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Company Profile: CG Bretting Manufacturing

March 24, 2013
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Company Profile: CG Bretting Manufacturing

Company: CG Bretting Manufacturing

Products: Bretting is a fourth-generation, family-owned company that designs and manufactures customized machines for the paper converting industry, which includes folding, winding and packaging of napkins, boxed facial tissue, baby wipes and toilet paper. In recent years, the company has expanded into contract manufacturing and does light and heavy machining for food, mining and other select industries. The company designs and builds between 40 and 50 machines a year, which range from $1.5 to $7 million. Each machine may have 1,800 to 3,000 individual parts, and most are manufactured in-house.

Location(s): Ashland, Wis.; Iron River, Wis. (location of subsidiary S&S Specialty Systems, LLC). The company’s 280,000 square feet of space boasts a state-of-the-art 3D design center and a computer-controlled machining shop.

Employees: 450, including 100 mechanical, electrical and computer engineers. Employee turnover is less than 1 percent, likely due in part to the company’s on-site health center, which includes tennis, basketball and racquetball courts; a weight room and cardio equipment; and a studio for ZUMBA and other classes.

Founded: Christopher George Bretting purchased Parish Iron Works in 1890, and the company still occupies the original site on the shore of Lake Superior. The company first manufactured equipment for sawmills, which were plentiful in the area at the time and later transitioned to the mining and shipping industries. In the 1960s, the company began concentrating on the paper converting industry and expanded overseas in the 1970s.

Leadership: David Bretting, president & CEO; Paul Bretting, VP & COO

Operations/Market: More than 50 percent of Bretting’s business is outside of North America, and its machines can be found in 40 countries. In the U.S., 90 percent of paper napkins sold and used are folded on a machine built by Bretting. Its fastest machines fold up to 14,000 napkins per minute. Bretting designs, builds, installs and tests its equipment and trains customers’ production staff on how to operate the machines.

Business Successes: During the recent recession, Bretting’s business remained steady, and the company continued to grow. The company did not lay off any employees and continued to invest in new equipment, technology, research and development, and worker training. Bretting is known globally for quality products and providing the finest service in the industry. More than 40 technicians, trainers and salespeople are based in Ashland yet travel all over the world to sell and service Bretting machines.

“How many places in the world can you go duck hunting in the morning, enjoy a round of golf during the day, and go bow hunting in the afternoon?” said
David Bretting, president & CEO, in reference to the quality of life Wisconsin offers.

Wisconsin Business Environment Benefits: CEO David Bretting cites the work ethic of Wisconsinites and the state’s educational system for the company’s success. Bretting recruits highly skilled employees from the major engineering schools in the state, including UW-Madison and UW-Platteville, and they stay at Bretting because of the area’s quality of life. He says his staff works hard and plays hard!

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(March 2013)

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