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De Pere manufacturing startup expands with WEDC help

April 12, 2022
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Tax credits boost Quality Service & Machining’s manufacturing innovations

DE PERE, WI. APRIL 12, 2022 – A young De Pere company that’s putting a new spin on the machining industry is growing, with the help of tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Quality Service & Machining (QSM) opened for business in June 2020, with three employees, one manual lathe and four CNC (computer numerical control) machines, to shape industrial component parts out of metal sheets or bars.

Today — less than two years later — the company has more than 30 employees and 11 CNC machines and a new building in De Pere’s West Business Park.

“We are finding creative new ways of making parts,” said Dylan Griese, co-owner and chief operating officer. QSM’s customers are companies in the defense, aerospace, infrastructure and general commercial industries.

WEDC has authorized up to $300,000 in state business development tax credits for QSM over three years, contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment.

“The goal of WEDC’s business tax credit program is to provide incentives to Wisconsin companies that are new or expanding. Quality Service & Machining is a good example of that,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO.

Griese and his partners, Kyle Pizzey and Randy Liska, are taking a process that already depends on computer programming to operate power tools and they are adding more layers of technology to create a comprehensive database that tracks multiple elements of each production run. Their goal is to manufacture high-quality components as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We’re collecting data and learning how to make the next part better than the last one,” Griese said. That involves examining factors such as speed and cost of production.

“The quicker we can get parts made, the quicker we can get parts to the customer,” Griese said.

QSM began operating shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the company immediately had to change its business strategy. A number of large corporations that were interested in working with the Wisconsin startup would have required a walk-through of QSM’s facilities to make sure they met the qualifications to become part of the companies’ supplier networks. But the corporations had barred their employees from entering other manufacturing facilities during the pandemic, so visits to QSM’s plant were no longer an option.

Instead, QSM picked up work from Metal Storm, a metal fabrication shop that Liska also owns. The company attracted smaller clients that didn’t require a plant walk-through.

“We started hyper-growth within a few months,” Griese said.

In order to make room for expansion, QSM’s owners have built a 45,500-square-foot building next-door to Metal Storm in De Pere’s West Business Park. Total project cost: About $6 million for the building and the specialized machines. The city of De Pere provided tax incremental financing as an additional incentive.

“The West Business Park is becoming a hub of advanced manufacturing when it comes to creating components for larger manufacturing entities,” said Daniel Lindstrom, De Pere development services director. “It’s great to see the project kick off like this, and to see the employment growth.”

With the number of employees already topping 30, QSM is nearing the goal it initially provided to WEDC, to add 44 jobs. Employment could be up to 40 or 50 within the next few years, Griese said.

“The team at QSM has done an amazing job not just surviving the pandemic, but thriving through it due to their own hard work and ingenuity,” state Sen. André Jacque said.  “This is exactly the type of growing employer that is key to broad-based economic development which creates jobs, attracts workers, and grows the local tax base.”

Griese said the state tax credits are an important boost.

“As a new company, having money to reinvest in the company is the most important thing you can have,” he said. “We’re going to reinvest all that money right back into the company to propel our growth.”

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