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Center of Attention: Minnesota Manufacturers Week
Oct. 21, 2013

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

DELANO, MN – Leading the charge in Delano in the promotion of Minnesota Manufacturers Week is the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee.

A special chamber meeting took place Thursday at the Delano City Hall, where Delano’s manufacturing companies were acknowledged

The economic development committee of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce is made up of chairman Will Haack and members Wendy Gilmer, Dr. Steven Heil, Kristin Nelson, Harlan Lewis, Mayor Dale Graunke, and City Administrator Phil Kern.

An exciting time is underway in Delano as the new northwest business park is closer than ever. Kern provided an update on the recent progress to the chamber members at Thursday’s meeting.

“The business park has been a focus for the city for many years, trying to find new opportunities, first for new places for existing businesses to continue to grow, and secondly, for places to attract new business to town,” he said.

Kern said this is important because the 14 businesses in the city’s existing industrial park employ more than 900 people. He said these are people who shop and do business in Delano and potentially live in the community.

“Our existing industrial park is a very important part of our community,” he said. Also, he said, the tax base of the 14 businesses would take 350 homes to replace.

“Certainly, we appreciate them and what they mean to our community,” Kern said.

He said, for the last six to eight years at the chamber’s state of the city addresses, he has told chamber members the city is getting close to making something happen in terms of a new business park.

“It’s happening,” he said. “It is moving forward.”

Two days before the chamber meeting, the Delano City Council issued $5.5 million in bonds to put in public infrastructure for the project.

“A lot of people in this room have worked very hard over the past six to eight years to make this come to fruition,” he said, also acknowledging the work Steve Gilmer and Wendy Gilmer of the State Bank of Delano have done recently with the project.

“It’s certainly an exciting time,” Kern said.

The northwest business park will be located northwest of Delano, past the Delano Movie Theatre. A new intersection for access to the park will be constructed next summer where the highway makes the bend to the west, according to Kern.

A drawing of the plans for the northwest business park was shown to the chamber members in attendance, and Kern explained the layout of the park.

He said there are 60 acres of developable land available “today.”

“The land is going to be privately owned by an investment group and marketed by that group themselves,” Kern said. “The city is going to be putting in the infrastructure, and Doboszenski and Sons from Loretto is the low bidder and will be starting in November.”

A ground-breaking ceremony will take place in early November, Kern said.

“They’re going to continue working throughout the winter putting in sewer and water, getting the road base ready, and doing mass grading of the site,” he said. “Their completion date for having all that done is Aug. 31, 2014.”

Kern said there are several businesses that have expressed interest in locating within the park. He believes a plastics molder from Golden Valley will be the first tenant of the park, with the hope of breaking ground next spring.

Kern said the name of the park has intentionally been termed as a business park and not “industrial” park, as a result of a suggestion by the chamber.

“The intent of that is to try and communicate that, while industry is important and we want to have industry and it’s a primary focus, we’re also looking at other types of businesses, as well,” Kern said. The highway frontage of the project will yield itself well to potential commercial growth.

Documents will be signed for the project Oct. 30.

“It is an exciting time,” Kern said before turning the meeting over to Haack to speak about the chamber’s economic development efforts.

Haack said there is no emphasis in Delano on what type of business is done in Delano – whether it be home-based, retail, commercial, industrial, services, with any number of employees.

“They’re all equally important to Delano,” Haack said. He said the chamber’s economic development group is focused on the retention, growth, and attraction of all businesses in Delano.

He said 80 percent of the growth of any community is going to come from existing businesses, while the other 20 percent are businesses not within the community.

At an industrial leaders meeting last April, Haack said it was important the leaders within the community were aware of Delano’s expansion plans. He said the capacity of the new business park will be approximately 1,000 new jobs.

He said this has potential to lead to another 2,000 support jobs in the area as new growth follows the business park to support it.

The supply of educated people to bring into the workforce was also a discussion point at that meeting last April. As a result of this, the chamber of commerce, Delano Public Schools, and the City of Delano are teaming up to host the first-ever SciTech fest April 7-12, 2014. This will be a science and technology showcase, and will end with the chamber’s annual expo that Saturday.

He said Delano High School Principal Dr. Steve Heil participated in a similar format at a previous school district he worked for. The event will be an opportunity for local manufacturers and businesses to showcase what they have, as a trade show that focuses on the students and the community, providing a better vision of what job opportunities exist in Delano.

“It’s not a job fair,” Haack said. “It’s a career builder.”

More information on SciTech can be found at www.delanoscitech.org

Minnesota Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is the backbone of Minnesota’s economy, thanks to its strength, versatility, and innovation.

It represents one-in-seven jobs and has the largest total payroll of any business sector.

Minnesota has 305,600 manufacturing jobs statewide, or 13 percent of all private-sector jobs.

Manufacturing contributes $40 billion (2012 dollars) to the state economy, and represents 15 percent of the Minnesota’s gross domestic product.

Manufacturing pays an average annual wage of $58,751 per employee, eclipsing construction, real estate, and agriculture. The average annual wage for all industries is $49,746.

Across the state, manufacturing accounts for between 8 percent and 22 percent of total employment, depending upon the region.

Approximately two-thirds of manufacturing jobs in Minnesota are concentrated in six industries:

• Computer and electronic products: 15 percent.

• Food manufacturing: 14 percent.

• Fabricated metal products: 13 percent.

• Machinery: 10 percent.

• Printing: 8 percent.

• Miscellaneous (composed mostly of medical devices): 7 percent.

Each manufacturing job supports about two other jobs elsewhere in the economy through supplier purchases and employee spending. In all, manufacturing accounts for nearly 920,000 jobs, or nearly 35 percent of all jobs in Minnesota.

Manufacturing has the largest payroll of any business sector in the state, providing nearly $18 billion in 2012 wages.

About 40 percent of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies in 2013 operate in manufacturing: 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Mosaic, Hormel Foods, Ecolab and St. Jude Medical.

Manufacturing exports brought $18.7 billion into the Minnesota economy in 2012. Canada is Minnesota’s top manufactured export market at $5.2 billion in sales in 2012.

Minnesota’s top manufactured export is computers and electronics at almost $4 billion, followed by optical and medical instruments at $3.1 billion.

Medical device businesses research, develop, and produce everything from catheters and pacemakers to dental instruments, eyeglass lenses, and hearing aids.

Medical device companies had some of the largest registrations of patents in the state between 2008 and 2012: Boston Scientific (1,556 from Guidant and Sci-Med Life Systems units), Medtronic (1,138 patents), and St. Jude Medical (160 patents).

Renewable energy is another stronghold of the manufacturing sector. Minnesota currently requires utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 (30 percent by 2020 for Xcel Energy).

Most utilities are working to comply with this standard, creating thousands of jobs. In 2012, Minnesota utilities generated 14.3 percent of their energy from wind power, supporting between 2,001-3,000 direct and indirect jobs, some of them in 17 manufacturing facilities, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Solar energy is also gaining a bigger role in Minnesota’s clean energy economy. In 2012, 229 solar systems were installed in businesses, homes and non-profit organizations, exceeding installations in 2010 (265) and 2011 (164). Overall, solar installations are becoming more affordable with federal, state, and utility incentives.

Minnesota also ranks fifth nationwide in ethanol production capacity with more than 1 billion gallons, according to 2013 data from the renewable fuels association.

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