Mesaba, public celebrate growth By: David Lias
Plain Talk By David Lias Plain Talk Mayor Dan Christopherson summed up the reason that scores of people decided to visit a special open house hosted by Masaba Industries of Vermillion Sept. 18. â�?�?We have so many times that we hope there will be growth soon with companies,â�? he said, â�?�?and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesnâ�?�?t.â�? Masaba is one of Vermillionâ�?�?s success stories. Since relocating to Vermillion from Akron, IA approximately three years ago, the company, which builds mining equipment, has expanded, with the construction of a 60,000 square foot addition to its engineering and manufacturing facility. â�?�?Theyâ�?�?ve added numerous jobs here and significant square footage as far as infrastructure,â�? Christopherson said. â�?�?Jerad (Higman, the companyâ�?�?s owner) has done a great job. â�?�?Theyâ�?�?ve been good business people in the manufacturing and the retail area and have made significant investments in downtown Vermillion, have built a new home on the outskirts of Vermillion and this wonderful facility here is more than we could have hoped for,â�? he said. Higman told local residents attending the open house that he and others involved with his company decided to grow their business in 2004. â�?�?Thatâ�?�?s when we found out South Dakota is rated the number one business- friendly state in America,â�? he said. â�?�?They (state industrial officials) were there from the start to help take us to the next level. â�?�?We were looking for help, not a handout, and probably the best economic tool that South Dakota has is the REDI fund,â�? Higman said. â�?�?For us, that meant the savings in interest payments that we had we re-invested in cranes and equipment, and it made a big difference.â�? The new addition to the Masaba manufacturing facility, he said, is an example of how state officials understand the benefits of economic development. Higman initially brought 30 jobs to Vermillion in the fall of 2005. â�?�?As we stand here today, Iâ�?�?m proud to say we are just shy of 90 jobs,â�? he said. â�?�?We have seven engineers on staff. These are jobs that werenâ�?�?t here three years ago.â�?