Minnesota Manufactured™ Statewide Tour Awards Banquet Celebrates Manufacturing Excellence

St. Paul, MN – April 25, 2024 – The 1st Annual Minnesota Manufactured™ Statewide Tour Awards Banquet, held at Saint Paul College on April 25th, was a resounding success! Over 150 attendees, passionate about Minnesota manufacturing, filled the event space.

The Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, who has led the Statewide Tour for the past 11 years, hosted the event. The event also showcased the 2023 Statewide Tour results and fostered connections within the Minnesota manufacturing community.

Welcoming Remarks and Manufacturing’s Importance
Saint Paul College President, Deidra Peaslee, opened the banquet by welcoming everyone to beautiful Saint Paul College, located in the heart of the city. She highlighted the importance of manufacturing to the college.

Jeremy Leffelman, executive director of the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, echoed the event’s significance and expressed his gratitude to all attendees.

“The Statewide Tour is a fantastic initiative that showcases the innovation and opportunities within Minnesota manufacturing,” Leffelman stated. “We are grateful to all attendees for their dedication and contributions to this program.”

Showcasing the 2023 Statewide Tour
Following dinner, Jaimee Meyer, director of marketing and outreach at the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, presented a compelling overview of the 2023 Statewide Tour key metrics and regional highlights including:

2023 Statewide Tour results:

  • 2,643 K-12 students attended a tour
  • 35 secondary schools participated
  • 178 unique manufacturers participated
  • 299 total manufacturing tours were held

Since 2011, the Statewide Tour has reached:

  • 35,074 K-12 students through tour attendance
  • 306 secondary schools
  • 1,326 educators
  • 1,526 unique manufacturers
  • 2,356 total manufacturing tours were held

Celebrating Dedication and Achievements
The evening continued with the presentation of awards to manufacturers, regional champions, and partners who have been instrumental in the tour’s success. Attendees also enjoyed student videos from three finalists that were chosen from across the state. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to hear from Marvin, the event sponsor, about the importance of strengthening Minnesota manufacturing and their partnership with the Statewide Tour.

Award Winners

  • Student Video Contest Award: Students across the state entered the Minnesota Manufactured™ Statewide Tour Video Contest, answering the question “What’s so cool about manufacturing?”
    • Winners:
      • 1st Place: Northeast Range High School Video Team, Babbitt, MN
      • 2nd Place: Abby Sorenson, Rocori High School, Clear Lake, MN
      • 3rd Place: Rocori VEX Robotics Team, Rocori Middle School, Clear Lake, MN
  • Statewide Tour Community Award: This award recognizes a Minnesota community that has gone above and beyond to encourage manufacturers to host tours.
    • Winner: South Central Tour of Manufacturing Partnership
  • Statewide Tour Outstanding Partner Award: This award honors an individual who has dedicated significant time, energy, and effort to being involved with and promoting the Statewide Tour.
    • Winner: Mike Schnell, Southeast Service Cooperative
  • Recognitions: The evening also acknowledged the contributions of the Statewide Tour Committee, Regional Champions, participating manufacturers, and educators.

The Future of Manufacturing
Brent Morris, VP of Business Development at SUCCESS Computer Consulting, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on artificial intelligence and its impact on manufacturing.

“The future of manufacturing is driven by innovation, and AI presents exciting opportunities to enhance efficiency and productivity,” Morris noted.

Partnership and Appreciation
Sponsors played a vital role in making the banquet possible. A special thank you to all event and tour sponsors:

  • Platinum Event Sponsor: Marvin
  • Double Gold Sponsors: Cirrus Aircraft, SUCCESS Computer Consulting
  • Silver Sponsors: MBFC, Productivity Inc.
  • Outreach Sponsors: Altec, Red Wing Shoes, Minnesota State, Riverland Community College, Saint Paul College, Big Ideas, MPMA, NCATC, ShopFloor Coffee, Sunbelt True North, LAB Midwest, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Paul Bunyan Communications, First Technologies, Bemidji State University/Northwest Technical College, MinnPoly, Factory Twin, Marvin

Leffelman concluded the event by expressing gratitude to all involved.

“Thank you to our sponsors, attendees, and everyone who contributes to the success of the Minnesota Manufactured™ Statewide Tour,” Leffelman said. “Your dedication strengthens Minnesota manufacturing and inspires future generations to pursue careers in this dynamic field.”

Proceeds from the banquet will be used for the Statewide Tour to encourage young people to explore careers in manufacturing.

For More Information

For more information about the awards banquet or the Statewide Tour, please contact Jaimee Meyer, director of marketing and outreach at the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, at jaimee.meyer@minnstate.edu or (218) 755-2206.


About the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence

Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence is one of eight Centers of Excellence throughout Minnesota State, the state college and university system that was

developed to serve the needs of industry through education and outreach. The Center is located at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN and is an innovative, collaborative effort between education and industry to recruit, educate, and train workers for dynamic careers in advanced manufacturing. The Center collaborates with industry, education, and workforce development partners to foster innovation, enhance skills, and establish career pathways in advanced manufacturing.

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Jeremy Leffelman, executive director, (218) 755-4222, jeremy.leffelman@minnstate.edu.