Barrett announces new initiative to help manufacturers reduce costs, environmental impact

The city of Milwaukee and several governmental agencies have created the Milwaukee E3 Partners, a program to promote sustainable manufacturing.

The program will be a partnership between the city, the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) and numerous academic, nonprofit, business, municipal and state government agencies.

“E3 stands for economy, energy and the environment,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “It’s a model for delivering technical assistance to small and medium sized manufacturers to help them cut costs and help reduce negative environmental impacts for our communities.”

The city and its partners will soon begin inviting manufacturers in the city to information sessions, where they will learn about the low to no cost assessments that the E3 Partners will provide. Interested companies will be asked to apply for participation in the program.

The assessments, where E3 partners such as WMEP will examine a company’s practices and needs, will be delivered at low to no cost, said Lee Swindall, director of consulting services with the agency. The E3 program will operate similarly to an existing WMEP program called the Profitability Sustainability Initiative.

“WMEP, in the last year, has worked with up to 50 manufacturers to show them that they can achieve sustainable profitability,” Swindall said. “For many of these companies, these were things they wanted to do for a long time but many of them lacked the resources to move forward.”

The consultation and recommendations are delivered at low to no cost to participating manufacturers, but the implementation of the changes or improvements are not included in the E3 offerings. However, there are several state and federal grants that can help offset the costs of certain improvements. Even when there is no financial incentive, payback can be very quick, Swindall said.

“We’ve seen break even in less than a year for many,” he said. “In all of them, we’ve seen it in one and a half to two years. These can be a solid (profit) driver.

“Manufacturing has led this recovery and it’s continued to lead this recovery. It will be a vital driver of the state’s recovery and future economic recovery. In a time of resource scarcity where we are seeing record prices recorded in certain industrial metals for example and the continuing hikes in energy prices it’s going to be absolutely (critical for manufacturers to look at efficiency) to remain competitive.”

For information on the Milwaukee E3 Partners, visit


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