Washington County’s quality of life, abundant workforce and proximity to the Milwaukee market make it one of the best areas in the state to live your life and grow your business.

There are many reasons why Washington County is a great place to expand and relocate, but here are just a few:

  • A population that’s growing more than twice as fast as the state’s population growth rate
  • An excellent education system that touts a high school graduation rate that’s higher than both the state and country as a whole
  • A median household income that exceeds the state and national averages

Don’t just take our word for it.  Check out some of our latest project profiles to find out why companies are choosing to locate and grow in Washington County: EDWC Project Profiles.


News Feed

Major changes coming to how credit scores are calculated

The math behind your credit score is getting an overhaul.

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WEDC plans trade mission to Mexico

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will lead a trade mission to Mexico in June despite rising tensions.

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Snap-on CEO: Trump visit is about the American worker

Why did President Donald Trump’s team select Snap-on Inc.’s headquarters in Kenosha for a ceremonial signing of an “America First” executive order?

Company representatives aren’t giving details, but there is clearly something to be said for Snap-on’s role as an American-based manufacturer of tools for professionals in the macho world of auto mechanics. Hundreds of Snap-on employees gathered at the company headquarters innovation center in anticipation of Trump’s visit Tuesday afternoon.


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Interesting time to talk trade

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s World Trade Association will host the annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference on Thursday, May 11, at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. Needless to say, it is a very

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Grants available for companies entering, expanding in export markets

In November 2015, the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership launched the Export Development Grant Program presented by JPMorgan Chase. The program provides financial assistance to small and medium enterprises, both those new to exporting

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U.S. Bank’s Bertha to retire as Wisconsin market president

Bill Bertha, Wisconsin market president for U.S. Bank, has announced plans to retire in June, the bank said Thursday.

Bertha will be succeeded by Tom Richtman, now a relationship manager team lead in Commercial Banking.

Bertha has served as market president in Wisconsin since 2005. Under his leadership, U.S. Bank gained market share and significantly grew its presence in this important region, the bank said. Prior to U.S. Bank, Bill served as a managing director at both Deutsche Bank and Dean Witter…

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WiRED, Phelan plan $13.6 million West Bend development

West Bend officials decided to partner with two Milwaukee developers to build 96 apartments and commercial space on a former manufacturing site near the city’s downtown.

The project would cover 8 acres the city owns at East Water Street and South Forest Avenue. That land formerly was Gehl Co.’s headquarters and manufacturing facility.

The proposal for the land from WiRED Properties and Phelan Development features five total buildings, including a trio of three-story apartment buildings along…

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Fed raises key rate again

Strong labor market and moderate economic growth solidify decision.

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State’s unemployment rate dips under 4 percent

Wisconsin economy added 5,800 private sector jobs in January.

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House corporate tax shift leaves some Wisconsin Republicans, businesses uncertain

From Gov. Scott Walker to a state business lobby, Wisconsin Republicans don’t know quite what to say about the House GOP proposal to replace the nation’s corporate income tax with a brand new system. 

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McLees: Exploring how ECG maker is wired

Todd McLees explores how a Spaulding ECG works.

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Top Workplaces 2016: Courting Millennials

Without question, millennials are the future of the U.S. workforce, which became increasingly evident as we assembled this, our seventh annual Top Workplaces special edition.

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Wisconsin ranks well in U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural ‘Best States’ list

The new ranking published by U.S. News and World Report places the state of Wisconsin a respectable 16th on its first “Best States” list.

The ranking measures how citizens experience their state, based on more than 10,000 data points and 68 different metrics. Wisconsin’s highest ranks among seven categories were fifth for government and 10th for crime and corrections. Government ranks states on transparency, integrity, fiscal stability and their use of digital technology in serving residents, and…

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Milwaukee 7 seeks solution to ‘Valley of Death’ funding issue

The Milwaukee 7 economic development partnership launches a new venture capital fund.

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West Bend insurance revives heart-strings approach to ‘Silver Lining’

Executives at West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. decided it was time to resume tugging at the heart strings of broadcast audiences in the latest installment of the company’s “The Silver Lining” advertising campaigns.

The West Bend-based insurer is launching two television commercials aimed at consumers and two for small businesses with a total budget of “a little over $5 million” this year, Jim Schwalen, vice president of personal lines and marketing, said in an interview Monday. The company…

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States’ Personal Income Shows Uneven Economic Growth

One of the longest U.S. economic expansions has lifted personal income in all states. But growth has varied, from a constant annual rate of less than 1 percent in Illinois and Nevada to almost 5 percent in North Dakota since the start of the Great Recession. In six states, personal income fell for the year ending in the third quarter of 2016, hit by factors such as weak energy and agricultural…

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Retailers seek tax cuts with ‘dark store’ theory

Wisconsin municipal officials worry that widespread acceptance of the argument will raise taxes for homeowners

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Republicans revising timing on Obamacare replacement

Madison — As Wisconsin Republicans take up the massive task of repealing and replacing Obamacare, they’re still working out the most basic elements of how — and when — to do it. 

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Local hospitals hold line on rates

Southeastern Wisconsin hospitals hold line on rates.

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Economic Development Tax Incentives: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Indiana recently announced it would provide United Technologies Corp. with $7 million in tax incentives over 10 years to encourage the company’s Carrier Corp. unit to keep about 1,000 jobs in the state. This Q&A with Josh Goodman of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ states’ fiscal health team explains what economic development tax incentives are, why they matter, and how…

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Wisconsin’s state-local tax burden declined to 16th highest in U.S.

New information released by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates Wisconsin’s state-local tax burden declined from 15th highest among the states in 2013 to 16th for 2014, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), a public policy research group in Madison.

Wisconsin taxes dropped from 10.9 percent of personal income in 2013 to 10.8 percent in 2014, figures showed.

Nationally, taxes relative to income jumped from 10.4 percent in 2013 to 10.6 percent in 2014. Census figures regularly lag…

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As Trump takes aim at unions, labor’s clout continues to sag in Wisconsin

Labor unions have been among the most vocal critics of Donald Trump and his expanding team of economic advisers, sounding warnings over the president-elect’s positions on a range of issues and promising to stymie his policy agenda when warranted.

Those comments, however, come as federal data indicate that the influence of labor unions — at least when it comes to membership — is waning. A recent analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that union membership as a percentage of the entire…

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Manufacturing lags behind state job growth

Industry employment down 2,400 from June 2015 to 2016.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Trump trade war could trigger job losses

A recession would be an ugly way to start a presidency.

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10 health care-related executive orders that may be rescinded by a Trump administration

During his administration, President Barack Obama regularly used executive orders to enact policy. President-elect Donald Trump has already pledged to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.”

While it is not clear which, if any, orders Trump will rescind, when it comes to health care, there is a strong potential that he will focus on any order that supports or furthers the Affordable Care Act, since repealing and replacing the Affordable Care…

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“We just learned it the hard way.”

Jim Fackelman retires from the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) at the end of 2016

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Judge blocks Obama-backed rule extending overtime pay

A federal judge in Texas this evening blocked a U.S. Department of Labor rule extending overtime pay to more than 4 million U.S. workers.

The Obama-backed rule had been scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, and many employers nationwide had changed the way they pay workers to meet the requirements of the new rule.

The emergency, nationwide injunction may not permanently block the rule change, but does block its Dec. 1 mandatory implementation.

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in Sherman, Texas, heard…

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Germantown Holiday Inn Express plans expansion

The hotel could grow from 72 rooms on two floors to 130 rooms on four floors, and get a new brand.

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​Community investment a critical component of a growing economy

Improving Wisconsin’s economic health relies heavily on thoughtful and deliberate community development throughout the state.

Investing in individual communities has proven to have an enormous impact on business growth, job creation and economic revitalization in states across the United States.

Local officials and groups all over Wisconsin are well aware of this impact, and are working together to fund and support community development projects of all sizes to strengthen the state’s foundation…

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Women on Wisconsin corporate boards increasing

About one in six members of corporate boards at Wisconsin’s biggest public companies is a woman, a new report shows.

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Global markets create new opportunities for Wisconsin businesses

For many businesses, exporting is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. Here’s how some companies are navigating international markets.

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Aurora expanding ER technology

Aurora adds emergency room technology to hospitals.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Go for it, or punt?

The statistics are overwhelmingly in favor of selling overseas.

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Where States Get Their Money

Taxes and federal funds together account for more than three-quarters of the 50 states’ revenue dollars. In all but two states taxes are the largest revenue source, while federal funds are the second largest. Following is a breakdown of each state’s major categories of revenue, with percentages shown for taxes and federal funds.

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A solution to the rising costs of group health insurance?

With captive insurance, members share risk, and in doing so they create greater purchasing power, cost consistency and long-term risk management.

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Trends: Gender diversity pays off

Gender diversity makes a positive difference to companies’ bottom lines.

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Construction underway for new Delta Defense HQ in West Bend

Firearms owner insurance and training company in growth mode.

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Bucks partner with Froedtert on workforce development program

Program will train high school students, adults for careers in health care.

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Stable prices, mortgage rates keep housing affordable in some cities

In some areas, especially in the nation’s midsection, homes remain affordable relative to local incomes. Throw in rising pay, job growth and low mortgage rates, and ownership is still within reach.

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WOW counties receive IT training grant

$4 million will be used to train more than 450 people.

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JPMorgan Chase Pledges Additional $200,000 to Expand the M7 Export Development Grant Program to More Companies

In a continuing effort to grow exports in the region, The Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership (M7) launched the Export Development Grant Program presented by JPMorgan Chase last November with an initial award of $200,000. The highly-successful program provides financial assistance to small and medium enterprises, both new to export as well as experienced exporters, to enter into new or grow existing international markets. In just 6 months, 34 companies have been awarded grants each ranging from $1,250 to $5,000. JPMorgan Chase announced this week that they are providing an additional $200,000 to the Milwaukee 7 to continue the program across the region.

“The Milwaukee 7 Export Development Grant Program is a wonderful example of how the Global Cities Initiative can provide value to the regional economy,” said Jim Popp, managing director for Chase Middle Market Banking in Wisconsin. “M7 has effectively marketed the program and companies have stepped up enthusiastically to explore or expand their exporting efforts. Providing additional funds is a win-win for all of us.”

“Increasing the number of companies in the region that export is a huge opportunity for Southeast Wisconsin,” said Gale Klappa, chairman, president and CEO of WEC Energy Group. “We know that the majority of economic growth comes from companies already located in the region and through exporting, businesses can grow faster and sustain that growth.”
The Export Development Grant Program provides matching funds of up to $5,000 per company. The funding can be used for a multitude of export-related purposes and may also be combined with grants offered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Companies are asked to provide a narrative explaining how the funding will help grow exports. Any and all uses of the funds used to grow a company’s international presence will be considered.

Two waves of applications have been reviewed by the Grant Committee and a total of 34 companies were approved for various projects. “The majority of the award winners will travel to international tradeshows or trade missions to meet with prospective partners and customers,” explained Chad Hoffman, M7 export development manager. “In addition, many companies will also be utilizing the U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key matchmaking service in conjunction with the tradeshows to make the most of the trip abroad. Another resource that companies identified is ExporTechTM, a very beneficial program to assist companies in developing a strategic plan to grow exports.”

According to Hoffman there is plenty of room for growth for the region’s exporters. Southeastern Wisconsin’s economy produces just under $100 billion in total economic output with only 16% resulting from exports. Furthermore, 40% of the region’s exports are to Canada and Mexico, which represent just 4.2% of global GDP. Nationwide, according to the International Trade Administration, 58% of small- and medium-sized exporters only sold into a single international market in 2012. “Our goal is identify companies who are not exporting to their full potential and help them enter new markets,” explained Hoffman. “Navigating the available programs can be daunting, however, we are committed to providing companies with the most appropriate information for their current situation. The Export Development Grant Program is another tool to help grow the region’s exports.”

The 34 companies come from a variety of industries and include manufacturers and service providers alike. The additional $200,000 in grant funding provided by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation will allow the program to continue into the foreseeable future.

To apply for the Export Development Grant Program or for additional information and eligibility requirements, companies can start the process by visiting the program website: The 3rd round of applications are now being accepted through June 30, 2016 and funding is made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Milwaukee 7, launched in September 2005, was formed to create a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties of southeastern Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. The Milwaukee 7 continues to build the region’s capacity and accelerate economic growth.

Mason Wells acquires MGS Mfg. Group

Founder sells Germantown plastics manufacturing supplier

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Wisconsin might cut unemployment taxes again

State’s unemployment trust fund has $1 billion balance, Walker says.

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Groups raise concerns about new overtime rules

The Obama administration’s new overtime rules are drawing concern from government and charitable groups in Wisconsin, who say the measure would raise their costs beyond their means to pay.

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Economic Development Incentives: Best Practices

Economic development incentives play a central role in states’ efforts to create jobs and strengthen their economies. Pew’s research shows how states can ensure that incentives are effective and fiscally sound.

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First Bank Financial works to retain personal touch as it grows

Keeping a personal touch while steering the company through a big expansion is the workplace and business challenge for First Bank Financial Centre of Oconomowoc. Read more here.

Delta Defense advocates for concealed carry, self protection

Advocating for handgun owners and self-protection training is Tim Schmidt’s passion — as well as his business. Read more here.

Aurora and Anthem join to start a new insurance company

The joint venture is part of an emerging trend for health systems to invest in health insurance companies.

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Broan NuTone invents new mosquito barriers for decks

Company brings Haven Backyard Lighting & Mosquito Repellent System to market.

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Talent Network Group aims to improve the temp experience

Talent Network Group Brookfield Innovation: Temp Mission Talent Network Group founder Sue Sattler didn’t set out to include temporary workers as part of the services her firm offers, but now she finds herself doing

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Steiner Electric Inc. awarded gold medal

Steiner Electric Inc. of West Bend was awarded a gold medal as a Projects of Distinction by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin on Feb. 18 in Wisconsin Dells for its work on the Kerry Ingredients Production addition.

The annual event highlights ABC members’ excellent craftsmanship and dedication to high-quality construction.

API Healthcare benefiting from its sale to GE Healthcare

The Hartford software company is drawing on the resources of one of the world’s largest companies for product development and sales.

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Manufacturing improving for second straight month

Despite headwinds, manufacturing in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois expanded in February, according to the Marquette University Center for Supply Chain Management.

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J.W. Speaker Corp. of Germantown develops motorcycle headlight upgrade

While in the low-beam setting, the new headlight’s electronics calculate how a motorcycle leans into a turn, controlling the light pattern and filling in the dark void left by a traditional headlight.

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WEDC Market Update: International growth opportunities — Turkey

Turkey has long been a commercial crossroads linking East and West, and has evolved from a developing country to one of the world’s newly industrialized economies. U.S. companies have started using the country as a regional hub for business in Central Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. As the economy has grown, many Turkish firms are thriving by increasing quality standards, especially in manufacturing and domestic industries. This increase in quality is leading many firms to seek out top-line…

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Complimentary Labor Shortage Business Forum

Hosted by Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac on Friday, March 11, 2016 between 8-9:30am. See the following flyer for more details: How are YOU Addressing Labor & Talent Shortages Flyer

M7 awards 1st round of export grants

Applications for second round accepted through March 31.

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Plastic Components completes expansion

Project doubles size of Germantown plant.

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Gov. Walker backs bill making WEDC fraud a felony

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he supports a bipartisan bill that makes defrauding the state’s economic development agency a felony. The governor’s comments came on the day an Assembly committee heard testimony on a bill making fraud against the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), a Class E felony. Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), a sponsor of the WEDC fraud bill, cited recent cases in testifying in support of the bill he sponsored along with Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Powers Lake). “Any…

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Washington County Fair Park to build amphitheater

The Washington County Board voted Tuesday to accept a $600,000 donation from West Bend Mutual Insurance for the construction of a new amphitheater stage at Washington County Fair Park.

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Online hunting gear retailer buys office building to expand Slinger headquarters campus

Online hunting clothing and equipment retailer Legendary Whitetails bought a small office building next to its Slinger headquarters to accommodate its steady growth. The online retailer has been hiring about five or six people annually, and earlier this year completed an expansion of its warehouse that also added 3,000 square feet of office space, said president Greg Huffman. The 6-acre company campus on Enterprise Drive was essentially full upon completion of that project, he said. Legendary Whitetails…

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New Milwaukee 7 program targets companies for exports

The Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership said Monday it has received a $200,000 pledge from JPMorgan Chase for a program designed to help companies in the region export their products more widely.

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Work continues to shrink skills gap in Wisconsin

Team Industries Inc., a Kaukauna provider of precision-welded steel pipes, is finishing up a multiphase expansion that includes the addition of 135 jobs, and it has filled those skilled positions through a combination of educational partnerships, company-hosted job fairs and work with a local union. Team Industries president John Panetti said the company also relies on apprenticeships to find and train the highly skilled workers the company needs. The efforts are necessary because of the tough competition…

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Economic Development Incentives: How to Measure Results

Each year, states collectively spend billions of dollars on economic development incentives. Are they worth the price? The answer isn’t always obvious. By asking key questions, states can evaluate incentive programs and provide the evidence policymakers demand.

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U.S. EPA Brownfields Grant Awarded to Washington County

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Washington County will receive a Brownfield Assessment grant totaling $600,000.

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WEDA Best Practices: Kerry Inc. Business Expansion

Jackson, WI – $14.5 million expansion of the existing production facility, adding 119,000 square feet and growing employment by approximately 60 new full-time jobs above the 125 persons currently employed there.

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