Harley wins WMC’s ‘Coolest Thing’ contest

Johnsonville, Marinette Marine edged out in online voting

Assembled Milwaukee-Eight engines at Harley-Davidson's Powertrain Operations factory in Menomonee Falls, Wis., await shipment for final vehicle assembly. (PRNewsFoto/Harley-Davidson)

Motorcycles made by Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. won the inaugural “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” contest conducted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Assembled Milwaukee-Eight engines at Harley-Davidson's Powertrain Operations factory in Menomonee Falls, Wis., await shipment for final vehicle assembly. (PRNewsFoto/Harley-Davidson)
Assembled Milwaukee-Eight engines at Harley-Davidson’s Powertrain Operations factory in Menomonee Falls await shipment for final vehicle assembly. (PRNewsFoto/Harley-Davidson)

The motorcycles beat out brats made by Johnsonville Sausage and littoral combat ships built by Marinette Marine for the top prize in online voting.

“This was a classic Wisconsin battle of bikes, brats and boats, and the bikes won in fierce online voting,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC president and chief executive officer. “We are the premiere manufacturing state in the nation and the nearly 300 nominees for the award is a testament to the strength of our manufacturing sector and the prowess of our manufacturing heritage.”

Harley has two of its seven manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin including powertrain production at a 915,000-square-foot facility in Menomonee Falls and a 226,000-square-foot in Tomahawk that handles plastic parts production and painting.

The company also has its corporate offices and museum in Milwaukee and a product development center in Wauwatosa. More than half of the company’s total square footage is in Wisconsin.

“We are excited to be honored as the coolest product in Wisconsin,” said Randy Christianson, general manager of Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations Pilgrim Road, “where nearly 1,000 employees work together to create the Milwaukee-Eight engine. These products and Harley-Davidson motorcycles are a testament to great manufacturing in Wisconsin and the United States of America.”

Harley unveiled the Milwaukee-Eight engine for its 2017 model year touring motorcycles in August. The company said during it earnings call Tuesday the engine has received an “extremely positive” response and sales of touring models were up double-digits in September.

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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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