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A Year to Remember

Posted on April 01, 2014 at 1:05 PM
Tags: jobs

There are many ways to measure the economic success of a state, from looking at the unemployment rate to tracking job creation and measuring the value of goods and services produced. Another indicator is the number of business expansions over the past year. If 2013 is any indication, then Minnesota’s economy is on a hot streak.

The state last year racked up nearly 150 expansion projects that are expected to create 7,700 jobs. Attracted by the state’s highly educated and motivated workforce, strong business climate and incentive programs, companies are increasingly saying yes to Minnesota.

Manufacturing dominated the list of 2013 business expansions, with 88 projects across an array of sectors, including agricultural machinery, avionics and electronics. Other expansions occurred in the airline, food and beverage, technology, data center and medical device industries.

While major projects like Shutterfly and Olympus generated some of the biggest headlines, plenty of smaller expansions were announced as well, many of them in rural communities where every new job is important to the local economy.

In the northwestern Minnesota city of Backus, Scamp Trailers is building a 15,600-square-foot facility that will enable the firm to ramp up production and add 10 jobs. Scamp builds small, lightweight travel trailers, including one version that is only 13 feet long. The company says on its website that demand is so strong that its sales lot is empty.

In Marshall, Brau Brothers Brewing Co. is tapping into the craft beer boom in Minnesota, expanding to a 37,000-square-foot building in October and adding 20 employers. Another eight hires are in the works.

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben summed up the year best: “We’re thrilled with the business activity and what it says about our workers and economy. Companies are choosing Minnesota for their expansion projects because of our outstanding workforce and healthy business climate,” she said.

Here is a breakdown of some of the major projects by industry in Minnesota in 2013:

Manufacturing
Shutterfly – The Internet-based image publishing service from Redwood City, Calif., broke ground on a 217,000-square-foot office and manufacturing complex in Shakopee that will employ nearly 300 people.

AGCO – The tractor manufacturer in Jackson announced a $42 million expansion that will create 75 jobs. The company, based in Duluth, Ga., has nearly doubled its workforce to 1,400 employees in Jackson in the past two years.

Proto Labs – The Maple Plain-based maker of machined and molded parts bought a building in Plymouth as part of a $15 million expansion that created 100 jobs. The move brought the company’s total workforce in Minnesota to 500.

Uponer – The Finnish manufacturer of plumbing and indoor climate systems completed a $15 million expansion of its North American headquarters in Apple Valley. The company added 75 employees in Apple Valley last year and has plans for further hiring.

Avionics
Endeavor Airlines – The executive jet line and Delta Air Lines subsidiary moved its corporate headquarters from Memphis, Tenn., to Bloomington, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The move brought 200 corporate jobs to the Twin Cities.

AAR Corp. – The Wood Dale, Ill., aviation support company opened a repair and maintenance facility at the Duluth International Airport in 2012. The company added 110 jobs in Duluth in 2013 and has already exceeded its original commitment to bring 225 jobs to northeastern Minnesota.

Food and Beverage
Cargill Kitchen Solutions –
The division of Wayzata-based Cargill Inc. announced a 4,812-square-foot expansion of an egg-processing plant that will bring 45 jobs to Big Lake.

August Schell Brewing – The New Ulm brewer, operating continuously in Minnesota since 1860, announced expansion plans that will nearly double the company's production in the next two years. The plan included a $2 million expansion last spring and an 1,800-square-foot addition in 2014.

Zumbro River Brands – Zumbro, a contract food processor based in Albert Lea, announced a 70,000-square-foot expansion that will create 24 jobs.

Medical Devices
Olympus – The Pennsylvania-based maker of precision surgical instruments and related products is building a $37 million research, development and manufacturing facility in Brooklyn Center. The project will create 100 jobs and retain another 265 positions in the area.

Baxter International – The Deerfield, Ill., pharmaceutical company announced a $10 million expansion project that will bring
60 high-paying jobs to Brooklyn Park by 2015 and at least 190 by 2023.

Holaira – The company, which is developing a therapy that makes it easier for patients with lung disease to breathe, moved its headquarters and 20 jobs from Bellevue, Wash., to Plymouth.

Minnetronix – The St. Paul-based designer and manufacturer of medical devices completed a 65,000-square-foot expansion – its third expansion in seven years – that will enable the company to increase its engineering and manufacturing businesses. The company has about 160 employees.

Data Centers
Compass Data Centers –
The Dallas company announced plans to build a $67 million data center that will bring 18 jobs to Shakopee.

Stream Data Centers – Dallas-based Stream Data Centers is building a 75,675-square-foot data center in Chaska. The facility is expected to open in April.

Technology
Slalom Consulting –
The Seattle-based technology consulting firm opened its first office in Minneapolis. The company plans to hire 50 employees in the first year of operations and up to 300 over five years.

TSI Inc. – TSI completed a 58,000-square-foot expansion of its headquarters in Shoreview and plans to add 200 employees in coming years. The company specializes in precision measurement technologies.

Datacard Group – The company bought a building in Shakopee and announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Minnetonka in 2014. The company, which specializes in security and identification technologies, will move 680 existing employees to the new headquarters and plans to hire another 150 workers after the move is completed.

For more details about Minnesota’s economy and business programs, contact Kevin McKinnon, executive director of DEED’s Business and Community Development Division, at economic.development@state.mn.us , 651-259-7432.

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