Construction Firm That Dissed WI Gets Foxconn Road Project

A construction firm that said it would expand in Minnesota rather than its home state of Wisconsin because of the 2015 passage of a Right to Work law has landed a Foxconn-related road project contract with the state.  According to a news release from the Black River Falls-based Hoffman Construction:

The State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation awarded Hoffman Construction the IH-94 North South frontage roads at the Hwy 11 interchange in front of the future Foxconn manufacturing facility in Racine County. The 6.5 mile, $12,697,000 project consists of reconstruction of the east and west frontage roads to accommodate the IH-94 North South widening project.

In 2015, Hoffman Construction President Jim Hoffman said any future expansion by the firm would take place in Minnesota and not Wisconsin. As WKBT-TV, La Crosse, reported back then:

 The owner of a Wisconsin construction company said he’s taking his business to Minnesota thanks to the passage of right-to-work. The Hoffman family has been in the Wisconsin construction business for a long time. “We like to say our company got started 100 years ago this year in 1915 when my great grandfather got his first road contract,” Jim Hoffman said.  Hoffman construction based out of Black River Falls Wisconsin has also been unionized since the sixties. “That’s something we’re real proud of,” Hoffman said. Hoffman employs more than 200 unionized workers who work on projects in Wisconsin, but that might change. “We see our future growth potential being much better in Minnesota,” Hoffman said.During the debate over right-to-work Hoffman received a letter from Minnesota Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo, asking Hoffman to expand his small branch in Lakeville, Minnesota. “It was somewhat of a light bulb moment looking at it in more detail it made sense to accelerate our growth of that office,” Hoffman said.

Now, Hoffman Construction says it “is excited to contribute to the state’s largest construction project – the public and private work for the Foxconn manufacturing facility”

 “Foxconn coming to Wisconsin resembles when Henry Ford picked Detroit for the first automotive manufacturing facility. We look forward in utilizing Hoffman Construction’s fleet of scrapers, dozers and haul trucks and especially our biggest asset, our people, to build the projects” states James Hoffman.”

 

The 22-million-square-foot Foxconn Technology Group factory complex to be built just east of I-94 and north of Highway KR will take four to five years to complete. The company expects to have at least 1,040 employees in Wisconsin by the end of this year and another 1,040 by 2019.

Hoffman’s opposition to right to work and his firm’s involvement in a Foxconn related project has an element of irony to it. Walker administration officials have said that Wisconsin now being a right to work state gave it an edge over Illinois and other possible locations for the Foxconn facility. Media Trackers asked Jim Hoffman about that.

There are also other reasons(why Foxconn chose Wisconsin); our workforce, opportunities for growth the state has allowed. I don’t have a position on the reason why Foxconn has come to Wisconsin. I do have the position that it’s not about politics. It’s about business. We’ll position our company to take advantage of the market opportunities that come around.