WAUSAU - Last month, Wausau-based Linetec announced it wanted to hire 40 or 50 new employees. By the end 2017, it will have grown by a couple hundred employees in just a few years.
Linetec is an architectural metal finishing company, but what exactly does that mean, and why has it been so successful?
When you step onto Linetec's production floor with company president Rick Marshall, you'll notice the sounds, machines, and people.
The people at Linetec aren't making or molding aluminum. They're working with all types of pieces of it.
"Basically any type of product that's aluminum that you may find on the exterior of buildings would be a potential customer of ours," said Linetec President Rick Marshall.
Companies don't want to put raw aluminum windows, skylights, and louvers on the outside of buildings. Instead, they want that aluminum either painted or anodized.
"Two reasons, weathering, so you don't get corrosion, and the other is to provide color," said Marshall.
Half of Linetec works with paint.
"It's a combination of robots, robot-applied paints. It's supplemented in a lot of cases with hand spray, manual spray," said Marshall.
Employees have a lot of paint options.
"You get to see a lot of neat things, like colors. We have so many different cool-looking colors," said Logan Wenninger.
If customers choose to have their aluminum anodized, they have just a few color options. Anodizing uses a chemical and electrical process on the metal.
"The outside of the aluminum is changed to aluminum oxide. That aluminum oxide is kind of like a hard crust formed on the outside of the aluminum," said Marshall.
Painted and anodized aluminum components go far and wide.
"Any place east of the Rockies is where it's going immediately, to a fabricator who's making the windows, or making the end product. From there, it could go any place in the United States or in North America," said Marshall.
While the products could go anywhere, Linetec's only plant is here in northcentral Wisconsin, but that one plant keeps growing, thanks in part to company core values which go beyond just words.
"Teamwork is a big thing, just understanding and just having respect for the individual," said Lisa Ullman, a nine year Linetec employee.
"How well you do your job matters, but the attitude you carry to work every day matters more than that," said Marshall.
While painting aluminum, anodizing it, and shipping it across the country, that attitude seems to come across in Linetec's hundreds of employees.
"It's a rare treat to find a company with this kind of culture," said Marshall.
In the 33 years since Linetec in Wauau opened, its plant has expanded from 40-thousand square feet to 900-thousand square feet.