Lynn Shelton

Sound Advice

The Weekly Report – February 8, 2021
A former legislator encourages manufacturers to engage with elected officials, while current legislators support GAP funding.

The upcoming issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine features some sage advice from Jim Seifert, an attorney with the Fafinski Mark & Johnson law firm and former legislator.

His advice to manufacturers, while we’re in the heart of the 2021 legislative session, is simple: engage with your legislators.

“It’s absolutely critical that manufacturers establish relationships with legislators. They should know who they are. They should know what their interests and policy priorities are. And they should ideally have at least one face-to-face meeting with a legislator or senior staff member.”

Seifert’s law practice specializes in issues facing manufacturers, including operations planning and corporate governance, among others. Combined with his years in the legislature, he speaks from a position of experience and authority when he says the people who show up have the power. Showing up can mean writing a letter, making a phone call, sending an email, testifying at a House or Senate committee hearing — whatever it takes to get your issues in front of the eyes of people making policy decisions.

Seifert outlines a grim state budget scenario. With a looming deficit and no apparent plans from the governor to reduce government spending, a tax increase could be imminent. Seifert advises manufacturers to calculate the potential impact of a tax increase  their business and proactively tell legislators know how taxes will affect jobs in their districts.

“If they don’t,” he says, “silence is often interpreted as agreement. They should actively participate in the process.”

This advice is particularly relevant in the COVID economy. While some manufacturers are thriving, the same can’t be said for all. Some are hurting. Which is why it’s critical for all manufacturers to communicate those struggles to decision makers who have the power to do something about it.

One investment we’d like manufacturers to emphasize when they’re reaching out to legislators is the Growth Acceleration Program (GAP), a state matching investment, to help small and medium size manufacturing companies access business improvement services. These direct investments have led to job creation, job retention and business growth for Minnesota manufacturers and the communities in which they are often the largest employers of good jobs.  GAP funding allows qualifying companies to receive up to a 50% rebate for services the company receives.

This kind of state investment is a lifeline for small manufacturers, and it already has bipartisan support. In the same upcoming magazine issue where Seifert encourages manufacturers to engage with elected officials, elected officials from both sides of the aisle voiced support for GAP investments. One of them, Rep. Barb Haley of Red Wing, said, “The Growth Acceleration Program has a proven outcome of producing jobs and helping small businesses and manufacturers succeed. And that lifts up our whole economy.”

You can read more about Jim Seifert’s thoughts on COVID and how manufacturers can become more successful in the Spring 2021 issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine

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Events Calendar

February 25 – Strategically Navigating an Uncertain Future
Our strategy and revenue growth expert Steve Haarstad will show you how to shorten your strategic outlook to help navigate uncertainty and plot a course for your company’s continued success. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

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

See more upcoming events

Industry News

Graco finalizes purchase of land in Dayton, Minnesota
Graco, a Minneapolis-based fluid handling equipment manufacturer, has finalized the purchase of land in Dayton, MN to develop a new 500,000 sq. ft. facility. Feb. 4, Business Wire  Read more

DEED announces nearly $2 million in awards for job creation
Since July, seven businesses, six of which are from Greater MN, have been awarded funds from the Job Creation Fund (JCF), which are expected to create at least 226 new jobs. Feb. 3,  Read more

Bemidji City Council to consider DEED application for Bemidji Steel 
Bemidji Steel Co. is looking to expand it’s footprint into Hubbard County, which requires city support. Feb. 1, Bemidji Pioneer  Read more

DeZURIK acquires Red Valve in $63 million deal
DeZURIK, the Sartell-based valve manufacturer acquired the complementary company which is known for its elastomers, pinch valves and check valves. Jan. 15, St. Cloud Times  Read More

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