The recent news that HARIBO would build its first U.S. production facility in Pleasant Prairie was met with tremendous excitement. The investment is substantial and will result in one of the largest confectionery manufacturing sites in North America. It also brings with it hundreds of high-paying jobs from a company that is consistently recognized as a “Best Place to Work.”
A spring 2018 construction start is planned, allowing time for design/engineering, infrastructure development, and site preparation work. We are thrilled with this announcement and excited to see the project start to take shape. A visit to HARIBO’s new manufacturing site in Graftschaft, Germany left our team incredibly impressed as to the quality and scale of their facilities.
This is a great time to recognize several key partners that worked together to secure this major investment for Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker – the Governor is Wisconsin’s leading jobs advocate and was a major player in securing this project. From the outset, he made it clear to HARIBO that Wisconsin wanted the investment and provided the optimal business environment to ensure Haribo’s success now, and into the future.
The Village of Pleasant Prairie and its Board of Trustees, Administrator Mike Pollocoff and his entire team – This project would likely not be happening in Wisconsin without the leadership and foresight that the Village demonstrated. The Village acquired a nearly 500-acre development site to secure this investment. After accounting for HARIBO’s planned development, the Village has 300+ acres which they intend to develop as Prairie Highlands Corporate Park. Few municipalities have done more to set the table for economic development.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) – the WEDC was engaged in this process from the outset and immediately recognized the opportunity this presented for the State to secure a game-changing FDI win. WEDC’s responsiveness and aggressiveness in competing for this project was critical to our eventual success.
The Milwaukee 7 – Jim Paetsch helped quarterback this effort from the outset. This nearly nine-month site selection process required constant communication, reams of accurate and well-timed data, and a fair amount of creative problem solving. Jim’s professionalism, intelligence, communication skills, and passion for our region’s economic development were a constant and a key ingredient to our recipe for success.
Various other individuals and organizations provided support and leadership to this tremendous effort, including:
- Kenosha County and County Executive Jim Kreuser
- Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht and his team
- WEC Energy – the entire We Energies team and notably Joel Burow and WEC Chairman Gale Klappa, an M7 co-chair and major champion for Southeast Wisconsin’s economic development.
- ULINE, Kenall Manufacturing, Niagara Bottling were key area employers that assisted and supported these efforts and worked with HARIBO and our team to address questions about the area and its business climate and labor force.
- KABA’s team of community and economic development professionals treated this as a top-priority, “drop everything” project for the better part of a year–and made sure we did anything and everything we could to support the process and a positive outcome.
At the risk of leaving somebody off of this list, I wanted to thank and recognize several key players that were integral to this effort. This is a game changing project for our community, region and state and one that we are extremely proud of.
Danke schoen. On Wisconsin!
Written by Todd Battle, President, Kenosha Area Business Alliance