P&H Mining Equipment to Expand Workforce

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

    Milwaukee-based P&H Mining Equipment, a division of Joy Global Inc., will hire about 70 people over the next several months to work in its three Milwaukee-area manufacturing facilities located near the intersection of Miller Parkway and West National Avenue. The manufacturer of specialized mining equipment needs specially trained employees for its facilities, said Louise Hermsen, vice president of planning and support services for P&H. The company often needs to specially train new workers for welding and operating machinery for manufacturing massive mining equipment, because those skills just aren’t taught elsewhere, she said. "Even before they’re hired, they have a chance to train and prove themselves," Hermsen said. "It’s such a unique skill that we have to do some of that ourselves."

    Hermsen said P&H is hoping to create partnerships with other smaller employers in the nearby Menomonee River Valley to help it find qualified workers in the future. Because many smaller companies will be able to employ less skilled workers, but will not be able to pay them as much as P&H would, Hermsen said, developing partnerships between the smaller companies and the larger corporation could help promote more qualified employees. That, in turn, could turn into a recruiting tool for the smaller companies, she said. Many of the workers P&H is planning to hire will eventually replace current employees who will retire in coming years, said Walter Wiedmann, manufacturing product manager of rotating mechanical and draglines at P&H. Many employees who manufacture P&H’s specialized parts have worked there for more than 30 years, the company says.

    "Attrition will take a lot of our workforce," Wiedmann said. "For example, in my area, we have about 130 employees. And about 30 percent of those employees are 58 years old or older. We want to use these people who have a lot of time and expertise, to train some of the people that are coming in." The company is also working with Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to show students that careers in manufacturing can provide family-supporting and long-term jobs. Wiedmann currently serves on an advisory board at MATC, and he believes manufacturers in southeastern Wisconsin need to reach out to students."The task they have is how to generate interest in young people," he said.

    To meet demand for its products on a global scale, P&H will need to attract more workers.

    Continued development in China and India and the global demand for minerals, energy sources and raw materials is giving manufacturers of mining equipment such as P&H opportunities for long-term growth. Emerging countries such as Brazil and Russia are also increasing the demand for mining equipment. "The impact of China on the mineral commodity is significant," Hermsen said. "It is pulling in materials from all over the world, and it’s impacted all commodities. It’s not typical that all of them are aligned or strong at the same time." Demands for coal and other energy sources have risen, as have the needs for raw materials such as iron ore, copper and other minerals. Those increased demands are creating expanded opportunities for companies such as P&H.

    Orders at P&H have been increasing over the last several years. "Our customers are planning expansions with our equipment," she said.

    Revenues for P&H and its parent company, Joy Global Inc., increased 55 percent to $244 million in the third quarter. The company plans to increase its production capacity by about 40 percent by the end of 2006. To meet that goal, Wiedmann said the company will work longer shifts and subcontract with other vendors. The company tries to work with subcontractors that are as close to its factories as possible, said Hal Baumbach, manager of market planning. To maximize worker output, P&H is spending $16 million for new equipment that will be in place by the end of 2006, Wiedmann said. "In the 1950s and 60s, the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe and Japan created a multi decade boom in world economic activity," he said. "Our customers feel that now the same things are happening with China, India, Brazil and Russia. So many people are leaving the rural areas, and when that happens, material consumption per capita goes up eight times … It looks like the people that are talking about a long-term boom cycle (in raw materials) have it right."

    P&H Mining Equipment

    Location: 4400 W. National Ave., Milwaukee
    Revenues: $244 million for the third quarter,up 55 percent from the same period a year ago.
    Employees: about 900
    Web Site: www.phmining.com

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