Germantown - Economic Development Washington County is helping towns and villages boost their economies and add jobs, despite the downturn.
In January 2011, the West-Bend-based nonprofit organization EDWC began its first multiyear, multi-phased strategy for economic development throughout the county. The goals they set out to accomplish by 2013 have not only been reached already, but surpassed. According to EDWC Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok, the economic development organization has helped fuel 551 jobs throughout the county since 2011, surpassing the initial goal of 400 jobs. Out of the 511 jobs, 268 were in Germantown and $24.3 million of new investment was pumped into the village.
"Using a focused strategy, doing some creative things with tools, working with some of our existing businesses as well as prospects, and in an open-for-business environment is generating results in Germantown and you can see it in the numbers," Tscheschlok said.
Jobs were created in Germantown through businesses such as Wisconsin Stamping and Mahuta Tool Corp. In 2011, Wisconsin Stamping created 75 jobs and added $4.12 million in private investment, Tscheschlok said.
Mahuta added five jobs and added $734,000 in new, private investment.
Built on investment
EDWC is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors. Its revenue is a collaboration of private and public investments.
For public investors, funding comes from the county and various municipalities such as the village of Germantown. Private Investors, such as Germantown Mutual Insurance, elect to become involved at various levels of a monetary commitment, such as a "platinum" investor for $5,000. Through public and private investment in EDWC, the organization's three employees are able to advocate for the entire county, not just one municipality, in an effort to spur economic development and job growth, said Patti Roden, programs and communications coordinator for EDWC.
Through the continued investment in EDWC, the organization is able to help existing businesses with expansion, drive new business and jobs within the county and help small and large businesses utilize a revolving loan fund.
Targeting new prospects
Since EDWC has reached its initial goal of economic development, the small staff continues to work with future prospects.
Most recently, EDWC has been working with Nova-Kem, a company based out of Rockford, Ill., that works with chemical ingredients that develop high-tech products, to set up shop in Germantown. The incentive package EDWC is working on is not yet complete, Tscheschlok said, however, they are hoping to be closed on the project by the end of June.
"This project would not even be possible if not for the positive buzz that is going around on some of the successes here in Germantown," he said.
At the moment, EDWC has 32 projects in the works and eight are in Germantown.
"Of that eight, we are confident at least two will be in the closing phase by the end of the year," Tscheschlok said. "The reality is we could easily be looking at 50 or better new jobs fueled here just in the next summer months depending on the outcomes of our work because we do have to collaborate with the state and our local partners."
Helping existing businesses
Much of the success in fueling economic growth, he said, is a result of working with small businesses already set up in the county. Washington County created the impact revolving fund, which is made up of funds targeted specifically to support existing businesses.
"Our success in the jobs that get created in Washington County and in Germantown in particular tend to be with the companies that are already here and we help further the process," Tscheschlok said.
He said one of their greatest tools is EDWC's updated website, businessreadywi.com, where businesses can go to find all the information they need about the area from transportation to cost of living, available sites and buildings and incentives to move to areas in the county.
- Danielle Switalski
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