5 minutes with: Steve Richman

Steve Richman
Steve Richman Credit: Jake Hill

Last updated on February 3rd, 2020 at 05:55 pm

Having invested millions in two major expansions at its Brookfield headquarters, Milwaukee Tool is now planning a $100 million campus in Menomonee Falls that could eventually grow to 2.5 million square feet and a $26 million manufacturing facility in West Bend that could employ 100 people by 2025 making hand tools for electricians and utility linemen.

Steve Richman, group president of Milwaukee Tool, recently talked with BizTimes Milwaukee about the company’s plans.

Investing in Wisconsin

“For us … it’s clearly been over these past 13 years how do we recruit, retain and invest in the best people and drive a culture that is viewed as best in class by our workforce. That’s what we believe has led to the success that we’ve had, year after year after year with 20% plus growth for the Milwaukee Tool business. That leads right to why Wisconsin, because of the ability we’ve had to recruit, retain and invest in the best people and keep that culture going.”

Growth through innovation

“We’re not a tool company; we’re a solution provider that drives productivity and safety for our core users. With that, it allows us the opportunity where we can innovate in new categories of those same users to provide them productivity and safety on their job. It allows us to be able to win. We’ve been able to do that on a global basis … and we’re winning because we think about the user in that way.

“It’s about this relentless focus on the user; it’s about the combination of recruiting, retaining the best people and having the right culture. The combination of all of that allows us to be able to really deliver what that user wants and needs.”

Can the Menomonee Falls campus really grow to 2.5 million square feet?

“If we do the things we need to do and focus on recruiting, retaining and investing in the best people, keeping the culture that we have … then our opportunity for space and requirements will continue to grow … If you went back 10 years and asked me did I think that we would have the amount of square footage on the (Brookfield headquarters) campus that we do today, I would have laughed at you, but you’ve seen what the strategy, what the people, what the culture and what the focus on the user have driven and we view all of that as opportunity.”

Did you see this coming when you joined Milwaukee Tool in 2007?

“We thought there was a lot of opportunity. I’d be lying if I thought that we would be able to disrupt as many markets as we have as quickly as we have.”

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