THIS JUST IN: Waupaca Foundry opens operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Grand opening of facility in Ironwood expected to generate investment of $4.3 million, create 61 jobs

John Wiesbrock, executive VP of Waupaca Foundry, presents Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, with 'Waupaca Plaque' produced at new facility in Ironwood

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals company, opened operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The new facility will process iron castings produced at its Waupaca, Wis. plants. The company’s expansion into the city of Ironwood is expected to generate an investment of $4.3 million and create 61 new jobs.

“Not only are we recognizing the opening of Waupaca Foundry, which is creating good-paying jobs for the U.P. workforce and generating a private investment of up to $4.3 million in the Gogebic County region — but we are celebrating the company for choosing to invest in Michigan’s people and build its future here in our state,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the Michigan Strategic Fund.

“Waupaca’s decision to establish a facility in Ironwood following the closure of the Ojibway Correctional Facility is good news for Gogebic County and will provide great jobs for many of the talented workers here,” Mason said.

The expansion addresses increasing customer demand and adds iron casting processing capabilities, including cleaning and finishing, in a location where there is enough labor supply and an abundance of iron ore deposits.

“The economy is strong, and Waupaca Foundry is growing due to increased customer demand for cast and machined iron castings. Opening a facility to handle cleaning and finishing of cast parts will allow us to meet customers’ expectations in quality and delivery of their parts,” said Waupaca Foundry Executive Vice President John Wiesbrock.

Prior to choosing a new location, Waupaca Foundry leaders conducted exploratory job fairs and identified a strong pool of motived, talented workers in the Gogebic County region. As a result of the company’s decision to invest and create jobs in Ironwood, the Michigan Strategic Fund in December 2018 awarded Waupaca a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

“Like many employers across the nation Waupaca Foundry is finding ways to overcome low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers,” said President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai. “There simply are not enough workers to fill the open positions we have so we explored expansion in regions that had a solid base of talented workers.”

"Today’s celebration is made possible thanks to the strategic partnership and collaboration between the city of Ironwood, our local economic development partners at InvestUP, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and of course, Waupaca Foundry,” Mason said. “On behalf of all of us at the MEDC, we are looking forward to working with Waupaca as it begins working in the region.”

About Waupaca Foundry

Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals Group company, produces best-in-class gray iron, ductile iron, austempered ductile iron and compacted graphite iron castings at seven, strategically located​ state-of-the-art foundries in North America. Waupaca Foundry is committed to relentless improvement, forward-thinking sustainability initiatives, and providing a reliable experience to the millions who use products with iron castings every day. Our goal is to employ individuals who take pride in manufacturing ductile iron and gray iron castings within a culture of continual innovation. For our customers, suppliers and workforce, Waupaca Foundry commits to continuous improvement initiatives and a dedication to advancing technology, safety and productivity. For more information, visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.