Minnesota companies have plans to expand in western Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Minnesota companies have plans to expand in western Wisconsin


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Governor Walker's effort to create more jobs has the attention of a Minnesota company.  The company already knows Eau Claire very well. 

Minnesota Wire has a production facility in Eau Claire and plans to shift even more jobs over here in the future.

"This is definitely a place we want to breed jobs with.  A lot more jobs," says Chairman and CEO of Minnesota Wire, Paul Wagner.

Minnesota Wire currently operates in St. Paul, Minnesota and Eau Claire's west business park.

"It's the park that's closest to the Minneapolis area and it's our fastest growing business park area," says Eau Claire's Economic Development Director, Mike Schatz.

It may grow even more because companies like Minnesota Wire say they can turn a better profit on this side of the border.

"It will be jobs.  I really don't need bricks and mortar in the next couple years.  But the city has always been very good to us as far as putting us in this building," says Wagner.

"Really a cool relationship where a community like Eau Claire can embrace a company and help them keep growing," says Schatz.

Minnesota Wire says Governor Dayton is proposing a tax package that could hinder manufacturing growth in that state, so shifting the workforce to Eau Claire offers expansion for the company.

"You can see all the capital equipment.  We've just ordered our fifth robot coming in here.  But in essence, perfectly balanced would be about 220 to 250 people," says Wagner.

Which would double the number of employees it has now, 115, a good sign for the city.

"One of the ways that we try to look at economic development are, what are the advantages that we have in this area?" says Schatz.

A major advantage is the location of nearby education.

"Years ago we really thought it would be a good marriage of putting the technical college into one of our business parks," says Schatz.

A great supply of talent for a real world demand to manufacture.

"Many vocational and many, now it's a lot of code and a lot of software, you know everybody is getting sophisticated.  You know a robot is a half a million dollars and that's a lot of understanding at a heightened level," says Wagner.

Pairing up a willing workforce with a company ready to fill openings in the future.

"The city was enormously effective at keeping us here rather than going to a neighboring state," says Wagner.

There's no specific timetable in place for the expansion. 

Eau Claire's economic development division also announced another Minnesota company adding jobs in Eau Claire.  Customer Traac, a call center company, is opening an office in the EastRidge Center and will hire 30 employees initially with plans to expand to 50.

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