Foxconn opening innovation center in Green Bay

Foxconn will have a presence in Green Bay through a recently announced innovation center, employing as many as 200.

According to a release from the company, this move will help forge connections with potential partners for Foxconn’s supply chain in the Green Bay area.

Foxconn said Friday it has reached an agreement to purchase the WaterMark building, a 75,000-square-foot, six-floor office building located near the Fox River. The company says it will close on the property soon, and plans to open the innovation center later this year.

This comes on the heels of Foxconn’s groundbreaking ceremony for its $10 billion manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant. Gov. Scott Walker’s office says the project has an expected $7 billion annual economic impact on the state.

Jerry Murphy, executive director of economic development group New North, says the Green Bay facility will benefit the entire 18-county northeast Wisconsin region.

“We’ve always believed that the benefits of Foxconn would reach into the New North,” Murphy said. “We’ve seen some of that through the initial awarding of contracts. Today’s announcement takes things to another level.”

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, says the new center “will have a direct effect on startups and emerging companies as well as technologies that can be adopted by those companies.”

“To me, it’s further evidence of their intent to be a statewide company,” he told “Certainly, they have a big footprint in southeast Wisconsin, but they’re showing every sign they want to be involved with the rest of the state.”

Foxconn says it will “leverage its Green Bay presence” to attract and develop talent coming out of UW-Green Bay, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, St. Norbert College, “and many others.”

This ties into the company’s “Smart Cities, Smart Future” initiative, announced in May. It aims to source ideas from UW Systems schools, tech colleges and private colleges alike.

Still notes Foxconn is particularly interested in northeast Wisconsin for the density of manufacturers and related firms.

“There are a lot of talented companies in that region who fit well with a manufacturing company such as Foxconn,” he said. “They can run the gamut from robotics, automation, Internet of Things, logistics… the technologies that Foxconn is developing are a really good match for suppliers and partners in northeast Wisconsin.”

Another major Wisconsin buyer, Oshkosh Corporation, has a supply chain of about 700 Wisconsin companies with an approximate value of $300 million. Foxconn has pledged to spend about $1.4 billion per year on its Wisconsin supply chain — over four times as much.

Still expects Foxconn’s supply chain to include “a significant number of companies statewide.”

“I don’t know if it will be four times, but it will be a big number,” he said. “It’s really a testimony to the expertise in Wisconsin around a variety of different sectors.”

–By Alex Moe