What’s behind the closed door? Minnesota shows appreciation for local manufacturers October 20-26, 2013

Are you familiar with the manufacturers in your community? If so- that’s excellent. Not sure? Take a drive around town, and take note of the (sometimes boring looking) industrial buildings you see; chances are, the industrial building you see is a manufacturer. While the building may not look important enough to catch your eye, what’s inside the building is very important to your community.

Each year, the Governor of Minnesota recognizes manufacturing by proclaiming the third week in October manufacturer’s week. A total of 13% of private sector jobs in Minnesota are manufacturing jobs; totaling 305,600. In 2012, manufacturing contributed $40 billion dollars to our state economy- that’s 15% of Minnesota’s GDP.

Industrial development is a major component of economic development. Not only do manufacturing facilities provide significant tax base for the community, they also provide well-paying jobs (average annual wage of $58,751) and are often responsible for spin off development; each manufacturing job supports two additional jobs through supplier purchases and employee spending.

I could go on and on with statistics supporting the significance of manufacturing, however I want to highlight an important manufacturer in the Elk River community, a community that I call home.

Alliance Machine is a precision machine shop that specializes in medium to complex CNC machining. They machine metals, all types of plastic and offer a full line of CNC milling and CNC lathe machines. Founded in 1987 in MN, Alliance is a family and Veteran owned and operated business which originated in short run production and special machine and design building.

President of the company, Bryan Provo, is deep rooted in the community through his dedication as an Elk River EDA Commissioner and his role as a volunteer fire fighter for the Elk River Fire Department. He sits on a committee comprised of Industrial Technology instructors from the Elk River School District, ISD #728 to provide input on new curriculum and programs to help better prepare students for a career in manufacturing.

In 2005, Alliance Machine built a 24,000 sq. ft. facility in Northstar Business Park in Elk River. In March of 2013, Decklan Group began working with Alliance Machine to help them secure $200,000 in city forgivable loan funds to help purchase machinery allowing them to increase production, and build an 18,000 sq. ft. expansion on their existing facility. We recently had the privilege to on celebrate the ribbon cutting of their new addition and machine.

Currently employing 35 FTE, Alliance provides Veteran’s preference when hiring, and plans on hiring six new employees within the next two years due to their expansion. Their new space will include a facility to bring off-site training in-house. The addition will also increase their shipping/receiving high assembling area, high volume production space and build their mass production capacity. Committed to increasing efficiencies and green initiatives, Alliance is continuously working to identify new ways to improve productivity and energy savings throughout their operations.

Not only does Alliance contribute to Elk River’s tax base, they provide well-paying jobs for the local workforce, and often frequent local businesses. Bryan’s dedication to the community through the EDA and Fire Department is a true testament to a small business owner who cares about his community.

This story is not unique to Elk River; these types of companies exist throughout the state of Minnesota. Manufacturers are rarely ever media darlings with prominent high visibility facades and brands. You have to scratch beneath a city’s surface to find their humming machines, choreographed assembly lines, and sterile clean rooms. You may know of someone employed by a local machine shop- take the time to thank them for what they do. It may not be the flashiest job, however without them, our economy would not survive.