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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Team effort brings green jobs to Wisconsin

From a blog post on BizTimes.com by Steve Jagler, executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee:

. . . BizTimes Milwaukee broke the story that Milwaukee was one of three finalists to be the North American headquarters of a Spanish alternative energy company.

As we now know, that company turned out to be Ingeteam, a Spanish wind turbine company that confirmed Tuesday it will construct a $15 million, 100,000-square-foot facility in Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley. The complex will span about 8.1 acres at 3757 W. Milwaukee Road.
Ingeteam, headquartered in Bilbao, Spain, will employ about 275 workers in Milwaukee by 2015.

Milwaukee was chosen to be the site of the new plant after a coordinated recruitment effort that included officials from the Milwaukee 7 economic development team, We Energies, Marcoux and Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Richard “Dick” Leinenkugel, who went to Spain to seal the deal.

“The Menomonee Valley was once Wisconsin’s largest brownfield,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Now, the valley is home to businesses that employ thousands of people.”

The deal was made possible by $1.6 million in tax credits through the federal stimulus program, up to $4.5 million in state tax credits and another $500,000 forgivable loan from the state.

"After carefully analyzing our company's needs, we selected Milwaukee for our new production facility because the city is conveniently located for distribution of our products and has a solid industrial base from which Ingeteam can source materials," said Ander Gandiaga, Ingeteam's corporate director for international development.

“Milwaukee also has a labor pool experienced in electrical manufacturing. In addition, the area boasts prestigious universities with some of the highest-ranked engineering departments in the country that offer specific courses in renewable energy, which will be very useful when it comes to finding specialized staff," said Aitor Sotes, chief executive officer of Ingeteam Inc., Ingeteam's subsidiary in the United States.

Gandiaga also said the Wisconsin team "made an impressive effort to sell Ingeteam on the virtues of locating in this community. The Ingeteam project perfectly fits the model of the clean energy economy and job creation goals that the city and state are pursuing.”

Ingeteam considered more than 80 sites before selecting Milwaukee as the North American home for its company.

“They could have located this $15 million facility anywhere in the nation. Believe me, Michigan tried very hard,” Leinenkugel said. . . .

The doomsday naysayers who perpetually beat the drum that Wisconsin is a horrible place to do business again had to take a holiday Tuesday. I love when that happens.

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