Rotochopper hosts Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association (CMMA) meeting on ‘Rewriting the Rural Narrative’ followed by tour of their manufacturing facility.
Rural communities are being portrayed by the media as suffering from “Rural Brain Drain” and struggling to survive, according to Benjamin Winchester, Senior Research Fellow, University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality.
“Small towns are changing, not dying,” said Winchester. There is an in-migration of 30-49 year old adults in rural communities and this group of newcomers is contributing to “Rural Brain Gain”. They don’t move outside the city for jobs, and in some cases choose to be underemployed, in exchange for simpler lifestyles, safety and security, and lower housing costs. By focusing on what we want to be in the future, rather than on how things were in the past, we can dispel the negative perception surrounding rural communities.
Winchester summarized that, ultimately, communities like St. Martin, MN, are in the middle of everywhere and we need to throw away the notion that we live in the middle of nowhere. We need to rewrite the way potential employees think about our communities in order to attract their talents to our organizations.
Della Ludwig, Workforce Strategy Consultant, Minnesota Employment and Economic Development, says “Rotochopper is the perfect example of a company that is engaging with the community by being a member of CMMA and offering tours to area schools and organizations to learn more about their business and attract future job seekers.”
The conversation from Winchester’s presentation continued throughout the tour, evident by the questions the group asked. Members of Rotochopper’s customer service, quality and operations departments led 80 members from the Central Minnesota Manufacturer’s Association on a tour of the manufacturing facility.
Some of the questions the group asked included: how machines are built each year – just over 100 new grinders last year; what materials does a Rotochopper process – mostly wood, but we do grind corn, bales, shingles and food waste; other companies that build grinders – our main competitors are Vermeer, Morbark, Peterson, Bandit, CBI and Diamond-Z; how old is the oldest employee; and how do you find enough help – by attending career fairs, offering tours and working with local high schools and colleges. The attendees commented on how clean the shop and facilities were and how friendly and knowledgeable the employees are.
Nathan Brown, Sales and Client Services Manager at Mid Central Door said, “Not only was the team at Rotochopper great hosts for our CMMA tour, but they are another great example of the amazing work being done by manufacturers throughout rural Minnesota. Our tour guide and the entire team were so passionate and proud of the work they are doing out in St. Martin.”
Following the tour, the guests were offered a snack, as well as, can Koozies®, carabiners and pens to take with them.