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 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. They keep the farms in Wisconsin working!
Briggs & Stratton Corp. is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. The company is also a manufacturer of numerous outdoor power products, right in our own backyard. The Wauwatosa factory produces standby generators, pressure washers, snowblowers, and walk and riding mowers.
Milwaukee’s own Palermo Villa Inc. operates from a 250,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on West Canal Street. Palermo’s is a family-owned company that was founded in 1964 and is still owned by the Fallucca family. Ingredients for its signature frozen pizzas come from all over Wisconsin. The factory is a high-tech pizza manufacturing operation with an on-site bakery to produce fresh crusts. The site also houses Palermo’s corporate offices and Pizzeria 3301, which serves up the Palermo’s pizza experience from an Italian wood-fired oven.
COOKIE DOUGH & BROWNIE BITS FOR ICE CREAM
Denali Ingredients LLC is a manufacturer that produces ingredients for ice cream, including cookie dough, brownie bits, chocolate flakes, chocolate swirls and fruit swirls. The company also makes the famous Moose Tracks fudge on behalf of its sister company, Denali Moose Tracks. Denali employs 125 people and has been growing steadily since the company was formed in 2006. It now has two manufacturing facilities, with a third underway (scheduled to open in early 2019), all in New Berlin.
MEDICAL IMAGING DEVICES
GE Healthcare has five manufacturing facilities, a distribution center and 10 other sites in Wisconsin. GE Healthcare’s new LOGIQ E10 Ultrasound system, made in Wauwatosa, can process an amount of data equivalent to playing two entire DVDs in just one second in real-time.
Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by Randy Sprecher, who established Milwaukee’s first craft brewery. It is housed in a renovated former elevator cab factory in Glendale. In its lab, Sprecher brews nine soda flavors, including cherry-cran, lo-cal root beer and grape, among others. It also brews five hard sodas, three ciders and 16 beers. Sprecher puts “fire-brewed” on its packaging because it still brews in a hand-built, gas-fired brew kettle. Fun fact: Sprecher’s tanks are purchased from Wisconsin dairies.
GARBAGE DISPOSALS & HOT WATER DISPENSERS
In 1927, the world’s first garbage disposal was invented by architect John Hammes, just a few blocks from the current InSinkErator world headquarters in Racine. Now, millions of InSinkErator garbage disposals are manufactured each year. InSinkErator also makes hot water dispensers for home use, which can produce up to 100 cups of near-boiling water per hour. The company has 1,000 employees globally.
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 it began in, 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’s 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.
High-end appliance brands Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove come right out of Madison. 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.
Empire Level employs more than 200 people at its facilities in Mukwonago, where products have been proudly made in the USA since 1919. Empire makes a full line of barricade tape and underground tape used primarily by construction crews and law enforcement. In one year, Empire makes enough caution tape to circle the globe 16 times. It sells its products in more than 50 countries worldwide.
USG Corp. is a manufacturer of building products with a plant in Walworth. For more than 115 years, Chicago-based USG has developed wall, ceiling, flooring, sheathing and roofing materials for homes and buildings. It has almost 7,000 employees across North America and operations around the world. USG wallboard is engineered for durability and mold resistance and is well-recognized in the construction industry.
Harken Inc. is an international manufacturer of performance sailing hardware headquartered in Pewaukee. Peter and Olaf Harken started the company 50 years ago in the Lake Country of southeastern Wisconsin. Harken has grown into a global company with group offices around the world and distribution in 48 countries. Harken gear is used at events including America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympics.
Purple Door Ice Cream produces small-batch ice cream using quality local and natural ingredients. Milwaukee-based Purple Door is committed to social and environmental responsibility. Its community initiative, Milk for Milwaukee, provides fresh milk to area homeless shelters. Flavor ingredients include top-of-the-line cocoas, liqueurs, coffee beans, teas, spices, and fresh and seasonal fruits.
Not all of us are blessed with prefect grins, but American Orthodontics can help. The Sheboygan company produces the instruments, braces and materials orthodontic specialists use to shape up those smiles. American Orthodontics is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of orthodontic treatment supplies, distributed in more than 100 countries. The company was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Sheboygan, with more than 700 employees globally.
Schaefer Brush is an industrial brush manufacturer that has been in business for more than 115 years in Waukesha. Schaefer specializes in tradesman quality twist-in-wire brushes for use in HVAC/refrigeration, plumbing and metalworking applications. The company is an industry leader in providing cleaning and deburring solutions for tough applications.
Sargento Foods is a family-owned and -operated business headquartered in Plymouth, the same community where the company was founded in 1953. Sargento has additional Wisconsin facilities in Elkhart Lake, Kiel and Hilbert, and employs approximately 1,800 people. Best known for packaged shredded, sliced and snack natural cheeses, Sargento also provides cheeses, appetizers and sauces to restaurants and other food manufacturers.
Factories of the future
Right now in Mount Pleasant, Foxconn Technology Group is building the first LCD screen manufacturing facility in the United States. The Taiwanese company will bring with it thousands of jobs for tomorrow’s workers to fill. This long-term project is immense, with the potential to impact Wisconsin’s manufacturing landscape to become one of the most high-tech in the world.
Everybody loves these cute, chewy treats from Germany’s Haribo. Its new gummy bear factory will be Haribo’s first U.S. manufacturing site. It is slated to be built in Pleasant Prairie, with construction to start in 2019. Life in southeastern Wisconsin just got sweeter!