A northern Illinois manufacturing company is relocating its headquarters to Kenosha, bringing 225 new jobs in its move to southeastern Wisconsin.
Kenall Manufacturing announced its plans to relocate its headquarters and manufacturing plant from Gurnee, Ill. on Thursday with Gov. Scott Walker. The plans include a new 354,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and 13 acres adjacent to the building to use for possible future developments.
Founded in 1963, Kenall Manufacturing creates lighting products for many environments, including healthcare, transportation, food processing and detention facilities, according to the company’s website.
“The construction of Kenall’s new manufacturing facility and relocation of their headquarters to the Business Park of Kenosha is great news for the company and the community, and will benefit the entire state’s economy,” Walker said in a statement. “This shows how serious and successful Wisconsin is in helping businesses expand their operations and create new jobs.”
Joanne Mullins, Kenall Manufacturing marketing director, said the company went through a search process of 20 to 25 facilities in a 30-mile radius before settling on Kenosha.
The search was then limited to a 15-mile radius in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois to ensure current employees were able to continue their work, in addition to retaining employees’ intellectual property within the company, Mullins said.
Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser praised the company in Walker’s statement for choosing Kenosha because of the many advantages Kenosha offers, such as a good location, solid infrastructure and skilled workers.
Mullins said the company’s employee base is a big reason for the recent growth.
“We are growing and we need more production capacity,” Mullins said. “We are really at our limit to accommodate future growth, and we are in desperate need to accommodate our facilities.”
Mullins added Walker, who has often focused on attracting private sector businesses and jobs, was intimately involved in the process.
“He was very assertive in trying to bring business [here], and there are some incentive type of deals, but I can’t specify details of that,” Mullins said.
Mullins added the details of the incentives, which were not freely given, will become public record once the documents get signed and include growth and revenue goals in order to receive the incentives.
The company currently employs 350 to 400 people, depending on the month because of the need for temporary employees during times of high production, Mullins said.
The addition of 225 jobs to Wisconsin at Kenall will be a mix of technical jobs and front office jobs, Mullins said.
Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, also commended the partnership between Kenall Manufacturing and the WEDC, the City and County of Kenosha, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and Milwaukee 7, in the statement from Walker.
Mullins said Kenall Manufacturing is dedicated to continuing in the U.S., and not shipping jobs or using materials from overseas.
“We are really committed to being designed and manufactured in the U.S. and will continue that commitment even when we move to a bigger facility,” Mullins said.
Calls to the Kenosha Area Business Alliance on the economic development in Kenosha were not returned.