Over 17% of Wisconsin’s employment base takes place in the manufacturing sector, but here in Northeast Wisconsin, over 24% of our employees make their living in this sector. Considering the importance of manufacturing to our part of the state, and the Smet tradition of constructing buildings within this sector, it only made sense for Smet to be one of the proud sponsors of the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce 2014 Manufacturing Awards of Distinction.
The awards ceremony held to honor the area’s small, mid, and large-size manufacturing businesses was held at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center late last week. This annual event is coordinated by the Chamber’s Advance Economic Development group and is designed to encourage excellence in manufacturing. The award criteria is based on a company’s size, length of time in business, the use of technology and specifically cutting-edge technology that improves processes or differentiates a company from its competitors. There is an emphasis on providing value-added components to its product line or service. And, a company that exports its products or services outside the region is seen as enhancing the importance of the greater northeast Wisconsin region.
This year’s event had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the keynote speaker. Walker, fresh off his recent re-election victory, talked about the importance of training, and preparing the workforce for careers in manufacturing. Today, he said, “young people with degrees from technical colleges entering the manufacturing workforce typically make 25% more than their counterparts educated from traditional college programs. Plus jobs in the manufacturing sector have a retention rate of 200% over other jobs.”
Walker also highlighted the reduction in the state’s tax on production that declines to .04% by 2016 when Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit is fully phased in. This encourages investment in capital that will put more people to work.
Lastly, Walker emphasized his efforts to maintain and improve the state’s infrastructure from bridges, to shipping ports, airports, and broadband access in rural areas. All of these infrastructure initiatives contribute to the effort to keep manufacturing strong and improve the state’s economy.
This year’s award winners were: Nicolet Plastics in the small company category, Winsert in the mid-sized company category and Hatco Corporation in the large sized company category. Fox Valley Metal Tech took the award for advances in workforce development.
Smet Construction Services salutes all of four of these companies and is proud to do our part in being one of several sponsors of this recognition event.
For more information:
Director Market Development
Smet Construction Services, Inc.