Door County, WI – The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that Hatco Corporation is the winner of the Door County Industry of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes a local construction, service or manufacturing business that has made a substantial impact on the community and enjoyed significant accomplishments during the past year. The announcement came during the DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.
Hatco Corporation is a leading innovator and manufacturer for the foodservice industry, specializing in the design, production, sale, and service of equipment that improves efficiency and profits for today’s competitive foodservice operations. Founded in 1950 by Gordon and LaReine Hatch of Milwaukee, the company has succeeded for more than six decades by providing many inventive solutions or product enhancements for customers to meet critical needs within the industry, as well as by maximizing performance standards of products with superior engineering and production. Today the company has an extensive line of products that are sold worldwide into many different styles of commercial foodservice establishments. In 2012, the company received the Governor’s Export Achievement Award at the 48th annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference.
In the past decade, Hatco has completely revamped their manufacturing to a lean process that allows a greater variety of products to be manufactured in relatively low volumes; products are not built until an order is received. New technologies are routinely incorporated into the products to fulfill customer requests for equipment that is easier to use, less expensive to operate, allows more flexibility in their process, and can tolerate the harsh environment of a commercial restaurant kitchen. In addition, Demand Flow Technology uses a series of quality checks and tests to meet rigid performance standards for every product.
This large-family company of approximately 340 local employees is made up of highly-skilled technical workers and engineers, professionals in purchasing, human resources, quality assurance, and administration, all considering themselves as support to the talented and cross-trained manufacturing workforce. In May of 2007, Hatco Corporation became 100% employee owned. Hatco operates with an empowered workforce within a corporate culture that “works smart, has fun, and keeps learning.” It is also a workforce community made up of team member owners who hold each other accountable and to high standards of excellence.
Hatco Corporation has grown consistently through the years resulting in the company becoming one of the largest and well-known private employers in Door County. The goals of the investment strategy are not only to expand capacity and capability, but also to improve productivity. Since 2012, major capital reinvestments have been put back into the company in the form of a 65,000 square foot manufacturing space and separate customer and staff training rooms, as well as a company-built healthcare clinic that is open to all Hatco employees and their families at no charge.
Creating long-term positive impact for team members as well as a means to lower rising health care costs was the inspiration behind Hatco’s decision to build a clinic in the factory and staff it with a nurse practitioner and physical therapist. The clinic is just one element of a major wellness initiative that began in 2012. Additional wellness tactics include yearly health assessments, smoking cessation classes, on-site exercise classes, YMCA membership stipends, and ongoing fitness challenges for the team members.
Hatco supports the Door County community in a variety of ways through both direct and in-kind support of organizations and events. Major organizational support is designated to the Door County YMCA and the Maritime Museum. Volunteerism and involvement of team members in the community are also encouraged.
“We are pleased to recognize Hatco Corporation as our industry of the year,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “Their recent growth and investments are a key indicator of optimism for a brighter future. They have been an important part of our local economy for many years and we can only hope that will continue for many years to come.”
This year marks the 41st year of the Door County Industry of the Year Award, first presented by the Door County Chamber of Commerce in 1973. Last year’s award winner was Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli. Other recent winners of the Industry of the Year Award include WireTech Fabricators, Roen Salvage Company, Door Peninsula Winery, and N.E.W. Industries.
The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the county and its residents. Founded in 1989, DCEDC has been successful in helping existing businesses create and retain thousands of jobs through a myriad of programs and initiatives. Additionally, DCEDC places strong emphasis on fostering entrepreneurial instincts in county residents as well as those who vacation on the Door County Peninsula. Door County Economic Development Corporation offices are located within the small business incubator DCEDC founded in 1997 at 185 East Walnut Street in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park.