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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wind energy firm picks Milwaukee for plant

From an article by Larry Sandler in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Politicians and business leaders were quick to celebrate - and claim credit for - Monday's announcement that a Spanish company will bring hundreds of new jobs to Milwaukee.

Wisconsin's current governor, two candidates to succeed him, and not one but two regional economic development alliances all lined up to score points from a new Menomonee Valley plant for Ingeteam, a Spanish manufacturer of wind-turbine generators.

About 270 manufacturing jobs will be created by the plant, said Greater Milwaukee Committee President Julia Taylor. Building the plant will bring construction jobs as well, said Patrick Curley, chief of staff to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

It will be Ingeteam's first North American factory, said Gale Klappa, co-chairman of the Milwaukee 7 economic development coalition.

Ingeteam chose the valley because of its proximity to workers, I-94 and Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, as well as Milwaukee's "great reputation for manufacturing," said Barrett, also a Milwaukee 7 co-chairman.

The plant will be built near the western end of the valley, Barrett said. The exact site will be announced Tuesday, Curley said.

Barrett called on Klappa, the chief executive officer of We Energies, to make the announcement during the mayor's "state of the city" address at the downtown headquarters of Manpower. He also introduced five Ingeteam executives, who he said had just flown in from Spain for the announcement.

In January, President Barack Obama's administration announced that Ingeteam had been awarded $1.66 million in clean-tech manufacturing tax credits to make wind turbine generators as well as power converter and control systems in Milwaukee. Further indications surfaced last week that the company had picked Milwaukee.

Ingeteam is a privately held, diversified manufacturer based in Zamudio, Spain, a suburb of Bilbao, the city visited last fall by state Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel, City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux and Milwaukee 7 representatives. Outside Spain, the company has operations in seven countries, including an office in Mequon.

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