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ME3: Milwaukee Economy, Energy, & Environment
Frequently Asked Questions

What is ME3?

Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) provided funding in 2014 for Milwaukee's small and medium-sized manufacturers. This program - Milwaukee E3 (ME3) - is a low-cost program to help manufacturers cut operating expenses while at the same time helping to minimize negative environmental impacts of their manufacturing processes and practices.

If you are a manufacturer located in the City of Milwaukee under 500 employees and are interested in learning more about how ME3 can help you be more competitive and cut costs, send an email to the ME3 program manager at or call (414) 286-8556 for more information.

The ME3 Team includes an array of recognized, local industry experts who have worked with thousands of manufacturers in the state on similar issues: everything from improving energy efficiency, to better natural resource management, to improved logistics, to pollution prevention. The ME3 Team draws from direct experience of saving Wisconsin firms money while improving environmental performance.

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What will ME3 do for my business?

Using quantifiable metrics and a team of recognized industry experts, ME3 will work with you to identify the best return-on-investment projects to cut your operating costs while minimizing the  negative environmental impacts from your manufacturing processes. To date, the ME3 Team has helped 22 manufacturers reduce energy use annually by over 3.6 million kWh.

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Who runs the ME3 program?

The City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability manages the program in close coordination with the Wisconsin Manufacturers Extension Partnership (WMEP) and the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Manufacturing experts from WMEP and in some cases Focus on Energy, directly advise and lead project implementation with manufacturers.

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Can I participate?

To apply you must be a manufacturer located in the City of Milwaukee; additionally, ME3 is targeting small and medium sized manufacturers (NAICS 31, 32 and 33) with up to 500 employees. NAICS Listing:

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Is there an application fee?

No, provided manufacturers comply with the "Commitment to ME3 Process."

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How do I apply?

Complete this application form and return to

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What is the "Commitment to the ME3 Process" I will have to sign to participate?

You will receive a comprehensive manufacturing process and practice diagnostic at no-cost and subsidized assessment as well as have access to grants for implementation if you agree to a few simple items (which are outlined after the signature block on the full ME3 Application):

  • Identify a single point-of-contact who will be dedicated to this process and working with the ME3 Team;
  • Allow ME3 Team to publicize successes (without disclosing confidential business information*) in your firm resulting from the ME3 process and implementation;
  • Fill out a workforce skills and education needs survey and conduct an in-person follow-up with a local workforce development expert;
  • Should you implement a sustainable manufacturing process or practice, you will engage the ME3 Team on a follow-up basis once a quarter for one year; and
  • Share best practices with other similar sized firms in Milwaukee as relevant.
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How much does it cost?

ME3 will cover the cost of a manufacturing process diagnostic offered by Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) (a $3,600 value) and will provide 50% or up to $5,000 on the cost of a follow-up assessment to identify a process/project improvement (typically valued between $10,000-$12,000). For more information on the ME3 process see the FAQ Section.

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How does the ME3 process work?

If your application is accepted, the ME3 program is a 3 step process: (1) comprehensive manufacturing process/practice diagnostic; (2) best return on investment process/practice assessment; and (3) best return on investment process/practice implementation. By signing the ME3 Application, you also agree to quarterly check-ins and the pursuit of continuous improvement.

Step 1 – Diagnostic: The diagnostic is a process of discovery. Therefore, you will need to commit at least several hours as ME3 independent industry and manufacturing experts walk through your facility and your entire production process, from material or natural resource input through product delivery. The purpose of the diagnostic is to allow the ME3 Team to identify the range of potential sustainability drivers that may be negatively impacting your costs like inefficient energy or water use, logistics challenges, or inefficient management of material or natural resource inputs. The ME3 Team will work with you to identify several sustainable process or practice improvements that have quality returns on investment. Based on the diagnostic and ME3 Team input, you will identify a process or practice (or multiple ones) that meets your priorities. This process or practice will then be the subject of an intensive technical assessment by an independent expert in that field. ME3 will cover the cost of the diagnostic (a $3,600 value).

Step 2Assessment: The assessment phase is a “deep dive” into the best return on investment sustainable process or practice of your choice based on the diagnostic and input from the ME3 Team. An independent industry expert or team of experts will work with you over the course of several weeks to scope out the sustainable manufacturing process or practice to implement. ME3 will pay up to 50% of $5,000 on the cost of an assessment (typically valued between $10,000 and $12,000).

Step 3Implementation: The ME3 Team will provide implementation grants on a sliding scale depending on the dollar amount of the sustainable process or practice to be implemented. By agreeing to the Commitment to the ME3 Process you will be eligible for an implementation grant up to $10,000.

As part of your acceptance of the Commitment to the ME3 Process, you agree to quarterly check-ins with the ME3 Team to discuss challenges, needs and continuous improvement ideas. You will be asked to meet once a quarter with a ME3 Team member for 1 calendar year following implementation of your sustainable process or practice. One of the major benefits to you of participation in the ME3 process is having direct access to a powerful network of statewide service providers that can address a range of business needs from sustainable manufacturing issues, to financial counseling, to workforce training. We encourage you to tap into this resource network to address all of your firm’s most pressing needs.

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Does ME3 work?

Yes! ME3 improved operational and resource efficiency at 22 small and medium sized Milwaukee manufacturers between 2011-2013. In aggregate, these 22 ME3 firms reduced energy use by 3.6 million kWh; diverted almost 9,000 tons of waste from the landfill; saved $2.1 million annually; invested $3.6 million in their plants; and saw an average payback on process/project improvements of just over 1.5 years. Here is what a recent ME3 alum had to say:

"The ME3 program provided fantastic expert assessment, guidance, training and tools to help us achieve our goals as part of our results oriented sustainability program at Visual Impressions. We saved 17.82% on our energy costs." - Marshall Atkinson, COO, Visual Impressions, Inc.

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(414) 286-8556

In the News

June 23, 2014: Milwaukee's ME3 program has received Honorable Mention from U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Awards.

Local firms benefiting from ME3

Visual Impressions and Badger Alloys