2021 Business Benchmarks: Economy
Minnesota’s economy: Diverse and innovative
Rich Garrity, President-Americas, Stratasys
Minnesota’s economy thrives because of its breadth and diversity. Where the state lags in some areas, it excels in others. Some businesses experience challenges imposed by Minnesota’s competitiveness while also illustrating the best that the economy has to offer. Stratasys is an example leading in innovation that will aid Minnesota’s economic success and help propel the state toward economic recovery.
Stratasys started in Eden Prairie in 1988, when Scott Crump had an idea about how to create a toy for his 2-year-old daughter. Today, they are a publicly-traded global leader in 3D printing and manufacturing. They employ more than 2,000 people worldwide, including 600 in Minnesota. “This 3D printing technology is now the most popular in the world,” says Rich Garrity, President – Americas, of Stratasys.
Throughout COVID-19, they continued the legacy of innovation that has made the company such a success. In March and April, global supply chains were interrupted, and personal protective equipment (PPE) was in high demand. Stratasys created a digital design, and leveraged strong relationships to build a coalition of customers and local partners willing to use their 3D printing systems to create face shields. “We had 100,000 face shields in the first few weeks,” says Garrity.
“That’s a great example of how 3D printing can come through when traditional supply chains break down,” he adds. “It proved to be a point of pride for our employees.”
Looking toward the future, Stratasys hopes to leverage their flexibility during the pandemic into long-term growth. They continue to struggle to find workers in Minnesota and work diligently with schools on preparing students for the advanced manufacturing and robotics jobs of the future.
Their workforce and products will continue to flex and shift to meet demand, here and overseas. “Companies around the world got to see the value of 3D printing during this crisis,” says Garrity. “It provides an ultimate flexibility in your supply chain. When more companies in Minnesota – and throughout the United States – look for homegrown solutions to prevent future interruptions, they will find solutions with Stratasys
Where does Minnesota rank?
The COVID-19 pandemic is a critical consideration when assessing the state of Minnesota’s economy. The abrupt decrease in demand that came with societal shutdowns in the spring caused devastating negative job growth and high unemployment. But Minnesota’s diverse economy helped mitigate this impact, and the state remains in the middle of the pack nationally for many economic indicators. Innovation in many sectors helped businesses pivot their products and services to meet new demands in the marketplace, turning a crisis into an opportunity.
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