Made in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is known worldwide for certain things, among them are our culinary delicacies – beer and cheese. And we’re darn good at making those. But we make some other really cool things here in the great Badger State, and we think many people don’t realize those products come from our own backyard. Here’s a smattering of companies with products made in Wisconsin…
All of the products and companies listed below were also featured in the print editions of WMC’s quarterly publication, Wisconsin Business Voice. Click here to view past issues online.
Headquartered in Kenosha and employing approximately 400 people, Kenall Lighting’s focus on sustainability, cost and energy-efficiency and intellectual property makes them one of the most well-respected independent lighting solution providers in the industry. Kenall’s Indigo-CleanTM, a continuous environmental disinfection technology, is a light fixture that uses LED technology to safely, automatically and continuously kill harmful bacteria within the environment. Indigo-CleanTM installs easily into any ceiling, continuously disinfecting and bolstering current cleaning protocols. Indigo-Clean’s continuous environmental disinfection technology kills harmful bacteria in the air, on hard and soft surfaces, 24/7. www.kenall.com
Phillips-Medisize is headquartered in Hudson and has a presence in 14 locations throughout the U.S. as well as Europe, Mexico, China, and the Netherlands. The company is a global leader in design, development and technology-driven manufacturing creating products for use in the medical device, pharmaceutical packaging and commercial markets. Phillips-Medisize manufactures hypertension therapy devices and cardiovascular hospital equipment along with other key products. Their expertise in the cardiovascular market meets quality standards and allows surgeons precision in the operating room. While cardiovascular patients rely on medical professionals to ensure proper healthcare, medical professionals rely on Phillips-Medisize. www.phillipsmedisize.com
To some, jellyfish are creatures to avoid in the water on vacation, but to Quincy Bioscience they are an aid in helping mild memory problems associated with aging. Using apoaequorin, an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, Quincy Bioscience is responsible for Prevagen a supplement that supports cognitive function and age-related health concerns. Headquartered in Madison with production facilities in Middleton, Quincy Bioscience provides customers with supplements to help with age-related memory concerns. Their most popular product, Prevagen, can be found in CVS, Walgreens and many other health foods stores and pharmacies nationwide. www.quincybioscience.com
From air hoists to web slings, WiscoLift has the expertise to ensure the highest quality lifting products. Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Greenville, WiscoLift makes it a priority to manufacture and supply customers with innovative, safe, and reliable products and services for any lifting purpose. WiscoLift manufactures Grade 100 alloy chain slings with 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-legs and a wide variety of attachments. When it comes to Web Slings, the options are endless: flat and twisted eye and eye, endless, returned eye, triangle/triangle and triangle/choker slings. They sell many standard configurations online and manufacture custom slings to any customer specifications. WiscoLift is a key manufacturer and supplier in the lifting industry and ensures their customers are not only safe, but productive. www.wiscolift.com
You can credit this Sheboygan County company with helping orthodontists give every patient the smile they deserve! American Orthodontics, founded in 1968, is the world’s largest privately held manufacturer of orthodontic appliances, with more than 600 employees worldwide, serving customers in more than 100 countries. AO is a global company with a local heart, manufacturing 95 percent of their product offering at their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sheboygan. In its 45 year history, AO has never had one layoff, and has exceeded prior years’ sales each and every year, largely due to its ability to innovate new products and manufacturing technologies. American Orthodontics is a true orthodontic industry leader, committed to providing customers quality products, dependable delivery, and personalized service. So the next time you see someone with braces grinning from ear to ear, remember that the brackets, bands, and wire were most likely made in Wisconsin.
Berntsen International, Inc., Madison, has been “Marking the Infrastructure of the World” for over 40 years as a leading manufacturer of marking and identification products for land surveying, utilities and construction. Berntsen is a privately held, family business owned and operated by Rhonda Rushing whose father, Phil Peterson, co-founded the business in 1972. Today, Berntsen’s customized survey products can be seen worldwide – from Walt Disney World, to the top of Mt. McKinley, to the Nile River. Innovation has marked Berntsen’s history and continues with the recent launching of the new Berntsen Inframarker RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system for location, verification and documentation of underground assets such as utilities.
It’s no secret Wisconsin is a beautiful state abound in farmland. If you glance out your car window while driving nearly anywhere throughout the Badger state, it is almost certain you will see multiple dairy farms smattering the landscape en route to your destination. But, did you know the soil supplement that keeps many of our gardens plentiful is made right here in Wisconsin? Bovine Basics, located in Hudson, was created in 2010 by business partners Ed Rudberg and Mike Kinney. The innovative and environmentally conscious duo produce a Wisconsin-made soil supplement made of anaerobically digested Wisconsin dairy cow manure. Bovine Basics is a company dedicated to being good for your garden and good for the environment. They do this by using what would be farm waste, and turn it into lawn and garden products. Bovine Basics is an all-natural alternative to chemical fertilizer. So, the next time you drive past a field teeming with corn or a meadow full of cows happily grazing, you’ll remember the soil supplement that keeps those farms plentiful and vibrant was most likely made right here in Wisconsin.
Briess Malt & Ingredients Company – A division of Briess Industries, Inc.
It is practically a Wisconsin rite of passage to enjoy a beer and a brat during the summer months in the Badger state. Even so, some may be unaware the handcrafted specialty malts which are involved in the brewing process are made right here in Wisconsin. Briess Malt & Ingredients Company is North America’s leading producer of specialty malts and value-added ingredients for the brewing, distilling, food and pet food industries. In fact, some of the largest and most innovative manufacturers in those industries worldwide are supplied with custom and proprietary ingredients from Briess. At any one time more than 80 percent of the craft breweries operating in the U.S. brew with Briess specialty malts. Producing more styles of malt than any other malting company in the world, Briess sets the benchmark for unique flavor, color and performance in handcrafted specialty malts. Since 1876, this family-owned malting company has been supplying the brewing community with the highest quality malts in the industry. Briess has worked hard to distinguish themselves by developing the most extensive line of specialty malts produced by any malting company in the world. The next time you’re enjoying a cold brew on a hot summer day, remember that the malt which gives the beverage its unique taste and color was most likely made in Wisconsin!
Carma Laboratories, Inc.
We’ve all used Carmex from the little jar with the familiar yellow cap. But did you know it’s made right in Frankiln, Wisconsin? Alfred Woelbing was a buyer at a Chicago department store back in 1937, but he didn’t much like working in the big city. So he began his own business, making silver polish in the basement of his home in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Always curious, always inventive, Alfred then decided to create a home remedy for a pesky condition that he’d often suffered: cold sores. After much experimentation over a hot plate, Alfred created Carmex, and then proceeded to sell it to pharmacies by going door to door. It wasn’t long before Alfred’s home-based business was booming. Apart from a wartime hiatus in production due to lanolin rationing, Alfred’s company—now known as Carma Labs—grew steadily. Now Carma Labs is managed by Alfred’s grandsons Paul and Eric Woelbing. This new generation of Woelbings has overseen several major innovations, including the introduction of new lip balm flavors; a lip balm line for women, Carmex Moisture Plus™ ultra hydrating lip balm; and a line of Carmex skin care products.
Colony Brands, Inc.
Ray Kubly grew up on his parents’ dairy farm outside of Monroe, WI, in the heart of “cheese country.” He started a mail order cheese business after graduating from UW- Madison in 1926 and named it The Swiss Colony in honor of Swiss immigrants in the area. By the 1960s the company was shipping more than 5 million pounds of cheese per year. With the addition of an in-house bakery, The Swiss Colony added delicacies such as Petit Fours and Dobosh Tortes.
In 1982, the company produced its first “non-food” catalog, called Seventh Avenue. The collection of catalogs now includes Ginny’s, Midnight Velvet, Country Door, Monroe and Main, Ashro, Wisconsin Cheeseman, and Montgomery Ward.
The Swiss Colony (recently renamed Colony Brands to reflect the diversity of companies) employs more than 1,000 regular employees and about 4,500 temporary employees in 12 communities across the Midwest.
Dickten Masch Plastics
The last time you wondered if your car needed an oil change you probably popped open the hood and used a fluid level indicator – better known as a “dipstick” – to measure the level of the oil. That dipstick most likely came from Dickten Masch Plastics, located in Waukesha County. Dickten Masch is a partner to leading OEMs in automotive, medical, hand and power tools and other markets. The company delivers complete, high-quality assemblies of a variety of complex components and finished products such as automotive dipsticks and tubes. Originally a tooling shop, Dickten Masch Plastics began molding custom thermoset components for the small appliance and electrical industries in the 1940s. They expanded into thermoplastic molding in the following decade and now employ 520 people in four locations.
Dillman Equipment, Inc. – A division of Astec, Inc. – A subsidiary of Astec
Dillman Equipment, a division of Astec, Inc., manufactures the components needed to build one of the most crucial aspects of the transportation industry; our roads! Dillman Equipment supplies the asphalt/road-construction industry with a complete line of asphalt plant equipment including asphalt storage silos, DuoDrum counterflow drum plants, coldfeed systems, recycle systems, baghouses, dust silos, air pollution control systems, portable asphalt plants, drag slats, transfer conveyors, plant controls, control houses, self-erect silos, asphalt storage tanks, parts, used asphalt plant equipment, and field services. Dillman’s 150 associates have been manufacturing, marketing and providing reliable service for a complete line of asphalt plant equipment from their location on the banks of the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien, though their products are located in almost every state.
John Deere Horicon Works
Since its founding in 1837, Deere & Company has remained dedicated to those who are linked to the land – farmers and ranchers, builders, land owners, and loggers. John Deere’s largest business is agricultural equipment as it has remained the world’s leading manufactuerer of farm machinery for decades. But among Deere’s most popular products are the lawn tractors and utility vehicles built in Wisconsin.
The city of Horicon has been an important part of John Deere’s success since 1911. Horicon is a community built on a strong work ethic, where people take pride in doing their job well. This work ethic is apparent in the quality products rolling off the assembly lines at the John Deere Horicon Works including Select Series riding lawn tractors and Gator Utility Vehicles. Few factories can boast of a 100-year history, but John Deere Horicon Works has achieved this significant milestone. From the early days of building horse-drawn grain drills to the present of manufacturing premium lawn care equipment and utility vehicles, Horicon Works has built a reputation for manufacturing durable and reliable products for generations of John Deere customers. The next time you notice John Deere equipment on a work site or home site, you can be proud of the fact that the lawn tractors and utility vehicles could very well have been made in Wisconsin.
J.W. Speaker Corporation
You can credit this company with helping make sure our military didn’t go hungry during WWII. Founded in 1935, Germantown’s own J.W. Speaker Corporation developed the “P38″ GI can opener after a successsful run producing tire repair equipment and kits, radiator fronts, and side mirrors. After the War, the company returned to their roots and is now focused on developing innovative, high-tech lighting solutions for agriculture, construction, on-road commercial, material handling, mining, motorcycle, recreation and aviation markets around the world. Serving OEMS and the aftermarket alike, this family-owned company designs, manufactures and assembles their products in Germantown. They currently employ 400 people.
Link Snacks, Inc. DBA Jack Link’s Beef Jerky
You’ve probably seen the packages of tasty treats in practically every convenience store, grocery store, big box store and gas station you go into, but did you know Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is a proud Wisconsin company? Founded in 1987 in Minong, the company headquarters sits in Washburn County just west of the Chequamegon Forest in northern Wisconsin. Combined with its New Glarus, Wisconsin, location, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky employs over 900 people in the state alone and almost 3,000 worldwide. Jack Link’s is the number one meat snack manufacturer in North America, the fastest growing meat snack manufacturer in the world, and sells more than 100 different meat snack products in more than 40 countries. And let’s not forget about those Messin’ with Sasquatch commercials that have hit the airways in recent years, remember to always “Feed Your Wild Side.
Mercury Marine – A division of Brunswick Corporation
During summer in Wisconsin, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t escape “up north” for a weekend out on a lake. And did you know the engines that fuel summer fun such as boating and water-skiing are manufactured right here in Wisconsin? Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation, is the world’s leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion systems. Mercury provides engines, inflatable boats, services, parts and accessories for recreational, commercial and government marine applications. Since 1939, Mercury Marine has strived to be the most respected and revered global marine industry leader, enhancing the consumer’s positive boating experience by providing the finest marine propulsion systems and services, integrated electronics, and parts and accessories. It’s safe to say this Fond du Lac-based company will remain a world leader in marine propulsion and technology for decades to come.
Modern Equipment Company, Inc.
The car you drive packs an average of 350 to as many as 1,200 pounds of aluminum into some larger model vehicles. The aluminum foundry industry supports auto manufacturers worldwide with engines, transmissions, brakes and other component parts made of the lightweight material. Much of the aluminum used is melted in furnaces designed and manufactured by Modern Equipment Company, Inc. in Port Washington. Founded in 1919, Modern Equipment employs 50 people in their 165,000 sqaure foot facility and provides equipment to the iron, steel, brass, copper and aluminum industry worldwide. As CAFÉ standards require lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles, Modern Equipment has kept pace with technology and its customer’s needs by developing aluminum melting “JetMelter” brand furnaces that are the standard of the industry. Beyond the automotive market, this company also supports other foundry equipment for customers who cast products for defense, appliance, hand tool, housing, electrical and other end use markets.
North Wood Flooring
North Wood Flooring, located in Coleman, manufacturers unfinished strip and plank hardwood flooring utilizing up to 13 different northern species of hardwood. North Wood Flooring’s business plan is simple – manufacture the best possible product in the safest and most honest way possible. North Wood’s 52 employees take pride in every board that comes off the line. The company sells 400 different items to be competitive and meet the needs of the “one-stop-shop” customer. North Wood Flooring’s main focus is offering a broad line of hardwood flooring products to distributors, addressing the residential and commercial markets. This company is one of the top-ranked in Wisconsin in its industry, measured by square feet of product produced. The next time you attend a Parade of Homes in your community and set foot on exquisite wood floors or you see the North Wood Flooring logo on your local high school basketball court, be proud to know that the wood used to build these critical structures was manufactured in Wisconsin.
The last piece of kitchen or bathroom exhaust equipment you purchased likely had some protective foam packaging cradling the unit so it fit perfectly into the box. And that protective foam packaging likely came from Plymouth Foam in Sheboygan County. Plymouth Foam Inc, founded in 1978, has become one of the nation’s leading converters of EPS (expanded polystyrene) and flexible foams for a variety of market segments. They employ 170 dedicated people who create packaging, insulation and building products that ship to locations all across the country. So the next time you’re meandering through the mall and see a kiosk of foam airplanes, rest assured those toys probably came from Wisconsin’s own Plymouth Foam.
You have probably witnessed high school students caring for life-like infants as part of a simulation project for their Home Economics, Family and Consumer Sciences, or Early Childhood Education classes, but did you know there is a good chance that those infant simulators are designed and assembled in Wisconsin? Realityworks is an experiential learning technology company employing 60 people, whose award-winning programs provide students with realistic learning experiences used by educators in career and technical education programs as well as government and social service agencies worldwide. Realityworks RealCare infant simulators offer real-life experiences that address substance abuse education, prenatal education, child care skills, infant safety and CPR and Shaken Baby Syndrome. Realityworks has had the privilege of being featured by numerous media outlets including Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, and Project Runway, to name a few.
Saris Cycling Group
Anyone who lives or works near Madison knows it is as commonplace to see someone riding a bike as it is to see someone driving a car. Using a bicycle as a means of transportation is practically a way of life in Wisconsin’s capital city. Catering to this vast, outdoors-loving audience is Saris Cycling Group located in Dane County. In 1989, Chris and Sara Fortune purchased Graber, a family-owned bicycle rack company in Madison that manufactured roof, trunk and hitch racks. Now known as Saris Cycling Group, and consisting of three brands; Saris car racks and commercial parking, CycleOps indoor cycling products, and PowerTap cycling power meters and computers; they have continued to grow the company’s success out of an old farm house and an adjoining manufacturing plant. Saris designs and builds its products with the help of their dedicated 160 Wisconsin employees. Saris’ loyalty to and support of Wisconsin is exemplified by the fact the company works almost exclusively with local suppliers, with 67 percent of their suppliers being located within three hours of Saris’ facility. Saris has grown into an industry leader and distributes its products globally to more than 50 countries worldwide. The next time you see anyone load their bicycle onto a hitch rack, know that there is a very good chance it was made by Madison’s own Saris Cycling Group!
Schaefer Brush Manufacturing
Family-owned and proud to call Wisconsin home since 1905, Schaefer Brush in Waukesha is a one of the most diverse brush manufacturers in the world. The craftsmanship and skills of their 56 employees help them specialize in all types of brushes including twisted-in-wire brushes, cylinder, belt, staple-set, hand drawn and metal-back strip to name a few. Schaefer Brush supplies 1,200 companies across the United States and the world in diverse industries such as foundries, mining, automotive, construction, plumbing, HVAC, maintenance, and many more. Andrew Schaefer founded Schaefer Brush, originally supplying brushes to the entire brewing industry from a small building on south 2nd street in Milwaukee. Harold Schaefer, the fourth generation owner, runs the company today. The dedicated employees pride themselves in providing every one of their customers with the highest level of service in the industry.
K & B Innovations, Inc. in North Lake, Wisconsin, are the originators and manufacturers of Shrinky Dinks. If you were void the enjoyable experience of baking your own Shrinky Dinks as a kid, here’s a quick run-down to explain what they are… Shrinky Dinks are made from a shrinkable plastic in myriad designs, and when placed into an oven in your own home for two ‘magical’ minutes, they shrink to approximately 1/3rd their original size while becoming nine times thicker. The very first Shrinky Dinks were sold on October 17, 1973 at Brookfield Square Shopping Mall. Since then, there have been more than 250 Shrinky Dink creations.
It seems to make sense that nearly every successful business we frequent or drive by has an eye-catching sign calling attention to its location. Sign Effectz, located in Milwaukee, is a custom sign manufacturer that blends creativity with technology to provide customers with the most visually effective and physically durable signage possible. Their products include the simple box sign or block style channel letters, pylon signs, neon signs and architecturalmonument signsas well as custom built awnings and sun control devices. Their full service capabilities enable them to serve customers as a one-stop-shop to provide everything from design to fabrication, installation, service and maintenance. Sign Effectz’s vision is to be an innovative leader in advertising technology by inventing new products to inspire their audience. It is the goal of each of the 16 Sign Effectz employees to help make their customers’ brands more visible, increase sales and attract more customers through the use of signs, which have proven to be very powerful forces of advertising. As you pass the businesses and shops that line the streets and see stand-out, custom electrical, pylon or neon signs, know that there is a good chance some of them were made in Wisconsin!
Silver Spring Horseradish
Ellis Huntsinger founded Huntsinger Farms, Inc. and its subsidiary Silver Spring Foods, Inc. in Eau Claire in 1929. Today, Silver Spring horseradish is grown on 9,000 acres in Wisconsin and Minnesota farmland, and is the number one retail brand in the United States. Currently owned by Ellis Huntsinger’s granddaughter and her two sons, the company has been family owned and operated for over 75 years and through four generations. www.silverspringfoods.com
You can credit this West Allis company with helping people cope with the symptoms of Lymphedema or venous disease. Solaris is a medical garment manufacturer that specializes in providing home solutions for wound care management and treatment. Venous insufficiency and Lymphedema, which refers to swelling (usually in the legs) is caused by lymph accumulating in the tissues in the affected areas are a couple of the conditions that Solaris products can help manage and alleviate. Since its founding in 2000, Solaris has become the leader of the nighttime Lymphedema management industry and is quickly expanding its reach in the venous and wound care management markets as well. The focus of the 47 employees at Solaris is customer service. That is why they are the only company in their industry to offer patients an exclusive Sure-Fit Warranty on every custom-manufactured product. You can be proud to know there are leading manufacturers in Wisconsin who are helping to make better lives for people everywhere.
St. Croix Fishing Rods
And while we’re on the subject of outdoors activities, we have to mention St. Croix fishing rods. These world-renown rods are made in Park Falls, Wisconsin. Founded in 1948 and now employing more than 150 dedicated people, St. Croix is recognized throughout the world as a pioneer in the development of high performance fishing rods. From the original multi-section bamboo fishing pole, to the now more than 700 rod selections, St. Croix is a model company, located right in our backyard.
USG Interiors Inc. – A subsidiary of USG Corporation
For more than 110 years, USG Corporation has delivered the innovative products and systems that build the environments in which we live, work and play. As the inventor of wallboard and mineral wool ceiling tile, USG created North America’s building materials industry. The company’s products, including its flagship brand SHEETROCK® Brand gypsum panels, are used in everything from major commercial developments and residential housing to simple home improvements. USG Interiors, LLC, a subsidiary of Chicago-based USG, is a leading manufacturer of acoustical ceiling panels and ceiling suspension grid. USG Interiors’ Walworth plant was purchased by USG in 1959 and has an industry-leading commitment to safety. The Walworth plant employs nearly 100 people and produces ceiling panels and the mineral fiber from which they are made.