a sponsor, call Marty Ochs at 608-698-3333 or email at Marty Ochs – Executive Director

Green Bay Innovation Group

Bringing Green Bay Companies Together. Green Bay Innovation Group is committed to building an authentic networking experience where innovation can thrive.

Contact Information

Phone: 608-698-3333
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