Leading Cluster Industries

The Milwaukee Region is a recognized center of innovation and advanced manufacturing. Several industries stand out for the high number of firms located here and the concentration of talent. Milwaukee 7 supports these cluster industries and their network organizations.

For more information about the region's leading industries, visit

Electronics Manufacturing

The Milwaukee Region’s consumer electronics manufacturing sector is expanding with Foxconn's plans to invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a world-class manufacturing campus in southeastern Wisconsin. This project represents the largest corporate attraction project in U.S. history as measured by jobs.

A global leader in manufacturing services for the computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C) industry, Foxconn will leverage Wisconsin’s strong manufacturing infrastructure and deep talent pool to manufacture state-of-the-art liquid crystal display (LCD) screens that will be used in everything from self-driving cars to aircraft systems and in the fields of education, entertainment, health care, safety and surveillance, advanced manufacturing systems and office automation, among others.

>>Learn more about the Foxconn project and supplier opportunities.

Energy, Power & Controls

Milwaukee is the heart of a robust cluster of energy, power and control companies. This cluster, known as the Smart Energy Hub, includes world-class energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, control technologies, and energy storage companies and university research. Wisconsin has more than 900 companies in this cluster with $38 billion in sales. This industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the state, and the market for energy technology is expected to expand dramatically in the new few years. The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC), headquartered in Milwaukee, is focused on the growth and economic competitiveness of the Energy, Power & Controls industry cluster across the Midwest region.

Food & Beverage Manufacturing

There are more than 240 food and beverage manufacturing companies in the region, with a majority in the food ingredients and seasonings/dressings industries. Wisconsin overall is home to more than 1,000 food processing firms that employ 62,000 people and have combined gross annual revenues of $10 billion. Nationally, Wisconsin ranks among the top ten agricultural states in the U.S.  FaB Wisconsin, based in Milwaukee, is a network for food, beverage, ingredient, equipment and packaging makers that raises industry awareness and capacity for growth and advancement.

Water Technologies

The Milwaukee Region’s water industry is a $10.5 billion market, supporting 20,000 jobs and accounting for 4% of the total world water business. More than 120 water-related companies locate operations here, including five of the 11 largest water firms in the world. Many are headquartered here or nearby, including water industry giants Badger Meter, A.O. Smith and Kohler, along with a number of smaller, emerging firms. GE and Pentair have formed a global residential water filtration joint venture with its global headquarters in the Milwaukee Region. Headquartered in Milwaukee, The Water Council's mission is to align the regional freshwater research community with water-related industries.


The Milwaukee Region is a national leader in precision manufacturing and the production of sophisticated industrial controls and medical imaging equipment. Its skilled workforce, engineering support and manufacturing heritage have also made it the nation’s leading producer of mining machinery, hoists, monorails, speed changers, drives and gears. Sixteen percent of the region’s workforce is employed in manufacturing, ranking second in the nation among the top 50 metros for manufacturing jobs. The region is especially noted for engine and equipment manufacturing, automation and advanced manufacturing, and medical technology. Nine locally based manufacturers have appeared on the Fortune 1000 list – A.O. Smith, Briggs & Stratton, Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Joy Global, Modine Manufacturing, Rexnord, Rockwell Automation and Snap-On. S.C. Johnson is on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies. The region's Next Generation Manufacturing Council serves as an epicenter for manufacturers to come together to address issues common to the cluster industries.

Finance & Insurance

As a natural trading center for hundreds of years, the Milwaukee Region has perfected the financial tools needed to facilitate commerce – access to capital, investment management services and equity trading. Approximately seven percent of the region’s workforce is employed in the financial services sector, which is second only to Boston. The region's finance and insurance cluster generates $8.9 billion in gross regional product and employs more than 45,000 workers.

The Milwaukee Region sets the standard for insurers nationwide. Northwestern Mutual, the world’s largest provider of individual life insurance plans, manages more than $87 billion in client investment assets and employs more than 5,000 at its campuses in downtown Milwaukee and suburban Franklin. Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. (MGIC) is the nation’s leading provider of private mortgage insurance.The region also is home to Robert. W. Baird, a global private equity, research and financial services firm with offices in Germany, England, China and Hong Kong. Milwaukee has also been called America's Mutual Fund Mecca, for its large congregation of top-performing mutual fund firms, including Artisan Partners, Fiduciary Management, Wells Fargo Wealth Management and Heartland Advisors.

Medical Technology

Among larger metro areas, the Milwaukee area ranks as having among the highest employment specializations in two of four bioscience categories: medical devices & equipment, and chemicals & agricultural feedstock. The Milwaukee Region is home to several internationally recognized medical technology and biotech firms. GE Healthcare Technologies, a global leader in medical imaging and information technologies, patient monitoring systems and healthcare services, is based in Waukesha and employs 6,000 people at multiple facilities in the region. The worldwide headquarters of Abbott Laboratories is located just south of the region in northern Illinois, and is the largest employer of Kenosha County, Wisconsin residents. The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee ranks as one of the top 100 academic research institutions in the United States with more than $158 million in research and development expenditures for FY 2015. The Milwaukee County Research Park's Technology Innovation Center, one of the largest high-tech incubators in the country, is specifically designed to provide laboratory and office space, networking opportunities and other critical services for biotech and information technology start-ups. It currently serves more than 40 tenant companies with 230 employees.

Information Technology

Milwaukee Region firms are leading-edge providers of software that automates financial transactions, improves factory-floor productivity, integrates medical information and streamlines supply-chain management. There are more than 2,500 high-tech firms in the Milwaukee Region, employing more than 12,000 people. Major area financial industry providers include Fiserv (a Fortune 500 company headquartered in the region), FIS, and Thomson Reuters BETA Systems..

Consumer Products

The Milwaukee Region is home to the legendary rumble of Harley-Davidson motorcycles; BRP North America’s outboard engines; and the high-performance bicycles of Trek Bicycle Corporation, which is based in nearby Waterloo, Wisconsin. Every day, millions of people worldwide pack their lunches, snacks and leftovers in the Ziploc bags produced by S.C. Johnson Company, which also manufacturers Glade air fresheners, Pledge furniture polishes and Off insect repellents. Millions of others slip into a pair of Allen-Edmonds’ sleek and comfortable, hand-crafted leather shoes or pamper themselves with the comfortable leisure wear of Jockey International. When it comes time to relax, nothing beats the refreshing taste of a cold beer from MillerCoors or a tasty Italian sausage or bratwurst from Klement’s Sausage Company or Usinger’s Famous Sausage, as well as meat products from Patrick Cudahy and Cargill.

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