Germantown - Gov. Scott Walker addressed a crowd of employees and local government officials Monday during a celebration of the local workforce at the grand opening of Bradley Corp.'s new plant located in the Germantown Business Park.
"This is an investment in not just infrastructure, but the people," Walker said.
The new manufacturing plant, W13500 Bradley Way, designs and manufactures plumbing fixtures, restroom accessories and emergency equipment.
"The people is what drives this business and makes the company what it is today and makes it great," said Bryan Mullett, president of Bradley Corp.
The 190,000-square-foot building has about 100 employees, but Bradley Corp.'s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Don Mullett is confident the company will grow and have the opportunity to create additional jobs.
"We didn't have the room to grow before," Don Mullett said in an interview with NOW after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
In total, the company employs 500 people nationwide, with more than 430 of those jobs in southeastern Wisconsin.
The 91-year-old, fifth-generation family-owned company has headquarters and its original manufacturing plant in Menomonee Falls.
Bradley Corp. was one of the first companies to purchase property in the Germantown Business Park more than a decade ago. Don Mullett said the property was a good fit due to its acreage, as well as its proximity to the woods so they could build paths for the employees.
Although the company owned the property, they were not ready to begin construction on the new facility until April 2011. Upon completion, the new plant is now the primary manufacturing location for a variety of commercial washroom products. Don Mullett said it was the governor's and lieutenant governor's office that helped the company through the expansion process.
"What we can do here is we're going to have new jobs here as time goes on, new people, new products and it's not only an important part for our company and our family, but the state of Wisconsin," Don Mullett said.
Addressing the crowd of Bradley employees and community officials, Walker said Bradley Corp. is an example of how Wisconsin is becoming more business friendly.
"We've changed the business climate in the state so employers like Bradley can grow, can expand, and take the risk to put in this kind of investment," Walker said.
He said Bradley Corp. employees and the employers of the state can send the message that Wisconsin is a good place to do business.
Though Walker said Wisconsin is becoming a better business location, he said the state's current unemployment rate at 6.8 percent is still too high and needs to change.
"The best way we do that is not through more government, it's by government being a great partner," Walker said.
He asked the employees of Bradley Corp. to help spread the message of the importance of having a workforce skilled in manufacturing. In the last 20 years, Walker said things changed in schools and in society that led people away from focusing on training for manufacturing jobs.
"One of the biggest challenges I hear from employers across the state is not that there's not enough work, but there's not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs that are open," he said. "The best way to inspire young people and guidance counselors is through people who work in manufacturing."
He said if people can become trained and skilled in manufacturing jobs and careers, "we'll lead the nation in terms of recovery."
For information on Bradley Corp., visit bradleycorp.com.
See a gallery of photos from the governor's visit on GermantownNOW.com.
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