WCBA celebrates ‘power of business’ at annual meeting
Kelley: WCTC seeking $4.5M for integrated manufacturing center

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

Sept. 13, 2014

WAUKESHA — Waukesha County Business Alliance President Suzanne Kelley announced Friday that the Waukesha County Technical College is looking to raise $4.5 million for a new integrated manufacturing center.

During the WCBA’s annual meeting, Kelley said WCTC has two weeks to raise the funds for the new center, which would help to shorten wait lists for classes and strengthen the job market across the county.

“Our community has an opportunity to take a huge step forward with the construction of a world-class integrated manufacturing center at WCTC,” Kelley said. “The setup would provide a flexible learning environment for these students and it would reduce wait lists to provide employees for the thousands of manufacturing jobs in this region.”

Kelley said the college has already put $1.5 million from its own budget toward the goal and has received a $1 million anonymous pledge as well as several donations from local businesses, but still needs significant contributions.

The theme of Friday’s meeting, held at the Country Springs Hotel, was “The Power of Business” — highlighted by the program’s keynote speaker, Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Power & Water, Distributed Power.

Bolsinger, a Cincinnati native and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, spoke about the impact businesses in Waukesha County have on a global scale. She said almost 20,000 GE gas engines made in Waukesha are used in over 100 countries around the world.

“Waukesha engines have a spectacular reputation for providing mechanical power and (working) through all sorts of conditions,” Bolsinger said.

She said GE has invested more than $35 million into the former Dresser Motor facility at 1101 W. Saint Paul Ave. since it was purchased in 2011. The location employs 700 workers and produces 1,000 gas engines per year, most of which go outside the United States.

Also during the program, William Mielke, president and CEO of Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. received the Don Richards Leadership Award, which recognizes civic leadership and contributions to communities in southeastern Wisconsin.

Mielke is involved in a number of civic and industrial associations, including the Wisconsin League of Municipalities Stormwater Advisory Committee and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. He was also nominated by President Obama as an adviser for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

He said Friday that Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. — which provides municipal engineering services to more than 200 municipalities — is working hard to foster progress in Waukesha County.

“Communities are faced with doing more with less over time,” he said. “As the communities struggle with that problem of having to do that, we keep having to come up with other things that will help those communities work more efficiently, more regionally and more cooperatively than they have in the past.”