Manufacturing & Utilities Sectors: Abundant Provision for the Whole Community
Upon first consideration of the manufacturing and public utilities sectors, one may think of bureaucratic organizations with little of interest to offer.
Of course, without these industries, nothing would get accomplished.
Services are required from these sectors daily, whether through energy consumption, telecommunications usage, sanitation needs, or, quite literally, any of the physical products enjoyed in the modern world — to name a fraction.
Still, most of the businesses in these sectors receive little coverage in the media or casual conversation. The lights always seem to turn on, the garbage removed, and the phone calls connected.
The sector is taken for granted.
And plausibly, their services could be analogized to one’s health: best when not thought of.
However, their sole service is not a fair representation of all that these industries provide for a community — regardless of how significant that service may be.
In a world where jobs and interests seem to shift with the wind, many businesses in manufacturing and utilities provide a gratifying stability to those they employ.
Not only are the benefits typically better than other, smaller businesses, but the quantity, stability, and ease of entry for this line of work all play an important factor in today’s job market.
Consider, for example, the current student debt crisis: millions of young individuals have found themselves holding a bachelor’s degree and struggling to find jobs with sufficient wages to cover their college loans.
This is not the case with many of the jobs in the manufacturing and utilities sectors. Most positions require only a two-year degree or provide on-the-job training for new hires, and their wages can exceed more than double what a graduate will make right out of college.
Here in Hartford, South Dakota, the quality of jobs these industries provide are critical for the continued development of our community.
As long as there is sound infrastructure, stable jobs, and thriving business, there will be happy, healthy, and wealthy residents.
Manufacturing in Hartford
Hartford is not shy to manufacturing business.
In fact, the local sector extends all the way through fabrics to plastics, metal to concrete. In total, these businesses provide hundreds of jobs to our community and generate significant profits for their customers, the local government, and the businesses themselves.
What’s more, October is National Manufacturing Month — so it is certainly fitting that these businesses receive the praise they deserve.
Grocott Ink & Thread is a family-owned and -operated screen-printing and embroidery shop in Hartford, and is exemplary of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists inside this community. When owners Lori and Lynn Grocott struggled to find an affordable solution to their embroidery needs, they decided to purchase their own equipment and sell the product out of their home.
Decades later, the business is now a manufacturing powerhouse for all things ink and thread.
Working with a different element, Central States Manufacturing produces high-quality steel products for metal roofing and siding purposes. While their product has helped construct thousands of infrastructures across the nation, their greatest impact may lie in the organization’s employee-centeredness.
Through an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), Central States has not only generated significant wealth for those who chose to buy in to the company, but has enabled employees of every level to hold a stake in their own output — a vital trait in today’s workplace.
Beaverbuilt is another metal manufacturer, and is constantly expanding their product line. The family-owned and -operated business originated in roll-off containers, but has added snow pushers, custom metal fabrication, and metal artwork — (yes, even manufacturers have a creative side).
Somewhat similarly, R3-MAG specializes in laser-engraving of firearms and firearm accessories. With advanced hardware and software, R3-MAG offers immense customization for its customers.
Local manufacturers also exist in other arenas.
Cemcast Pipe & Precast supplies a variety of concrete products to government projects, commercial development projects, public water treatment systems, and the like.
Primary Manufacturing incorporates advanced technology to produce high quality, small plastic parts for a wide range of clients.
And while these businesses may not reside at the front of everyone’s mind, their impact is truly far-reaching for the city of Hartford.
Public Utilities in Hartford
Labor in the public utilities sector has evolved over the years.
What used to be considered a somewhat dirtier, more dangerous line of work has progressed into one that is well-paying, clean, and far safer than ever before.
The great thing about public utilities in Hartford is the combination of the private and public sectors to align the interests of the business and community. This can be seen in the careful regulation by the public sector to provide excellent working conditions for utility workers.
Public utility companies typically own a monopoly over their respective industry, but this is not as unwelcome as it may sound. Monopolies naturally form due to the high costs associated with building the necessary infrastructure.
And while some monopolies exploit their position, the opposite couldn’t be more true for the companies in Hartford.
For example, local energy companies like MidAmerican Energy and Sioux Valley Energy are constantly investing in ways to provide the lowest energy rates for their customers, which in turn offers businesses a competitive advantage.
Hartford is fortunate to have multiple, quality sanitation service providers in the area, too. Since 1965, Novak Sanitary Service has been collecting waste in the greater Sioux Falls area for residential, commercial, and construction purposes.
Cressman Sanitation is another local waste collector with a strong reputation for reliability and customer service.
Lastly, Golden West Telecommunications is a century-old cooperative business with the mission of working together for the common good of its South Dakota members. Phone, internet, and cable are all provided to residents and businesses across much of the state.
With all of these basic utilities being covered by honest, upstanding companies in a reliable, affordable manner, Hartford residents couldn’t ask for much more.
The importance of manufacturing and utility businesses in the community is evident.
“Collectively, these [manufacturing and utility] businesses employ a vast sum of residents, and constantly give back to their home community,” says Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce Director Jesse Fonkert. “They’re good, stable businesses and only help grow the job base in our city.”
As the workforce evolves on a macro level, manufacturing and utility jobs will play an instrumental part in securing the success of our communities, cities, and country.
It’s cities like Hartford that will add to this sustained growth.