Rendering of Milwaukee Tool expansion
Products: Milwaukee Tool, founded in 1924, is a global leader in delivering innovative solutions to professional construction trades that offer increased productivity and unmatched deliverability.
Employees: 3,500 nationwide (just under 1,300 in Brookfield, where the company is the city’s largest employer)
Leadership: Steve Richman has been president of Milwaukee Tool Group since 2007
Market: Milwaukee Tool is the only power tool company that has maintained a manufacturing presence within the U.S. Although its parent company, Techtronic Industries, does not separately report sales for Milwaukee Tool, Techtronic sells its products all over the world and reported sales of $6.1 billion last year. North America makes up the largest geographic portion of its business, and sales in this region grew by more than 20 percent in 2017. Techtronic’s sales that year grew by more than 33 percent in Australia and New Zealand, by more than 23 percent in Europe, and 24 percent in the rest of the world.
Business success: Milwaukee Tool moved from Milwaukee to Brookfield in 1965, and over the last decade has redeveloped 190,000 square feet of former manufacturing space to accommodate research and development, product development, prototyping, package design, marketing, sales, training facilities and administrative offices. In 2017, the company completed construction on, and took occupancy of, a new 200,000-square-foot, four-story office building on its Brookfield campus. Now a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries, the company has grown employment at the Brookfield campus from just over 300 jobs in 2011 to almost 1,300 in 2018.
Wisconsin business environment benefits: Milwaukee Tool is undertaking another expansion, which will bring its global headquarters space from 390,000 square feet to 504,500 square feet. The start of construction on the new, 114,500-square-foot, multi-story building is imminent, and the new building is expected to be completed in late 2019. This expansion is expected to create another 350 jobs within the next five years—primarily engineering and software positions with an average annual salary of $75,000. The project has received support from WEDC in the form of up to $8 million in performance-based tax credits for the company’s planned $32 million capital investment. The City of Brookfield is also supporting the expansion with $3.5 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance, and the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development organization collaborated on the project to ensure the Brookfield location was chosen for the expansion.
The amount of state tax credits the company ultimately receives will be contingent upon the number of jobs that are created or retained and the amount of capital investment that is made. In 2016, WEDC awarded the company up to $18 million in performance-based tax credits for its previous expansion, and those tax credits are still in the process of being allocated based on the company’s capital investment and hiring through 2022.
“When you look at the growth our company has achieved in the last decade, the catalyst for our success has been our people,” said Richman. “The drive, determination and obsession of our employees has enabled us to continue delivering disruptive innovation for the professional trades and our distribution partners. We are proud to partner with the State of Wisconsin to grow a world-class work environment that will continue to attract, retain and recruit the best talent in the world.”
Milwaukee Tool’s global leadership continues to make a big impact on job growth not only within Wisconsin, but elsewhere in the U.S. as well. The company recently expanded operations at three Mississippi locations, investing $33 million and creating 660 jobs, and has a vast sales and support footprint across the country. The company currently employs over 3,500 people nationwide.