Generac to invest $73 million in Wisconsin facilities, add 400 jobs

State offers up to $10 million in tax credits

Generac's headquarters in the Town of Genesee

Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems Inc. plans to invest $73 million in its Wisconsin facilities as part of a plan expected to create 400 jobs over the next five years.

The company will be making building renovations, equipment investments and expanding its corporate headquarters, research and development and production operations in the state.

A rendering of Generac’s planned research and development facility expansion.

Aaron Jagdfeld, Generac president and chief executive officer, said the project would help the company “realize efficiencies at our headquarters facility that will drive continued innovation.”

“As we’ve grown and added facilities throughout Wisconsin, it became clear that we needed to invest in a cutting-edge space at our corporate headquarters allowing us to dramatically advance our key product development and engineering activities,” Jagdfeld said.

In particular the project will emphasize advanced research and development capabilities and faster in-house prototyping and testing.

“These investments will allow us to quicken the pace of our product development cycles, which is critical to remaining at the forefront of the industries we serve,” Jagdfeld said.

Generac has grown its research and development spending over the last several years, going from $9.9 million in 2008 to $37.5 million last year. Between 2015 and 2016 alone the company increased its R&D spending by 14 percent.

Source: SEC filings

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is supporting the company’s expansion project with up to $10 million in enterprise zone tax credits. The enterprise zone includes the company’s headquarters and facilities in Oshkosh, Jefferson, Eagle, Whitewater and Berlin.

Most of the investment will be at the company’s corporate headquarters in Waukesha, but the company will be investing all of its Wisconsin facilities.

Generac spokesman Art Aiello declined to disclose how much would be invested in each facility or where the 400 jobs would be added.

The actual amount of the tax credits will depend on the number of jobs the company creates, along with money spent on capital investments and job training.

“From its beginnings in a Waukesha County garage more than 50 years ago, Generac has become a leader in its industry and now employs 2,000 people throughout the state,” Gov. Scott Walker said. “I applaud the company for making the commitment to continue to grow in Wisconsin.”

Generac reported $1.4 billion in revenue last year and net income of $98.8 million. The company has made a number of acquisitions over the last several years including MAC Inc., Country Home Products, Pramac and Motortech GmbH.

Those acquisitions have helped the company grow its global presence while also expanding into commercial and industrial markets. In the case of MAC and Country Home Products, the company has eventually moved work from other states to Wisconsin to take advantage of its existing facilities.

Aiello said Generac is dedicated to growing its employment in Wisconsin but the current investments are not coming at the expense of the company’s other facilities.

Jagdfeld said in February the company would limit its efforts to further diversify its offerings and instead focus on building its natural gas related business.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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