economic development

Press Release: Medical Alley Leaders Build Economic Roadmap to Ensure Minnesota's Competitiveness


Medical Alley Association, led by its Board of Directors and executives from all sectors of the Medical Alley healthcare community, convened two working groups to lead the development of a 10-year strategy plan for Minnesota to realize the vision of Medical Alley being recognized as the global epicenter of health innovation and care. Specifically, the two Working Groups focused on Minnesota Competitiveness and Early Stage Ecosystem.

“Minnesota’s place of leadership in the great history of healthcare advancement is secure. The goal of our Board and community is to ensure that Medical Alley continues to lead the transformation of healthcare around the world,” said Shaye Mandle, President & CEO, Medical Alley Association. “We’re excited to lay this foundation for the public and private sectors to work together to deliver the next generation of solutions and opportunities that define health innovation and care.Mandle said.

The Medical Alley Working Groups have delivered a plan with specific recommendations and actions to address Minnesota’s competitive status, lead the development of the ideal early-stage ecosystem that can capitalize on the evolving health marketplace and position the state for a sustainable leadership position.

Minnesota has a rich tradition of growing transformational healthcare companies and the talent to keep them innovating. Competing globally requires our elected officials to enact policies that encourage investment and growth, attract new talent, and properly prepares our workforce for the jobs this growth will create,” said Jeff Mirviss, Senior VP and President, Peripheral Interventions for Boston Scientific, and Co-Chair of the Minnesota State Competitiveness Working Group.

Supporting startups and early-stage companies is critical to ensure that Minnesota remains the global epicenter of health innovation and care. This report puts forward solutions that require commitment and leadership from the public and private sectors. We look forward to working with our state’s leaders on moving these forward,” said Sheri Dodd, VP & GM, Medtronic Care Management Solutions & Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies. Dodd also serves as the Co-Chair for the Early Stage Ecosystem Working Group.

Additional details can be found inside the plan, or by contacting the Medical Alley Association.

About the Medical Alley Association

Founded in 1984, the Medical Alley Association supports and advances the global leadership of Medical Alley’s healthcare industry, and its connectivity around the world. MAA delivers the collective influence, intelligence and interactions that support Medical Alley.

Press Release: Motivated Organizations Partner to Celebrate Manufacturing Week 2017


Stewartville, Minnesota- Manufacturing week will be celebrated around the nation during October 1-7. Many communities promote tours as an opportunity for individuals to understand the high-tech and innovative work environments that these organizations provide.

Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) has partnered with the State of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Journey To Growth (J2G) to host tours of manufacturing facilities in four communities in southeastern Minnesota: Stewartville, Rochester, Blooming Prairie and Caledonia. The schedule for events is as follows:

10/3/2017 (TUES) Stewartville- 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Kick-off event with DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy)

10/3/2017 (TUES) Rochester - 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. (Mayor Ardell Brede)

10/4/2017 (WED) Blooming Prairie - 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.

10/5/2017 (THURS) Caledonia - 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. (noon)

Education professionals, elected officials, and media personnel are encouraged to attend one or more of these tours, which will consist of a brief appreciation ceremony including presentation of certificates from the Governor's office by an official from DEED as well as a guided tour at each company. Participants will be encouraged to share their experience through photos, videos, streaming, blogging, or other means of communication.

Because Minnesota is so well represented by the manufacturing industry sector, this event is a meaningful and important way to expose educators and elected officials to the diverse, impressive, abundant, and valuable career opportunities that exist in manufacturing.

The planning committee for the events is proud to announce that DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy will be participating in the SE MN Manufacturing Week kick-off event in Stewartville. Commissioner Hardy will be presenting certificates of recognition to Stewartville manufacturers HALCON and GEOTEK on Tuesday, October 3 at 9:30 a.m. at HALCON’s offices (1811 2nd Avenue Northwest, Stewartville, MN).

This event is open to education industry professionals, elected officials and media. To register, please contact Joya Stetson at 605-376-4127 or use the Eventbrite links for each event (hyperlinked above in schedule of events).


About Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA)

CEDA was created in 1986 as a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation then called the Southeastern Minnesota Development Corporation. In 2010, the agency became Community & Economic Development Associates (CEDA) as a result of increased interest and inquiries received from communities outside of the agency’s original service area of Southeast Minnesota. The name change reflects CEDA’s commitment to providing services to fit the needs of any rural community. CEDA provides onsite and/or project based economic and community development services to rural communities and counties in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Our team brings with it over 150 years of collective development experience. For additional information about CEDA and the services we provide, check out our website at


About Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade, and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the  DEED website or follow DEED on  Twitter.


About Journey To Growth (J2G)

The Journey To Growth Partnership is a 501c3. J2G is a comprehensive five-year strategy coordinated by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and regional implementation partners to effectively grow and diversify the economy of the southeast region consisting of the following counties without borders: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona. For more information on the Journey To Growth Partnership visit and  J2G Facebook.

DEED Commissioner Highlights Strength of MN Economy, Warns of Labor Shortage Issues at Recent SE MN Economic Development Summit


Last week the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce’s Southeast Minnesota Economic Development Summit focused in on the state’s manufacturing industry and its importance to the Minnesota economy.

Keynote speaker and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said she was excited to be in Southeast Minnesota for this event, in a region of the state “where so many great things are happening from an economic development standpoint.” Hardy is self-proclaimed “new kid on the block” at DEED, the state’s main agency for economic and workforce development. A graduate of Ohio State University, she has served as Commissioner at DEED since last April.

Hardy stated that Southeast Minnesota is “full of talented and innovative people.” She will return to the region next week with eight other state agency leaders for the “Commissioners on Wheels Tour,” visiting eleven different Southeast Minnesota communities and thirty businesses and organizations. During the tour, Hardy aims to get a first-hand look at important work being done in the region, efforts she said are critical to DEED’s mission “to highlight the success of current Minnesota companies and find new ways to attract new players to the state.”

DEED, Hardy stated, is committed to building an economy that works for all Minnesotans.

She said there are clear signs that the state’s economy, overall, is moving in the right direction. The latest jobs report showed the addition of 7,700 jobs that month in Minnesota. The unemployment rate in the state continues to hold steady at 3.7%. Minnesota gained 66,000 jobs over the past year. Furthermore, a recent U.S. News & World Report ranked Minnesota as the best state for workforce participation, which is seven percent higher than the national average.

Hardy said these are all signs that the state has a “national model for building an economy that works.”

“Minnesota’s overall economy is doing well,” she stated. “But there are challenges ahead on the horizon.”

One daunting issue the state faces is workforce, particularly a labor shortage caused by baby boomer retirement. Hardy said Minnesota’s workforce today is 40,000 workers smaller than it was one year ago. Minnesota had 98,000 unfilled jobs during the last quarter of 2016, among the highest levels ever in the state. Currently, 9,000 jobs remain unfilled in Southeast Minnesota alone.

DEED’s employment outlook tools indicate that 130,000 jobs will be created statewide over the next decade; 75,000 of these will be located in the southeast part of the state.

“We don’t have a job creation problem in Minnesota. We have a job matchmaking problem,” Hardy explained. “The challenge is how do we find the right people, with the right skills, to fill the existing future roles, while continuing to keep our economy strong?”

She said that DEED is taking an “all-in” approach to address these labor issues, which includes training or re-training of “seasoned” workers for the next stage in their careers.

“We cannot afford to ignore or not tap the Minnesotans that are ready to work,” she stated. Hardy believes that the state must take this challenge seriously in order to remain a top location for business and quality of life.

The state’s manufacturing industry, she said, well positions Minnesota to remain economically strong as it moves into the future.

“Minnesota’s manufacturing sector is the backbone of our state’s economy and the envy of our competitors, everywhere,” she stated.

One-third of all jobs in Minnesota are directly in manufacturing or a spinoff of the industry. Manufacturing, in Minnesota, pays higher wages on average and employs 38,000 workers. One-fifth of these jobs are located in Southeast Minnesota. Last year, the industry added $48B to the Gross Domestic Product, the largest private sector contribution.

Manufacturing, however, is not immune to the state’s skill mismatch problems, Hardy explained. In addition to workforce shortage issues, the industry also faces uncertainty in the international trade system and high infrastructure, raw materials, tax, housing and childcare costs.

Several job skills training programs exist in the state to address these issues and help Minnesota’s manufacturing sector prosper.

DEED itself has seventy workforce development programs in partnership with local workforce boards and Minnesota non-profit agencies. Such initiatives include the Job Skills Partnership Program, which has awarded over $41M in grants since 2011, training over 48,000 workers. Locally, Rochester Community and Technical College and Schmidt Printing utilized $227,000 from this program to train 180 workers.

In 2016, DEED assisted over one hundred business expansions in the state using the Job Creation and Minnesota Investment Funds, creating over 6,000 new jobs and $2B in private investment. These efforts included a $2M expansion at Pace Electronics in Rochester.

“In order to ensure that Minnesotans have access to an economy that works, we need to continue to invest in our high performing sectors, especially manufacturing. And we need to see the challenges ahead, plan for them, and then act. We can’t wait,” Hardy concluded.

Look Toward Stewartville to Grow your Business

We are living a piece of history right now in Rochester. The Destination Medical Center and Journey to Growth Initiatives will bring drastic growth and change to the city. However, it’s easy to forget that Rochester is not the only population center that will benefit from these development proposals.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a pilot regional bus tour through Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA) and Journey to Growth. We sat on the bus, on what ended up being close to a 100 degree July day, drove around southeast Minnesota, and explored the economic development opportunities in these areas. That day we made stops in Stewartville, Blooming Prairie, Dodge Center, and Byron. The trip was a real eye opening experience. There are many opportunities right at our fingertips in the southeastern Minnesota community, which many people do not fully appreciate.

Join us in an article series over the next couple of weeks as we explore the capabilities and offerings of these four communities in southeast Minnesota. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Our first stop on the tour is Stewartville.

Stewartville is the closest, large population center to Rochester. About 6,200 people call the town home. Stewartville, arguably, is best poised to benefit from Rochester’s growth outside of the city limits.

It’s all about location with Stewartville. The town is only ten miles from Rochester. Just drive south on 63 and keep going. You’ll get to Stewartville before that coffee gets cold.

Stewartville is central to many locations beyond Rochester. It’s close to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, and Ames. The town is only 25 miles from the Iowa border. There’s easy access to major roadways like Interstate 90, US Highway 63, and Minnesota Highway 30. Stewartville is only 3 miles from the Rochester International Airport.

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Stewartville Mayor Jimmie-John King and City Administrator Bill Schimmel to hear why people should be looking toward Stewartville and the opportunities within that city’s limits.

The Mayor and City Administrator emphasized the high quality of life in Stewartville. The town has five parks, once of which is an aquatic center. The newest push is development of Bear Cave Park in the northwest corner of Stewartville. When it is complete, Bear Cave will have baseball diamonds, park shelters, a public disc golf course, a band shell, and miles of hiking and bike trails.

Stewartville just built a brand new school for grades three through five across from the park, called Bear Cave Intermediate School. The Stewartville School System itself is fantastic. This past year, the district exceeded the statewide average on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.  

The city also has an active theater program. The Stewartville Community Education Theatre just wrapped up a production of the Broadway musical Cats over the weekend.

Stewartville has housing needs for all ranges and there’s a push to building even more housing in the town, especially in the northern portions. The median house price is $155K and median rent is $800 a month.

The town is not only an excellent place to live with a high quality of life, it also is a first rate place to do business. One major employer in town, Halcon, is a family owned and operated business that manufactures and distributes wooden office furniture on a worldwide scale. Geotek, another larger employer, manufactures pultruded fiberglass.

Bard Medical, a leading supplier of vascular, urology, and oncology medical devices, was the previous largest employer in Stewartville. The medical device company recently exited the town, leaving behind three facilities, which are now up for sale.

The first Bard property available is a very new manufacturing building, constructed only in 2014. This 57,500 square foot building is outfitted for manufacturing or medical device production. The second available property is a light manufacturing facility of a slightly larger 66,000 square feet. The final Bard facility for sale is a 39,000 square foot industrial manufacturing facility.

Look for more information about the Bard properties in the upcoming weeks.

Beyond these large businesses, the Stewartville School and Olmsted Medical Systems employ many Stewartville residents.  The global headquarters of Jimmy’s Salad Dressings also calls the town home.

The most important thing about Stewartville: they are not afraid to get creative to attract and keep people and companies in the town.  Stewartville actively invests in its businesses.

Stewartville has a very effective Economic Development Association with several financial initiatives to keep people and businesses in the city. The EDA has a Revolving Loan Fund, which provides gap financing to qualifying new and existing businesses. Stewartville also offers a Downtown Redevelopment Program, awarding up to a $25,000 forgivable loan to property owners zoned in the Central Business District. The city implements a façade program and finder’s fee initiative, awarding 5% compensation for real estate agents who sell properties in city-owned commercial and industrial lots.

Did you know that Stewartville has three commercial and industrial business parks with acreage for purchase? Check back next week for the details about the Schumann, Bucknell, and Tebay Parks.