Expansion complete, more jobs on the way at Kiel manufacturer


KIEL - A manufacturing company in Kiel is celebrating a major expansion.

Amerequip opened its doors Saturday to show off its recent addition, nearly doubling its size, and creating new jobs.

The extra space comes with help from taxpayers.

Amerequip says that money continues to help it bring new job to Calumet County.

On one side robotic arms.

On the other side, rows of equipment wrapped tightly and waiting to be shipped.

Just a year ago the building looked a lot different.

"It's really cool seeing all of the extra assembly space that we have out here and the new expansion for the welding is really a state of the art facility, " said Jeremy Kinderman.

More than 200 people work for Amerequip.  The company designs and manufactures equipment for lawn, landscape, farm and construction work.

Thanks to an open house, the community got a chance to look inside.

"The parts are tacked up and then the robot actually puts all these welds in, " said Jim Karls, a manufacturing engineer with Amerequip.

Karls points to a group of boom arms for a small backhoe.

"First the operator would tack it up in this fixture, then they'd manually load in the fixture with the crane and once it's loaded in there, you hit the cycle start button and it'll run through," Karls said.

Amerequip's president says the expansion project comes with a $7.7 million price tag, and it couldn't have happened without financial help from the city and state.

"The city has been working with us on the infrastructure and providing some additional land for us to offer future expansion and then the state with Governor Walker's help provided $796,000 in tax credits," said Mike Vander Zanden, Amerequip CEO and President.

The deal requires the company to hire 100 workers over a three year period.  Vander Zanden says within the last 11 months Amerequip has hired 70 people.

"We have some significant growth opportunities that we're working toward.  We've been successful the last couple of years and we're looking to continue to expand," Vander Zanden said.

Amerequip says within the next three years the company hopes to add an additional 40,000 square feet to its facility.

Vander Zanden says he's hoping to fill 20 more positions by Christmas.