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Komatsu, Joy Global commit to Milwaukee

A large excavator stands outside of Joy Global’s National Avenue office in Milwaukee. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

A large excavator stands outside of Joy Global’s National Avenue office in Milwaukee. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

Although Komatsu Mining Corp. is a product of the world’s ever-more globalized economy, government officials on Monday sought to emphasize that the company has planted its roots firmly in both Milwaukee and the state.

Officials at the Japanese mining giant Komatsu Ltd., the new parent company of the Milwaukee-based equipment maker formerly known as Joy Global, told employees at a “rebranding event” Monday that even with the new name, their mission is what it has always been: To serve customers.

“I encourage each and every one of you to embrace the diversity of experiences you can find in your new colleagues,” Tetsuji Ohashi, president and chief executive officer of Komatsu, said to a room packed full of workers who were employed at the company’s site just off West National Avenue in Milwaukee.

Monday’s event was as much meant to rally the troops as it was to explain why Komatsu and Joy Global are a good match. By joining forces, the two companies can now offer customers a complete range of mining products and services, Ohashi said.

When Komatsu’s acquisition of Joy Global was made final in early April, company officials announced that Komatsu Mining Corp. would be keeping its headquarters in Milwaukee. In addition, the subsidiary would continue to market and invest in its P&H, Joy and Montabert products.

The transaction was valued at about $3.7 billion, and added more than 10,000 people to Komatsu’s team, bringing its total to 57,000 employees.

Mayor Tom Barrett said he knows why Komatsu decided to keep the lights on at the Milwaukee plant.

“This is the largest acquisition Komatsu has ever made,” he told the group of employees and company officials. “Now I believe the decision was made because of you. Because of the workers of this company, who have served it for many, many years.”

Barrett later added, “What you have here, I believe, is the best workforce in the world — right here. And they’re going to be a great benefit to your company for decades to come.”

Gov. Scott Walker also praised the company’s decision.

“We applaud Komatsu’s decision to stay here in Milwaukee and invest in our economy,” he said. “The company’s decision to expand here is more proof Wisconsin is working.”

Walker also pointed out that the motto that Komatusu is using in its rebranding campaign — “Forward” — is also Wisconsin’s state motto.

Komatsu Mining Corp. is being led by Jeffrey Dawes, who formerly oversaw operations of Komatsu Latin America.

Beyond making construction and mining equipment, Tokyo-based Komatsu is involved in various other businesses, including industrial machinery and vehicles, shipping and electronics.

About Alex Zank, [email protected]

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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