Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visits Rhinelander Printpack
On the heels of his historic victory in last week’s recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made a stop at Printpack’s Rhinelander facility Monday afternoon to celebrate the company’s recent announcement that it plans to build a brand new, state-of-the-art $72 million production facility in Rhinelander.
“I just wanted to thank Printpack for making a commitment not only to Rhinelander, but to the State of Wisconsin as well,” said Walker during his address to Printpack employees and family members Monday afternoon. “Announcements like these are not just about jobs, their about your job.”
During his address, Walker said that he expects many more business expansion announcements in the state in the coming months. The governor pointed to a survey of state employers that seems to buoy his idea that the reforms he’s helped champion on the state level are playing a part in business and industrial growth.
“Right now, 94 percent of employers in this state say that the state is heading in the right direction,” said Walker. “That number was at 10 percent when I took office.”
Walker explained that, while much of the negotiations with Printpack happened on the local level, his office took a major role in helping secure federal grants and low interest loans that will enable Printpack to finance the new facility.
“Paul Jadin, our Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Director, was working on this project all the way through Memorial Day weekend to get it done,” said Walker. “Projects like this come back to job creation. Not only is Printpack going to making additional hires, the construction and design firms to build the new facility are going to need extra labor. It’s the state’s job to streamline the process to make announcements like these possible.”
Walker said that he expects a similar industrial expansion announcement to come out of Jadin’s office at some point later this week. “I think you’ll be hearing a lot of announcements now that the recall is over,” said Walker. “A lot of employers were hesitant to move forward while the recall was going on, but now that it’s done, they are ready to move.”
Many of Printpack’s top executives were in town for Gov. Walker’s visit, including the company’s President/C.E.O. Dennis Love. According to Love, the company decided last year that it wanted to expand and purchase state-of-the-art technology, but hadn’t decided until recently that the new facility would be in Rhinelander. One of the company’s other alternatives would have been to build the new facility near its home offices in Georgia, which would have meant that the company would have kept its Hendersonville, N.C. facility in operation, and closed the Rhinelander plant. As it stands now, though, it will be Hendersonville closing.
“It was a very difficult decision because whichever way we went, someone wasn’t going to be happy,” said Love. “There were plenty of incentives to move all of our operations down south, but in the end, the relationship and the great workforce we have here in Rhinelander won out.”
Love said that while only 12-15 jobs will be added at first when the new plant opens, there will be “plenty” of room for future expansion.
“We are very excited about the decision, and think that this is going to be a great thing for both Printpack and Rhinelander,” said Love. “When the new facility in Rhinelander is completed, it’s going to be our flagship. We’re very happy that the Governor could be here today to be a part of this.”
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Editor Craig Mandli is available at email@example.com.