Caterpillar. Eaton. Appleton Electric. Johnson Health Tech.
South Milwaukee is home to more than our fair share of global companies — and the quietest on that list is also our fastest growing.
Johnson Health Tech, 2201 12th Ave., manufacturers equipment that ends up in commercial and other larger gyms — from local high schools to fitness centers — across the globe.
Business has been booming after the company acquired Magnum Fitness in 2012.
The facility has grown from about 60 employees to around 90 today, and they’re hiring another 10-15 welders, machinists, and other roles, as they ramp up production to meet overseas demand.
They are also growing their manufacturing footprint, adding 50,000 square feet in leased warehouse and distribution space along 12th and Marquette Avenues, including four loading docks. They will now lease around 250,000 square feet in the complex that used to be home to Appleton Electric and Line Material (parts of the building date to 1929).
Haven’t heard much about it? You’re not alone. I didn’t know much about the work happening there until last week, when I took a tour of the facility with Nathan Pyles, Johnson Health Tech’s Cottage Grove operations president, and Scott Brewer, general manager of the South Milwaukee facility.
I left impressed … and happy to see a local company in growth mode.
In fact, one of their biggest struggles is finding enough skilled tradespeople to fill the open jobs. So we’re working to connect them with Milwaukee Area Technical college officials and others to help.
The future is bright, and the Johnson Health Tech acquisition has certainly opened new doors.
Johnson Health Tech — which sells exercise equipment under brands like Matrix, Vision, Horizon and Tempo — is Asia’s largest and the world’s third-largest fitness equipment manufacturer. Its North American operations are based in Cottage Grove, near Madison.
The South Milwaukee plant is one of three manufacturing sites in the company, and the only one in the United States. The products made there are bound for everywhere from high school workout rooms to health clubs to corporate gyms.
For example, several units on the floor last week were branded and bound for Waunakee High School. South Milwaukee High School’s gym also features equipment made at the plant.
“Made in South Milwaukee.” It has a nice ring to it.
I wish them well, and thank them for growing in our fair city. It’s exciting to see.