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Project Roundup

Amazon chooses Wisconsin, creating up to 1,500 jobs

Amazon recently announced it will locate a 3.4 million-square-foot, five-story distribution center in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, a small village east of Madison. The $200-millon facility will sit on nearly 150 acres and create up to 1,500 jobs.  

According to Jason Field, CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), adding 1,500 warehousing jobs to the area could create an additional 1,650 indirect jobs and roughly $77 million in earnings. The facility will be the largest distribution center in Wisconsin, strategically located to serve the two largest cities in the state, Milwaukee and Madison.  

Trammel Crow, the developer on the project, worked with Alliant Energy for months. This new facility will include electric vehicle and truck charging. It will be one of the first distribution centers in Wisconsin to incorporate electric truck charging.  

“This is a great win for the village of Cottage Grove, MadREP, the state of Wisconsin and Alliant Energy,” said JP Brummond, vice president of customer and community engagement at Alliant Energy. “The future of electric vehicles and renewable energy is bright, and we look forward to a strong partnership with Amazon as we work together on this incredible project.”  

The facility will be one of the largest facilities in Amazon’s real estate portfolio. According to Warehouse Automation Canada, Amazon is involved in nine of the 10 largest industrial facilities currently under construction in the U.S. This facility will also mark the third Amazon facility to come to the Madison area since 2020. Amazon currently has distribution centers in Madison, Beloit, Oak Creek and Kenosha.  


(Rendering of the planned 93-foot-tall, 3.4 million-square-foot distribution and warehouse facility.)

This investment represents an ongoing shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping. Area Development predicted new opportunities in e-commerce and greater developments in small and mid-sized markets two years ago. Matt Powers, executive vice president of retail and e-commerce at Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, cited two specific reasons:

  • Competition for warehouse workers and stronger competition for labor in larger markets.
  • The significant demand for fast shipping.

The global shutdown due to coronavirus also forced many consumers to change their shopping habits. In the U.S., online shopping increased by 30 percent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. This surge put pressure on retailers like Amazon to bolster their distribution network. E-commerce retailers now invest in hub market locations to access the last mile of distribution and develop warehouse space across primary and secondary logistic markets, like Madison.

Camso announces investment in its Iowa manufacturing facility

Camso Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Camso Holding USA LTD, which is a subsidiary of Michelin North America, plans to spend $20 million to upgrade its equipment and add more than 33 new jobs to the current staff of 175 at their plant in Peosta, Iowa.  

Camso is a leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems to serve material handling, construction, agricultural and powersports industries. The company supplies its products to leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) under the names Camso and Solideal and distributes its products in the replacement market through its global distribution network. 

The Peosta location manufactures undercarriages for heavy equipment. It plans to rework its existing footprint and purchase new equipment to implement a wheel line. This will allow it to process rubber or polyurethane molding on the outside of midrollers used in undercarriages. 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded Camso $600,000 in tax credits for upgrades at the facility. The company plans to have its facility ready for the new line by the end of 2023 and to purchase the equipment by 2025. Camso will receive $120,000 of its tax credit award annually over a five-year period, beginning this year. The credits come from the state’s High Quality Jobs program, which provides assistance to businesses to offset costs to expand facilities. 

Michelin North America said the plan is consistent with its commitment to accelerate advanced manufacturing. 

Iowa Premium to construct new facility

The state of Iowa has committed $14 million to Iowa Premium to expand its Tama beef processing plant and add nearly 400 jobs.  

The company plans to replace its current slaughtering and processing facility with a larger one, doubling its capacity. Iowa Premium plans to spend $561.9 million on the planned 800,000-square-foot plant, according to Iowa Economic Development Authority documents. The state-of-the-art processing facility is expected to open in late 2024. 

The incentives are part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s High Quality Jobs program. Through the program, Iowa Premium will receive $6 million in investment tax credits and just over $8 million in sales or service tax refunds paid during construction in exchange for a commitment to create a number of high-quality jobs.   

Hormel to expand production in Dubuque, Iowa, creating 38 new jobs

Hormel logo

Progressive Processing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., is expanding its Dubuque Iowa plant. The $43 million investment will increase capacity for Spam production and create 38 jobs. 

Hormel intends to begin construction at its facility in early 2022 and begin expanded production by February 2023. 

The 38 jobs qualified for the Iowa Economic Development Authority High Quality Jobs incentive program. Through that program, the company receives state investment tax credits totaling $1.1 million and a $180,000 sales tax refund. Hormel also plans to borrow $200,000 for the project from East Central Intergovernmental Association through its local revolving loan fund. 

The manufacturing plant opened in 2010 and produces microwave meals, canned chunk chicken, Spam and bacon bits. It currently employs about 440 people. The latest project will mark the third time Hormel has grown its food production in Dubuque. In 2015, the company introduced Spam and bacon bits production to the facility. In 2019, the company spent $13 million and added 58 new positions to expand its Spam production. 

“We are proud to call Dubuque home and are excited to continue our growth in the community and provide quality job opportunities for this area,” said Joe Muzik, plant manager at Progressive Processing. 

The expansion of Spam production comes as sales of the meat product continue to increase. Last year, Hormel announced that it had garnered record sales of Spam for the seventh year in a row. 

Manufacturing work moving from Asia to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies recently completed the installation of additional lines to produce Fruit Gushers at their plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The location was chosen for transfer of a line from a closed Asia location. In addition to the Fruit Gushers products, the facility produces Fruit by the Foot, nearly 1 million lbs. per day of Cheerios and Lucky Charms along with 99% of the Betty Crocker frosting goods. The operation in Cedar Rapids has 650 employees and has received nearly $1 billion in capital since 2004.

General Mills remains focused on serving food people love through category-leading brands include Cheerios, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Häagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Progresso, Totino’s, Pillsbury, Old El Paso and more.

Third local expansion in 14 years for German pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer

German pharmaceutical excipients manufacturer JRS PHARMA GmbH & Co. KG announced that they will be expanding the U.S. subsidiary’s, JRS Pharma, plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The $15.9 million project calls for an increase in production space and associated tank farm. It will add 18 employees to the current 75 staff members.

This is the company’s third expansion since locating to the community in 2006. JRS Pharma is a leader in the manufacturing of excipients, offering a complete portfolio of solutions for the global health science industry. JRS PHARMA GmbH & Co. KG and its subsidiaries have 31 production facilities over four continents.

Defense aerospace facility coming to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

United Kingdom based BAE Systems, Inc. announced that they will be investing $139 million in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to build a new 200,000 square foot classified defense aerospace facility. The 650 new employees will design and manufacture mission-critical GPS receivers that are compliant with military M-Code, anti-jamming, and anti-spoofing requirements.

Construction is planned to start this October with occupation scheduled for September 2022. The City of Cedar Rapids will incentivize the project with infrastructure improvements around the facility and a 75% property tax exemption over 20 years.

BAE Systems is a global defense, aerospace and security company employing 83,100 people worldwide and 30,500 in the United States. The company helps their customers to stay a step ahead when protecting people and national security, critical infrastructure and vital information.

Iowa adds feed mill, expands plastic packaging manufacturer

Landus Cooperative grows feed business in Yale, Iowa

Landus Cooperative, a farmer-owned agricultural cooperative headquartered in Ames, Iowa, announced plans to increase their swine and beef feed business.  The company is investing $22 million in a new 400,000-ton mill on an 80-acre site in Yale, Iowa. The project will add 18 positions to the current 725 full-time employees.

Landus Cooperative provides bulk feed and toll-milling services to the swine, beef, dairy cow and poultry production industries. The company has a global reach, distributing their line of specialized, high-quality, soybean meal-based products across six continents.

Amcor Rigid Plastics to expand in Ames, Iowa

Amcor Rigid Plastics, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging for the food, beverage, spirits, personal/home care and healthcare industries, is expanding their manufacturing operation in Ames, Iowa. This project represents a $3.1 million capital investment that will bring six new production lines and result in the creation of 42 new employment opportunities.

Amcor operates 59 facilities in 13 countries including an additional plant served by Alliant Energy in Centerville, Iowa.

Wellman Dynamics to grow in Creston, Iowa

Wellman Dynamics announced the purchase of a 315,000-square-foot manufacturing, office and warehouse space along with approximately 20 acres of land in Creston, Iowa. Initial production at the new facility will include castings manufactured by Wellman for the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter being manufactured for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Work on the $45 million project will take place over the next 12 months with plans for production in the facility targeted for 2022. Wellman Dynamics will create 50 new jobs to add to their existing workforce of 400 people.

Two manufacturers expand production in Clinton, Iowa

Nestle Purina Petcare and Timken Drives, LLC announced expansions in Clinton, Iowa that combined will lead to the creation of 157 new jobs. This economic growth is a great thing in Clinton County, which has one of the highest rates of unemployment in Iowa at 4.1%.

Nestlè Purina PetCare plans to invest $140 million to expand its factory in Clinton, Iowa. Purina is the largest dry dog and cat food maker in the United States. Purina’s dry dog food business has grown 7% in the past year, which is twice the rate of the category overall.

Clinton has operated a Purina pet food factory since 1969. The plant is a hub for innovation and design of new products, in addition to producing flagship brands including Purina ONE and Purina Pro Plan, both of which are experiencing double-digit growth. The expansion will add new processing and packaging lines for the production of “dry,” or kibble-based, pet foods and lead to total job growth of 73 positions. “Purina is proud to produce high quality products for dogs and cats at our Clinton factory.” said John Bear, Vice President of Manufacturing, Purina.

Timken Drives, LLC, a subsidiary of Fulton, Illinois based Timken Company, is relocating its auger manufacturing operations to Clinton, Iowa. Timken Drives manufactures agricultural conveyor chains and auger assemblies for the off-highway mobile industrial market.  The new operation will create 84 new jobs.

United Alloy headquarters in Janesville, Wisc. gears up to support Texas expansion

United Alloy, Inc., based in Janesville, Wisc., is expanding into Seguin, Texas with a new $35 million facility. The 200,000 square-foot facility will sit on a 27-acre site and employ 100 people.

The headquarters plant in Janesville is currently installing the first of three robotic material handling systems that will provide additional capacity to supply the new facility in Texas. The equipment in Janesville will be operational once training of 30 additional team members is complete.

United Alloy made the decision to continue growing the Janesville plant, the hub of the US operations, due to their ability to draw highly skilled employees within the market. Blackhawk Technical College has partnered with United Alloy Academy training welders and fabricators the last five years. United Alloy has grown to over 400 employees in Janesville and is the largest welding, robotic welding and powder coating workforce in the Midwest.

The 20-year-old United Alloy location in Janesville has expanded three times in the last seven years. “United Alloy is growing because of our track record of attracting Wisconsin employees capable of building a world class organization,” said Tom Baer, United Alloy Chairman.

United Alloy, Inc. is a serial production metal fabrication and powder coating company that produces leak-proof metal fuel tanks, reservoirs, skids, frames, chassis, trailers, heavy metal fabrications and complex weldments.