The Twin Cities' creative minds have been working overtime -- and for free -- preparing to welcome delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention next week.

Several ad agencies and communications firms have provided thousands of dollars worth of pro bono work to the 2008 Host Committee, which is coordinating the weeklong event that starts with a media bash on Saturday and runs through Sept. 4.

Broadhead + Co. created the welcome visuals that delegates and other party officials will see at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and elsewhere around town. The ad agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB) put together a press kit for the 15,000 media members who will converge on the Cities. It features a bag of peanuts with a label that says, "Please don't feed the elephants."

Weber Shandwick provided staff to do public relations duties for CivicFest, a sort of Smithsonian Institution on wheels that features presidential history. McFarland Cahill Communications directed host committee media activities. And ED Design created the "More to Minnesota" GOParty card that offers discounts to visitors at some 400 businesses in the Twin Cities.

New name, new office

Virchow Krause & Co., the Madison, Wis.-based accounting firm with a 250-staff presence in the Twin Cities, is changing its name to Baker Tilly International to reflect its relationship with the eighth-largest worldwide accounting and consulting firm. The name change needs regulatory approval.

Virchow Krause will remain an independent member of the Baker Tilly network, of which it's been a member since 1999.

The Minnesota office of Virchow Krause is in the process of moving from Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis.

Plant closing

Last week, Bloomberg News reported that Boston Scientific Corp. plans to shut a factory in Ireland as a result of the sale of its fluid management and venous access businesses late last year to private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, the owner of the Star Tribune.

Avista will shift manufacturing of these products to the United States, while Boston Scientific will move the production of other goods from the plant to another facility in Ireland, the company said. The plant is scheduled to close next year. About 240 people are employed at the factory in Tullamore, in the Irish midlands, and about 5,000 in all of Ireland.