Minnesota Business Developments

by Mohamed Mourssi
May 2013

Northern

Map: MN RegionsDelta Air Lines has announced it plans to add jobs at the carrier’s reservation center in Chisholm. Delta plans to invest in the facility and keep it growing, according to CEO Richard Anderson. It has about 500 full-time-equivalent employees, well above the goal of 350 set before it opened in 1996 with financial help from the state. Delta’s center in Chisholm is one of the largest non-mining employers in the region.

Union workers at American Crystal Sugar approved a new contract on April 13, ending one of Minnesota’s longest and largest labor disputes. The new contract passed with approval of 55 percent of those voting. There were four unsuccessful voting attempts on the same contract over the past two years; 1,300 employees were locked out for 20 months.

Central

Minneapolis-based Baldwin Supply Co., a supplier of power transmission, electrical control, conveyor belt, and other industrial products, has expanded into St. Cloud with the opening of a branch office and warehouse. The new site is 3,000 sq. ft. and is the company’s eighth location in the Upper Midwest. The new Baldwin’s St. Cloud facility will serve a number of industries, including aggregate and mining, food and beverage, agriculture, poultry, packaging equipment, power generation, and industrial conveyors.

The expansion of Park Manufacturing, located in Cambridge, has provided many opportunities for employment and doubled their manufacturing area. The company, which creates high-quality wire harnesses, custom cable assemblies, and electro-mechanical assemblies, celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in January.

Twin Cities Metro

The Mall of America is poised to get a lot bigger. On May 20, 2013, Minnesota lawmakers passed a $250 million tax break to jumpstart a long-dormant Phase II expansion. The $1.5 billion plan is projected to double the size of the Bloomington megamall, adding hotels, a waterpark, a performing arts center, office towers, and hundreds of stores. The Phase II project is expected to boost the number of visitors who come to the MOA each year from 42 million to more than 60 million.

Giant telecommunications provider AT&T has decided to move its facility in Birmingham, Alabama, to Minneapolis, adding 93 jobs to the city’s workforce. The move, which occurred in March, encompassed teleconference specialist roles as well as customer support roles in AT&T’s teleconference business. The Birmingham jobs have been relocated to the AT&T Tower in downtown Minneapolis. AT&T currently employs about 1,800 individuals in Minnesota.

Wisconsin-based Valley Cartage is receiving nearly $1 million in government incentives to expand into Lake Elmo. The company plans to open an operations center in the Eagle Point Business Park near I-94 and Radio Drive in Lake Elmo. Steve McFarland, vice president, stated that the new site will employ 50 people with an annual payroll of more than $2.5 million.

Southern

Georgia-based AGCO plans to spend $42 million to expand its Jackson tractor factory to increase production capacity by 25 percent and improve efficiencies, adding 75 new jobs. The first phase of the expansion project, slated for completion this fall, will add 30,000 sq. ft. to current tractor manufacturing and establish a new robotic welder and sheet-metal laser cutter.

Wal-Mart announced that a new distribution center will open in Mankato in 2015, creating about 300 jobs. The Arkansas-based retailer bought land for the distribution center in 2005, but the plan was placed on hold during the recession. The projected 420,000 sq. ft. building will be used to distribute perishable food throughout the Upper Midwest.

Sanford Cancer Center in Worthington has expanded its services to offer comprehensive cancer care. Several new jobs have been added to the team already in place. The expansion of services and new team members will allow the Cancer Care of Worthington to provide all kinds of services for cancer and blood disorders, including cancer screening, diagnostic tests, genetic counseling and radiation treatment surgery, chemotherapy, and supportive care.