LAC DU FLAMBEAU - What do auto mechanics, railroad operators, and NASA have in common? They all use an instrument built right here in Northern Wisconsin.
Simpson Electric embodies the heart of the Northwoods, quality, detailed labor, and pride in craftsmanship.
Those principles have served them well since 1934. In 1927 Ray Simpson built a key piece of equipment that allowed Charles Lindbergh to fly solo across the Atlantic. Today they build thousands of electric meters for a variety of clients.
"We sell to every branch of the military, we have NASA, the government orders, so it can go from the everyday user, all the way up into space. Our meters have been on Apollo 13," said Bill Conn, CEO of Simpson Electric.
Almost everything sold by Simpson Electric is made -starting with the tiniest pieces- right here, BY HAND.
From metal parts stamped and assembled on site to hair-fine wires spooled by hand. Each employee carefully checks the product at each stage. That dedication is what they're known for.
"We watch for the quality, we watch for the goodness in the meter before it goes out, and that's what keeps me here, the dedication to the company and the employeesÖ And, it works," said Agnes Jack, Simpson Electric employee.
"I've had men come in and say, 'I dropped my meter 30 feet... What do you think?' And it usually works," said Conn, "So we're very proud of that meter, and we still build and sell about 60 of them every day. That's quality work."
Simpson Electric in Lac du Flambeau welcomes the public to come in for a tour.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - On a busy stretch of Highway 47 near Lac du Flambeau -- where hundreds of wheels spin at 55 miles-per-hour each day -- just one tire drags at a slower pace, pulled by one man: the Tire Man.
"I guess I'm the only one nutty enough to do it, I suppose," Frank Tarantino said with a laugh.
Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau. ¬†He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine. ¬†People often stop to take his picture.
"Little by little you run a little further, a little further," Tarantino said.
SAYNER - A needle and thread means more to Pat Andersen than just sewing.
"I started quilting when I was 19 so it's been a passion of mine for a long time," said Pat.
Quilting gives her a community of ladies in the Northwoods.
"Sayner needs something like this, it needs something for the women to do," said Pat.
After moving to Sayner with her husband Don last spring, the two decided to buy the building that now houses Plum Lake Quilts. Pat needed somewhere to put her long arm machine and that eventually turned into a little retail business.
"I mean little and then it grew a little bit and it grew a little bit more," said Don Andersen.
MADISON - A $3 billion tax break bill for Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group is poised to pass the Wisconsin Assembly on a bipartisan vote.
Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason said during debate Thursday that he intends to vote for the bill. He is the first Democrat to publicly say he will back the measure that is being championed by Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans.
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