2020 Manufacturing Excellence Conversations
Protolabs CEO Vicki Holt discusses digital manufacturing during the pandemic with TCB editor in chief Allison Kaplan.

2020 Manufacturing Excellence Conversations

Executives from Abbott, Cameron's Coffee, Protolabs, and other 2020 Minnesota Manufacturing Excellence winners discuss innovation, technology, workforce, and responses to Covid-19.

Throughout August and September, Twin Cities Business hosted online conversations with executives from each of the 10 companies that received our 2020 Minnesota Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Catch up now:


Protolabs president and CEO Vicki Holt talks about how manufacturers across the country have collaborated on best practices during the Covid-19 crisis and how quick actions on the part of her own team set the company up to respond to new and growing applications for digital printing.


Lakeshirts president Michelle Daggettt explains her company’s hands-on, quick turn manufacturing operation in Detroit Lakes and how the retail and tourism industries, which it relies on to sell its souvenir apparel, is recovering from Covid-19

Dalsin Industries

Dalsin CEO Gary Fruth and CMO Mark Coronna discuss the importance of a diverse operation in weathering a turbulent market.

Cameron’s Coffee

With home coffee consumption skyrocketing due to Covid-19, Cameron’s Coffee CEO Bob Waldron discusses the challenge of meeting increased demand during a pandemic as well as the Shakopee-based coffee roaster’s advances in sustainable packaging.

Lakeview Industries

What is it like to jump into production on a brand new product in just days? John Schwanke, CEO and co-owner of Lakeview Industries talks about producing face shields to combat Covid-19 and what he learned from the quick-turn, critical experience.


“We’ve learned to do things differently than we have in the past,” says Kelly Stichter, general manager of Teamvantage, a Forest Lake-based injection molding specialist. Stitcher talks about workforce challenges, labor needs and balancing Covid-19 related orders with standard products.

Abbott (Structural Heart Division)

As materials evolve, Abbott has been able to shrink down components that go into cardiac devices, making it possible to produce the world’s smallest pediatric heart valve. Brad Roberts, Abbott’s divisional vice presidnet of structural heart operations, based in Little Canada, talks about advances in processing and other innovations in the med-tech field. “One thing that remains constant,” he says, “is the need for human talent.”


Early to respond to the Covid-19 crisis by jumping into face shield production, Stratasys President Rich Garrity talks about 3D printing has “shined bright in the pandemic. It’s great for making parts whenever you need them, wherever, and a great complement to traditional manufacturing.” Learn about other 3D applications, from med-tech innovations to transportation parts and even fashion.