Cool stuff made and built in South Central Wisconsin


From well-known brands to surprising items, we are delighted to present a few of the exciting things Wisconsinites take pride in designing, assembling and supplying across the globe.

We are lucky to have such a richly productive region of makers. Food and beverage manufacturers have a thriving scene here. We also build lots of STUFF for consumers and industrial customers.

Every company profiled here has jobs for the future, not only in manufacturing and assembly, but also in sales, marketing, engineering, HR, finance, management and other professions. If the company is in your neighborhood, go check out its job board or support the business by trying its products or taking a tour. Enjoy our roundup of some of the awesome STUFF made in south central Wisconsin.


John Deere Horicon Works is one of Deere & Co.’s flagship factories, manufacturing durable and reliable products for generations of John Deere customers. John Deere Horicon Works leads the industry in manufacturing technology and environmental stewardship. The factory assembles John Deere lawn tractors and gator utility vehicles. It keeps the farms in Wisconsin working!


When it snows, which gets it done fastest: a shovel, blower or plow? Monroe Truck Equipment is a Wisconsin-grown company specializing in the design, manufacture, distribution and installation of specialized truck parts. It is especially well-known for its snow and ice control tools, such as snowplows and salt spreaders. Monroe Truck’s headquarters facility in Monroe has 350,000 square feet under cover on 70 total acres. It has been in the business since 1958, beginning as a one-man blacksmith shop and now employing around 550 people in six locations.


Everyone loves pizza, and Wisconsin knows how to make it. Locally, Emil’s Pizza has been making its prize product from scratch since 1961. What started out as a pizzeria on Watertown’s Main Street has grown into a flourishing business providing frozen pizzas to Wisconsin stores like Woodman’s and Pick ‘n Save. It makes 20 different varieties of pizza and also a garlic cheese bread and cheese fries. Emil’s provides student groups with pizza fundraiser materials, as well.


Wisconsin’s cheese-making industry produces 2 billion pounds of cheese every year. That’s 30 percent of the nation’s total cheese production, with more than 1 million cows on nearly 18,000 dairy farms in the state. There are around 450 dairy processing plants statewide. Local producers include Carr Valley Cheese Company in La Valle, owned and operated by the Cook family for more than 100 years. Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Waterloo pipes its milk from the farm directly to the cheese factory for fresh-as-it-gets cheese.


High-end appliance brands Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove come right out of the Madison area. Founded in 1945, Sub-Zero makes refrigeration, freezer and wine storage products. With the acquisition of Wolf Range Co. in 2000, Sub-Zero Group Inc. added residential cooking appliances, with products including ranges,  cooktops, wall ovens, warming drawers and ventilation equipment. In 2018, Sub-Zero Group launched the Cove brand of dishwashers. Cove joins Sub-Zero and Wolf to make a complete kitchen family of appliances.


Berntsen is a name recognized by land surveyors everywhere. Berntsen International Inc. of Madison is a manufacturer and global supplier of survey markers survey monuments, utility markers and related accessories. In 1972, Peter Berntsen and Phillip Peterson began making innovative monuments to become an international marker provider. The markers are used by many of the world’s governments and infrastructure specialists for GIS/LIS networks, transportation systems, boundary mapping, construction references and seismic monitoring networks.


In 1959, German immigrants the Clasen brothers opened a bakery in Madison. Their business expanded and evolved to become Clasen Quality Chocolate. This manufacturer of chocolate, confectionery coatings and fillings has locations in Middleton, Madison and Watertown. CQC is a major supplier of candy ingredients across North America. It offers 20 different stock chocolate items to fit a wide variety of industries and applications. Some of its varieties include dairy-free, organic, white and semisweet chocolates.


Video games are a favorite hobby of many Wisconsinites, who collect and play them. Some local companies are also researching and creating video games. Did you know that Madison is becoming one of the fastest-growing game development centers in the nation? Fantasy Flight Interactive’s Madison studio designed “The Lord of the Rings Living Card” game. PerBlue worked on “Disney Heroes: Battle Mode,” and Filament Games makes educational games like “Breaking Boundaries in Science,” which explores the lives of women scientists.


In 1976, Trek was founded to meet the demand for U.S.-made high-performance bikes. Today, in its Waterloo facility not far from the original barn in which it began, designers and researchers are building some of the best bikes available. Millions of people ride Trek bikes in hundreds of countries around the world. The company has about 2,000 employees, about half of whom are in Wisconsin. At the beginning, Trek founders Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg debated what to call their new bicycle company. Hogg liked Kestrel, after the bird of prey. Burke preferred Trek because it called forth travel and adventure.


If you’ve visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Memorial Union in warmer seasons, you may have visited the terrace overlooking Lake Mendota. There you would encounter 600 sunburst chairs, now a famous symbol for the university. The metal sunburst design was chosen for its durability and strength, and has been used since just after World War II. WISCO Industries in Oregon is responsible for production of the iconic chairs. In the offseason, chairs are repaired and maintained by All-Color Powder Coating in Oregon, a specialty painting company.


You are probably familiar with Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips, Rold Gold pretzels and multigrain Sunchips. Frito-Lay North America (a division of PepsiCo) makes some of the most popular snacks in the United States. From its production facility in Beloit, workers produce, package, sell and ship famous snacks all over the region. This large global company’s presence in the community provides locals with many work opportunities.


While hunting with his family in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Jack Link had the idea to make jerky with his great-grandfather’s Old World recipes. It was so good, friends and neighbors were always asking for more. Jack Link’s protein snacks are now sold around the world. Today Jack Link’s sells more than 100 different meat snack products in more than 40 countries. Its location in New Glarus is one of five facilities in the upper Midwest.

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