GE celebrates opening of high-tech engineering center at Waukesha facility

GE introduced a $3.1 million innovative engineering center at GE’s Waukesha gas engines facility to the public, Waukesha-area economic development leaders and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker with a ribbon cutting and tour of the facility last week.

Renovation of the 22,000 square-foot engineering center, which took a year to complete from conception through construction, equals GE’s largest investment in the facility since it acquired the Waukesha gas engines business in February 2011.

Brian White, president of Waukesha gas engines, said the new center will assist with both GE’s retention and recruitment efforts.

According to White, the old facility, which had poor air flow, was an embarrassment to the company, so much so that when bringing potential employees in for interviews, executives wouldn’t even show them the facility. White said they would wait until after candidates had accepted a position with GE to give them an official tour. He believes that some candidates turned down positions at GE specifically because of the old office.

“It really would turn people off,” White said.

Now, with state-of-the-art technology such as smart boards, better lighting, conference rooms, a break room and areas specifically designed for collaboration in the new facility, White believes employees are happier and likely to be more productive.

“The governor was talking to a couple of the employees while he was up there, and two or three of them said, ‘This is a great place to work. I love it here now,'” White said.

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