Brookfield-based Milwaukee Tool is leasing space in the Old Post Office building in downtown Chicago and plans to open a 70,000-square-foot office there next year.
The company, which has repeatedly expanded its presence in southeastern Wisconsin, says its Chicago office will be home to multiple disciplines within its engineering team. Milwaukee Tool is actively recruiting for embedded systems, firmware, software and mechanical engineers, project leaders and printed circuit board designers.
The company’s job board currently lists 18 positions in Chicago, primarily in senior engineering roles.
Steve Richman, group president of Milwaukee Tool, told BizTimes the company's Chicago office would be home to 150 employees and will help it expand the reach of its recruiting efforts.
At the recent BizTimes Next Generation Manufacturing Summit, Richman said recruiting people to the Milwaukee region has improved dramatically since he started at the company in 2007. Specifically, he pointed to developments around the Fiserv Forum and the growth of downtown.
“What the Bucks have done, the growth of downtown Milwaukee has clearly changed the perspective of bringing people into Milwaukee,” Richman said. “Before the Bucks did that, I’ll say 14 years ago when we brought people on the tour of Milwaukee, it was difficult, it felt almost impossible to get young people to want to come. It’s turned since then.”
Milwaukee Tool is also planning to open a 372,000-square-foot office in downtown Milwaukee to accommodate an employee base that has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as part of a June BizTimes Milwaukee cover story, Richman said despite the growth of its local facilities, Milwaukee Tool had more job openings than ever. The company has struggled to find enough engineers to fill its openings in the Milwaukee area, which is why it is adding a Chicago office.
“One of the things we clearly found out was we had recruited and talked to all of the talent that was in Wisconsin for a lot of the jobs, especially engineering and development, and we had to go outside of Wisconsin to be able to help accomplish that objective,” Richman said.
In a message sent to Chicago-area colleges, the company described the Chicago office as a compliment to its Brookfield headquarters.
Milwaukee Tool is targeting a spring 2022 opening for its Chicago office.
The Old Post Office building, located on the south branch of the Chicago River, underwent an $800 million renovation after sitting vacant for nearly two decades. Uber recently opened a 310,000-square-foot office in the building and will have 2,000 employees there, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Other tenants include Walgreens, Cisco Systems, Ferrara Candy and PepsiCo.