Why Waukesha County?
Waukesha County is a premier place to locate, conduct and grow business. It’s also a great place to live, work and play. Besides the business-friendly climate that encourages business growth and success, Waukesha County is also a great place to live and raise a family.
Waukesha County is part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area and southeast Wisconsin region, otherwise known as the Milwaukee 7 (M7) region. Waukesha County is immediately west of Milwaukee County and is 20 minutes away from downtown Milwaukee via Interstate 94. Milwaukee is the largest city and county in the state, and home to an emerging world-class downtown area. Waukesha County enjoys a strategic location between Milwaukee and Madison, and Interstate 94 runs east to west through the middle of the county. Waukesha is one hour east of Madison, the state capitol and home to the University of Wisconsin main campus. Waukesha County is also two hours north of Chicago.
Waukesha County boasts its own airport. As Wisconsin’s busiest general aviation airport, Crites Field is open 24/7 and services corporate and recreational pilots. Waukesha County is also in close proximity to General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
The M7 region is home to two million people and one million jobs. Second only to Milwaukee County, Waukesha County has a population of 400,000 and an economic base consisting of 13,000 businesses, but both counties share an economic base with the other counties in the region. Waukesha County businesses “import” workers from surrounding counties, and each day more than 100,000 people commute between Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties.
Waukesha County’s economic base is anchored by 950 manufacturers, as well as larger service business. Major industrial firms based in Waukesha County include GE Healthcare, Quad/Graphics, Eaton – Cooper Power, HUSCO International, Generac, Milwaukee Tool, SPX Transformer Solutions and many more. Waukesha County has strong concentrations in the industry sectors of electrical equipment manufacturing (transformers, transmission equipment); electronic instruments (including medical equipment); machinery manufacturing; printing and paper; plastics manufacturing; metal manufacturing; and an emerging concentration of food and beverage manufacturers, along with suppliers to those sectors.
On the services side, there are strong concentrations in information technology (IT consulting and software development), health care, insurance and accounting. Major service firms based in the county include Concurrency, Connecture, Fiserv, Kohl’s Department Stores, ProHealth Care and Sikich. Many of the largest accounting firms in the region have their primary offices in Waukesha County, and most of the major law firms based in Milwaukee have Waukesha County offices.
Quality of Life
Waukesha County offers a wide range of lifestyle options among its 37 municipalities. The City of Waukesha is the county seat, with more than 70,000 residents. The city is increasingly diverse in its makeup and is seeing major investment in the historic downtown area. Other cities, towns and villages such as Menomonee Falls, Mukwonago and Muskego offer their own history, culture and downtown or town center areas. Bluemound Road is one of the premier commercial corridors in the region, and is anchored by Brookfield Square (a top regional mall), a new lifestyle center “The Corners,” 15 hotels with more than 2,500 rooms and more than 100 restaurants. The Bluemound Corridor runs through the communities of Elm Grove, the city and town of Brookfield and into the city of Waukesha. Many first-to-market retailers and restaurants have opened along Bluemound in the last few years.
The western portion of Waukesha County is often referred to as “Lake Country” for the more than 20 lakes, large and small, which offer fishing, boating, swimming and other recreational opportunities. Housing options range from lake estates to condominiums and apartments on lake frontage. Several of our communities are seeing the development of high-end apartments and condos, often with first-floor commercial space for restaurants, coffee shops and retail that add to the quality of life.
Almost all communities in Waukesha County have local, county and state parks and natural areas, with multi-use recreational trails that crisscross the county. The Kettle Moraine area is a unique geological land form left behind by the glaciers, and Kettle Moraine State Forest offers hiking, biking and equestrian trails set in its rolling hills, moraines and kettles.
Waukesha County communities enjoy excellent school systems, scoring very well in standardized national tests. An increasing focus on state-mandated Academic and Career Planning (ACP) exposes students, parents and educators to career pathways across multiple industries and educates them on opportunities in manufacturing and the skilled trades as an alternative to a four-year degree.
Waukesha County Technical College partners with local industries, as does Carroll University in Waukesha, the oldest college/university in the state of Wisconsin. UW-Waukesha is a two-year campus in the University of Wisconsin system. Nearby UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) all offer engineering degrees and IT programs, which work closely with local businesses to offer students real world experiences as they prepare themselves for careers in our area. There are numerous other private, nonprofit and for-profit institutions of higher education as well, and Herzing University, Ottawa University and Cardinal Stritch all have branch locations in Waukesha County.
Municipal, educational and county services are offered by governments that practice sound budgeting, fiscal management and control. The county and many of the local governments enjoy the highest bond ratings given by the rating agencies. Waukesha County’s $56 billion property tax base allows tax rates to remain low, while the quality of services provided is among the best in the country. Property tax rates in the county and each of its municipalities are among the lowest in the state. Waukesha County does not utilize a local sales tax.