Gaco Western to expand in Waukesha

Gaco Western, a waterproofing and insulation product manufacturer, will begin construction this week on a $6.5 million, 85,000-square-foot expansion at its Waukesha facility.

The company has just finished a $1.4 million renovation on the existing 55,000-square-foot building at 1245 Chapman Drive, which added more research and development laboratory space.

The addition will primarily be used for warehousing space. It will replace the company’s leased warehouses around the area, said Eric Zimmerman, vice president of operations and general manager.

“It gives us room to expand that we can control,” he said. “It actually frees up more of our current building to manufacturing type expansions.”

Gaco built the current location in 2008. It has 11 acres at the site, four of which it purchased for $400,000 to make the addition.

“There’s always some new products and things coming in, but the main reason we’ll be expanding manufacturing is the overall growth of the current product base,” Zimmerman said.

As a result of the expansion, Gaco has added 18 employees, bringing the total employment to just over 100. About 60 of those employees are in Waukesha, and the others are at the company’s corporate offices in Seattle.

The company moved all manufacturing operations to Waukesha after closing its Seattle facility in 2008, partly because of the logistics advantages of locating in the Midwest.

“We’ve closed down the facility out there and moved a lot of that equipment and processes and things into the Waukesha area,” Zimmerman said.

He attributed the company’s growth to an increased emphasis on technology and sales.

“That continued expansion in people as well as the facility to do the R&D type work to create the good products that can really be game changers in the marketplace, those are driving growth,” Zimmerman said.

New Berlin-based Anderson Ashton Design/Build is the largest contractor on the project, with a $1.7 million deal to complete concrete and masonry work, said President David Miller. The building is being designed and constructed by Spectrum Engineering in Brookfield.

“We’re really in a hurry up fashion,” Miller said. “We’d like to get much of that building up and enclosed before the snow flies.”

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