Manufacturing is a major part of the county economy
Manufacturing has always been an important tier in the state and local economy. Wisconsin is very much a state where people make things and this trend follows through to Taylor County where locally-based industries remain national players in manufacturing across a spectrum of areas.
Taylor County, like much of the northern third of the state, has an extensive logging tradition. Wood from the region helped built the great cities of America through the beginning of the 20th century. While those old logging camps are a thing of the past, their legacy lives on through value-added wood products produced locally.
Weather Shield has grown into a market leader in the window and door industry by putting the wants of customers first. This philosophy remains at the heart of everything the company does.
Edward “Lee” Schield began Weather Shield in Medford in 1955 with a vision. He used his own personal savings to purchase aluminum extrusion parts. He assembled them, by hand, into storm doors and sold his products to homeowners in the Central Wisconsin area. Schield soon expanded his business by calling on contractors and while the number of orders continued to increase, the foundation of becoming a leading manufacturer of windows and doors was underway.
Today, Weather Shield remains familyowned, with three generations actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Weather Shield continues to grow and thrive by striving to offer only the highest quality products. Over the years, dedication to innovation has grown the company into one of the nation’s leading window and door manufacturers.
In addition to being a major employer in the region, Weather Shield has an ongoing commitment to energy conservation and the environment.
From glazing options that maximize energy efficiency and personal comfort, to reducing natural resource consumption through the availability of FSC certified woods, Weather Shield works to ease the burden on the environment not only through their products but also through their production facilities.
Weather Shield has been recognized by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce with a “Business Friend of the Environment Award” for the company’s innovative pollution prevention and greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts.
“Probably the biggest change occurred in 2011 when control of the company was basically turned over to more longtime employees of Enerquip,” stated CEO Jeanne Deml.
“That was the beginning of the current management team,” she continued.
Deml continued on to speak about the culture that Enerquip has developed in the past 10 years and how important it is to the staff to maintain that culture.
“We expect a lot, but in turn, we give a lot,” stated Deml.
With the culture change has come a change in the type of employees Enerquip will hire. Deml stated that Enerquip is looking for employees who mesh well with the culture in order to create a better work environment.
Director of sales and marketing, Ron Herman said another big change in the past 10 years is the services Enerquip is able to provide for customers.
“Outside of the food, beverage and dairy industry, we entered into the pharmaceutical market and now we are one of the leading suppliers in the world of the pharmaceutical market,” said Herman.
Herman went on to mention that Enerquip is now also involved in the renewable energy market, chemical refining market and the CBD market.
Production manager, Tim Strebig spoke about the renovations to both the outside and inside of the Enerquip building.
“We basically gutted the whole office, redid the whole office and on the outside, updated it, put some windows in for the employees,” explained Strebig.
He also said Enerquip has updated their machines in the past 10 years to remain efficient.
Enerquip has also put to use two storage towers in the last decade. The large storage tower is 56 feet tall and can hold 200 tons of material.
“We’ve actually had people from all over the Midwest come and visit us to look at that storage tower,” said Strebig.
Director of human resources and accounting, Shanna Scheithauer has also been busy in the past 10 years. Scheithauer was responsible for creating a playbook consisting of 31 plays that Enerquip employees swear by.
“We do a lot of stuff to grow the management team and grow the people within the company,” said Scheithauer.
She then explained that Enerquip will sometimes have NTC come in and teach a class just to help the employees continue to grow.
“I’d say the regulatory standards in most of the industries that we serve have evolved,” stated Herman when asked how the heat exchange industry has changed.
Herman also said that because the regulatory standards change, so do the machines required to do the jobs.
Deml chimed in and mentioned that employee safety has evolved in the past 10 years. Jobs are beginning to require more dangerous machines, so naturally safety requirements are changing as well.
She also mentioned that the internet