Recently, Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary-designee Dawn B. Crim toured the new Amazon fulfillment center in Beloit after final inspections and in advance of its grand opening this fall. The 1.1 million-square foot facility is Amazon’s third warehouse in Wisconsin. On Friday, Amazon also announced that it will begin recruiting to fill more than 500 full-time positions to staff the fulfillment center.
The ten-month project remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction was considered an essential service during the public health emergency, and DSPS maintained its construction-industry services, including plan review and inspection, without interruption. Contractors and Amazon implemented job-site protocols, including mask requirements and on-site health screenings, to protect workers. For state employees visiting job sites, DSPS augmented existing PPE guidelines. The department also adopted video-based inspection protocols to limit in-person interactions between staff and customers.
“Our staff has been adapting and innovating so that we could continue to support our customers despite the evolving pandemic and changing circumstances,” Secretary-designee Crim said.
“I am so proud we were able to do our part to keep this facility on track. Construction is vital industry, and we did what we needed to do to keep projects up and running. It was important to us, important to Amazon, and important to the Wisconsin economy. And now it is rewarding to see this new facility opening and bringing much-needed new jobs to Beloit.”
The department performs plan reviews and issues approvals for construction projects throughout the state. After groundbreaking, inspectors are frequently on site—sometimes multiple times a week—to ensure projects are built to plan and code, as well as to advise on issues that arise during construction.
“Inspectors are checking all the systems—everything from elevators and exits to sprinklers and HVAC—to make sure that future employees or others who come and go are safe when they are in or near the facility,” Crim said. “Fortunately, our customers want the same thing: a safe building and work environment. We work collaboratively to achieve that.”
Amazon reports that from 2010-2018, the company has invested more than $3 billion in Wisconsin through customer fulfillment infrastructure and compensation to employees in the state. Their investments contributed an additional $1.6+ billion into the state’s economy over that same time period, and using methodology developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Amazon estimates its investments have created an additional 4,000+ indirect jobs on top of the company's direct hires.
"We're thrilled to be opening our new fulfillment center in Beloit this fall, providing more than 500 full-time jobs to the community," said Amazon Site Manager for Beloit, Jason Berg. "We're grateful to our partners at DSPS for their commitment to this project. Safety is our top priority at Amazon, and DSPS ensured that construction was able to continue while verifying ensuring stringent safety precautions were followed."
The Department of Safety and Professional Services issues more than 240 unique licenses, administers dozens of boards and councils that regulate professions, enforces state building codes, runs the state fire prevention program, and maintains the award-winning Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is a key tool in the multi-faceted public health campaign to stem excessive opioid prescribing. A fee-based agency, the Department of Safety and Professional Services is self-sustaining and receives no general fund tax dollars for its day-to-day operations. With five offices and 250 employees throughout Wisconsin, DSPS collaborates with constituents and stakeholders across a wide range of industries to promote safety and advance the economy.