Hutchinson manufacturer Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding Inc. is a first-time finalist in two categories of Minnesota Business 2014 Manufacturing Awards.

Awarded annually by Minnesota Business magazine, the Manufacturing Awards recognize achievements in 10 categories. MITGI is a finalist in two categories. They include: Best in Class (small company, 1-50 employees), recognizing companies for overall excellence in the manufacturing industry in Minnesota; and Image Award, honoring an organization for improving the industry’s image and showing the appeal of careers in manufacturing.

In the past few years, MITGI has grown in many ways, including a 2011 move from a 2,000-square-foot facility in Stewart into a 20,000-square-foot building next to Hutchinson Technology, doubling the number of employees, tripling the amount of manufacturing equipment, and increasing sales an average of 35 percent year-over-year. The company had 16 employees when it moved from Stewart. Today, there are more than 40.

“At MITGI, our company culture encourages a balance between process and innovation, encouraging employees to use their talents to improve quality and production,” General Manager Eric Lipke explained. “As a Best in Class finalist, we’re honored to be considered in a category that recognizes excellence in small and growing manufacturers.”

He said MITGI is committed to community and education, and strives to be a reliable partner to both.

“Making the decisions to start working with area schools in an advisory capacity, offering scholarships and internships, and promoting careers in manufacturing was easy,” Lipke said. “The owners at MITGI believe that they need to be good corporate citizens and recognize schools as community assets. We’re proud to be finalist for the Image Award and all of the efforts that companies make to help support the growth of manufacturing in Minnesota.”

MITGI manufactures standard and custom cutting tools that are built to tighter tolerances than most tools on the market. MITGI tools are used in many research and development departments and manufacturing facilities that serve the medical, automotive, computer and aerospace industries.

Finalists in each category will be featured in the October 2014 issue of the Minnesota Business magazine. Winners will be announced at a Sept. 23 event in downtown Minneapolis.

— Terry Davis