Business Success Stories


"We ask businesses one simple question when they come to our region: How can we help?"
Delta Air Lines customer engagement representatives handle reservation calls in Chisholm 

Delta Air Lines Iron Range Customer Engagement Center marks years of success on Minnesota's Iron Range

Delta Air Lines Iron Range Customer Engagement Center in Chisholm is a model of success for the Atlanta-based global airline company.

Opened in 1996 with assistance from an Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) loan, the Delta Air Lines Iron Range Customer Engagement Center has become one of northeastern Minnesota largest employers.

With completion of a $5.9 million renovation in 2015, the center employs 520. The center has earned a reputation as one of Delta’s top performing customer engagement facilities with a reliable, dedicated workforce Customer engagement specialists at the center handle reservations calls from Delta’s high level, SkyMiles Medallion customers. In 2014, the center earned the prestigious J.D. Power certification for top-quality service. “The certification tells our customers that we care about them,” said Bobbie van Schoonhoven, Delta Air Lines Iron Range Customer Engagement Center director. “When our employees are at work, they’re knocking it out of the park with customers.” The customer engagement center employs residents from throughout northeastern Minnesota.

Under the renovation, the 40,000 square-foot center has been transformed into a modern, state-of-the-art customer engagement center. “It makes us more viable for years to come,” said Tony Zupancich, associate customer engagement director at the center. “We now have an environment that allows us to be timely with our customers, change quickly to Delta’s needs, and makes us a more attractive employer in the region.” All new employees are full-time and are offered a competitive pay wage and extensive benefit package including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, paid vacation, paid personal time off, paid holidays, 401K contribution and match program, employee stock purchase program, profit sharing, shared rewards and free and reduced rate travel wherever Delta flies, as well as reduced rate privileges on its partner airlines. Design of the Iron Range Customer Engagement Center will be used as a model for renovations at other Delta customer engagement centers

Jessica Lantz packages drill bits at Triumph Twist Drill in Hibbing

When it comes to manufacturing high-quality “Made in the USA” drill bits, Minnesota Twist Drill and Triumph Twist Drill is making its mark across the world.

With manufacturing facilities in Chisholm and a packaging plant in Hibbing, Minnesota Twist Drill and its branch, Triumph Twist Drill, produce and sell drill bits across America and in six foreign countries.

“We’re making 80,000 to 85,000 drill bits per day or more than 21 million annually,” said Scott Allison, co-owner of the company. I say it proudly that we have the best, most well-trained drill bit manufacturing workforce in America and I firmly believe that.”

It’s a success story that began with the production of drill bits in a garage in Chisholm in the late 1960s. The company in 2003 blossomed under new ownership of seven local investors. In 2009, production took off after the company acquired Triumph Twist Drill, a nationally-recognized drill bit manufacturer. Today, the company employs 115 full-time workers and ranks among the top three drill bit manufacturers in the United States based on volume.

In addition to all 50 states, Minnesota Twist Drill and Triumph Twist Drill bits are distributed and sold in Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Mexico and Venezuela. With its success, the company has expanded its Hibbing packaging facility to nearly 15,000 square-feet from 6,000 square-feet. It’s also added a manufacturing line that produces left-handed drill bits which can be used to extract broken bolts and is manufacturing metric size bits to meet European demand.  “We’ve had a mission to become global,” said Allison. “We understand that it takes time to get your name out there, but we’ve done a few European trade shows and that has helped. We’ve not sat on our hands.”

The company has prospered due to assistance from American Bank, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, and local legislators, said Allison. “Without that team, it would have been tough to grow as we have grown,” said Allison. “And I can’t say enough about our workforce and the pride they take in our company.”