Former Signicast owner, foundation donating $2.6 million to WCTC

Manufacturing center to be renamed after Terry Lutz

Walter Lutz

Waukesha County Technical College will rename its Integrated Manufacturing Center after former Signicast Corp. president and owner Walter (Terry) Lutz following nearly $3 million in donations this year.

Walter (Terry) Lutz

Lutz is giving $2 million to the WCTC Foundation to enhance and expand the center and the Lutz Family Foundation will be donating $600,000 toward the purchase of new training equipment. The foundation also donated $188,000 in February to fund the purchase of an automated manufacturing cell for the college’s Automation Systems Technology and Robotics program.

“Manufacturing is crucial to the success of the United States and the American dream,” said Lutz. “For manufacturing to succeed it needs employees with skills in tool making, maintenance, machining and welding. Technical colleges like WCTC provide students with the skills they need to prosper in manufacturing.”

The college will be renaming the IMC and adjacent building as the “Terry Lutz Integrated Manufacturing Center” in recognition of the donation.

“WCTC is fortunate to have formed relationships with individuals like Terry Lutz who recognize the power of manufacturing and the role that our state’s technical colleges play as a significant talent pipeline for employers and driver of our economy,” said Mike Shiels, WCTC dean of applied technologies.

Shiels said WCTC is still in the process of evaluating how to use the donation, but it will likely include enhancing facilities in spaces adjacent to the IMC and could lead to an addition in the future.

The 24,000-square-foot center was opened in the spring of 2016 after a two year fundraising effort by the WCTC Foundation. The campaign initially lacked traction until the Fotsch Family Foundation issued a $1 million challenge grant in August 2015.

Lutz joined Signicast in 1974 as general manager when the company had 30 employees and $1 million in sales. He purchased the company in 1981 and grew it to have 690 employees and $149 million in annual sales when he retired in mid-2012. Lutz sold the company to The Pritzker Group in 2008 but stayed on as president.

Signicast was sold again earlier this year to North Carolina-based Dynacast.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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