By Brian E Clark
MILWAUKEE – Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday night lauded the state’s manufacturers for creating new jobs at a pace during the past year that he said has made Wisconsin the “envy of the nation.”
Speaking at the 2004 Wisconsin Manufacturers of the Year banquet at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Doyle told more than 800 people in the audience that manufacturing remains the backbone of the Badger State’s economy.
“Yes, we will be leaders in biotechnology and information technology,” he said. “But we will continue to make great products for years to come because of the great things you and your talented employees continue to do.”
Following Doyle’s speech, 18 Wisconsin companies received awards for manufacturing excellence. Grand Award winners for 2004 were Greenheck Fan Corp. of Schofield (800-plus employees), Quinton Cardiology of Deerfield (300-799 employees), Heritage Veneered Products of Shawano (100-299 employees) and Orion Energy Systems of Plymouth (1-99 employees).
Doyle said his administration had cut taxes, eased regulatory burdens to help the business community create more jobs.
“Other states with big deficits raised taxes,” he said. “But that was the wrong direction to go. Wisconsin has done much better than our neighbors and that means more families are buying homes and cars and sending their kids to college.”
Doyle said he had bipartisan support for his “Grow Wisconsin” efforts during the first two years of his administration.
“Wisconsin is open for business,” he said. “But I won’t believe its real until we have a third year of sustained growth.”
The dinner and annual competition among Wisconsin manufacturers was sponsored by the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm, the Virchow, Krause & Co. accounting company and Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce, the state’s largest business association.
“These companies have positioned themselves to grow as the economy rebounds,” said Jim Haney, WMC president.
“In 2004, Wisconsin led the nation in the creation of manufacturing jobs, and these companies have made a commitment to keep manufacturing jobs right here in Wisconsin, establishing themselves as community and global leaders,” he said.
In the awards ceremony, Schoeneck Containers of New Berlin, Alby Materials of Burlington and Tufco Technologies of Green Bay received Grand Awards for community involvement and Mortara Instrument of Milwaukee won a Grand Award in the high-technology category.
Special Award winners included Mortara, Alby, Bucyrus International of South Milwaukee, Great White Dental Lab of Lodi, Industrial Combustion of Monroe, Modern of Marshfield, Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Portage Plastics Corp., Res Manufacturing of Milwaukee, Signicast Corp. of Hartford, Sprecher Brewing Co. of Glendale and Universal Die & Stamping of Prairie du Sac.