Aug 23, 2013

Seljan move to SPX creates industrial rebirth

Excerpted from Jefferson Daily Union
By Randy Ratke

When Charlotte-based manufacturing powerhouse SPX announced it was acquiring APV Americas and its APV Crepaco facility in Lake Mills on Dec. 31, 2007, many area residents hoped it would mark a turning point for the sprawling industrial plant that covers more than 12 acres on the city’s east side.

Those hopes were dashed, though, nine months later, when SPX announced it would be closing the plant and transferring most of the its operations and production to SPX facilities in Germany and Delavan.

The majority of the facility’s remaining 159 workers ended up looking for new jobs shortly after the announcement was made. Any hopes of seeing the plant return to the manufacturing prominence it had in the mid-1970s, when it was Jefferson County’s largest employer, seemed further dashed when SPX sold off the remaining machinery and manufacturing infrastructure during an auction following its closure in 2009.

Unable to sell the more than 500,000-plus-square-foot facility, SPX told the City of Lake Mills it was considering razing the entire building and turning it into greenspace. But the building avoided the wrecking ball, thanks to Seljan Company’s President Scott Seljan.

A year ago, Seljan announced plans to buy the building and move all of his company’s operations into what locals affectionally called “Big Blue.”

On Thursday afternoon, the company celebrated the industrial rebirth of the facility with an open house that brought hundreds of area residents past a new brick fountain and through the doors of a plant many had thought had closed for good four-and-a-half years ago.

Thursday’s open house celebration was not the end of good news for the area. Near the end of the interview Seljan said the company’s recent growth meant it was in the market for more workers.

“We’re hiring both full-time skilled and direct labor,” he added. “By the end of the year, we expect to be at 160 and 170 (workers).”

Read the full article.