Growing firm digs into expansion project

Oldenburg Metal Tech breaks ground on addition that will more than double the size of its Saukville tool-and-die plant, allow it to do more work in house

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 17 at Oldenburg Metal Tech, which is undergoing a 16,300-foot expansion to create space for two new punch presses. According to Operations Manager Jeff Decker, the addition will more than double the size of the current facility. Digging into the site of the new addition were (from left) Keller Builds Project Manager Dave Uttech, Oldenburg Engineering Manager Mike Schmit, Vice President of Commercial Lending at Commerce State Bank Luke Hagel and Decker. Photo by Sam Arend
Ozaukee Press Staff

Digging started a couple weeks ago at Oldenburg Metal Tech for a 16,300-foot expansion that is expected to be complete in October.

“Our current building is 15,000 feet, so we’ll be more than doubling our size,” Operations Manager Jeff Decker said.

The project comes after the tool-and-die shop received loans totalling $1.84 million from the Village of Saukville, Ozaukee County, Commerce State Bank and the Small Business Administration.

Decker said the expansion is necessary because Oldenburg needs additional space for two new punch presses that will be used for large-scale projects with major car manufacturers and appliance companies. 

“There’s a void out there for the bigger projects, and by having the larger equipment we’ll fill that void,” he said.

The largest press has a 60-by-144-inch bed that weighs 550 tons and costs $750,000. The other press is slightly smaller and costs $500,000. Both punch presses are being stored in Michigan until the addition is complete.

“It will help us better serve our customers,” Decker said. “In the past we had to rent the equipment from our competition. Now, we’ll have those needs inside, which will help us expand our customer base.”

Decker said the company is currently outsourcing some of its bigger projects in order to meet its customers’ demands.

“It’s very expensive for us to contract out the bigger work overseas,” he said. “Also, you’re taking your customers into your competition’s facility — that’s never a good thing.”

After the expansion, Decker expects the facility’s value to increase from $920,000 to $1.2 million.

Originally a Port Washington-based company, Oldenburg opened a second location with 10 employees in Saukville a few years ago at 775 N. Progress Dr., the former GenMach building.

Today, the facility has 47 employees and the company plans to hire six more full- time positions within the next two years.

Decker said the jobs will be recruited through the Ozaukee County Workforce Development Center, and the company will hire 51% of its employees from low to moderate-income households, which was part of its loan agreement between the Village of Saukville and Ozaukee County.

Decker said much of the company’s growth relies on its youth apprenticeship program that teaches local high school students the skills of the trade.

Some of the students who complete the program are hired by Oldenburg, which pays for their two-year state indentured apprenticeship degree.

Decker said Oldenburg has been working with high school students for about 10 years. Most of the students join the apprenticeship program during their sophomore year.

“We learned long ago that it is hard to find skilled workers, so we decided to invest in it ourselves,” he said. “When some of our customers visit our operations, they’re shocked to see how young our workforce is. And they’re even more shocked when they see the type of work we’re doing.”

The engineering and construction work for the new addition will be done by Keller Builds Inc., also assisting in the project is Oostburg Concrete Products, J&H Heating and Decker Services for landscaping.

“We’re very grateful to all of the organizations that have supported us in this project, we would not have been able to do this expansion without their financial backing,” Decker said.




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Ozaukee Press

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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