Celebrating Manufacturing and Local Small Business

October is manufacturing month in Wisconsin. For many years manufacturing has been an important part of the fabric that makes up southeastern Wisconsin. Today, manufacturing accounts for more than 16 percent of all jobs statewide with manufacturers employing half a million people throughout the state.

Recently, to celebrate manufacturing in Wisconsin, I visited two small businesses that are making an impact in our community. Gecko Leather Works opened in 2012 by John Jaizmuskiewicz. Gecko produces a variety of leather products all handmade in South Milwaukee.

John began his career as a woodworker installing custom-made garage doors for 28 years before discovering his calling hand-crafting leather products. He discovered his passion through his love for music when he first started experimenting by making hand-made leather guitar straps. Today, he produces some of the finest guitar straps, belts and wallets available locally.

9-30-19 Gecko.jpg

Cheata Bikes opened its doors in South Milwaukee by owner Ravi Bhagat in 2011. Ravi was helping his son build a bike to travel to and from school. The unique bike got so much attention Ravi soon realized there was a market with an unmet need.

Cheata places a modern spin on the original motor bike that was first introduced more than 100 years ago when manufacturing and creativity collided giving consumers an innovative new form of transportation.

Ravi stressed the importance of locally sourcing materials for his motor bikes. Recently the company became the official bike supplier for South Milwaukee bike cops.

9-30-19 Cheata Outside.jpg

The 21st Assembly District is home to several large manufacturers like Caterpillar, PPG and GE Healthcare to name a few but also to smaller companies like Cheata and Gecko. Each has an important role in the success of the economy in southeastern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Blue Book Now Available

The new 2019 – 2020 Wisconsin Blue Book is now available. The Blue Book is published biennially by the Legislative Reference Bureau and features a variety of information about our state government and history. The book also includes a feature article titled, A Hero’s Welcome, the story of how the 1919 Legislature overcame political divisions to enact legislation for veterans following World War I.

If you’re interested in a copy contact my office at Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wi.gov.

BlueBooksAvailable.jpg (1)

 Calendar of Events