Waupaca Foundry expands outside of Northeast Wisconsin

Waupaca Foundry Tuesday, January 8, 2019. (WLUK/Pafoua Yang)

WAUPACA (WLUK) -- Waupaca Foundry is expanding, but not in Northeast Wisconsin.

The iron machine parts maker says it's extending outside of the region partly because of worker demand.

"Most manufacturers in United States, we have workforce availability issues and we're growing at a rate that exceeds the local workforce availability," said John Wiesbrock, the executive director of Waupaca Foundry.

Wiesbrock said the recent prison closure in Michigan left many jobless, and that's why the company chose to open a new iron cast processing plant in the Upper Peninsula. Wiesbrock said the company feels good about the motivated workforce in that area.

The new facility will include cleaning and finishing parts. It's expected to create 61 new jobs. The foundry will invest $4.3 million into the new 50,000-square-foot facility.

In a statement to FOX 11, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said the foundry already made the decision to extend to Michigan before officials could "make a strong case for why the company should consider expanding in Wisconsin."

“They are trying to make themselves more valuable to their parent company, Hitachi Metals, and so they took this opportunity and it only further strengthens their operations that they have in Wisconsin and Waupaca," said David Thiel, the executive director of Waupaca Co. Economic Development Corporation.

Wiesbrock added that, like a lot of companies, expanding is necessary even if it means going outside of the community.

"If we wouldn't continue to grow and expand to fill our customer needs, quite honestly, they’ll go somewhere else," explained Wiesbrock.

The opening date of the new facility is unknown.

Waupaca Foundry already hired 48 people that are training in Waupaca.

The company also has a plant in Marinette.

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