City and business leaders in Fergus Falls, Minn., gathered for an early morning breakfast Oct. 30 to show their appreciation for the more than 30 manufacturers that have locations in the community. The 8th annual Manufacturers’ Appreciation Breakfast offered a chance for manufacturers to network with industry peers and get updates on community initiatives to help the industry continue to succeed. For city leaders, the breakfast was a chance to give thanks to an industry that plays an important role in Fergus Falls’ economy.
Sponsors of this year’s event included the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission, MN DEED, West Central Initiative, the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Tri-State Manufacturers Association, American Federal Bank, Bank of the West, Bell State Bank & Trust, Bremer Bank, Metso/StoneL Otter Tail Power Co., Security State Bank and U.S. Bank.
Prairie Business was honored to attend the event to help recognize one of Fergus Falls’ manufacturers for being named to our 2014 50 Best Places to Work list. Northern Contours produces a number of composite products for use in residential spaces, retail and other applications. The company employs more than 200 people at two facilities in Fergus Falls and was nominated for the award by its employees, who noted the company’s family-like atmosphere, great benefits and willingness to listen to their input as reasons why they enjoy working there.
In his comments, Northern Contours President and COO Lary Skow shared that the culture which earned the company its place on the magazine’s best place to work list reflects a recent shift in focus. In fact, he told attendees that less than two years ago the culture at Northern Contours was nearly the complete opposite of what it is today – and the company’s profitability was being affected by it. The turn-around was difficult and required a restructuring of leadership and a renewed commitment to showing appreciation for the people who work at the company’s facilities. The hard work has paid off, and the company is once again enjoying an upward trajectory, thanks in no small part to improved morale, as confirmed by its employees’ willingness to nominate the company as a great place to work.
Hats off again to Northern Contours and all of the recipients on our first annual Best Places to Work list.