News bits from around Minnesota.

Despatch Industries, a Lakeville-based manufacturer of industrial ovens and other thermal processing equipment, reports hiring more than 100 people since last March on the strength of booming export sales. Despatch has top market share globally in furnaces used for solar cell manufacturing. Nearly all of its solar products go to the rapidly expanding solar cell manufacturing industry in Asia.


Representatives of Minnesota companies including Saunatec and Hypro, a Pentair subsidiary, have formed a Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce to promote business ties between Finland and the Upper Midwest ( The inaugural meeting is on October 7.


Hastings-based Anytime Fitness has joined a national Exercise Is Medicine public education effort. The initiative, organized by the American College of Sports Medicine, is meant to reduce health care needs and costs by making “exercise the most widely prescribed drug in the world.” Anytime says it will give a free month of membership to anyone who signs up for a year and mentions Exercise is Medicine.


A Homegrown Minneapolis program being developed by the City of Minneapolis is both a food security measure (an easily accessible supply that can be better monitored by local food-quality and -safety regulators), a public health measure (replacing some manufactured foods with more nutrient-dense fresh foods), and an economic development effort (putting more of the estimated $1 billion that city residents spend annually on food into the local and regional economy). The Homegrown program will use land policy, public education, and other steps to encourage more residents to grow food inside city limits for their own use or for sale locally.


Cellectis Plant Sciences, a St. Paul–based subsidiary of the genome engineering firm Cellectis, based in France, celebrates the opening of its facilities on October 20. Cellectis Plant Sciences specializes in genomic engineering that relies on a plant’s own DNA rather than “transgenic” engineering that incorporates non-native DNA. The subsidiary, formed last March, has lined up collaborations and licensing deals with Monsanto, BASF Plant Scienes, Bayer Crop Science, and others.