Generac Power Systems had other options for its plans to invest $53 million and hire 700 employees across its Wisconsin footprint, a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. report obtained by BizTimes revealed today.
The manufacturer had contemplated locating its new customer contact center based in Pewaukee in either South Carolina or Georgia, Generac chief operating officer Tom Pettit previously told BizTimes. Other elements of Generac’s expansion were also considered for those two states, according to the report.
Generac's Wisconsin expansion includes renovating existing facilities, investing in new equipment and expanding its research and development lab located at its Town of Genesee headquarters, the company announced Tuesday.
According to Generac, its facilities in Oshkosh, Whitewater and Eagle will receive most of the new equipment. However, the manufacturer also relocated its customer support operations from its headquarters to Pewaukee, creating available space for the corporate and R&D positions it plans to fill at its corporate campus.
Generac viewed South Carolina as an attractive option where the company opened a 421,000 square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility over the summer. Located in Trenton, the South Carolina facility also has the available space to double its footprint, Generac CEO and president Aaron Jagdfeld has said.
A South Carolina expansion would have benefited from proximity to the new facility and a large portion of its customer base in southeastern United States, according to the WEDC report. The company also looked at Georgia, which provided easy access to the South Carolina facility while benefiting from the global connectivity offered by Hartsfield Jackson International airport.
Milwaukee’s international travel options were discussed by Milwaukee Mitchell Airport director Brian Dranzik in a recent BizTimes Milwaukee podcast.
Fueling Generac’s expansion is the need for additional engineering, information technology, and support talent as well as additional real estate to accommodate future growth, according to the report.
Generac says its “Wisconsin solution” is centered on its Pewaukee facility, which provides “the potential for enhanced employee attraction and branding.” The key objective for the project is to “find the optimum business operating environment, which will accommodate the project’s goals over the short and long-term while allowing for access to the appropriate workforce pipeline,” according to the report.
However, Generac also established a presence in Massachusetts in September as part of a strategy to acquire talent for its emerging clean energy business that is not readily available locally, Jagdfeld previously told BizTimes.
As part of Generac’s expansion, the state could provide up to $9 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits if the manufacturer meets certain capital investment and hiring goals by 2024, according to WEDC. The state has now offered Generac $19 million in tax credits in total, including the $10 million it offered to the manufacturer in 2017 in exchange forinvesting $73 million in Wisconsin facilities and creating 400 jobs.
The 700 employees Generac plans to hire would have an average wage of $70,980. Here’s a breakdown of the positions Generac plans to fill: