Port Washington’s charm lures Milwaukee firm to city

Falcon Industrial purchases former Voeller Mixers plant after deciding community, factory space was perfect for its growing operation

THE FORMER Voeller Mixers plant at 455 N. Moore Rd., Port Washington, was purchased by Falcon Industrial last month. The metal working fluids manufacturer plans to move its operations and 25 employees from Milwaukee to the site in early spring. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press staff

Metal working fluids manufacturer Falcon Industrial Inc. of Milwaukee recently purchased the former Voeller Mixers plant and plans to move its operations to Port Washington by spring.

“Port Washington always had a great feel to it and has a lot more character than some of the other areas,” Falcon Industrial President Eric Leander said. “It almost feels like you’re on vacation once you see the lake.”

The company purchased the property at 455 N. Moore Rd. on Oct. 1, about a year after the 42,000-square-foot building was vacated.

“The building really fits our purposes,” Leander said, noting the size of the company’s Milwaukee plant is about 30,000 square feet.

“We knew we needed to get something bigger than we have now in order to grow. We found a home in Port Washington where we can be for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.

Tom Didier, owner of Re/Max United in Port Washington, who represented Falcon Industrial in the factory purchase, said what Port Washington has to offer was key to the company’s decision to move to the city. In return, he added, Port will benefit by having a vacant factory occupied by a growing company.

“I think it’s pretty awesome news for Port Washington considering that this company had all of Southeast Wisconsin to pick from,” Didier said.  

Falcon Industrial produces a line of industrial metal working fluids, which include cutting fluids, lubricants, rust inhibitors and cleaners that are used in metal manufacturing.

The company serves customers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Taiwan and the Pacific Basin.

Its customers include small and large metalworking facilities, including clients like General Motors and Chrysler.

“Those companies are taking metal and they are either cutting it or forming it, and we provide lubricants to aid the process,” Leander said. “We have formulated over 500 different products to meet or exceed customer requirements.”

Leander said his company is “rapidly growing,” and in order to keep up with the demand needs to expand its production.

He said Falcon Industrial continues to explore and invent new technologies to improve product performance and control costs.

“We develop new chemistries, and we’re a little bit ahead of the game in terms of research and development,” he said. “Because of the technology we’re offering to our market segment, that’s what’s really driving the demand and for us to grow.”

Before deciding on Port Washington, the 20-year-old company considered moving to Germantown and Menomonee Falls. Leander said the former Voeller Mixers plant is the best facility for the business.

“The offices really fit our current need. There’s a nice area for lab space where we will do our research and development. That’s the core of our business,” he said. “Plus, the flow of the warehouse space fits well with our production and raw storage needs.”

He also added that while Port is a growing business community, it isn’t as crowded as some Milwaukee-area communities.  

This winter, the company will make improvements to the building. It plans to move in by early spring.

“There will certainly be some investment with the efficiency of our operations through control panels to make it a more sophisticated building,” Leander said. “We want to expand our operations and capacity.”

With space to grow, the company plans to add employees, Leander said. It  currently has about 25 employees.

“As we continue to grow, the demand for labor will certainly grow,” he said. “We’re moving not only our production office, we’re moving our corporate offices. The entire business is moving to Port Washington. The new building is one that we’re going to be able to grow into and expand.”

Another reason for moving to Port is the mix of housing, including affordable homes, Leander said.  

“Port Washington has a great and affordable market that isn’t as high as Mequon and Cedarburg,” Leander said.

He also said, depending on the future market demand, Falcon Industrial could purchase more property in the area.

 “We’re a young, fast-growing company,” he said. “We’re concentrated on the new building for now, but you never know if new opportunities present themselves to us.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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