A manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines, Mercury Marine, will invest nearly $20 million on construction projects to support its growth and increase production capacity at its Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, outboard engine manufacturing plant.
According to the Fond Du Lac Economic Development Corporation the firm will expand its product development and engineering, along with component manufacturing and fabrication. Mercury Marine said it will enhance and expand the capacity of product-testing within its engineering operations, which includes the accommodation of work related to the addition of diesel products from the firm's recently dissolved joint venture in Charleston, S.C.
In addition hundreds of jobs have been created at the Wisconsin plant from sterndrive and inboard operations that were moved to the Fond du Lac plant from its former Mercury MerCruiser facility in Stillwater, Okla.
The unique combination available in Fond du Lac of a skilled and experienced workforce, world-class processes, a solid supply base, and strong community support provided the best option for the remaining MerCruiser operation being moved to Wisconsin, said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine, when the relocation was announced. Consolidation was necessary for the firm to be able to grow, he added.
Mercury employs more than 5,000 people worldwide, approximately 2,550 of whom work in Fond du Lac. Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications.
"In 2009, Fond du Lac was faced with the possible loss of Mercury Marine to another state. This would have been a devastating loss for Fond du Lac, the region and state. The loss would have been 1,526 direct jobs in the headquarters, research and development, and production segments of Mercury Marine. Another 1,996 jobs in the community which are directly related to Mercury operations would have been lost." Steve Jenkins, president of Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation, said in his blog.
"The Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation built the business case and facilitated the actions necessary to retain and grow the Mercury Marine presence in Fond du Lac, he added. "The results of that effort are now becoming evident. Over 1,000 new jobs have been added along with significant new capital investment. Today, Mercury Marine announced two important construction projects to support growth and the company's commitment to provide the most advanced products, and to increase manufacturing capacity within its Fond du Lac facilities."
As an incentive to persuade the firm to remain and expand in the Fond Du Lac area, Wisconsin had earlier provided about $70 million in tax credits and other incentives. The city and county of Fond Du Lac offered additional incentives, including a $50 million low-interest loan from the county and $3 million grant from the city. In addition, employee members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers offered a package of contract concessions to keep the firm in Wisconsin.