Don’t Doubt It
House Speaker Kurt Daudt spends 90 minutes touring local manufacturer

By Lynn Shelton
Enterprise Minnesota’s Director of Marketing and Communications

[Enterprise Minnesota and Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt tour UMA Precision Machining in Zimmerman, MN]
(Pictured left to right:  Tom McChesney, president, UMA Precision Machining; Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House, Minnesota House of Representatives)

One of my growing pet peeves: Those in the uninformed chorus of critics who deprecate policymakers as hyper-partisan ne’er-do-wells, just don’t see how hard they work or how much they are willing to learn.

We witnessed a solid repudiation of the critics this week when Enterprise Minnesota orchestrated a tour of Zimmerman-based UMA Precision Machining for Kurt Daudt, the speaker of Minnesota’s House of Representatives. Daudt joined us for an impressive 90 minutes in which he was engaged, focused and genuinely interested in his constituent company.

“UMA is a great Minnesota success story. They’re part of the fast-growing medical device manufacturing sector and are likely to continue expanding thanks to the new ISO 9001:2008 certification they recently received,” said Daudt. “This certification is a major achievement for a company of their size, and puts them on the same playing field as much larger manufacturers in the United States and around the world. Manufacturing businesses like these provide good-paying jobs for thousands of Minnesota families in many parts of the state, but unfortunately many are having trouble finding qualified workers to fill open positions. Manufacturing careers can sustain families and be a boost for rural towns like those in my district.”

UMA Precision Machining is a state of the art precision machine shop specializing in medical, defense, and food & beverage industry components. The company offers high-end service and advanced technology for precision work.

The tour is one of many that Enterprise Minnesota conducts throughout each year. In addition to offering a wide variety of cutting edge and sophisticated consulting services to small and medium-size manufacturers, we like to consider ourselves a connector of the various players in Minnesota’s manufacturing network. One of our most productive efforts has been to connect manufacturers with their local policy-makers.

In this case, Speaker Daudt received a tour from UMA founder Tom McChesney, a machinist with 30 years’ experience assisting medical device manufacturers with the development and improvement of their devices. Tom demonstrated how he recognized the market opportunity for a machine shop that partners with device manufacturers to develop and improve their devices and produce prototypes, one-ups and pre-production parts.

His is also a great entrepreneurial story. Tom founded UMA Precision Machining with one machine in his garage. In 10 short years, UMA moved into new facilities adding new technology, new staff, and state-of-the-art manufacturing systems.

The best news of this narrative is that Speaker Daudt is hardly the exception. Almost without exception, policy-makers leave our tours with an eye-opening new appreciation for the value that their local manufacturers play in their local economies. On top of that, they realize that manufacturing today offers rewarding and challenging careers in modern, high-tech facilities, especially for people who are willing to invest in the kind of training that will enable them to thrive in an increasingly sophisticated high-tech environment.


Source: UMA News