Lindsay Window & Door Company

John Roise avoids credit for the rapid growth and financial success of Lindsay Window and Door Co., which manufactures vinyl and wooden windows in North Mankato.

Despite his lack of experience in the industry, Roise introduced new products that more than tripled sales. Employment escalated from 14 to 65. He’s paid back all the long-term money he borrowed to buy the company in 1989.

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Forstner Fire Apparatus

With computers elbowing workers aside and manual labor often reduced to nothing more than pushing buttons, automated production dominates many manufacturing processes today.

But Floyd Forstner and a handful of employees still fashion fire trucks by hand, one at a time, every one different, in an 81 year-old shop on the edge of downtown Madelia. They start with a cab and chassis purchased from a major automotive manufacturer and custom-build the rest. The first truck born in that shop in 1940 still sees limited service with the Madelia Fire Dept.

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Neil Eckles

While spraying out ideas like bullets from a Gatling gun, Blue Earth’s Neil Eckles, 59, leans forward to make another salient point about the Internet. “If we could speed that up,” he says rat-a-tat-tat, “man, there’s no end to that thing.” His mind seems perpetually locked on rapid fire and sometimes his mouth has a hard time keeping up with all his ideas. He has a boyish enthusiasm about his work.

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