May 15, 2013

Enerpac breaks ground on manufacturing plant in Columbus

Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal
By Barry Adams

Enerpac, one of the city’s largest employers, and Zilber, a development company, broke ground this week on a $17 million, 167,100-square-foot manufacturing facility that will be next to the Highway 73 off-ramp and visible to the 20,000 motorists who travel daily on Highway 151.

City officials say Enerpac and its 200 employees will become the anchor of the Gateway Business Park, which could someday also be home to other manufacturers, retail, a hotel, senior housing, parkland and a park-and-ride lot.

“It’s going to mean an incredible opportunity to grow the city of Columbus,” said Steve Sobiek, the city’s economic development director. “In order to compete from an economic development and a job creation standpoint … we have to compete in a regional and a global economy and that means growing the population of Columbus while at the same time offering good, well-paying jobs.”

Enerpac, a manufacturer of hydraulic high-force tools and equipment used in industrial markets, has been located for more than 50 years in a 135,000-square-foot leased facility at 720 W. James St.

The new facility, scheduled for completion by the end of the year, will also be leased but allow for continued growth with room for a 105,000-square-foot addition.

“We’ve really just outgrown that facility. It’s been added on several times and it’s really not an efficient building to work in anymore,” said Ken Bockhorst, Enerpac’s global operations leader. “We are optimistic that this project will certainly be able to set us up for future growth and expansion.

Bockhorst, who joined Enerpac in 2011, said the company looked at several locations in the area but wanted the new facility to remain in or near Columbus in an effort to retain employees.

“It’s just been a strong collaborative effort with the city of Columbus. We didn’t want to lose any employees,” Bockhorst said. “This new facility will be laid out in a way that we’ll be able to optimize our processes and do a much better job of servicing our customers.”

“We want to encourage manufacturing, and I think the Enerpac facility will set the gold standard,” Sobiek said. “I think there will be a natural attractant to other area and regional manufacturers.”

Read the full article.