WED AM News: Generac plans to invest $53 million in Wisconsin facilities; Evers, Dem lawmakers announce $25 million ag bill package

— Generac, a Waukesha-based manufacturer of generators and other energy products, has announced plans to invest $53 million into its Wisconsin facilities and create 700 new jobs. 

Company leaders yesterday joined state officials including Gov. Tony Evers to announce the expansion, which is being supported with additional tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 

The WEDC Board of Directors last week authorized increasing the company’s Enterprise Zone tax credits from $10 million to $19 million if Generac meets its job creation and capital investment goals by 2024. 

“Generac is a great example of a Wisconsin brand known across the globe, and their decision to further expand in our state is a reminder that Wisconsin continues to be a leader in advanced manufacturing and forward-looking businesses,” Evers said in a release. 

The company’s recent purchase of a new office building in Pewaukee for about $8 million will be included in the capital investment total. Generac’s global headquarters will remain in Waukesha, though the new Pewaukee location is expected to house 300 employees, including sales and support staff and portions of the company’s marketing team. 

Tami Kou, director of marketing communications and public relations for Generac, said about 90 employees so far have moved from the Waukesha headquarters to the new Pewaukee office The entire move is expected to wrap up by Nov. 1. 

“This, in turn, will create additional room for research and development at the Company’s global headquarters in Waukesha, allowing for the ideation, creation and development of future Generac products,” Kou said in an email. “Furthermore, additional manufacturing jobs are being created at our plants throughout the state.” 

The 700 jobs the company is targeting will also include positions in supply chain, research and development, sales and marketing, customer service, finance, human resources, information technology and legal, she said. 

Aaron Jagdfeld, company president and CEO, said in a statement that Generac is seeing “phenomenal demand and growth as the combination of an aging grid and extreme weather are resulting in more frequent and longer-lasting power outages.” Along with generators for home and business use, the company provides power grid software, solar battery storage technology, and various tools and equipment. 

Earlier this year, the company announced the acquisition of a solar technology company based in California called Chilicon Power, supporting its expansion into renewable energy technologies. Generac has at least seven locations in Wisconsin, and more than two dozen other facilities around the world. 

See the release: 

— Evers joined Dem lawmakers in announcing five ag bills with a $25 million price tag aiming to bolster one of the state’s key industries.

The package includes $20 million in general purpose revenue for DATCP to provide grants to food banks, food pantries and other nonprofits to purchase Wisconsin food products. That proposal mirrors a provision that Evers included in his budget only to see GOP lawmakers strip it out.

Evers said during a news conference at World Dairy Expo that the package was meant to pick up where the Legislature left off with the 2021-23 budget.

“Politics aside, the state can do more and should do more to invest in our farmers and ag industry,” Evers said.

Putting the $25 million into the ag programs would require the state to pump nearly $19.6 million more GPR into education. That’s because federal requirements for K-12 schools to qualify for COVID funds require states to maintain the share of their spending that goes toward education. The guv said he was still working on how that additional GPR would be used by schools.

Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, knocked the Dem package, saying the guv should consider using federal COVID funds to invest in the programs. Born also knocked Evers over the changes he proposed to the state manufacturing and ag tax credit in each of his budgets. Evers limited the proposed changes to manufacturers, but Republicans argued some manufacturers that would’ve been impacted are food processors for the ag industry.

“Leadership isn’t putting out a press release and putting zero effort into it,” Born said. “If he cared about this industry, he wouldn’t have proposed raising taxes on the agriculture industry twice.”

The other bills include:

*requiring DATCP to provide grants to reimburse tuition costs for those enrolling in a meat processing program with a cap of $7,500. The bill would also create a new position at DATCP. The cost of the grants and new position would be $2.6 million.

*creating a new continuing appropriation with $400,000 in the 2021-22 fiscal year for the “Something Special from Wisconsin” program that promotes products made in the state.

*creating a new Regional Farmer Mental Health Program to increase access to services. It includes $784,000 over two years and an additional five positions.

*providing $553,300 over the biennium for a “farm to fork” program that connects state providers with farmers, businesses, hospitals and higher ed. It includes an additional $400,000 for the existing farm-to-school program.

See the release:

— Through a new partnership with Prevea Health, UW-Stout aims to expand student health care options next year without leading to an increase in costs. 

That’s according to Sandi Scott, dean of students for the university. In a recent interview, she noted UW-Stout will be the second UW System school to partner with Prevea Health for student health services after UW-Green Bay. 

“We’re excited about the new opportunity that Prevea brings to our campus, and to have students really experience wellness in a new way,” she told “The health of a campus is critical.” 

Following a request for proposals process, the university signed a three-year contract with the health system with options for two one-year renewals for a total of five years. Prevea will take over for the existing Student Health Services program on Jan. 1. 

Students at UW-Stout pay a segregated fee for health services on campus, and Scott said she doesn’t expect the university will raise that fee for the length of the contract. 

“Every year fees are reviewed and it is part of the overall package that students pay,” she said. “We do our best to not propose an increase but it’s not always possible given rising health costs. Health services have become more costly to operate.” 

She pointed to the “ongoing challenge” of keeping health costs low as a university with its own in-house medical program and noted that Prevea Health can “provide some things we couldn’t” without raising costs. 

That includes offering a 24/7 nursing line, after-hours urgent care at the Prevea facility in Menominee that’s separate from the campus and virtual care. 

“That’s huge for students to be able to access that,” Scott said. 

Under the current Student Health Services program, medical providers are employed by the university directly. That includes six full-time staff and five part-time staff, two of whom were hired this fall for short-term roles. 

One of the university’s full-time physicians retired in May, “so the timing worked out pretty well,” Scott said. She said the current staff had the option to apply for positions with Prevea, while those that don’t get hired by the health system will be let go when the transition occurs. 

She noted the switch wasn’t due to any issues with the quality of care currently provided, adding the current staff has “done an exemplary job.” 

A Prevea spokesperson said six full-time employees will be located at UW-Stout health facilities once the transition is complete. 

See more in a release: 

— This year’s freshman class at UW-Madison is the largest in the university’s history, according to recent campus census results. 

A release shows the university enrolled 8,465 freshmen this year out of a total pool of 53,829 applicants. Last year’s enrollment total was 7,306. The freshman class includes 3,859 Wisconsin residents, exceeding the target goal of at least 3,600 residents per freshman class set in 2015.  

Census results also highlight increased levels of racial and ethnic diversity at UW-Madison. The total for new freshmen includes 2,133 individuals who identify as students of color, up from 1,692 last year. These students make up 25.2 percent of the freshman class, compared to 23.2 percent last year, the release shows. 

International students make up just under 10 percent of the latest freshman class and hail from 45 different countries. 

Total enrollment at the university for fall 2021 is 47,936, which has risen from 45,540 last year. 

See the release: 

— Mount Mary University, a private liberal arts university based in Milwaukee, has been awarded a $4.6 million federal grant to boost by 10 percent the number of Hispanic and low-income women in the STEM field. 

The grant funding, from the U.S. Department of Education, will support the Project Discovery effort over the next four years. 

“The project will increase the number of Hispanic and low-income women entering STEM by engaging community college and dual-enrolled students in STEM and build skills for in-demand careers, foster students’ sense of community and connect students and their influencers to resources,” said Natural & Health Sciences and Education Dean Cheryl Bailey. 

The university also received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation in August for its STEM by Design program, which is focused on integrating technology into various programs. Mount Mary University was officially classified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution last year, making it eligible for these grants. 

See the release: 

— An event hosted by UW-Madison tomorrow will feature remarks from Bi-khim Hsiao, representative of the Republic of China, Taiwan, on U.S.-Taiwan relations. 

The lecture, “America, Taiwan and Peace in the Indo-Pacific,” will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the UW Law School, room 2260. 

Hsiao is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator in Taiwan, and has been a vocal supporter for gay rights in the country. She was sworn in as the new envoy to the United States in July 2020, and is the first woman to hold the position. 

Along with the event at UW-Madison, Hsiao and the Taiwan delegation have scheduled meetings with government and business leaders in the state aimed at strengthening ties between Taiwan and Wisconsin. 

See more on the event here: 

Register for the lecture here: 


# Personal income levels slump in Wisconsin as government aid fades

# Evers proposes nearly $25M package targeting agriculture

# Milwaukee edtech Fiveable raises $10 million led by investor that backed Twitter, Tumblr and Duolingo



– Fall harvest continues to progress nicely

– Democrats introduce bills to bolster farmer mental health, agriculture industry


– Proposal to work with new Judge Doyle Square developer moves forward


– World Dairy Expo kicks-off in Madison

– Wisconsin state leaders look to federal government for funding ‘the green economy’


– Madison College, UW-Madison School of Education team up to support future teachers


– Wisconsin Senate passes ‘born alive’ abortion bill

– Medical College of Wisconsin hires CannonDesign for $100M cancer research center project


– As Wisconsin employers struggle to find workers, state prisons work to build opportunities for those leaving custody


– Generac investing $53 million in Wisconsin operations

– WEDC announces $9 million support of Generac’s 700-job expansion in Wisconsin


– Milwaukee to DNC: We’re ready to host in 2024


– Thompson at WisDOT, Crim at DSPS earn senate confirmation


– A suicide prevention program for veterans, started by a Wisconsin gun shop owner, is expanding


– SHINE Technologies alters name to reflect long-term fusion energy goal


– Janesville City Council approves wheel tax increase to $40 per vehicle for resident


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

UW-Madison: Record-setting freshman class maintains UW-Madison’s commitment to Wisconsin families

UW-Madison: Taiwan Rep. Bi-Khim Hsiao to deliver talk at law school

Frontier Airlines: Grows in Green Bay with new nonstop flights to Tampa

Hoffman Planning, Design, & Construction: Looking forward after the pandemic