President of Mantz Automation Denise Mantz, center,
gives a tour to Tonette Walker, far right, Janel
Brandtjen, state representative for District No. 22,
right, and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, left, during a
stop at Mantz Automation in Hartford as part of the
Women-Owned Businesses tour Wednesday morning.
John Ehlke/Daily News
HARTFORD — Wisconsin first lady Tonette Walker and Lt.
Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visited Mantz Automation Inc. on
Wednesday, one of four stops on the day to visit and
celebrate companies owned by women in the state.
The other stops were at Duwe Metal Products in Menomonee
Falls, Shell Plastics LLC in Plymouth and SEEK
Careers/Staffing Inc. in Appleton.
Other dignitaries included state Sen. Alberta Darling
and Rep. Janel Brandtjen, as well as Rep. Mark Born, who
represents District 39, which covers a portion of the
city of Hartford.
“It was a wonderful honor,” said Denise Mantz, president
of Mantz Automation, which was started by her and her
husband, Bob, in 1989.
“When they said they wanted to highlight women-owned
businesses, I thought it was a wonderful way to
highlight what we do here,” Denise said.
Mantz Automation, according to its website, is a
certified Minority & Women Business Enterprise company
and has made an impact on involving women in the
Mantz told a gathering of about 100 people that two of
the company’s employees — one a woman — were named to
MoldMaking Technology’s 30 Under 30 list.
MoldMaking Technology is an online trade publication
aimed for mold, tool and die shop managers and
machining, plastics and manufacturing professionals.
“Women should be able to do whatever they want and what
they’re good at it,” Mantz said. “I think that women
don’t realize ... manufacturing isn’t lifting and
hauling big things. It’s doing mathematics and being
organized and computer programming. These are things
women can excel at.”
Mantz Automation produces plastic injection molds for
aerospace, automotive, construction equipment,
electronics and packaging manufacturers all over the
“I didn’t know that I wouldn’t have a refrigerator if it
weren’t for you all (at Mantz), so thank you,” Kleefisch
told the crowd.
The notion that manufacturing is a man’s job has
dwindled significantly. Mantz has been president of the
company for more than 15 years. The company counts five
women among its 99 employees at its Hartford
headquarters and Fond du Lac plant.
“There was such a time when nobody was promoting
manufacturing,” Mantz said. “Everybody thought it was
you were stuck in a dirty, little dinky place. To see
that the state has turned that around and is promoting
it is amazing.”
Kleefisch noted that during a speech in front of Mantz
employees. She was encouraged to see so many “now
hiring” signs in front of companies around Mantz, which
is on the northwest side of Hartford.
She saluted those in the manufacturing field on what was
the last day of Manufacturing Month.
Walker also echoed similar sentiments.
“Scott and I love Wisconsin,” Tonette said. “We wake up
each day dedicated to try to make Wisconsin a better
place to live and work. We’ve come a long way, but
there’s a lot more that has to be done.”
Mantz said the company has hired six women all-time and
one woman who moved on was promoted within that company.
“They all do excellent,” she said. “Women do very well