By Starrla Cray
COKATO, MN Advanced Process Technologies (APT) in Cokato is adding 40,000 square feet of production space, which is planned to be completed later this spring.
The company currently employs about 80 people at its Cokato location, 150 Swendra Blvd. Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jamie Ries said the expansion is expected to add up to 40 jobs over time.
According to its website, APT serves the dairy and food industry with “plant concept, design, process, electrical/automation and mechanical engineering; along with equipment manufacturing and complete installation.”
The expansion will add space for manufacturing stainless steel equipment, such as cheese vats, enclosed finishing tables, crystallizers, processors, clean-in-place (CIP) tanks, decks, and packaging equipment.
Master cheesemaker hired
Another recent change at APT is the hiring of Wisconsin master cheesemaker Mark Gustafson, as cheese technologist. In his new role, Gustafson will help and train cheesemakers to use APT equipment as well as assist in cheese plant start-ups, according to a press release.
“Adding another cheesemaker to our team is invaluable,” said APT President Craig Campbell. “He will allow us to provide a broad background of knowledge and the mutual understanding on so many other aspects of cheesemaking.”
Gustafson has nearly 25 years of experience in his profession. He started out making cheese at his father’s cheese plant near Manitowoc, WI, and then moved on to crafting Italian-type cheese for Sartori Company in 1999. Gustafson has earned master cheesemaking certifications in Asiago, Parmesan, Fontina, and Romano cheeses.
New look for APT
In addition to the other changes, APT is rebranding its corporate identity “to better reflect its personalized customer experience as well as its continued growth as a leading equipment manufacturer for the food and dairy industry,” according to a press release.
APT has experienced significant growth since it was founded in 2000. The company has five manufacturing and production locations across the Midwest and West. Its projects have ranged from small upgrades to new state-of-the-art facilities.
The rebranding includes a new logo, website, and marketing materials to showcase APT’s customer-service focus and ability to provide customized solutions.
“As an employee-owned company, everything we do is an investment in complete customer satisfaction,” Campbell said. “Our long-term customers know how much we care about their success. Given our growth into new markets, we want new customers to understand how this philosophy drives our approach to collaboration and innovation. Rebranding gives us a better opportunity to tell this story.”