Mercury Marine, which was founded in Wisconsin, has provided jobs and investment in the state for over 70 years. When the recent global economic downturn adversely affected the outboard motor company and management began looking at cost-saving measures—including shutting down operations in the state and moving them to Oklahoma—literally the entire state—from Governor Jim Doyle to county and city officials—stepped up and worked together to provide incentives to help save both the company and the jobs of the 2,000 individuals it employs—the loss of which would have struck a devastating blow to the Fond du Lac area. The city, county and state are working in tandem to ensure that the iconic company will have the time, talent and funding needed to regroup and compete in a global market.
The state incentive package totals $70 million through a combination of tax credits, grants and forgivable loans. The local incentive package includes $3 million from the City of Fond du Lac. Up to $50 million will be available in the form of a low-interest, performance-based, collateralized loan from Fond du Lac County with guarantees provided by both the City of Fond du Lac and Fond du Lac County. The loan proceeds are to be used for new engine development; the relocation of some of the Stillwater Oklahoma manufacturing positions to Fond du Lac; and a retirement incentive payment to International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Referring to Governor Doyle and a difficult negotiations process, IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Grubseer said, “He provided resolution at a time when many people thought there could be no resolution.”