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Local manufacturing reflects industry rebound

Those predicting a recession have dropped from more than half to only 9 percent in the past few years.

There's good news in the wake of the country's recession - local manufacturing companies are on the rebound.

According to results from "The State of Manufacturing" survey, across the state, manufacturing executives indicate the worst of the recession may be over for their company. (See related story.)

The same holds true for three local companies - Douglas Machine, Lind Rite Precision and Brenton Engineering.

Representatives from each company indicated their company has not only experienced a rebound, but business is looking good into the future:

• Douglas Machine manufactures packaging machines in Alexandria and Mary Ellen Kerber, marketing services manager, said, "We've seen a steady increase as well. We're fortunate in our industry that we had a nice year last year. We are hiring for at least 10 positions and we're heavily investing in our future."

• Lind Rite Precision makes machined parts in Osakis and President Rod Femrite said, "It's been considerably better than late-2008 and 2009 - that was a really bad time. In 2010 things gradually seemed to get better for us. It looks like we're coming back again." He said employees that were laid off have been hired back.

• Brenton Engineering in Carlos manufactures custom packaging machines and related robotics equipment. Vice-President of Operations Ryan Kirksey told the Echo Press, "We're really seeing a volume up-tick. Things are starting to pick up for us."

He said currently, the company is in the process of hiring seven to 10 new employees."


leads the upswing locally

Jason Murray, executive director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC) said the statewide manufacturing rebound is not surprising.

"We're seeing more activity and growth in both the workforce and production side of things in local manufacturing," he said.

Murray said, although there's usually an increase this time of year, the AAEDC has also noticed more entrepreneurial requests in the service, retail and small manufacturing start ups.

"Generally, manufacturing tends to lead the cycle in this community. I think we'll see other areas soon follow," Murray said.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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