Akkerman receives rare distinctionPublished 2:36pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Akkerman, the family-owned business that manufactures pipe jacking and tunneling equipment used across the globe, received a rare safety distinction last week.
The Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program certified the Brownsdale company following a three-day comprehensive site visit, according to a press release. Akkerman was one of 39 worksites out of a possible 150,000 Minnesota companies to receive the certification, which is for businesses that exceed Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, the release states.
The three-day comprehensive survey included meetings with safety committee members. At the closing meeting, Jeff Wasvick, Occupational Health and Workplace Safety Consultant, said he was impressed when talking with employees and seeing their pride in participation in Akkerman’s safety program.
“It is evident that Akkerman has successfully adopted a safety and health culture that is apparent at all levels in the company,” Wasvick said.
In the past two years since MNSHARP has been in effect, Akkerman officials have noticed cost savings in terms of lowered medical treatments related to injuries and illnesses, according to the release. Akkerman posted only one recordable injury but no loss time injuries in 2011.
“We also investigate all near misses that occur,” said Akkerman Improvements Manager Gary Medgaarden. “Our goal is to have zero recordable injuries, and the best way to get to zero is to investigate all near misses. In addition, training and enforcement also enhance our program.”
With about 70 employees, the world-class manufacturer is also one of the top employers in the county.
40 years for Lou-Rich
Lou-Rich of Albert Lea will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an open house on April 14.
The event, from 9 a.m. to noon at its main plant at 505 West Front St., will feature tours of the facility, souvenirs and refreshments. Visitors will get a peak at Lou-Rich products and the advanced technologies it uses to manufacture them.
For those who aren’t familiar with the history of the major local manufacturer, here’s the rundown from Mike Larson, president and CEO of Innovance, the holding company for Lou-Rich:
The idea for Lou-Rich was the brainstorm of two local men, Louie Larson and Richard Ackland. The company began in 1972 as a tool and die, and farm equipment repair shop in Hayward, Minn. Since its modest beginnings, the company has expanded to include three manufacturing plants with more than 300,000 square feet of space. In 2004, a holding company named Innovance Inc. was formed for which both Lou-Rich, Inc. and Almco, Inc. are part of.
Today the company is locally and employee owned. There are more than 360 employee owners who are empowered to make decisions that affect the success of the company.
Some of its core manufacturing work includes CNC and manual machining, CNC laser cutting, punching and forming, mechanical and hydraulic stamping, aluminum extruding, robotic and manual welding, liquid and powder painting, mechanical and electro-mechanical assembly, packaging, and distribution.
Lou-Rich is primarily an engineering and manufacturing services provider to original equipment manufacturers such as John Deere, General Electric, Hormel Foods, Scotsman, and DeLaval. It specializes in producing complete products, equipment, mechanical and electromechanical sub-assemblies, weldments, mechanical components, and ultra-precision aluminum extrusions.
In the spring of 2011, Lou-Rich began construction on a 17,000-square-foot expansion and remodel.
Herald editor Adam Harringa’s column on business news appears every Wednesday.