Ours is a manufacturing state with a proud history of making STUFF. Wisconsinites have long been makers, and some of the most common name brands are produced in this very region. From small family businesses to large corporations, STUFF is being made all over the New North, with a generous concentration of producers in the greater Green Bay and Fox Cities region. Here are a few of the companies working every day to bring items to market. All of these businesses and others like them have a growing need for skilled workers. As tomorrow’s workforce, you can be a part of making STUFF, too.
Featured Manufacturer: Oshkosh Corp.
For more than 100 years, Oshkosh Corp. has been giving customers the confidence to do amazing things. Founders William Besserdich and B.A. Mosling had ideas to improve off-road mobility at a time when roads were not paved. In 1917, the company’s first vehicle, “Old Betsy,” was built. Though the company faced many ebbs and flows, it grew in size and product portfolio.
Today, Oshkosh Corp. is a Fortune 500 company with manufacturing operations on four continents. Oshkosh Corp. is powered by more than 15,000 team members in 150+ countries. The company leads in designing, manufacturing and servicing a broad range of access equipment; commercial, fire and emergency; military and specialty vehicles; and vehicle bodies under the brands Oshkosh, JLG, Pierce, McNeilus, Jerr-Dan, Frontline, CON-E-CO, London and IMT.
What started as two men with an idea to improve off-road mobility ended up changing the world and giving hundreds of thousands of customers the courage to go places they didn’t think possible.
The Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is part of Oshkosh Defense, an Oshkosh Corp. company. Oshkosh Defense makes tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades, Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces with its heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and a range of training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance.
Pierce Manufacturing Inc., a division of Oshkosh Corp., is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce frontal airbags and the Side Roll Protection system to fire apparatus.
Oshkosh Airport Products, a division of Oshkosh Corp., is a designer and builder of airport firefighting and snow removal vehicles. Its flagship Striker aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle and Oshkosh H-Series snow removal chassis are known for their durability and superior performance throughout the world.
If you haven’t noticed, cheese is a huge industry throughout Wisconsin, aka America’s Dairyland, with 450 dairy processing plants statewide. Local makers include BelGioioso Cheese Inc., a Wisconsin cheese company since 1979, operating seven state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities surrounding Denmark and Pulaski. Simon’s Specialty Cheese in Little Chute has fed its squeaky samples to hordes at the city’s Cheese Fest, a weekend festival tradition, for 30 years, featuring a cheese curd-eating contest.
Brr … Wisconsin knows snow. Ariens Co. knows we don’t need to shovel when a machine can easily move the white stuff for us. Ariens employees design and manufacture innovative and durable outdoor power equipment for homeowners and professionals. The family-owned company was started in 1933 and is located in Brillion. The Ariens RapidTrak Sno-Thro shown here is an adjustable snow-thrower that combines traction with maneuverability.
Mercury Marine started making class outboards and sterndrives more than 75 years ago. Founded in a small machine shop in Wisconsin in 1939, the company has grown into the largest builder of marine propulsion systems in the world. Mercury Marine has set the standards for reliable, trouble-free performance; superior power and torque; low emission; and low fuel consumption. And nobody has given boaters more ways to propel their boats comfortably and efficiently across the water.
Talented Wisconsinites have mastered the art of beer making. More than 100 breweries and microbreweries exist throughout the state. These businesses offer locals jobs, as well as homegrown products for their festivities. One local award-winning brewer is Titletown Brewing Co., operating since 1996 from the historic Dousman Street depot in Green Bay. Titletown beer is a favorite of quality craft beer drinkers and six-packs are sold in some stores statewide.
GLOW-IN-THE-DARK SAFETY ITEMS
GBC Safety Glow is a world leader in photo luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) technology. It specializes in self-luminous emergency egress safety systems and safety signage. Products range from road safety products to glow-in-the-dark decorative glass. From airport runways to offshore oil rigs to building egress, these locally manufactured products are saving lives and reducing power consumption across the globe. GBC Safety Glow is “Illuminating the Green Way.”
Since 1979, Victor Allen’s has been serving up its unique brand of high-quality coffee. Manufacturer Trilliant Food and Nutrition LLC operates a production facility in Little Chute with the most current, high-speed equipment to keep the product as fresh as possible. Trilliant sources coffee beans from more than 25 countries and roasts them using a precision roasting system. Along the way to grinding and packaging the beans, its employees taste the coffee five times before it goes to market.
Gulfstream aircraft enter the completions phase of the build cycle at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.’s facility in Appleton, also home to a service center. From the custom configuration of the cabin to the unique design and craftsmanship of interior finishes, engineers and craftspeople work in unison to ensure each aircraft is completed to the highest standards. Gulfstream Appleton is staffed by more than 930 employees, including approximately 425 technicians and master technicians.
Little Chute is famous as the home of Jack’s Pizza, a household name that uses real, 100 percent Wisconsin cheese. The Nestle plant in Little Chute and one in Medford produce the popular frozen pizza, along with Tombstone, California Pizza Kitchen and DiGiorno, the first oven-ready rising crust pizza, which was introduced in 1995. The facility is not just known for manufacturing freezer favorites; it is also one of the area’s largest employers.
KITCHEN & BATH FIXTURES
From showerheads to sinks to tubs, Kohler Co. designs and makes everyday products for home use and is world-renowned for making them look cool! Besides its focus on stylish form and necessary function, Kohler’s faucet and fixture designs use less water, conserving natural resources. Based in Kohler, the company is one of the state’s oldest, founded in 1873 by John Michael Kohler. It now has 50 manufacturing locations on six continents, employing more than 30,000.
Polish, Italian, bratwurst, chorizo … who doesn’t love a good sausage? Since 1945, Johnsonville International LLC has grown the small town, family-owned business to become a leader of the meat products industry. Smoky, spicy and tasty, its products come in a variety of flavors and are sold in 35 countries. Johnsonville has been dominating this market for years from Sheboygan Falls, and now employs 1,400 workers.
CUSTOM AUTOMATION MACHINERY
Advanced technology of the future is happening now at Pieper Electric, Inc.-HiTech Automation. Employees use robotics, vision controls, servo controls and programmable controllers at facilities in Green Bay and Neenah. They are busy designing, building and installing automation equipment for food processing, medical, machine loading/unloading, packaging and more. Control panel services include layout design, fabrication, painting, wiring and in-house engraving. Pieper-HiTech also assembles electronic, electrical, motor control, pneumatic and power distribution panels, as well as cabinets, operator interface consoles and specialty systems. Now that’s high tech!