With Foxconn’s eyes set on southeastern Wisconsin, local experts say our state is an attraction because of ripple effect supply chain benefits.
Experts say southeast Wisconsin has a competitive edge because it’s in between to large Midwest cities and it's on the Great Lakes. They say water is very important for LCD manufacturing.
This isn’t just a big deal for our area, but our entire state will benefit.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council says plenty of companies and industries will come out ahead.
“The possibilities around the state are really endless,” said Still.
With Foxconn being an LCD screen supplier, Still says industries in health, auto, aviation and public safety will be connected. Specifically, he says companies like GE healthcare, Rockwell automation, Johnson Controls, Promega and Oshkosh will be integrated among the supply chain.
Still says companies outside of the state will flock to this area as well.
“There’s going to be a rebirth in the upper Midwest and across a lot of fronts,” he said.
Fresh water at Lake Michigan is a big part of why Foxconn chose to come to southeast Wisconsin.
“They’re going to use water, they're going to use a fair amount of it and they’re going to need very clean water and they’re going to have to turn out very clean water at the end of the day,” said Still.
He adds, the clean rooms around LCD production are very clean, a spec of dirt could possibly ruin an entire production.
"Water and the notion of clean technologies is going to be big for this plant. The Milwaukee area in particular is really a hub around the world in terms of clean water technology and research into clean water technology," he said.
Foxconn has high levels of investment into this area and Still says the biggest challenges ahead are lawmakers working on the incentive package and getting enough workers, 13,000 positions is a lot. Overtime he says people will come from all over to work.
"I think this is part of a larger trend that we’ll see the resurgence of what people once called the rustbelt. It’s no longer the rust belt and we’re no longer fly over country,” said Still.
Still also adds higher education will benefit from this. He believes lots of college graduates will stay in Wisconsin because more job opportunities will be provided.