President Deb Nygaard called the meeting to order at 12:15 and led the flag pledge.  Following Maggie Mau’s inspirational invocation about her brother-in-law Roger, Deb provided a historical snapshot of Rotation Day at Arthur’s Senior Care.  Jan Vanderwall virtually presented an “Above and Beyond” pin to Jenny Hedal, then there was time for Happy Dollars.  Lynne Megan donated $20 for the legislative success of a financial relief package for businesses like TSE. 
 
Rotation Day @ Arthur's Senior Center
 
 
Next, there were several announcements:
  • The Lakeville Rotary Club’s online auction ends Wednesday, August 19.  There are 142 items up for bid and they have already raised $24,000.  You can view items and place your bids here:  https://www.silentauctionpro.com/bidonlinegrid.php?groupId=764
  • Deb announced that it is Tony’s last day working at the hotel as he accepted a different job.
  • Jan Vanderwall announced it will be made public August 18 that Roseville schools will be starting with full time distance learning.
  • Ted Johnson indicated the former president of the Nakivale club has been nominated for the Rotary Peace Scholarship.
  • Mary Jo Maguire reminded everyone that Ramsey County is providing free COVID-19 testing on weekends in August at the Washington Magnet School and Aldrich Arena.  More information is on the website.  It was also brought up that Mary Jo was re-elected in the primary – congrats Mary Jo!
YouTube Meeting Video Link: https://youtu.be/mfuEptS8X1Q
 
 

Peter McDermott
 
 
Following announcements, Jenny Hedal introduced the speaker Peter McDermott.  Peter is the President and CEO of Minnesota Diversified Industries (“MDI”).  MDI is a non-profit founded in 1964 by John DuRand and Sister Anna Marie Meyer in St. Paul.  The company’s mission is to serve people with disabilities by offering inclusive employment and services.  Peter indicated that 30% of people age 16-64 with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed, and 1 in 5 people have a disability.  MDI has a social enterprise model with a goal to have a workforce where about 50% are people with disabilities and everyone gets at least minimum wage and benefits despite their productivity level.
 
MDI generates roughly 95% of its revenue from the sale of products and services.  The main line of business is plastic products including totes and trays, hopper and recycle bins, rolls and sheets, tree wrap, water jet bricks and custom products.  They also provide customized production services such as medical product packaging. 
 
The company has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.  The production services and medical assembly takes place at their Minneapolis facility and MDI also has manufacturing facilities in Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Cohasset.  Peter indicated in 2010, MDI had 123 employees of which 63 were people with disabilities.  In 2020, they have 366 employees of which 170 are people with disabilities.  During that time, MDI’s net worth has grown from 2.7 million to 21 million. 
 
In 1973, MDI formed a relationship with the United States Postal Service.  To date, MDI has produced 97 million totes and counting.  Peter indicated the USPS business is volatile with orders ranging from 1 million totes per year to 9 million totes per year.  Due to this employment is also volatile and when downsizing is needed, they try to lay off people with no disability.  Peter mentioned USPS recently ordered 2 million totes with an Election Day deadline.  MDI only has capacity to produce 1.4 million of those totes, which is about an $8 million order.
MDI has been trying to grow its non-USPS business in an effort to provide more consistent employment.  This business has grown from $2 million in 2008 to $12 million this year.  These customers include businesses such as Amazon, Frito Lay, Uline, Stitch Fix, Nike and Bulk Reef Supply.
 
In addition to providing employment for people with disabilities, MDI offers programs such as a partnership with DPI (temp agency), career skill development, Quest (program with the Grand Rapids school district), and scholarships for children with special needs. 
 
Lastly, Peter discussed how COVID has affected operations.  MDI was deemed an essential supplier to USPS and 28 commercial customers, so they could not shut down.  Since employees with disabilities are typically higher risk, MDI developed a preparedness plan where the safety of employees is their top priority.  Employees are required to work from home when possible and management provides weekly communication.  To date, no employees have tested positive.     
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