Waukesha County Center for Growth exceeding goals

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

July 21, 2017

WAUKESHA - For a year the staff at the Waukesha County Center for Growth has been meeting with companies in the hopes of convincing them to build, expand or move to Waukesha County. And so far, the response has been strong, said Economic Development Director Tim Casey.

"We are finding that people need to and want to expand and we are helping them access the resources that allow them to do that," he said. "We are following a strategy and I think things are going well. We are tracking and we need to continue to push forward and be diligent."

Since forming in July 2016, Center for Growth staff members have met with 176 companies and 12 municipalities have committed to working with the center on collaborative economic development efforts.

The organization, spearheaded by Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and then awarded to the Waukesha County Business Alliance to oversee, focuses on promoting the county as a place for current businesses to expand and for others to relocate. It provides workforce, financial and location selection assistance for businesses while helping to develop strategies for connecting various companies with additional resources

The goal is to meet with 25 companies per quarter, Casey said, so the center is already exceeding its goals. Of the approximate 33 manufacturers that Casey and other center staff members have met with, about 15 are candidates for expansion.

Karen Taylor, business consultant for the center, has met with 80 companies and 45 have signed on as clients.

The Center for Growth also works with the Waukesha County Business Alliance, WEDC and Milwaukee 7.

One of the companies expanding and adding jobs is Metal-Era on Airport Road in Waukesha, which will break ground on a 32,000-square-foot expansion Tuesday morning and will add about 32 jobs.

The Center for Growth helps companies find financing for their projects and also is addressing the labor force shortage.

"When we can, we work with the school districts and Waukesha County Technical College, WOW Workforce Development Center Board and Employ Milwaukee to help them find the labor they are looking for; that is one of the most important things we can do for them," Casey said.

By the numbers

176: company visits, contacts

25: prospects for new location or expansion

8: new locations, expansions or ventures

$15 million: capital expenditures by business

194: jobs created or pledged

12: Waukesha County municipalities who've partnered

61: companies connected to future workforce

-Data from July 2016 to present