Reprinted from the Aitkin Age – Saturday, May 21, 2016 by Shari Horton
Floe International’s president, Don VanderMey, also spoke to Dayton live from Canada where he was watching his son play hockey. On his 20th anniversary with Floe, VanderMey said, “The business is strong and the future is extremely bright. We have a great team and a visionary leader and entrepreneur in Wayne Floe.”
Floe went on to explain that in early 2000, a consultant came in and recommended outsourcing to Mexico for manufacturing options and piecework. Instead, through ingenuity and engineering, Floe kept the jobs local and his company proceeded to build over 100 of their own machines to enhance the manufacturing process.
“It actually saved us money. It was all about getting the right technology and the right process here and our people got so good at it,” said Floe.
The tour of the production facility included a glimpse of the mammoth thermoforming machine. Floe explained that they had recently brought in new molds for their 13-foot trailers and has the capability to build trailers up to 24 or 25-feet in length.
“We can produce one trailer every six minutes and our vision is to eventually thermoform boats,” said Floe.
The tour culminated in the revealing of the FLOE CRAFT Afina 3950C, which Dayton described as “phenomenal.” Floe explained that they initially plan to build 12 of the Afinas and then increase production based on market and demand. He also plans to build smaller vessels in the Afina series in the future.
“Wayne makes this company successful and helps make Minnesota a great state. I’m in awe of entrepreneurs like Wayne who use cutting-edge technology, innovation and inspiration to build their companies. McGregor should be very proud and I’m very proud as a Minnesotan that Wayne has built a company here,” said Dayton.
When asked if he was surprised to see this level of technology and production outside of the metro area, Dayton responded, “Come to McGregor. It is happening right here. I’ve seen that McGregor has a wealth of innovation and technology. Wayne started up here because this is his home and he decided to keep it here and grow it here. I’m impressed with the technology and level of sophistication that you see, but I’m not surprised. I’ve seen it all over McGregor.
“In Minnesota, we have a good education system that produces quality people with a good work ethic – very talented people who want to work together and share their talents. Floe and everybody on the team who’ve built a very, very successful company is awe-inspiring,” concluded Dayton.