Generac Power Systems’
headquarters are located at S45W29290 Highway 59 in the
Town of Genesee in Waukesha County.
TOWN OF GENESEE — To drive past its sprawling, newly
remodeled corporate headquarters off Genesee and
Hillside roads southwest of Waukesha, it’s hard to
imagine that Generac Power Systems was once a small
business with only five employees.
company is still known best for making backup power generators,
today it boasts a product line that includes light towers, an array
of mobile generators, and a manufacturing footprint that spans
celebrates 60 years in business this year, the company is looking
back at the legacy of founder Robert D. Kern, and towards a future
that calls for further advancement and more staff here in Waukesha
to help put those innovations into action.
company has been steadily growing since its founding back in 1959 in
the tiny village of Wales, President and CEO Aaron P. Jagdfeld says
the company really began entering the world stage about 10 years ago
when it began acquiring similar companies in locations across Europe
the company employs 5,600 — 3,800 at plants in Jefferson, Eagle,
Whitewater, Berlin and Oshkosh, and its headquarters in Waukesha.
The rest of its
employees can be found in plants in Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Italy,
Germany, India and China.
“We have done
12 acquisitions in the last seven years,” Jagdfeld said.
acquisitions have given the company, which made $2 billion in
revenue last year, an immediate presence in those countries, he
said. “I think once we became a public company (in 2010), it really
started to raise the profile of the company,” he said. “It’s fun to
see the growth firsthand. Looking toward the future we just see a
ton of need for the types of products we offer. If you think about
it, if you don’t have power things in life can get pretty primitive,
pretty fast. A lot of our products are used in life and death
situations, backing up hospitals and clinics, and critical
infrastructure, like wastewater treatment plants.”
Gordon Michaelson, VP of advanced manufacturing for
Generac Power Systems, poses Monday next to a company
timeline inside the manufacturer’s corporate
headquarters in the Town of Genesee.
As the company
continues to grow, it will be adding jobs to facilitate that growth.
announced in August 2017 that we would be investing more than $70
million in our Wisconsin facilities over the next five years, we
said we were going to create over 400 jobs,” Jagdfeld said. “Some
(of those jobs) will be manufacturing, but a good chunk will be in
professional, technical and engineering areas.”
plans to add about 200 of those jobs right here in Waukesha County,
“We have been
heavily investing in our (research and development) facility here to
improve our capability and speed to market,” he said. “We used to
outsource a lot of product testing work. That works, but if you want
to get your products to market faster you have to be able to do a
lot of that in house. A lot of engineering talent is going to be
needed to operate those facilities and to do the product designs
that are going to be needed. There is also quite a bit of advanced
manufacturing (that is going to be done).”
Some of those
new employees will also be working on connectivity and remote access
advancements, developing software and applications that can connect
to generators the companies other products.
“We are doubling
the size of that team this year,” he said.
Sprucing things up
As the company
works on those goals, it will also be putting the finishing touches
on the multi-year renovation of its 100,000-squarefoot headquarters.
1965 as one of the company’s first manufacturing plants, the
building has been expanded nine times over the years, and is now
home to the company’s operations, engineering, supply chain, inside
sales, information technology and research and development
Areas that were
once home to assembly lines now boast community work spaces, broad
hallways, and wings full of busy employees seated in front of
computers and design equipment. The building also boasts a 308-seat
auditorium that was recently used to host the Next Generation
Manufacturing Summit in October, an employee gym with visiting
instructors, and a room for webcasting tutorials and other videos
for dealers and customers.
“We used to go
‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’” Vice President of Advanced
Manufacturing Gordon Michaelson said while giving a tour of the
facility on Monday. “Now people come in here and say ‘Whoa!’”