Nine area business people recently completed a 12-week FastTrac Manufacturing program workshop designed for growth-minded owners, managers and supervisors of manufacturing companies.
They are Angela and Joseph Goerges, Pequot Tool and Manufacturing, Jenkins; Sandra and David Beyer, Crow Wing Cabinets, Brainerd; Mary Jo and Dana Hamilton, Artistic Cultured Marble, Randall; Robert Jackson, Stern Rubber, Staples; Craig Magnan, Spectrum Metal Finishing, Isle; and Stephen Paxton, Free Spirit Outfitters, Brainerd.
This brings to 22 the number of graduates who attended the specialized classes in Brainerd from as far as Browerville, Isle and Cass Lake.
Offered at Central Lakes College, this program leads to greater networking with other manufacturers and establishes a support web as enterprises move forward even in a lethargic economy.
Officials cite a national study that found that at least half of the companies with FastTrac graduates more than double their sales within two years of completing the program.
Area coordinators say one reason for its success is the fact it was developed to be practical and was created by experienced business owners.
"It provides other business owners a chance to take a strategic look at their growth potential, to take control of their business," said Bob Hanson, customized trainer for the Business & Industry Center at CLC in Brainerd.
Another reason for local success is the caliber of instruction and follow-up support, said Greg Bergman, executive director of the regional Small Business Development Center in Brainerd.
Floyd Hale of Brainerd, certified FastTrac Manufacturing instructor, is a longtime manufacturing specialist and adjunct instructor for the college.
This training has been offered at less cost than ordinarily required thanks to grants and partnerships.
The program is a partnership among Minnesota Technology Inc., University of St. Thomas, Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Area supporters are the Business & Industry Center at CLC, Small Business Development Center, Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce, Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp., Initiative Foundation and Region 5 Development Commission.
For information, contact Bob Hanson at 855-8149.
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