Wisconsin is well known for the can-do attitude of its people and the history of innovation that established the state as a manufacturing powerhouse and continues to create new solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges in health care, food and beverage production, and sustainable energy and water use. The state’s unfettered optimism and continuous drive to produce positive outcomes is reflected in its motto: Forward.
Indeed, it was a combination of Wisconsin’s manufacturing legacy and future vision that drew Foxconn Technology Group to commit $10 billion toward an advanced manufacturing campus that is projected to create 13,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in the state. A significant factor in the company’s decision was Wisconsin’s existing supply chain strength coupled with the research and educational infrastructure that will be needed to support an advanced technology ecosystem.
Wisconsin boasts high school graduation rates among the best in the nation and a public university system recognized for the breadth and quality of its programs. The state was also the first in the nation to develop a technical college system, giving Wisconsin 100 years of experience training its workforce to fulfill ever-changing industry demands.
The state’s commitment to maintaining its competitive edge through business-friendly tax and regulatory policies and investments in its people, communities and industries spells opportunity for companies looking to start up, grow and thrive.
Komatsu Builds Upon 134-Year History in Wisconsin
Komatsu Mining Corporation is moving forward with plans for a new state-of-the-art headquarters, training and manufacturing campus along the Lake Michigan harbor in Milwaukee. The company’s decision to expand in Wisconsin demonstrates the appeal of the state’s advanced manufacturing environment and overall business climate. Komatsu’s growth in the state also shows how attracting global investment can spur local development.
Planned to be completed in 2022, Komatsu’s massive 54-acre project at the former Solvay Coke site will be known as the South Harbor Campus. It represents a major boost for efforts to redevelop Milwaukee’s waterside district, and in a nod to the company’s history, the new campus will be located near its original machine shop.
The initial job count for the campus will be roughly 1,000, including 400 new hires and the company’s 600 current employees. The total employment figure could increase to 1,300 workers over the next decade, according to Komatsu.
The new corporate and manufacturing hub will keep the company, formerly known as Joy Global, firmly planted in the city it has called home for 134 years. Komatsu Mining is part of the global Komatsu Ltd. family of companies, which acquired Milwaukee-based Joy Global in 2017 and renamed it Komatsu Mining Corporation. The company produces industry-leading equipment and service brands like P&H, Joy and Montabert for mining and related industries.
Toro Increases Wisconsin Production Capacity
The Toro Company, a leading worldwide provider of outdoor maintenance equipment and irrigation and professional lighting solutions, recently announced a 180,000-square-foot expansion in Tomah that is expected to create 35 new jobs.
The company’s expansion includes the purchase of a new paint system that will allow Toro to increase production capacity of existing commercial equipment lines. The Tomah facility manufactures commercial equipment that serves golf courses, sports fields and grounds, and other landscape industries.
Zendesk Establishes Regional Hub in Wisconsin
San Francisco-based software development company Zendesk first established a presence in Madison with five people in 2013. Today, the company has nearly 300 employees in Madison and has recently announced a $12.7 million expansion in the city that is expected to create 136 jobs.
Zendesk’s Madison office serves as a regional hub, supporting global customer advocacy as well as engineering, sales, customer success, corporate social responsibility, and business and technology operations teams. Many of Zendesk’s regional customers, including Propeller Health and AkitaBox, contribute to the company’s global success and growth.
“Since our earliest days in Madison, the city has felt like a second home for Zendesk,” said Mikkel Svane, Zendesk CEO and founder. “It offers a vibrant tech and business community, an abundance of talent and a culture that supports our growth in the region and globally.”
The company’s $12.7 million expansion will focus on growing and enhancing the customer service functions of the company, as well as its capabilities in finance, IT and professional services.
The Right Climate for Growth
Wisconsin’s strong economy, reliable network of suppliers and talented workforce are fueling growth for businesses throughout the state that are leveraging these exceptional assets to introduce new product lines, increase their customer base or enter new markets. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in tandem with 600 statewide economic development partners, helps companies operating in the state connect with tools and resources designed to maximize their success. Some major Wisconsin companies whose expansion plans were supported by WEDC over the past year include:
- Generac Power Systems Inc., a leading manufacturer of power generation and engine-powered products, is investing $73 million in renovations and new equipment at its Waukesha headquarters and manufacturing facilities throughout Wisconsin. The company expects to create at least 400 jobs and retain its existing 2,000 jobs.
- Kwik Trip Inc., which owns and operates more than 600 retail convenience stores, has embarked on a $300 million capital investment project that is projected to create 300 jobs in La Crosse.
- Green Bay Packaging Inc. is building a new recycled paper mill and an expansion of the Green Bay shipping container division. The company’s $500 million investment, one of the largest economic development projects in state history and the largest ever in Brown County, is expected to create 200 jobs and retain 1,400 jobs.
- Allegheny Technologies Inc., a global manufacturer of technically-advanced specialty materials and complex components, is expanding its operations in Cudahy with a $95 million project expected to create about 125 jobs and help the company meet the growing demand from the aerospace jet engine market.
- Masters Gallery Foods Inc. in Sheboygan County is undergoing a $61 million expansion that is expected to create 150 jobs and retain more than 500.
“Companies representing a wide range of industry specialization are succeeding in Wisconsin,” said WEDC Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Tricia Braun. “Underpinning this success are a business climate that promotes growth and prosperity and a collaborative economic development network designed to maximize opportunities for the companies and people who call Wisconsin home.”
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/wisconsin_ed for local economic development office directory listings.
The first building of Foxconn Technology Group’s planned $10 billion campus facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, was completed in early 2019. When fully operational in 2020, the Wisconn Valley Science & Technology Park is expected to create 13,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Curtis Waltz/aerialscapes.com.
Komatsu’s planned 54-acre state-of-the-art headquarters represents the company’s renewed commitment to Milwaukee, where its roots were laid more than a century ago.