Forefront Dermatology, the second-largest group dermatology practice in the U.S., and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) today announced that the company has expanded its corporate headquarters by leasing an additional 15,000 square feet at Two North Eighth Street to accommodate its continued growth.

Prior to the expansion, Forefront leased approximately 50,000 square feet in two facilities located in downtown Manitowoc. The $1.1 million expansion project is expected to create up to 241 jobs through 2020. The building project was completed in January and Forefront already has over 100 employees working in the new location.

“Over the past several years, we have expanded our group practice into 11 states and more than doubled the number of health-care providers supported by our administrative team in Manitowoc. Our growth resulted in adding more than 100-plus new employees to our Manitowoc-based organization and precipitated our need to find additional office space,” said Dr. Betsy J. Wernli, a board-certified dermatologist and deputy president at Forefront Dermatology.

“Since its founding more than a decade ago, Forefront Dermatology has a track record of rapid growth, and I applaud the company for its continued commitment to Wisconsin. This is great news for Manitowoc, the entire region and the state,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Forefront is among the many Wisconsin companies that are expanding operations in Wisconsin because of the state’s strong pro-business climate and dedicated workforce.”

WEDC is supporting the expansion by awarding Forefront with up to $850,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits received will be contingent upon the actual number of jobs created during that time.
“One of the keys to Wisconsin’s continued economic success is making certain we are not only attracting new businesses here, but are also continuing to meet the needs of growing Wisconsin companies like Forefront Dermatology,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “We applaud Forefront for its success and commend the company for its continued commitment to Manitowoc and the state of Wisconsin.”

Forefront Dermatology was founded in 2001 as Dermatology Associates when Dr. Kenneth H. Katz took over his father’s dermatology practice in Manitowoc. Since then, Forefront has grown from a single clinic in Manitowoc to a company that now employs more than 1,000 people in over 100 clinics in 11 states.

“Forefront Dermatology’s growth has exceeded our expectations and we’re thrilled that our success has resulted in creating hundreds of jobs and supporting the revitalization of Manitowoc’s downtown,” said Dr. Katz, president and founder of Forefront Dermatology.
“The Lakeshore is important to the vibrancy of the New North region,” said Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North Inc. “It’s great to see a company like Forefront Dermatology, which was started in Manitowoc, continue to grow and expand, creating jobs.”

In addition to the 241 jobs expected to be created by Forefront, an economic modeling study estimates the project could indirectly generate 65 additional jobs in the region. Those 306 new jobs are expected to generate up to $2.4 million in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.