The Milwaukee Region is a national leader in precision manufacturing and the production of sophisticated industrial controls and medical imaging equipment. Its skilled workforce, engineering support and manufacturing heritage have also made it the nation’s leading producer of mining machinery, hoists, monorails, speed changers, drives and gears.

Within the manufacturing sector, the emphasis has shifted to advanced industries focused on industrial equipment, medical imaging, consumer products and green technologies. The region is increasingly known for diagnostic equipment, electric car batteries and wind turbine equipment.

Fifteen percent of the region’s workforce is employed in manufacturing, well above the nine percent average nationally and ranking second in the nation among the top 50 metros for manufacturing jobs. The region's diverse mix of manufacturing companies produces everything from basic foundry parts to low-emission engines, advanced aviation systems and sophisticated industrial controls. The region is especially noted for engine and equipment manufacturing, automation and advanced manufacturing, and medical technology.

Eight locally based manufacturers have appeared on the Fortune 1000 list – A.O. Smith, Briggs & Stratton, Gardner Denver, Harley-Davidson, REV Group, Rexnord, Rockwell Automation and Snap-On. S.C. Johnson is on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies and Johnson Controls maintains a functional headquarters in Milwaukee.

The region's technical colleges and universities provide critical training and research support, including applied technology centers that manufacturers can use to test their designs and create prototypes. Technology transfer programs help companies turn ideas into marketable products.

Power, Automation & Controls Industry

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

Mid-West Energy Research Consortium

Power, controls and energy are among Milwaukee’s largest manufacturing sectors. The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC), headquartered in Milwaukee, brings together companies like Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, Eaton, Kohler and DRS Technologies with the power of leading Midwest engineering research universities and technical colleges to provide cutting-edge consulting, research, workforce development and industry expansion..

M-WERC is helping drive the Midwest Region and the United States to be energy independent based on usage of innovative solutions tied to energy-related activities, including generation, transmission, distribution, storage, automation, power conversion and energy efficiency/conservation. For more information on M-WERC, visit

Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) enhances the success of Wisconsin's small to mid-size manufacturers by providing real-world knowledge in continuous improvement, business strategies and best practices. WMEP is also a strong advocate of manufacturing and provides information to those focused on the success of Wisconsin manufacturing.

In 2013, WMEP, with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.and the Milwaukee 7, conducted a Wisconsin Economic Future Study to help identify industries that drive economic growth and connect those with other clusters to deliver economic prosperity. To learn more about the results of the survey, click here.

Dream it. Do it. Wisconsin

Dream It. Do It. is a national recruitment strategy sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers. It's designed to emphasize manufacturing as an industry providing high-paying, high-quality careers. Wisconsin is the 20th state to implement the program, which aims to create a single, powerful brand for manufacturing careers in support of local workforce development efforts. Learn more at

A.O. Smith 15,500 Electric motors; commercial and residential water heating equipment; and copper-tube boilers
Briggs & Stratton 5,500 Air-cooled engines
Gardner Denver 6,100 Industrial pumps and compressors
Harley-Davidson 6,000  Motorcycles and accessories
REV Group 6,000 Specialty vehicles
Rexnord 7,700 Industrial equipment and components
Rockwell Automation 22,000 Industrial controls and software
S.C. Johnson 12,000 Household products
Snap-on 11,600 Tool, diagnostic and equipment products
Applied Technology Center Milwaukee School of Engineering Assists design, development and evaluation of products, processes and manufacturing systems
Center for Biomolecular Modeling Milwaukee School of Engineering 3-D molecular models
Center for By-Products Utilization University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Researches technology that can be used to find environmentally and economically effective uses of industrial byproducts and consumer waste
Center for Intelligent Systems, Controls and Signal Processing Marquette University Assists in the development of intelligent systems
Center for Supply Chain Management  Marquette University Industry-university collaborative venture for education, research and information sharing of supply chain management strategies
Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power Milwaukee School of Engineering Applying new technologies such as rapid prototyping, sensors, nanotechnology and tribology plus contamination analysis, to fluid power
Fluid Power Institute Milwaukee School of Engineering Fluid-power component and system evaluations
Photonics and Applied Optics Center Milwaukee School of Engineering Optical projects and experiments for lasers, LEDs, sensor applications and optical fabrication
Rapid Prototyping Center Milwaukee School of Engineering Applies proven technologies to compress the production cycle
Thermofluid Science and Energy Research Center Marquette University Research and development of energy conversion systems and heat/mass exchange equipment


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