Jay, who has lived in the Waukesha area for over 20 years, is an active volunteer who has served on numerous local boards and committees. He's married to Colleen with three kids having gone through the Waukesha schools. He is the VP of a local distribution company.
Spancrete announced they are "temporarily" closing their Waukesha plant and shifting production to their Valders location...and this should be completed by the end of the year.
Barring any additional Spancrete statements, it sounds and feels ominous. With the economy at a near standstill, there are few indicators that this plant will be needed soon...
So what happens? 150 employees are feeling the pain right now. Some laid off, some transferred, some still shifting in the wind while Spancrete re-writes its' business operations. Regardless - Your heart goes out to these whose life has been changed - possibly forever. How many of these people will remain in our area... and how many will leave? Those transferring could be forced to split their family lives until their spouse could find a replacement job near Valders. And while home prices could be lower near Valders/Manitowoc, they will still need to sell their homes here in a depressed housing market. Kids in school...and the list of impacts goes on.
Spancrete needs to do what's needed to survive in this economy, and their actions will ultimately save jobs for others. They are a respected Waukesha area company with a world-wide reach. Their corporate headquarters are in Pewaukee. And they along with many other companies are facing these challenges. And now on to what's (possibly) left behind...
Their plant is 2 blocks from my office. It consists of a large tract of land with a 3-story long fabricating/extruding plant in the middle of it. It is hardly aesthetically pleasing, and despite their watering efforts, it's outdoor storage yards(gravel) which surround the plant generates dust during windy days which travels for miles. Truthfully, many people drive by it daily and never notice it because it just wouldn't catch your attention. if ever re-developed, it will be a huge asset to the eastern gateway area to Waukesha. we could only hope for a quality office park or large corporate headquarters instead of another strip mall (look across the street from there 1 block away - empty Walmart, empty grocery store).
This is a disheartening event. I grew to like the plant and always wondered about the process inside that building which produced a product used across the globe that Waukesha could call its' own. But if this unfolds in a sad way for Spancrete and these employees, let's encourage Waukesha's leaders and planners to do what's right...and not what could be convenient and expedient. This is a huge sight with high-end potential - please, if this comes to pass, zone this in Waukesha's best long-term interests.
All of this is "What if?". Let's hope demand increases for Spancrete products. That would be great for the company as well as providing an economic indicator that recovery is on the way. But...Waukesha would do well to start looking forward here and throughout the area to start the planning of "Waukesha Tomorrow" now.