Happy birthday, Rockwell
Company celebrates 25 years in Mequon’s industrial park with events on Thursday

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Nov. 3, 2015


The Rockwell Automation building was constructed in Mequon’s industrial park in 1990. The first workers moved into the building 25 years ago this week.

MEQUON - Twenty-five years ago this week, the first employees moved into the Rockwell Automation building, which was the first tenant in Mequon’s sprawling industrial park.

The approximately 1,200 people who now work in the massive building at 6400 W. Enterprise Drive will mark the occasion with a campus-wide lunch on Thursday.

“I was here when we moved,” said Thomas Groose, now the manufacturing engineering manager for Mequon Operations, who is on a 10-person committee helping to plan the anniversary celebration.

That celebration will bring several top executives of the company to Mequon. In addition to lunch, all employees also will get a commemorative gift. Groose said he and several other of the charter employees in Mequon are producing a video with recollections of the early years. Several now-retired employees who played key roles in opening the Mequon building will attend.


The building at 6400 W. Enterprise Drive was expanded by about 100,000 square feet about 15 years ago. There are about 1,200 employees who work there now.

Initially, about 850 people worked in Mequon, where the main task is designing and building drives that are used to run motors. That number has increased over the years, particularly when an addition was built just before 2000 that increased the floor space in the building from approximately 400,000 square feet to about 500,000 square feet, partly to expand engineering functions in Mequon.

Groose said when the Mequon facility opened, it combined activities that were taking place at nine different sites stretching from Brown Deer north to Cedarburg. He said he worked in Plant 2, which was near where the Mequon Ice Arena is now located. Plant 1 is now the home of Scot Pump at the corner of Washington Avenue and Pioneer Road in Cedarburg.

As an engineer, Groose said it has been a pleasure to work in Mequon and to see the facility expand.

“It’s nice to be able to collaborate in this building,” he said, noting that the employees responsible for all facets of drive production - development, prototypes, manufacturing, service and repair - are all under one roof.

While the entire Mequon operation is focused on producing drives, Groose noted that those operations have expanded over the years to other sites in the United States as well as outside the country. He said those drives are used to power devices as diverse as draw bridges, wastewater pumps and production lines.

“The product here has pretty much stayed the same the entire time,” he said.

Groose, who grew up in Menomonee Falls, said he has enjoyed spending his entire career working for Rockwell and all but the first five years of it in the Mequon facility, which to this day remains the largest tenant in Mequon’s industrial park.

Gary Achterberg can be reached at gachterberg@conleynet.com.