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Spancrete permanently closes Waukesha plant (UPDATE)

The Spancrete Group Inc., Waukesha, is permanently closing its manufacturing facility, 1600 E. Main St., Waukesha, on May 30, the company announced Monday. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

The Spancrete Group Inc. has closed its manufacturing operations in Waukesha.

The company’s decision makes permanent a temporary closure in November of the prestressed-concrete plant, said Scott Bertschinger, Spancrete’s director of human resources and risk management. Spancrete in November consolidated its manufacturing operations into the company’s Valders plant, and those operations will continue, he said.

The company will keep its corporate headquarters in Waukesha, said Kim Wacker, Spancrete’s marketing director. Spancrete has a sales office in Arlington Heights, Ill., and manufacturing plants in Valders, Crystal Lake, Ill., and Sebring, Fla.

Waukesha-area contractors already have moved on and found other material suppliers since Spancrete’s temporary closure in November, said Bill Mitchell, executive director of the Waukesha County Economic Development Corp.

“Contractors can’t afford to wait around in this economy,” he said. “It’s so challenging to get a project. You have to move fast when you do.”

Mitchell said Spancrete will be missed, however, due to its long history in the county.

“They were a great business partner in the area,” he said.

The 45 Spancrete employees who were temporarily laid off in November will lose their jobs permanently May 30, Bertschinger said. Spancrete, between 2007 and April 2011, has gone from employing 700 people to between 275 and 300 people, he said.

“It’s a dramatic drop-off in business,” Bertschinger said, “as for most construction companies.”

There is the potential for former Spancrete employees to find work at other county manufacturers, said Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance.

“Though it’s been very difficult for Spancrete of late,” she said, “there are other manufacturing employers in the county that have shortages and are looking for employees.”

Waukesha County manufacturers that are hiring are in industry sectors such as plastics and power generation, Kelley said, so there are several opportunities available for people who have lost their jobs in manufacturing.

The closure of the Waukesha plant is the latest of several moves by the company. In September, Spancrete announced it was selling a division of the business, American Concrete Pipe, to County Materials Corp., Marathon. That resulted in the closure of two Spancrete plants, one on the far west side of Milwaukee and the other in Green Bay.

— The Daily Reporter staff

One comment

  1. Paging Gov. Walker to the blue phone, please. Gov. Walker, blue phone.

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