People and Places - August 2012

MDI creates 250 new jobs

Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) has persevered in a tough economy and created 250 new jobs since Dec. 1, 2011. These jobs are in support of several new contracts for key customers. Jobs help MDI fulfill its mission of serving people with disabilities by providing employment opportunities and progressive development in competitive business enterprises.Photo courtesy of MDI

The new jobs are a combination of direct and temporary across MDI’s facilities in Grand Rapids, Hibbing and St. Paul and include opportunities for people with and without disabilities.

“At MDI, we focus on a person’s abilities. We match job opportunities with the person best suited to perform the job requirements. We also provide training and support as needed to make sure that each person can be successful in their role at MDI,” said Rachel Wobschall, MDI Board Chair.

“Board and management are excited about the recent business and job growth at MDI. Employees at MDI have benefits and no one at MDI earns less than minimum wage. MDI is a model affirmative business enterprise and living proof that individuals with disabilities are and can be productive members of the community.”

Peter McDermott, MDI President and CEO. Established in 1964, MDI operates an affirmative business enterprise, providing job opportunities and progressive development for people with and without disabilities who work side-by-side to provide products and services to business customers.

The new employees have been hired primarily for production type roles, operating MDI’s manufacturing equipment such as plastic extruders, rotary and flatbed die cutters, screen print presses, sonic welders, shrink wrap lines and product testing equipment. The positions added range from entry-level production, to line leads, process technicians, supervisors, maintenance technicians, forklift drivers and shipping/receiving clerks.

MDI operates a non-profit manufacturing enterprise, providing a variety of corrugated plastic products and kitting, packaging and assembly services for business customers across the USA. The sale of these products and services to business customers creates job opportunities at MDI. MDI offers customers high quality, on-time, market-competitive solutions and provides professional and friendly support for their business needs. MDI has significantly diversified its customer base over the past few years resulting in increased revenues and jobs. Customers appreciate the strong business solutions they get from MDI, while also having the opportunity to contribute to the greater social good and to positively impact people with varying abilities.

Also, MDI has significantly strengthened its financial position in order to continue growing jobs and to offer increasing opportunities for people with disabilities.

This has been accomplished through reducing long-term debt by $6 million since 2008, controlling costs, and both increasing and diversifying revenues. This has contributed to a positive bottom line at MDI for the last three years.

To further enhance the financial health of MDI, the organization continues to diversify its’ customer, product and service portfolio. Additionally, on July 20, 2012 the organization utilized internally generated cash to further reduce long-term debt and refinanced the remaining debt with significantly lower interest rates, more favorable terms, and a working capital line of credit with its’ banking partner Minnesota Bank & Trust. This positions MDI very well to invest in current operations, while also leaving room for future expansion and investment in new business opportunities that support MDI’s mission of serving people with disabilities.


Cullen Children’s Foundation announces gift

The Cullen Children’s Foundation is excited to announce a $1 million dollar gift to the Sanford Health Foundation. The Cullen Children’s Foundation, founded in 2003 by Minnesota Wild NHL Hockey Player Matt Cullen and his wife Bridget. The Cullen Children’s Foundation gift will create a 3,000 square

foot Cully’s Kids Area, a one-of-a kind facility for kids to simply be kids while in the hospital—no needles, no medications, just fun. The hockey themed, state-of-the-art therapeutic and educational environment will be staffed by certified child life specialists and likely include areas for play and relaxation, arts and crafts, kitchen projects, a resource library and learning area, a stadium theater and video and interactive area.

Cullen Children’s Foundation provides financial resources to organizations that support children’s healthcare needs with an emphasis on cancer. Sanford Children’s Hospital is located in Fargo and serves children in western Minnesota and North Dakota.