By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, Gov. Tony Evers, Mayor Tom Barrett, Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors and Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) gathered at the Miller Inn. They weren’t there to have a beer but rather to provide an update regarding Molson Coors, MillerCoors parent company.
“We recently came up with a revitalization to plan to regain the successes of the past and create a brighter future for the Molson Coors beverage company,” said Hattersley.
Earlier this year, Molson Coors announced it would be closing its Denver corporate location in its efforts to consolidate its office. Hattersley said he couldn’t confirm numbers but said that the move would bring hundreds of jobs to Milwaukee.
According to the Denver Post, Molson Coors employs about 2,300 people in Colorado and about 300 of those are at the Denver location.
Although the plan hasn’t been finalized, Hattersley said that Denver employees are being offered a chance to relocate to Milwaukee and Chicago. They must be ready to move by June 2020 and by 2020 all the positions will be known.
He added that the jobs coming include senior positions in sales, HR, finance and more.
Gov. Tony Evers called Molson Coors one of Wisconsin’s key employers. He said that in addition to supporting unions, Molson Coors will be offering family supporting jobs with benefits.
“It’s a win for Wisconsin and a win for the business that has contributed so much to Milwaukee’s culture,” said Evers.
Hughes, who had been on the job for 72 hours when Molson Coors approached her with the offer, said that it made absolute sense to find a way to work with the company and bring jobs to Milwaukee. Molson Coors has been a partner of Wisconsin for many years, she said.
There was an urgency to this decision, Hughes said, adding that such moments need to be handled quickly and decisively.
“My team at WEDC, the governor, the governor’s team, the mayor’s team all stepped up to make sure that Molson Coors was going to stay here in Milwaukee and bring amazing jobs here,” Hughes said.
Hughes said that the next step is to create enterprise zone with the WEDC board and joint finance committee. Once the plan is solidified then the tax credits and enterprise zone can be confirmed, she said. Hughes said that because the tax credit world is competitive, once the tax credits are decided it will remain confidential, but there will be transparency with Wisconsin taxpayers.
Barrett added that the City of Milwaukee will finance up to $2 million on the contingency that the company adds more workers and keeps the workers currently employed. This will need to be approved the Common Council.
Furthermore, Molson Coors will need to hire certified small business owner to do 25 percent of the office renovations and 40 percent or more of labor will be done by certified workers under the city’s residential program.
“We want to make sure that the people in this community are helping to build the future of this city,” Barrett said.
Right now, there is no plan to construct more buildings. Hattersley said the plan is to use the two buildings currently in existence, which are under utilized at the moment. He said that there’s a potential for new beverages to be made in Milwaukee.
“Molson Coors beer is going to be the future of this valley and an integral part of this city,” said Barrett.