New manufacturing association hoping to develop deep roots in the Fargo-Moorhead area
The Midwest Manufacturers Association has created a new chapter called the Red River Manufacturers and Engineers Association. The goal will be to support the industry with a specific focus on the Fargo-Moorhead area.
FARGO — A new organization is hoping to better connect manufacturing and engineering firms here in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area.
The Midwest Manufacturing Association has started a new chapter based in Fargo called the Red River Manufacturers and Engineers Association. The group will kick off their involvement in the area with a meet-and-greet event from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Assembly Systems, 550 9th Ave. NE in West Fargo.
The Midwest Manufacturers Association consists of the Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association, Central Minnesota Manufacturers Association, the Tri-State Manufacturers Association and the newly-formed RRMEA. The central association consists of members in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Rachel Lolmasteymaugh, executive director for the Midwest Manufacturers Association, took over the position a little over a year ago. When she started, she knew the organization had the chance to expand its reach. “As I came into the association, I knew that we could grow,” she explained to The Forum. “The manufacturers outside of Minnesota just weren’t being served in the way that Minnesota was. If we’re calling ourselves the Midwest Manufacturers Association, I really wanted to put that focus in the full Midwest.”
While starting an entire new chapter wasn’t part of her first-year plan, Lolmasteymaugh said the new group in Fargo came together quickly. Many businesses in the area, who had previously been affiliated with the Tri-State Manufacturers Association, were excited by the prospect of a local association. “When I first took on this job, this was not something I was looking to do, start a whole other association,” she said. “After seeing the need that’s there, we decided that now is the time to do it.”
Lolmasteymaugh said her organization plans to bring their work in Minnesota to the Red River Valley area. Those tasks includes linking manufacturers with one another, offering K-12 education about the trades and holding continuing education events for professionals.
She also hopes to work with the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce as well as the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation to further branch out in the area. “It feels like everybody is trying to do their own thing and it’s been very siloed,” Lolmasteymaugh said. “We’re going to work really hard to make these partnerships and work together with other organizations in the area so that we can pull all our resources together and try and get something done more effectively.”
Following the meet-and-greet, Lolmasteymaugh said association meetings will begin in January and occur on the fourth Tuesday of each month, virtually and in-person. The group also plans to organize tours of manufacturing facilities so members can exchange best practices and learn more about other opportunities in their own backyard.
Also on Lolmasteymaugh’s to-do list is to help change the perception of the manufacturing industry in an effort to help address workforce challenges. “We’re trying to change that at every turn so it’s something that people can look to as an innovative, fun work environment, not that dingy, dirty workforce that they’re thinking of from back in the 50s,” she said. “That’s not what the trades are anymore.”
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