Lynn Shelton

Potential Investment

The Weekly Report – Mar. 1, 2021
C4 Welding uses investment in people to enhance retention.

At Enterprise Minnesota, we love stories that demonstrate innovation, shrewd decision making and investment in good people.

Which is why we were thrilled to share the story of C4 Welding and Mikayla Asfeld with our magazine readership.

C4 Welding offers an array of vertically integrated services rooted in its welding expertise, including engineering services and the manufacturing of products such as pressure vessels and tanks. The company serves customers in a variety of industries including oil and gas and the U.S. Defense Department. It also specializes in the ability to weld unusual metals, in some cases taking jobs other companies can’t; C4 Welding is certified to weld over 150 different welding procedure specifications.

Mikayla came to Sauk Rapids-based C4 Welding — a full-service welding shop that also offers machining as a certified welder. CEO Henry Ewers says Mikayla steadily improved in her welding and eventually grew into one of their best.

She also had a desire to grow her skills and advance to the next level of her profession. So when she told Ewers she was going back to school to become an engineer, Ewers didn’t just support her decision — he was flexible with her schedule, gave her extra time off to focus on school and even let her use the shop floor to conduct class projects.

“Being able to put that all into the process of how everything flows from the beginning, where it starts at customer support, all the way to the end when our product leaves the building, was a cool experience,” Mikayla says. “I learned stuff I probably never would have known otherwise.”

Ewers says he did all this because they believed in Mikayla’s potential. It’s also part of the company’s approach to business.

“I think that’s really how you should grow companies,” Ewers says. “By growing your people.”

Mikayla completed her bachelor’s degree in engineering at Bemidji State University. But instead of looking elsewhere for employment, she stayed with the company that supported her throughout her self-improvement journey.

She isn’t the only C4 Welding engineer who started as a C4 Welding welder. Ewers says four of the company’s six engineers started as welders. Investing in people is a model that has paid off for C4. Ewers says they will do whatever it takes to retain good talent.

Ewers, whose company employs about 100 workers, says he’s a firm believer in encouraging employers to strive for more; he says he believes employees who stick with the company and rise through the ranks earn a firmer grasp of C4’s welding process (which can be complicated given the wide range of welding projects they take on). The support the company has given its employees, combined with the fact that those employees have grown professionally under C4’s guidance, is something Ewers predicts will go a long way in retaining talent.

He predicts those employees will stay with C4 Welding for years to come. And in an age when so many manufacturers struggle to find workers, retention becomes even more important.

Read more about Mikayla and C4 Welding in the current issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.

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Events Calendar

March 30 – Investing in Your People to Create Leaders at All Levels
Talent and Leadership expert Abbey Hellickson will be discussing how to determine and develop leadership competencies in your organization to help foster a company culture of growth and resilience. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

April 8 – How to Manage a High Performing Business: ISO
Learn the key elements of effective business management systems and the value of ISO 9001:2015 certification from expert David Ahlquist. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

April 14 – Profiting from Revenue Growth
Our top strategy and revenue growth expert Steve Haarstad will show you how to understand and define business growth for your company and create a Seven-Step Action Plan to get there. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

See more upcoming events

Industry News

Potential wood pellet plants will use timber residuals and create jobs 
NorthStar Pellets has proposed plants in Bemidji and Grand Rapids that will utilize timber processing waste and create about 90 jobs. Feb. 28, Bemidji Pioneer  Read more

MDI, a pioneer in workforce inclusion, seeks further expansion
Minneapolis-based MDI, with facilities across the state, is expanding its cornerstone business of making durable, reusable plastic containers while continuing to focus on helping underrepresented people. Feb. 28, Star Tribune  Read more

Cohasset, MN to build new manufacturing facility, create new jobs 
After months of economic difficulty for the small Minnesota town, city leaders are trying to change the trend by investing in a new $4.23 million manufacturing facility that is expected to create nearly 100 jobs. Feb. 15,  Read more

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