Left to right: Ben Erickson (Owner and President) and Mike Sorteberg (General Manager) of Ericco Manufacturing.
Ericco Manufacturing has been nominated by Advance Thief River for a prestigious “2023 Minnesota Manufacturing Excellence Award.” The nomination was submitted in response to a call for nominations by Twin Cities Business magazine.
About Minnesota Manufacturing Excellence Awards
Manufacturing Excellence awards seek to recognize excellence in manufacturing. Nominations are open to original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, and makers, both large and small from across Minnesota.
The goal of the awards is to spotlight truly exceptional performance in at least one of the following areas:
- Product Design and Innovation
- Operational Excellence
- Workforce Development
- Supply Chain Development
- Sustainable Manufacturing
- Collaboration in Manufacturing
- Local Impact
Advance Thief River has nominated Ericco Manufacturing for demonstrating excellence in three areas: growth and performance, workforce development, and local impact.
The company’s growth and performance have been demonstrated through an increase in the number and types of products they manufacture, as well as through diversifying their customer base. The company’s new 10,000 square foot production building was built to accommodate the growth they are experiencing.
Ericco Manufacturing has also demonstrated a tremendous impact on area workforce development. The company’s leadership has contributed to efforts to grow the local economy by working with area nonprofits and workforce services.
Ben Erickson, Owner and President of the company, is on the Advance Thief River Board of Directors. Mike Sorteberg, General Manager, has served on the Advance Thief River Talent Taskforce for the last two years. Sally Erickson, Owner, has served faithfully on the board of the Northwest Private Industry Council for a number of years.
The company has provided numerous job shadowing experiences as well as providing tuition reimbursement for employees. They have also helped to coordinate manufacturing days in the high school, helping area youth understand the benefits of a career in manufacturing.
More About Ericco Manufacturing
Ericco Manufacturing is a three-generation family-owned business, located in rural Viking, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1976 by George Erickson, together with his son Rick. The original facility was built on the home place, surrounded by crop land. George was active in the business until the 1990’s. To this day, George maintains a vital interest in Ericco’s operations and is a frequent visitor on the plant floor. George’s son, Rick, was owner from 1984 to 2017, right up until he passed away. Rick’s wife, Sally, co-owner, manages payroll and employee benefits. Rick and Sally’s children, Ben Erickson and Trudy Veselka, are the third generation of Ericksons in the company, with Ben serving as President and Trudy as Operations Engineer.
The business was originally a tool and die shop with an emphasis on special machines. Since the company’s founding, it has evolved into a sizable manufacturing facility that produces more than a million parts per year. The company specializes in CNC machining, stamping, and forming to customer specified designs.
This three-generation family-owned manufacturing business is proof that a business can thrive anywhere with the right management and vision, regardless of how remote the location. The company is on a fast growth trajectory, with production and jobs nearly tripling over the last ten years.
The company’s success is due in part to their use of leading edge production equipment and state of the art quality testing equipment. They manufacture parts for the power sports industry (Textron Specialized Vehicles/Arctic Cat) and the aviation industry, as well as a number of other industries.
One of the features that sets the company apart is the value they place on people and relationships. This value is embedded in their relationships with employees, as well as with their customers and suppliers.
Ericco management believes that their workforce is their most precious resource and have worked hard to show employees how much they are valued. Sometimes that means a pay raise and other times it means simply telling an employee how well they are doing. The average length of time an employee has been with the company is nine years.
Customer and supplier relationships are also valued highly. Owner Ben Erickson says, “the relationships are the rewarding part,” and says he “enjoys maintaining personal relationships with the suppliers.”
Ericco’s commitment to environmental sustainability and good stewardship is another hallmark of manufacturing excellence. The company has employed many green practices, including recycling cardboard, scrap aluminum, steel, and used coolant. The company recycles 10-12 truckloads of aluminum each year.