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GM task force hires consultant

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GINA R. HEINE
August 3, 2008
— The task force working to convince GM to keep some sort of production in Janesville announced Saturday it has hired a consultant to aid in its effort.

Newmark Knight Frank Consulting, based in New York, started working with the committee late last week by meeting with stakeholders, said Meredith Helgerson, task force staff member who spoke on behalf of the committee’s two chairmen.


Gov. Jim Doyle appointed the co-chairs—UAW Local 95 President Brad Dutcher and Janesville School Board member Tim Cullen—to work with a team of community leaders to explore options for the Janesville GM plant.


The task force plans to present its proposal to GM leadership in late summer or early fall.


“To really wow their socks off, we need to have a very comprehensive, thorough presentation with a lot of data and arguments to persuade the folks in Detroit to retain jobs or production or something in Janesville,” Helgerson said, “and with this unique situation, we needed professionals to help us with that.”


The goals are to retain jobs and production, Dutcher said in a statement.


“We knew hiring an experienced consulting team was the best way to approach this project,” he said.


The task force interviewed “a number of consultants” and the winner was chosen based on its experience, access to industry information and its confidence, Helgerson said.


The firm will use community information, industry data and its experience in strategic location decision-making to put together the comprehensive proposal, according to a news release.


Helgerson said task force members know they need to move quickly, and they anticipate working with the consultant for about five to seven weeks.


She declined financial details on the contract because it has not been signed, she said. The consulting firm will be paid through funds from the city, state, Local 95 and other stakeholders, she said.



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