Generac Power Systems Inc.

Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems Inc. hired more than 200 people, revamped some of its manufacturing facilities, made two major acquisitions, and introduced several new products over the course of the past year.

In recognition of those accomplishments, Generac is the BizTimes Best in Business Corporation of the Year for 2014.

“We’ve more than doubled the size of the company in three years’ time,” said president and chief executive officer Aaron Jagdfeld.  “We continue to grow as a company, and this year we spent time playing catch up, building up infrastructure and staffing appropriately.”

Jagdfeld

Generac, which held a few job fairs this year, hired 50 to 100 professional and technical positions in southeastern Wisconsin and 100 to 150 production-related positions at its Whitewater and Oshkosh facilities. In total, the company employs approximately 3,400.

Generac implemented digital manufacturing lines at its Whitewater plant in 2014.

Despite no recent major power outages or catalysts, Jagdfeld said Generac’s residential business has grown due to new products like the 22-kilowatt Guardian Series generator, which is the market’s largest air-cooled home standby generator, and the lightweight PowerPact automatic home standby generator.

Generac’s Whitewater manufacturing facility.

Generac has also focused on building up business through the acquisition of Bismarck, N.D.-based MAC Inc., a mobile heater manufacturer, as well as the acquisition of some assets of Kearney, Neb.-based Pramac America LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of portable generators and water pumps. The former offers Generac new opportunities in the oil and gas markets, and the latter expands the company’s reach in retail markets, according to Jagdfeld.

Meanwhile, Generac has improved and modernized its manufacturing facilities through the implementation of multi-million dollar digital manufacturing lines.

Upgrades to the company’s facilities in Whitewater and Eagle are in different stages of completion, and the Jefferson facility is expected to begin going digital in 2015.

“The new manufacturing plants are about a higher level of sophistication and improving working conditions, quality and automation,” Jagdfeld said. “All of those things are more indicative of where manufacturing is heading in the longer term.”

As for 2015, Jagdfeld said he has an aggressive plan to keep Generac growing through a combination of organic and acquired growth.

“Going more global is definitely in our sights. Ninety percent of our sales are in North America right now, but our next legs of growth will come from international expansion, additional acquisitions, and trying to find new products and spaces where we want to be involved,” he said. “We will continue to grow like a weed, and we’re looking forward to 2015. There’s a lot of good things ahead for us.”

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