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Northcentral Wisconsin

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Selected headlines — 7/2 edition of The Business News

Taking the wheel

Jonas gets new era rolling for JX Truck Center

by Jerry Rhoden
jrhoden@thebusinessnewsonline.com

If it’s lonely at the top of the organizational chart, it can be even lonelier if you’re one of a kind. But it’s just such a reputation that Tracy Jonas has worked to establish as the Operations Manager for JX Truck Center, 1039 Kronenwetter Drive south of Wausau. Founded in 1970 in Waukesha as Peterbilt of Wisconsin, the trucking sales-and-service company debuted as a single location with five employees. Known as JX Truck Center since 2017, it now boasts 20 locations across Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. The company has since added finance, leasing, and rental to its service offerings and sees sales of more than $50 million. In her top leadership role, Jonas is a rare female presence in what is traditionally the male-dominated trucking industry. Of the Wausau location’s 55 employees, just two are women, but with a degree in business administration and emphasis in marketing and sales, Jonas began her career with JX Truck Center as a leadership trainee at the Waukesha location.

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Aged to perfection

Mullins Cheese is one of largest producers east of the Mississippi

by Jeffrey Decker
jdecker@thebusinessnewsonline.com

The largest cheese producer in the dairy state keeps growing with expertise refined over four generations. Each day, 8.5-million pounds of milk flow through the Mullins Cheese plants in Marshfield and Knowlton, home of the company’s original facility. Major expansions more than doubled output in 2016 and further growth is planned. “Mullins’ expansion makes them one of the largest cheese producers east of the Mississippi River and the largest cheese producer in that geography with a two-production-site system,” said Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Executive Director John Umhoefer.”Mullins Cheese is one of the Wisconsin dairy industry’s great assets. They have that Wisconsin ‘X-Factor.’ They can innovate into new dairy opportunities because they have generations of in-depth understanding of how to process fresh farm milk into world-class dairy products.”

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People who make a difference

Mella helped riverfront realize it’s potential

by Lori Lodes
llodes@thebusinessnewsonline.com

By day, Joe Mella, an attorney at Ruder Ware in Wausau, sports suits and ties, but when it comes to his volunteer activities, it’s often a more casual affair as he has stepped into roles as bartender, T-shirt salesperson and even a balloon rustler. When Mella joined Ruderware as an attorney 26 years ago, he became a transplant to Northcentral Wisconsin. Both the law firm and the area proved to be an excellent fit, offering him the professional fulfillment he sought as well as opportunities to partake in the bicycling, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing that he and his wife enjoy. As he became entrenched in the community, he quickly realized how unique the Wausau area is in its offerings because it’s “far enough away from everything else that we have had to do our own things,” he said. “There is an ethic here set by the people who originally came here to invest back into the community with new business ventures and activities. When it comes to what the community offers for a community its size, Wausau definitely punches above its weight. We have had to be self-reliant and make our own fun, so to speak.”Read More

Growth Strategies

Steel is King at Point, New London plants

by Nick Lauer
nlauer@thebusinessnewsonline.com

A major topic of discussion in the business world today is the fate of traditional retail stores and what impact that has on the economy. While many traditional brick and mortar stores are seeing a decline in sales, other businesses are profiting because of this changing marketplace. One of those businesses is Steel King Industries, which has facilities in Stevens Point, New London and Rome, Ga. Steel King Industries produces material handling components in the form of pallet racks, safety products, containers, work platforms, and other accessories. According to Jeff Stillman, plant manager at the New London site, each facility has its own product focus. “Here in New London, 95 percent is roll-form pallet racking, where we take a coil, punch holes or slots in it, form it into the shape that it needs to be, cut it to the length, weld it, paint it, package it, and ship it to the job site. The Stevens Point facility does more small job shop items such as a staircase or an elevated work platform. The facility in Georgia will make pallet racking, but instead of using a coil to do roll form, they’ll use steel channel or steel tubing so it would be more of a structural rack.”Read More

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