Minnesota’s top leaders are spending time in the Northland to learn about economic developments in the Northeastern region

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Cloquet had some of the state’s top leaders in town on Tuesday morning as a part of an annual Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) tour.

The 2022 “Build What Matters” annual deed tour made a stop just 20 minutes right outside of Duluth at Sappi Mill. The ten state agency commissioners were looking and learning to see what and how the Walz-Flanagan administration can help make economic development stronger in Northeastern Minnesota.

With the mill being the first stop on the tour, managing director Tom Radovich shared with WDIO what an honor it was to show the commissioners the economic impact Cloquet produces.

“We are really excited, and it says a lot. Governor Dayton started this process back in 2012, Covid actually suspended it for a variety of reasons. But the fact that they actually came to our mill first to start their tour says a lot. It certainly shows they understand the impact that it has on the economy here in the Northland and being in it for us brought us the company we are really proud of that.”

The management team at Sappi hopes the commissioners learned about the vision of the company. As one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the state, Sappi wants to share some of the issues they have been facing.

“It really allows us to showcase our facility and what we do here in the city of Cloquet. Sappi has been here since 2002 and has done quite a bit of investment. Like, a lot of manufacturing businesses, we have, you know, challenges when it comes to staffing, supply chain issues, logistics, as well as what we are seeing with inflation and what is going on with the economy,” says Radovich.

Despite the economy going the way it has been for a few years, Sappi leaders say demand for their products has still been very strong. But they say right now, they are very concerned about the future of the economy and how inflation might impact them.

The commissioners will also be meeting with business and civic leaders throughout the next two days to hear feedback on different strategies to help grow Minnesota’s economy and create good-paying jobs.