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Generac pledges to create more than 400 jobs

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Kevin Hoffman
November 8, 2011
— A Wisconsin-based generator manufacturer says it will create more than 400 jobs over the next year at its four Wisconsin facilities, including Whitewater.

Generac CEO Aaron Jagdfeld on Monday described an aggressive timeline that has the company filling several of the newly created jobs within the next 90 days. Plans are to add between 300 and 400 jobs at Generac’s facilities in Whitewater, Eagle and its headquarters in Waukesha.


Jagdfeld said another 60 jobs would be created at Magnum Products in Berlin, where light towers and mobile generators are built. Generac acquired Magnum Products in October, but the two continue to operate independently.


“The growth recently has accelerated pretty dramatically,” Jagdfeld said. “The increase in demand for our product right now is pretty tremendous for the outages that have taken place out east and the outages in the Midwest, here. We’re just seeing some tremendous growth.”


Gov. Scott Walker joined the company’s leaders in Whitewater for the announcement Monday.


Job creation was among Walker’s campaign promises last fall. He pledged to create strategies paving the way for 250,000 jobs by 2015.


Walker said Generac’s expansion is the kind of growth he had in mind when declaring Wisconsin was “open for business.” Walker spoke to media and company employees on Generac’s manufacturing floor, where dozens of workers assembled and packaged generators during the announcement. He then toured the facility.


State representatives Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater, and Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, also attended.


“My hope is with announcements like this, it’s not only good news for the economy, but it sends a message to people that there are great opportunities in manufacturing,” Walker said. “That’s our roots, and we do it well and do it better than anyone else in the world here in Wisconsin.”


Jagdfeld said the positions are full-time, “family-supporting jobs” that pay more than minimum wage. They range from entry level to management, and include engineers, designers and technicians, according to a news release from the company.


Generac’s third-quarter sales increased by 49 percent this year compared to 2010. Company representatives said business lately has been fueled by power outages, especially in the Northeast where a fall snowstorm last week still has thousands of residents without power.


There was no indication of exactly how many jobs would be created at the Whitewater plant, but the growth is welcoming news for a community that’s had its highs and lows over the last year.


Last fall custom seals and molded rubber manufacturer Trostel announced 87 layoffs, and Sallie Mae closed, leaving 116 people out of work. At around the same time, Husco International, a hydraulic controls manufacturer, secured a state grant to create 90 jobs, and months later telecommunications company iPacesetters announced plans to create 100 jobs over a six-week period to handle growing business.


Walker praised Generac not only for expanding its business but keeping its roots in Wisconsin. The company maintains about 2,000 employees throughout the state.


“For us to be competitive,” Walker said, “we have to have great workers in this state and a great work ethic—the kind of folks who show up early Monday and work all the way hard to the end of the work day on Friday—and that gives us a competitive advantage globally.”


JOBS FAIR

Generac is holding a job fair in Waukesha from 5 to 8:30 p.m. today for anyone interested in the company’s newly created positions. Prospective employees will have the opportunity to talk with engineers and hiring managers about the available opportunities.


The event will be at Generac’s Waukesha headquarters, S45 W29290 Highway 59. Attendees are asked to bring an updated resume.


The jobs range from entry level to management and include engineers, designers, technicians and more, according to a news release. More information can be found at the company’s website, generac.com.

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