Energy, Power & Controls

Milwaukee is at the heart of a robust cluster of energy, power and control companies. This cluster, known as the Smart Energy Hub, includes world-class energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, control technologies, and energy storage companies and university research. Wisconsin has more than 900 companies in this cluster with $38 billion in sales. This industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the state, and the market for energy technology is expected to expand dramatically in the new few years.

Johnson Controls and Rockwell Automation, both Fortune 500 companies in the region, are major automation and control companies with nearly 6,000 employees total. Other automation and control companies include, DRS Technologies, ABB and Magnetek. Other major employers include Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems and Waukesha Electric in the power transmission and transformers sector, and Astronautics Corporation of America in the navigational instruments sector.

More than 90 companies and regional universities collaborate through the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC), headquartered in the City of Milwaukee. M-WERC is focused on technology innovation; market and industry expansion; public policy support; workforce development; and organization development and strategic collaboration. M-WERC links academic research from member universities with the companies that can help transform the research into marketable products. It also supports market research to help expand export opportunities for locally made products. Milwaukee-area members include A.O. Smith, Briggs & Stratton, Johnson Controls, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockwell Automation, UW-Milwaukee and We Energies.

M-WERC's Energy Innovation Center (EIC) offers a unique space to bring together industry and academic scientists, engineers and business leaders to conduct joint research, jump start innovative technologies, transition prototype products to the commercial stage, and nurture startup companies. The center is a resource for entrepreneurs with ideas they want to transform into successful businesses. The EIC hosts WERCBench Labs, a 12-week immersive program for technology innovators. WERCBench is interested in startups and early-stage companies in the fields of energy, power, controls, ar/vr, robotics, drones, internet-of-things, and 3D printing. Businesses must have a core team of engineers, scientists, or programmers who want to develop their technology into a product and business. Participating companies will receive a $20,000 investment; $10,000 at the start of the program and $10,000 upon successful completion of the program.

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