Governor Pawlenty takes pre-election tour of Lund Boats
Making a quick campaign stop in New York Mills last week Gov. Tim Pawlenty toured the plant which produces "The World's Finest Fishing Boat". Pawlenty made a campaign stop in Mills last Thursday to visit Lund Boats. Company executives and local s...
Making a quick campaign stop in New York Mills last week Gov. Tim Pawlenty toured the plant which produces "The World's Finest Fishing Boat".
Pawlenty made a campaign stop in Mills last Thursday to visit Lund Boats. Company executives and local supporters greeted the Republican Governor, who visited with the group before heading to the plant for a tour.
Pawlenty asked questions about the boat industry and how things were going specifically at Lund, the biggest employer in NY Mills. Andrew Klopak, President of Lund Boats, told Pawlenty the company is in hiring mode right now and looking to add a second shift at the plant. He said Lund Boats is driving hard and although the economy is hard to predict the company could see an additional 90 jobs if things keep going well. Klopak is in charge of both the Mills plant and the Canada facility, and some of those additional jobs could be from bringing some manufacturing from Canada to Mills.
During a discussion prior to the tour Pawlenty asked what some of the biggest concerns and challenges Lund faces.
"Health care costs are just awful right now," said Mark Dockter, Vice President of Operations.
Dockter explained they've had no real wage increases at Lund the last four or five years, and this is due to the company eating a big share of the health care costs for employees.
"We have to get cost containment around health care," Pawlenty responded. "It's one of our top priorities."
Klopak presented Pawlenty with a scale model of a Lund Pro-V, what he called the highest end fishing machine.
"Governor, your success is our success," Klopak said in presenting the gift.
Pawlenty, who was on a campaign tour was in Moorhead the night before, was flanked by Rep. Dean Simpson and Sen. Cal Larson. Dockter led Pawlenty and the group on a walk-through of the plant, stopping on occasion to visit with employees along the production line. Pawlenty, an avid outdoorsmen, seemed genuinely interested in how the boats were built. Following the tour Dockter took a few minutes to tell Pawlenty the history of the company and its founder, Howard Lund.
In 1948 Howard built his first aluminum duck boat, which took about a week to build. The boat was on top of the family car along Highway 10, and this unintentional advertising brought a boat salesman from Inland Marine Corporation to his doorstep. He inquired where he could get a boat like that. Howard explained that he had built it himself, and that he was willing to build more. The salesman put in an order for 50 boats, and with that Lund America was created.