Diversified Plastics Inc. in Brooklyn Park, MN, gave a tour of its facility to U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, on Friday, April 9. The purpose of his visit was to learn about the challenges affecting small businesses, discuss business issues directly with senior management and shop floor employees, and take these personal stories back to Washington DC.
Paulsen participated in an informative roundtable discussion with the management team followed by a plant tour and an informal question and answer session with company employees covering topics ranging from the medical device tax to health care legislation and the economy.
First-term Congressman Paulsen is the co-chair of the House Med Tech Caucus and as co-chair, he learns about advances in medical technologies and meets with industry leaders on a regular basis.
“We were excited for the opportunity to share our views with Congressman Paulsen on topics important to small manufacturers,” said Annette Lund, VP of Diversified Plastics. “He was very interested in our needs and it was very apparent he was familiar with manufacturing and understands our concerns. He encouraged us to stay involved with our legislators so our opinions will be heard.”
Lund notes that Rep. Paulsen’s grandfather owned a small manufacturing company in Plymouth, MN, and therefore understands many of the issues facing small manufacturers.
Joining the management roundtable discussion was David Hansberger, president of Applied Strategies International, Ltd. and director of the Midwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center. Hansberger shared some historical information and current data on the dramatic increase of grant requests his center has received. “The increase in companies applying for Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) is being felt by our office as well as every other Trade Adjustment Assistance Center around the country,” said Hansberger.
TAAF is a federal program that provides financial assistance to manufacturers affected by import competition, and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It helps pay for projects that improve a firm’s competitiveness, and strengthen U.S. manufacturing. “Diversified Plastics participates in this program and has received matching funds which has helped the company grow its business,” notes Lund. —Clare Goldsberry