Monday, August 25, 2008

Love These Updates--This One From MN

Having now done tours and talks in 300+ towns all over the USA, I love getting updates from new friends from all over the country. Here is one I received this weekend from Julie Rath in Redwood Falls, MN (population 5,459).

Just want to update you…..Daktronics started here in January 2007 with 110 employees, we are currently at 280 and plan to go up to 300 by the end of the year….and 500 by the end of 2009!!! They are doing a community open house this Saturday – production is over expectations here – life is good!

Lamberton – ethanol groundbreaking yesterday – 35 new jobs in Spring 2009

City of Redwood Falls approved a $3.8M family aquatic center. It is have a rock climbing wall, zero entry wading pool, lap pool, two slides, two diving boards, umbrellas and several other water amenities!

We are partnering with Minnesota West Community and Technical College for an extended education center here – partnership with Redwood County, City of Redwood Falls, and business partners – Lower Sioux Indian Community, and two additional funding sponsors to be named shortly.

Lots of things are happening in Redwood Falls! It was a very impressive town when I visited in April, 2007 (see blogs in archives) and continues their very positive momentum. In addition to the aquatic center, Redwood Falls also has a community ice skating rink, civic center, conference center that can seat 500, field house and fitness center. And, in a town of 5,459!



Eric P said...

Jack, Redwood falls is my neck of the woods. I live in Redwood coounty. I think its great that Daktronics has plans for 300 new employees by the end of '08. That will make up for the roughly 300 of my neighbors that lost jobs in'06 when Artesyn Technologies closed in Redwood Falls.

Here comes the rain on your/our parade... My concerns are that profits from this company go to Daktronics HQ in Sioux Falls, population 123,975. Hardly a boomtown. Then the profits get dispersed to share holders throughout the country.

The ethanol plant faces some challenges as well. In order to be profitable, the revenue from selling the ethanol must pay for the costs of the raw materials needed to make it. While rising corn prices may be good for area farmers, the profitability of the ethanol plants is hurt by high corn prices. Furthermore, the process of making ethanol requires a continuous supply of natural gas, which shows an unstable, usually rising, price movements.

The approval of the swimming facility is hardly a reason to move to Redwood Falls or Redwood county. In fact, out of the 87 counties in MN Redwood is ranked 83 for population growth down 3.5% at my last look.

I'm not some "hand it out to the masses" kind of guy. I encourage everyone to work, but... We need to think differently about economic growth. Getting mediocre paying employers into an area and building rec centers is status quo. Rural Americans must look to the future. Technology, specifically the web, a world economy, and an aging population changes the rules. Tourism, entrepreneurship, and unconventional thinking are the keys to rural and small town success.

We need to learn to market our towns to the world. We need to learn to market ourselves to the world. Offering unique, or niche, products and services is the future. We need to become leaders and professionals at niche marketing.

BoomtownUSA said...

I'm waiting to catch a plane from Fargo, ND in about 10 minutes so here are some of my quick thoughts on your comment.

You've always got to be in the ED game because plants will come and go. When you get a new one in...celebrate that fact.

The typical manufacturing company makes about a 3% net margin, which means that 97% of what it spends is going to be local/regional. Three hundred people employed is going to add multi-millions to the local economy. Again...celebrate!

I'm not smart enough to know the economics of ethanol going forward. I do know that it will add another premium for local farmers to be be able to draw their corn into the plant. Celebrate!

The swimming pool will help to raise the overall quality of life in the community, which hopefully will help to attract better workers to the community....Celebrate!

Agree with you that we need to look to the future and recruit in more technologically advanced workers and companies. A lot is going to happen with new entrepreneurs. Yes, some towns are aging but when one like Redwood Falls does some great things like I is time to...CELEBRATE!!!

Gotta run....