Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2023 Highlights

At a March 9 event at the Metropolitan Ballroom, TCB honored six Minnesota manufacturers for their resilience and innovation.
Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2023 Highlights

Major manufacturers from across the state were honored at TCB’s Manufacturing Excellence Awards at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley Thursday night.

The 2023 award winners were Arctic Cat, Cherne Industries, Ericco Manufacturing, Faribault Mill, Pride Solutions, and Upsher-Smith Laboratories. In a mini on-stage interview at the event with TCB editor-in-chief Allison Kaplan, a leader from each company shared highlights of recent innovations and growth. Common themes included increased automation, worker shortages, and some continued supply chain challenges.

Dan Johnson, director of engineering of Arctic Cat, summed it up succinctly: “Through Covid, we all suffered from the same issues, and the issues were: parts and people.”

But among the honorees, those challenges turned into new opportunities. Following a sharp increase in demand for cozy blankets while people were sheltering at home in 2020, Faribault Mill is in expansion mode. President and CEO Ross Widmoyer said he sees an opportunity for the Minnesota brand to “truly become national” in the next two years, with plans for more products and retail stores around the country. Arctic Cat’s Dan Johnson talked about the innovation that went into its new Catalyst snowmobile, due out later this year.

“Should we place our orders now?” Kaplan asked him on stage.

“Too late,” Johnson said. “We’re already sold out for 2023.”

Read more about this year’s Manufacturing Excellence Award winners in the Feb/March issue of Twin Cities Business.