The need to foster Minnesota’s global economy, by Doug Loon
"We should be proud of Minnesota’s leadership in the global economy and take steps to foster its growth."
We live in a global economy. In every community throughout Minnesota there are businesses that supply the world with innovative and much-needed products and services. But that success depends on a business climate that values and supports this forward-thinking, so we are able to continue to compete on the world stage while providing a high quality of life for employees and employers in our communities.
This was abundantly clear on the Minnesota Chamber’s recent Statewide Policy Tour. Throughout December, we made our semiannual tour, meeting with local chambers and business leaders who see every day the fruits of Minnesota’s connections in the world economy.
A few standout examples:
SJE in Detroit Lakes is a leading manufacturer of liquid level controls for water and wastewater systems. It ranks No. 2 globally among the key players in float switch sensors.
Rihm Global Sales in South St. Paul is one of the oldest and largest Kenworth dealers in the United States. It boasts nearly 30 years of exporting products to more than 60 countries.
Trystar in Faribault is a premier manufacturer of power distribution equipment. Its current portfolio includes producing electric-generating systems and equipment for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
These companies struggle with the same challenges that many Minnesota businesses do. Carrie Johnston, president and CEO of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber, is proud of SJE’s success, and the success of other strong businesses in the region. But she notes that they struggle to attract workers into their area, in part due to housing and child care shortages. “Our businesses are looking to other means of training and keeping local kids here to serve our workforce into the future,” she says.
And she’s not alone.
Nort Johnson leads the Faribault Area Chamber. “Keeping costs in check will help our area businesses continue to compete globally,” he says. “Taxes and health care costs are ongoing challenges to making sure businesses can grow and create opportunities for long-term success in our community.”
We should be proud of Minnesota’s leadership in the global economy and take steps to foster its growth. I encourage you to get involved. Join with other businesses to invest in your community’s future. Get to know your local chamber, if you don’t already. And join all of us in a statewide effort to ensure that elected officials make decisions that support private-sector economic growth and investment that benefit the lives of all Minnesotans.
Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce