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12/6/2006

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WisBusiness Tuesday Trends
December 5, 2006

By Brian E. Clark

RISING

Ken Hendricks

This high school dropout from Janesville isn't just a billionaire several times over. Now ABC Supply Co. owner Ken Hendricks is Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year. Hendricks - who battled the odds and even a bit of discrimination to succeed big time - has a compelling story.  His Beloit-based company is said to be the largest wholesale distributor of roofing and siding in the United States.

The modest Rock County resident is featured on the cover of the December issue of the magazine, which has a circulation of 700,000. Hendricks serves as CEO and chairman of American Builders & Contractors Supply Co. He founded the firm in 1982 with his wife, Diane. It has since exploded to 345 locations in 48 states, with sales of $3.1 billion and about 6,000 employees. Hendricks' net worth is estimated at about $2.6 billion, ranking him 107th on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans.

MIXED

Madison-area bio lab

The federal government is considering a 40-acre site near Lake Kegonsa south of Madison as a one of 14 possible locations for a National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. Scientists from UW-Madison would study such nasty ailments such as bird flu, hoof and mouth disease and mad cow disease at the lab.

Daryl Buss, dean of the Veterinary Medicine School at the university, said the lab would be a "huge asset" for UW-Madison and the state. He also promised it would be safe, could create up to 400 research jobs and pump billions of dollars into the state economy.

Some residents of the Town of Dunn, however, are concerned about runoff into the lake, traffic congestion and possible biohazards. Others said they do not want some of the world's most deadly and contagious animal diseases - some of which are transmissible to humans - studied near their homes.

FALLING

Georgia-Pacific workers

The Georgia-Pacific Corp. has notified state and local officials that it will close its Mason Street facility at 1100 West Mast Street in Green Bay and lay off 75 workers by Jan. 29.

When the company announced a restructuring of its Green Bay operations in May, it said that the Mason St. operation would be replaced by five new production lines installed at its Broadway mill.

Georgia-Pacific's Green Bay operations have undergone significant changes over the past three years. The company has eliminated more than 600 jobs in Brown County while spending more than $75 million to upgrade operations, including on new equipment and retraining.


Written exclusively for subscribers. Tuesday Trends is Copyright © 2006.



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