By the BF Staff
From the May/June 2016 Issue
Gov. Scott Walker recently joined Milwaukee Tool executives at their headquarters in Brookfield to announce an expansion that will create nearly 600 jobs in the next five years. Milwaukee Tool has been approved for a 200,000 square-foot expansion, which is a collaborative effort between the company, the city of Brookfield, Milwaukee 7, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
“Wisconsin is strong, and continues to move forward,” Gov. Walker said. “More people are working, fewer are unemployed, and our businesses continue to grow throughout the state. We’re happy to be here in Brookfield today to celebrate the expansion of Milwaukee Tool and work with them to provide state income tax credits for employee retention, job creation, and capital investment.”
Milwaukee Tool has been a manufacturer of heavy-duty power tools, accessories, and hand tools for professionals worldwide since 1924. They focus on providing innovative, trade-specific solutions for plumbing, mechanical, electrical, HVAC, MRO, and remodeling trades to make them more productive.
“Milwaukee Tool is dedicated to driving growth and creating new jobs in Wisconsin, and throughout the United States,” said Milwaukee Tool Group President Steve Richman. “We firmly believe that, through investing in our people, we will deliver disruptive innovation and the highest quality products to our users and distribution partners.”
Over the last 10 years, Milwaukee Tool has redeveloped 190,000 square-feet of former manufacturing space for their global research and development center. As a result, the company has grown from just over 207 jobs in 2008 to 800 jobs in 2016 at its Brookfield campus. Milwaukee Tool’s new 200,000 square-foot expansion includes a new four-story office building on campus, adjoined to the current facility. Most of the 600 new jobs will be focused on research and development in engineering and marketing, with an average salary of $75,000. The proposed expansion will make Milwaukee Tool the largest employer in Brookfield.
“We’re delighted that Milwaukee Tool has chosen our region for this major expansion,” said Gale Klappa, co-chair of Milwaukee 7 and chairman and CEO of WEC Energy Group. “There is intense competition from across the country when these opportunities arise. Milwaukee Tool’s decision to expand here underscores the strength of our regional assets that make Milwaukee a premiere destination for manufacturing investment.”
Milwaukee Tool was certified under the WEDC Enterprise Zone Program to earn up to $18 million in state income tax credits based on retention and creation of full-time employment positions and significant capital investment for both their Brookfield and Mukwonago facilities. The Enterprise Zone designation and certification for earning tax credits will last for a period of six years.
SOLOMON CORP. EXPANDS IN PRAIRIE DU CHIEN
Solomon Corp. has chosen to expand its manufacturing operations in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The Company has existing operations in Kansas, Tennessee, Colorado, and Texas. Solomon will invest over $2 million in a previously vacant 20,000-square-foot facility, equipment and other initiatives. Located in the Northern Gateway Business Park in Prairie Du Chien, Solomon has already hired 14 employees and projects to employ 24 people when it opens later this year.
“We are absolutely delighted to be opening a facility in Wisconsin. Prairie du Chien’s location will allow us to better serve many of our existing customers and reach out to new customers in the region. The people of Wisconsin share many of the values that have long been important to our business and we look forward to investing and growing with the local community,” said Solomon Corp. CEO Tom Hemmer.
Solomon considered multiple locations in the upper Midwest before choosing Wisconsin for its expansion. Chief among the company’s criteria for selecting the best location for its new facility were proximity to its customer base, access to major transportation and logistics networks and the availability of skilled workers.
“By choosing Wisconsin for their expansion, Solomon leverages our strong workforce and manufacturing tradition,” said Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. “The attraction of Solomon Corporation to Wisconsin shows the strength of our business climate. On top of that, the company’s investment in the community and workforce will have a positive impact for years to come.”
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is assisting Solomon Corporation’s expansion into Wisconsin with $100,000 in Business Development Tax Credits, which may be earned upon fulfillment of capital investment and job creation requirements. The City of Prairie Du Chien has also supported the project with a $571,123 loan that will be paid back at 0% interest over 15 years.
“Prairie du Chien is blessed in many ways, including a strong, diverse, community-minded base of industries and businesses,” said Prairie Du Chien Mayor Dan Hemmer. “When we learned that we had the opportunity add to the list of corporate and industrial partners with a strong, American-based company with positive long-term prospects, we, the City, along with our economic development partners, were eager to make it happen. We are very excited to welcome the Solomon Corporation as our newest neighbor in the North Gateway Business Park, and look forward to them being a part of our community for many years.”
Solomon Corp., headquartered in Solomon, KS, is a premier distribution electrical transformer company that conducts business with over 3,000 utility companies in both the United States and internationally. These customers include municipalities, rural electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities, as well as industrial users. Solomon has contracts with some of the largest utilities in the nation including Xcel Energy, Alliant, WE Energy, Madison Gas and Electric and Dairyland Power among others. Solomon employs more than 550 people at their four locations and has annualized sales of $100 million.
THE LITTLE POTATO CO. CHOOSES DEFOREST
The Little Potato Company has chosen to locate its U.S. headquarters and processing, washing, packing and storage facility in DeForest, WI. The company has a similar head office and facility in the province of Alberta, Canada.
The Little Potato Company will invest over $20 million in its new 130,000 square-foot facility, equipment and other initiatives, $11.7 million of which qualifies for tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Located on U.S. Hwy. 51, the new facility is projected to employ 50 people when it opens in early 2017, growing to 129 full-time employees when it is fully operational.
“We are absolutely delighted to be opening our first U.S. facility in DeForest. We know of Wisconsin’s reputation for its great growers and fertile land. In addition to its proximity to key markets, we chose DeForest because we recognize shared values that have long been important to us: family, community, helping others and always being down-to-earth. We look forward to meeting our new neighbors and playing a positive role in this community,” said Angela Santiago, co-founder and president of The Little Potato Company.
The Little Potato Company considered multiple locations in the Northeast and Midwest before choosing Wisconsin for its first U.S. facility. Among the company’s top criteria for selecting the best location for its U.S. headquarters were proximity to a high-quality potato growing region with excellent growers, access to major transportation and logistics networks, and the availability of skilled workers.
“By locating its U.S. headquarters in DeForest, The Little Potato Company leverages Wisconsin’s strong agricultural history and global leadership in advanced food processing, tapping exceptional educational resources and an unmatched supply chain,” said Mark Hogan, WEDC secretary and CEO. “The attraction of The Little Potato Company’s headquarters to Wisconsin is particularly gratifying for both the number and the range of good jobs it will bring to Dane County and the surrounding area.”
WEDC is assisting The Little Potato Company’s headquarters project in Wisconsin with $740,000 in Business Development Tax Credits, which served as an incentive for the company to choose Wisconsin over competing states and are earned upon fulfillment of capital investment and job creation requirements. The Village of DeForest is also supporting the project with subsidized land, infrastructure and other incentives.
The DeForest parcel was pre-certified as development-ready through WEDC’s Certified In Wisconsin® Program. It is the eighth development project to take place on one of the 15 certified sites throughout the state, which to date have drawn $240 million in investment.
Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, The Little Potato Company maintains distribution centers and a grower network throughout the U.S. and Canada to serve customers across these markets. The new DeForest facility will help The Little Potato Company maximize its operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The Little Potato Company’s proprietary product line of colorful, tasty and nutritious Creamer potatoes include Baby Boomer, Blushing Belle and others available in produce sections at grocers and retailers all across the U.S. and Canada, in distinctive packaging ranging from unique 1.5 pound gusset bags to five-pound bags. The Little Potato Company also offers Microwave- and Oven|Grill-Ready kits with gluten-free seasonings in various flavors.
The Certified In Wisconsin® program sets consistent standards for the certification of industrial sites, putting in place all the key reviews, documents and assessments required for industrial use. Certified sites mean faster turnaround times, quick approvals and low risk, so you can break ground on new projects the moment you’re ready.