Our ship has come in

Posted on Sep 11, 2019 :: Editors Note
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Manufacturing Staff Writer

From JLTVs to smart bathroom products to delicious sausages, we make a multitude of amazing products in the New North. One of the coolest, though, has to be ships. For the photo shoot for this issue’s cover story, I accompanied our photographer on a visit to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay and was awestruck by the scale and scope of the company’s work. Most of the projects underway at Bay Shipbuilding at any given time are one-offs that can take up to two years to complete, and it’s fascinating to watch these massive vessels come together piece by piece.

The work shipbuilders do is not only awe-inspiring but impactful. In addition to building Littoral Combat Ships for the U.S. Navy, Fincantieri Marinette Marine will soon begin work on a new project, the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant. The shipyard is also one of three nationwide competing for a $1.2 billion contract to build the Navy’s new guided missile frigates. If the company were to land the contract, its effects would be far-reaching. Marinette Marine, like other shipbuilders, is looking to attract more workers. When it comes to recruiting, the company has at least one powerful motivator. “We build freedom every day. Who can say that?” says CEO Jan Allman. Read Nikki Kallio’s cover story beginning on page 12 to learn about major projects underway in the region.

Shipbuilding isn’t the only industry going strong in the state. The results of a recently released Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. study show Wisconsin’s pulp, paper and converting industries generated more than $18 billion and employed more than 30,000 in 2018. With new investment and diversification efforts underway, the industry is on track for continued growth. Read MaryBeth Matzek’s feature on page 19 to learn more about the study’s results.

From shipbuilding to papermaking, talent needs touch nearly every industry. Mike Staver, one of two keynote speakers for this year’s Manufacturing First Expo & Conference, says companies seeking to set themselves apart on this front must tell a compelling story as well as assessing and meeting the needs of prospective workers. Check out my feature on page 25 to learn more about Staver’s message and what to expect at Manufacturing First. This year’s event features not one but two keynote presentations. Kohler Co. President and CEO David Kohler will speak on “145 Years of Manufacturing and Innovation.” Visit manufacturingfirst.com to learn more about the event and to register. I hope to see you there!