The second session of the exclusive “Leadership MN” program to which RCOC Chamber President, Angie Schaefbauer is a participant was held in Northern Minnesota in the Grand Rapids area. Topics covered the timber, mining and energy industries and briefings were provided by the Mining Minnesota organization – during which we learned about non-ferrous mining efforts in MN and what the future holds for the industry. We also heard from the Iron Mining Association and learned about the significant challenges the century-old industry faces and the tremendous impact iron mining has on the entire economy of Minnesota. We toured US Steel’s Keetac mine, saw the process of how taconite pellets are made and learned more about US Steel operations and their ability to compete in a global environment.
We visited Barr Engineering – provider of engineering and environmental consulting services to clients across the Midwest, throughout the Americas, and around the world. Their 700 engineers, scientists, and technical specialists help clients develop, manage, process, and restore natural resources. We learned about the challenges they see in Minnesota, spoke about their role as job creators and shared their unique employee retention/attraction efforts.
Day 2 included travel to UPM, Blandin Paper Company’s forest where we learned about their sustainable forestry operations and their management practices for protecting forest resources. We toured the Blandin Paper Mill where we witnessed the process for turning timber into paper and were briefed on the economic conditions of the paper industry and how their Grand Rapids location helps them stay competitive in a global marketplace.
We visited Boswell Energy Center and were briefed by representatives from Xcel Energy, Northern States Power and Minnesota Power about the economic footprint each of their companies have on the Minnesota economy. We learned about the challenges the energy industry faces and how renewable energy standards affect the reliability and pricing of their companies.
A tour of Boswell Energy Center displayed how energy is supplied and electricity is provided to a large contingent of northeastern Minnesota homes and businesses. We learned how energy is made and the significant upgrade investments that have been made to comply with changing environmental standards.
Session 3 will be November 13-14 in the metro area.