When the state of Wisconsin passed the right-to-work law in 2015, there were all sorts of promises of doom and misery. One company, Hoffman Construction in Black River Falls, even threatened to move operations to Minnesota.
“Some described our work as almost being like a migrant worker, having to cross the river to Minnesota to find work,” Jim Hoffman told WKBT-TV in 2015.
Funny how times change.
With Foxconn likely coming to Wisconsin, The Daily Reporter found one construction company looking to expand operations in southeast Wisconsin.
Jim Hoffman, president of the Black River Falls-based road builder Hoffman Construction, said he’s eagerly awaiting the chance to win a contract related to the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer’s plans to build a $10 billion, 1.56-square-mile campus somewhere in southeast Wisconsin. To be sure, Hoffman’s interest in the Milwaukee area had already been piqued by the area’s current building boom.
But it wasn’t until he heard of the Foxconn deal that he was ready to commit.
“It’s definitely what tipped the teeter-totter to saying, ‘Let’s go with this,’ ” Hoffman said on Friday.
Hoffman said he has not chosen a site yet for his new office. The possibilities include places in Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Racine.
Hoffman said Hoffman Construction, despite being from the western part of the state and having expanded its presence in Minnesota in recent years, is no stranger to Wisconsin’s southeast corner. Hoffman Construction has worked on such projects as State Highway 50 near Racine and We Energies’ power plant in Oak Creek.
“We listen to our market, and our market is telling us there’s opportunities down there,” Hoffman said, predicting that the Foxconn plant will do for Wisconsin what Henry Ford’s decision to build vehicles in Detroit did for Michigan.
What’s interesting about this story is how Hoffman was looking at opening up a branch in southeastern Wisconsin before the Foxconn announcement. Turns out Hoffman Construction likes Wisconsin’s business environment after all.
But when Hoffman was predicting all of the wonderful benefits of Foxconn coming to Wisconsin, do you think he remembered that the state’s right-to-work law was one of the reasons Wisconsin was chosen by Foxconn?