MANITOWOC - Hiring for shipbuilding jobs is in progress on the Lakeshore. Burger Boat in Manitowoc is ramping up its workforce after landing a contract with a Chicago tour boat line.
Perhaps you've enjoyed an architectural tour in the Windy City with Chicago's First Lady Cruises.
But did you know one boat, the "Leading Lady," was built in Manitowoc?
And now, two years later, a new boat slated to join the fleet is also under construction on the Lakeshore.
"This is a sister ship to the first boat. There are a few changes that they wanted made based on the operation of the first boat, but very minor changes. So it's virtually building the exact same boat again," said Burger Boat Vice President Ron Cleveringa.
The "Classic Lady," a 98 foot long vessel, will carry up to 299 passengers.
"The Leading Lady was excellent in so many different areas and obviously that will carry over to the Classic Lady because same yard, same people, and so forth," said Chicago's First Lady Cruises Vice President, Robert Agra, in a phone interview.
This is the second big contract in recent months for Burger.
The company is also building the Arcticus, a 77-foot research vessel for the U.S. Geological Survey.
"It puts a lot of people to work," said Cleveringa.
Cleveringa says Burger expects to hire about 50 new employees as the two projects progress.
"The jobs that are created when we build a vessel are good paying, quality jobs, with highly skilled craftsman," Cleveringa said.
While Burger's forte is building luxury yachts, officials with Chicago's First Lady Cruises say they were so pleased with the last passenger boat Burger delivered, they decided to go back.
"The workmen of course, even if they're told, you know, this isn't a yacht, you don't have to be quite so precise, it's just in their psyche that, of course, they're going to do a wonderful job," Agra said.
What's interesting about building these tour boats, as opposed to luxury yachts, is once they're finished and delivered to Chicago, the people that worked on them can visit the Windy City and take a ride.
"It would be nice to go down there, and take a tour, and actually go for the ride and see Chicago, and actually get to ride a project that we built from scratch here," said Burger Boat's Lead Metals Coordinator, Jason Popp.
That will be possible as early as next summer, when the ship is added to the Chicago cruise fleet.
No one will say how much the ship will cost.
It will be used for architectural tours by day, and private charters in the evening.
Chicago's First Lady Cruises operates from Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago.
Single-digit temperatures and light snow are greeting Green Bay Packers fans at Lambeau Field.
A celebration at the nation's first school forest is sending Laona students back to their roots.
Several fire departments battling a shed fire in Abrams.
An armed robbery suspect sustained life-threatening injuries after being shot in Fond du Lac County.
First responders helped ring in the holidays at the 45th annual Howard-Suamico Christmas Parade.
Christmas is just two and half weeks away, and kids and families are getting into the holiday spirit.