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Minnesota Business Developments

by Mohamed Mourssi-Alfash
January 2013


Alabama-based Altec HiLine LLC plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Duluth. The expansion is scheduled to occur in spring 2013 and will include manufacturing equipment upgrades and related machinery that will result in added jobs. Altec HiLine is the leading manufacturer of the highest-reaching vehicle-mounted aerial device in the country for use in the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, construction, and lights and signs industries. To support the expansion, the city of Duluth, through the Board of St. Louis County, is asking DEED for a $250,000 Minnesota Investment Fund loan to Altec HiLine to be applied to manufacturing equipment purchases. The loan may be forgivable if the company meets job-creation and private-investment criteria.

The city of Duluth and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a Leaders in Veteran Employment seminar recently to encourage companies to make hiring veterans a priority. The half-day seminar, held at the College of St. Scholastica, helped attendees understand how to bridge the language barrier that may exist between a veteran's resume and an employer. Speakers also offered insights into challenges commonly associated with veteran employment: solutions to recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans and best practices developed by the area employers. Among speakers were U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, business development and workforce leaders from DEED, and several business leaders and recruitment experts from northern Minnesota.


Nash Finch, a publicly traded wholesale food distributor based in Minneapolis, closed its facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the end of 2012 and will consolidate the operation, with a workforce of 160 employees in St. Cloud and Omaha, Nebraska. The move will create an estimated 80 jobs in the St. Cloud area.

After Capital One received approval from the Federal Reserve to acquire St. Cloud-based ING Direct USA in a $9 billion deal, it announced that the acquisition will be named Capital One 360. The acquisition made Capital One the fifth-largest bank in the U.S. Forty jobs have been added to St. Cloud's Capital One 360 office since the acquisition took place.

Taco Del Mar opened its first restaurant in Marshall, creating 20 jobs.

Twin Cities Metro

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company recently announced plans to add more than 5,500 jobs in 2013, including 306 at its two Twin Cities offices in Minneapolis and Mendota Heights. The Twin Cities positions will be 104 financial representatives and 202 financial representative interns. The company forecasts that more than 50 percent of the financial representatives will be professionals seeking a career change or those looking for career advancement. Supported by Northwestern Mutual network of specialists, training programs, and mentoring opportunities, interns have access to the resources, tools, and assistance they need to help their clients and build their practices. Interestingly, 45 percent of Northwestern Mutual's current senior field managers joined the company as interns.

Cabela's, a leader in the outdoor lifestyle market, plans to open a fourth store in Minnesota in fall 2014. The new, 85,000 sq. ft. store will employ about 185 full- and part-time workers on a site adjacent to Tamarack Village Shopping Center in Woodbury. Construction is scheduled to start in fall 2013. It will be significantly smaller than the Rogers and Owatonna stores, which are 185,000 sq. ft. and 150,000 sq. ft., respectively, but larger than the East Grand Forks store, which is 60,000 sq. ft.

The leading technology manufacturer Emerson Process Management Rosemount plans to open a new site in Shakopee that will add 500 jobs in 2013. About 400 of the 500 jobs will be new, and the rest will be transferred from other facilities, according to Michael Leek, Shakopee community development director. Emerson has one of its headquarters in Chanhassen that hosts 1,500 employees in the metro area. The company provides intellectual property solutions and information, analyses of patent data, and related metrics in a proprietary methodology to identify the most influential organizations globally.


Swiss Valley Farms, the corporate owner of Rochester Cheese, has decided to move its production from Spring Valley to Rochester. This transition will shift Rochester Cheese from storing and distributing cheese to producing it and create 50 more jobs at the new site. The target date for completion of this $3.25 million project is March 2013. The company intends to keep the Spring Valley facility in an active capacity as a warehousing and contingency production site.

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