Success Stories

Economic Development: Zurn Industries

A Legacy of Water Innovation 

Zurn Industries’ legacy of innovation dates all the way back to 1900. John A. Zurn had just purchased patents and tooling for a new backwater valve that prevented the flow of storm and other wastewaters back into a building’s drainage system. That backwater valve was just the beginning of Zurn’s legacy of innovation, water conservation and treatment.  Today, Zurn’s innovative product lineup offers solutions for water safety, water control, water efficiency and also, enable the pre-treatment of sanitary wastewater.  Zurn’s caught the attention of multi-industrial Rexnord, who purchased the company and entered the water management industry in 2007. Nine years later in 2016, Rexnord relocated Zurn’s headquarters from Pennsylvania to the global hub of water innovation: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Southeastern Wisconsin has become an ecosystem where businesses, universities and other groups can come to collectively solve global water challenges. And Milwaukee has created an environment for similar companies, like Zurn, to access world-class talent, innovation and technology development.

Growing Roots in Milwaukee 

After moving to Milwaukee, Zurn Industries President Craig Wehr said it quickly became apparent to the company that “something special in the water space” was happening in the area. Milwaukee proved to be a natural fit for both Zurn and Rexnord who has called Milwaukee home since 1891.

Once the redevelopment of Milwaukee’s Global Water Technology Park was proposed, Zurn and Rexnord saw an opportunity to anchor themselves in the middle of this growing economic powerhouse. In 2015, the company announced plans to build a new three-story 52,000-square-foot (4,831 square meters) building. The facility was completed in 2016 and features an expansive training and customer experience center and will serve as a destination for customers, designers, architects and industry influencers. Zurn’s presence in Milwaukee reinforces Rexnord’s dedication to its water business. Prior to opening this building, Rexnord joined The Water Council in 2009 and moved its corporate headquarters to the Global Water Center in 2014.

This construction also aided the complete revitalization of this previously economically dormant area in Reed Street Yards, located in the Walker’s Point Neighborhood, near downtown Milwaukee. The new Global Water Technology Park in Reed Street Yards enhanced an already-prospering water technology environment in Milwaukee, helping companies like Zurn access world-class talent, innovation, and research partnerships to solve the world’s most pressing water challenges. In addition to the renowned research and innovation capabilities, Milwaukee is home to a vibrant mix of restaurants, housing, and businesses that make it a place where employees want to live and work. Since making a home in Milwaukee, Wehr expects Zurn’s growth trajectory to continue thanks, in part, to Wisconsin’s robust and collaborative water technology cluster.

PDF article.

Become a member of The Water Council

Join Now