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President’s shout out putting Oak Creek’s Master Lock in spotlight

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OAK CREEK -- Milwaukee-based Master Lock is basking in the national spotlight after being highlighted in President Barack Obama's State of The Union address on Tuesday night.

The company is headquartered in Oak Creek, with a plant in Milwaukee. In the address, Obama commended Master Lock for moving 100 jobs from China, back to their Milwaukee unionized plant. “If you’re a company that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax break for doing it. That money should be used for companies like Master Lock to bring jobs here,” Obama said Tuesday night.

A Master Lock company representative says their website saw the amount of traffic they normally see in three days, in five minutes on Tuesday night, after Obama's mention, and says associates are extremely excited.

Master Lock says their Milwaukee plant is running at capacity for the first time in 15 years. “We are honored to be mentioned by the President in such a traditional and time-honored event as the State of the Union address,” John Heppner, president and chief executive officer of Master Lock Company said.  “As an American manufacturing company in business for approximately 90 years, we are proud to participate in the trend of ‘insourcing’ jobs back to the U.S."

The company makes a combination lock every two seconds, and Executive Vice President Bob Rice says pride is beaming off the workers' faces. "We are proud to represent Milwaukee. We have other great companies that have their headquarters here, and for us to be mentioned, in a historic event like the State of the Union address, is absolutely great," Rice said.

The company says their decision to move jobs back to Wisconsin from China is partially motivated by economic reasons. Master Lock says the cost of outsourced work is on the rise.  Heppner says Master Lock would like to bring more jobs back from overseas should the underlying economics support the move. "The people know what is at stake here. They are extremely excited about it, and I think it was great for morale, and great for Milwaukee at the same time," Rice said.

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