Leading the pack

Northeast Wisconsin manufacturers recognized for excellence and leadership

Posted on Mar 15, 2018 :: Feature
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

Quite simply, we know how to make stuff in Northeast Wisconsin. And, we are really good at it.

Three Northeast Wisconsin companies were named “manufacturer of the year” for 2017 by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, with two winning overall awards and a third firm receiving recognition for its global brand growth. The winners were selected from a pool of 23 finalists across the state at WMC’s Manufacturer of the Year awards gala in late February.

Oshkosh Corp. won the Grand Award in the “mega” business size category, winning recognition for its focus on sustainability, safety, continuous improvement and energy efficiency, as well as the growth and resilience that have kept the company going for 100 years.

“(It) was an amazing year,” says Oshkosh Corp. President and CEO Wilson Jones. “In addition to celebrating our 100th anniversary, we continued to grow our people-first culture, and we delivered strong financial results. This esteemed award is only possible because of our team members in the Oshkosh Corp. family. They continue to take our company to the next level.”

In addition to the MOTY award, Oshkosh Corp. recently took the No. 8 spot in Barron’s “Top 100 Most Sustainable Companies” and was one of 2018’s World’s Most Ethical Companies, Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies, a Glassdoor Best Place to Work, a Victory Media Military Friendly Employer and one of Forbes’ America’s Best Large Employers.

The company recently announced long-term plans to remain in Oshkosh, unveiling a new world headquarters building that will be constructed along the bank of the Fox River.

In the small company category, Nicolet Plastics LLC of Mountain received the Grand Award for Manufacturer of the Year for its tenacity and commitment to excellence.

Combining employee training and external and internal development tools, this manufacturer boasts strong employee retention and a competent, adaptable, personally fulfilled team. The company’s growth during the past 30 years has positioned it as a global producer of low- to mid-volume, complex plastic injection molded parts.

Carnivore Meat Co. LLC of Green Bay received a special category MOTY for global brand growth.

Carnivore specializes in raw pet food and has seen rapid growth in both the United States and globally. The company’s products are available in nearly 5,000 independent pet retail outlets across the United States, sold direct on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Chewy.com and are exported to 14 countries.

The company expanded operations this year with the addition of a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center that includes a 90,000-cubic-foot freezer.

In addition to the three winners, four other companies from Northeast Wisconsin were among the finalists for

MOTY awards this year: Energy Bank Inc., Manitowoc, small company; Evergreen Tool Co. Inc., Peshtigo, small company; Pro Products Inc., Sturgeon Bay, small company; and Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, mega company.

The Manufacturer of the Year Awards are sponsored by WMC — the state chamber and manufacturers’ association — the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and the accounting and advisory firm of Baker Tilly.