Generac to hire 700, invest $53 million across Wisconsin footprint

State to offer up to $9 million in tax credits

Generac Power Systems will hire 700 employees in Wisconsin by 2024, chief operating officer Tom Pettit announced during a press conference at its Pewaukee facility Tuesday.
Generac Power Systems will hire 700 employees in Wisconsin by 2024, chief operating officer Tom Pettit announced during a press conference at its Pewaukee facility Tuesday.

Last updated on September 29th, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Generac Power Systems plans to invest $53 million across its Wisconsin facilities as part of a plan expected to create 700 jobs in the state by 2024, Generac chief operating officer Tom Pettit announced today.

The manufacturer’s plans involve renovating existing facilities, investing in equipment and expanding its research and development lab at its corporate headquarters in Town of Genesee, Pettit said. The additional jobs and the $53 million investment include the company’s new customer contact center in Pewaukee, a facility it acquired from American Family Insurance for $6.75 million in August.

The Pewaukee facility currently houses between 200 and 300 employees, many of whom were previously located at Generac’s headquarters in the Town of Genesee. With added space in Pewaukee, Generac now has room at its headquarters for the corporate and R&D employees it plans to hire, Pettit said.

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 the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

“Generac’s commitment to creating innovative, sustainable energy products for the next century makes it a true powerhouse,” WEDC secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said. “WEDC is pleased to be investing in Generac because Generac is investing in Wisconsin and our global future.”

The new jobs and capital investments could be at any of Generac’s six Wisconsin facilities, which are in Whitewater, Jefferson, Eagle, Oshkosh, Burlington and Town of Genesee. Generac plans to hire “several hundred employees” and spend more than $10 million in capital equipment this year alone, Pettit added.

Generac’s planned R&D lab expansion also involves increasing the footprint of its corporate campus to install a new and much larger test cell that will serve Generac’s distributed energy response business, Pettit said.

Generac has developed several technologies through its distributed energy response business that enable its current residential, commercial and industrial generators in the field to supplement traditional power plants and help maintain grid stability across the country.

“We’ll be building a larger test cell to handle larger and larger generators,” Pettit said. “As we get more demand for distributed energy response, companies want larger generators they can use to back up the grid.”

The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated what Generac calls the “Home as a Sanctuary” trend, a phenomenon in which homeowners are investing in backup power solutions as they work, learn and entertain more often from home.

Demand for Generac’s home standby generators has also benefited from more frequent and disruptive weather events, including the Texas ice storm in 2021, persisting California wildfires and the more recent hurricane Ida.

“Our typical customer for our home standby products tends to be someone who has a certain size home and income,” Pettit said. “That population continues to grow as people realize this is an essential appliance, not just a suggested appliance.”

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