Wednesday – December 11, 2019
MATC, Food and Beverage (FaB) Wisconsin announce plans for a new Food Maker School and Center of Excellence at FaB’s First All Member Meeting
New facility will support growing food and beverage manufacturing cluster
The strength of the Milwaukee region’s food and beverage manufacturing sector led to the formation of a targeted economic development industry cluster named FaB Wisconsin under the leadership of the Milwaukee 7. On Monday, November 10, at FaB’s First All Member Meeting, FaB and MATC debuted their plans for a proposed Food Maker School and Center of Excellence on Milwaukee’s near south side.
“FaB has worked closely with MATC over the past two years to develop needed technical programs for our food and beverage makers,” said Giacomo Fallucca, president & CEO of Palermo’s Pizza and chair of FaB’s Executive Committee. “We are very excited about plans for the MATC’s Food Maker School, which will offer a state-of-the-art pilot plant and laboratories to develop our next generation of talent and industry innovators. And we couldn’t have asked for a more responsive partner than MATC.”
Wisconsin ranks 5th nationally for overall employment in food and beverage processing and manufacturing with nearly 47,000 employees and ranks 2nd nationally for cluster employment growth. The Milwaukee Region is home to the nation’s highest concentration of food, beverage and ingredient makers, over 250, with talent exceeding 14,000.
“At MATC we pride ourselves in providing the education and technical training that leads to careers for our students. The closer we can work with industry, the greater the opportunities are for our students,” said Dr. Vicki J. Martin, president of MATC. “Our partnership with FaB ensures that our students are being trained for employment in the region’s rapidly-emerging careers.”
The joint venture of the MATC Food Maker School and FaB Center of Excellence will result in a facility where the next generation of talent will thrive and food and beverage makers will have the resources to innovate and grow. The School will provide instructional technical food programs; a pilot-scale sauce production line with co-pack capacity; and laboratories for product development, food analysis and microbiology testing; along with technical support services. The Center will provide students, entrepreneurs and existing food businesses direct access to FaB Wisconsin, additional academic partners, professional service providers and governmental agencies needed to start and grow a food industry career or business.
“We see this is an extraordinary opportunity to combine talent, product, business and economic development under one roof,” said Dr. Rich Busalacchi, associate dean, Hospitality and Food Manufacturing Programs, MATC. “Students, entrepreneurs, scientists, and our food and beverage makers, will interact on a daily basis creating a rich environment for development on multiple levels.”
“Our end game is to grow the number of food and beverage maker jobs by expanding our talent pool, innovation and business capacities. As an organized cluster, we are in a position to elevate awareness of the industry and gain the support needed for our business to grow at home and in markets abroad,” said Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB Wisconsin.
FaB’s First All Member Meeting will be hosted by MATC at the proposed location of the Food Maker School and Center of Excellence at 816 W. National Avenue, Milwaukee, from 3 - 6:30 P.M. The event will feature an industry “Panel of Legends,” including: Jake Leinenkugel, president & CEO of Leinenkugel Brewing Co.; Fritz Usinger, president of Usinger’s; Lou Gentine, chairman of Sargento; and panel moderator, Katherine Gehl, president & CEO of Gehl Foods. For more information about the event, see www.fabwisconsin.com/event/legends.
About FaB Wisconsin
FaB Wisconsin is a cluster network supporting food and beverage industry growth and awareness. With a mission focused on food and beverage makers that have ambitions to grow their business, the FaB cluster welcomes the full value chain of industry suppliers and service providers from farm to factory to fork and from across the state, as well as educators, economic development, government and community institutions and organizations. FaB’s membership has attracted over 125 food and beverage companies, supporting suppliers and service providers and nearly 300 industry professionals. For more information about FaB Wisconsin, visit www.fabwisconsin.com.
About Milwaukee 7
The Milwaukee 7 – the seven county regional economic development collaborative of SE Wisconsin – had identified food and beverage manufacturing as a targeted industry for regional economic growth in 2010. The M7 seized the opportunity to develop a cluster, and with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, have seeded the formation of FaB.