CHIPPEWA FALLS — A metal-fabricating company in Chippewa Falls continues to grow as the firm is buying 7.5 acres in a city business park to construct a 25,000-square-foot building.
Advanced Laser Machining, 600 Cashman Drive, provides precision metal fabricating, including punching, forming, welding and assembly, with the use of lasers. Customers range from construction firms to aviation, defense and communication companies.
Last week, the Chippewa Falls City Council voted to sell 7.5 acres to Advanced Laser for $53,850. Mayor Greg Hoffman said the company said it intends to construct the new facility and have it in operation by the end of next year.
“It’s a good deal,” Hoffman said. “It’s property right across the street. It’s a real win for Advanced Laser and a win for Chippewa. It positions them well for future expansion. I’m really excited. It’s close by; they can easily cover both facilities.”
The Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. honored Advanced Laser Machining as its 2015 Business of the Year.
Charlie Walker, CCEDC executive director, praised the company Tuesday, saying owner/president John Walton is “passionate about finding employees” who have technical skills and don’t plan to attend a traditional four-year college.
“Advanced Laser is really growing,” Walker said. “They’ve identified in their long-range plans the need for more space. They started the process six months ago. They are going to have to do more automation to keep up with technology.”
Walton couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. The company divulged in 2015 that it had $22 million in sales and employed 110 workers. Walker said he believes it now employs about 150 workers.
The company — located alongside Highway 178 and Chapman Road on the east side of Chippewa Falls — broke ground in August 2014 on a $4 million, 34,000-square-foot addition, which included buying new equipment that comprises about 50 percent of the overall project cost. Advanced Laser has worked with local companies like SGI and Cray, as well as on a military deal with Oshkosh Truck.
Advanced Laser Machining was founded in 1996 by Walton and chief technical officer Rod Tegels, and the company has grown quickly. The company moved to its present site in 1998 and doubled its space in 2004.
Gov. Scott Walker toured the company in May 2012, and he later attended a groundbreaking ceremony in August 2014, when he praised the company’s growth, saying the firm is an example of how to add good-paying jobs in the state.
Ray Allen, secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development, hosted a business summit at the company in April 2017.