CDI to Build $37 Million Facility & Equipment

CDI New Building

Some may consider it a problem, but as Tom Peterson looks around his business that is quite literally bursting at the seams, he only sees opportunity.

Aside from the 66,000-square-foot facility on Park Drive, where a majority of the operations occur, Peterson said they are also currently leasing a 30,000-square-foot facility on State Avenue and have some storage at the Owatonna Area Business Development Center.

Still, there just isn't enough room for the homegrown business that currently staffs about 150 individuals. 

So we have decided to build.

During the Owatonna City Council meeting Jan. 4, the council unanimously approved a public hearing date to establish a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the development of a new CDI manufacturing facility on Bridge Street. The new facility will be 200,000 square feet and be located east of the Owatonna Energy Station, near the new Bosch warehouse in Industrial Park.

Aside from running out of room in our current facilities, there have been very significant growth opportunities involving several of the markets we are involved in rapidly growing.

One of those markets is in lithium battery manufacturing, which are the batteries used in electric vehicles.  Major car manufacturers, including Ford, have recently announced increased lithium battery needs in their future. CDI has done an awesome job of keeping the areas of the building dry enough over the lithium, so that is a very large growth segment for us.

Another market that has provided CDI an opportunity to grow is in Canada's ice arenas. A new national initiative has been rolled out for our neighbors to the north that will require ice arenas to reduce their energy by 50%. CDI has been able to develop a new product to help them meet that goal.

"Being in business 30 years, getting name recognition like this across all industries in the U.S. and beyond is great," Peterson said.

Having these opportunities to grow, the company could likely move anywhere in the country. For Tom and Sue Peterson, however, leaving Owatonna was never an option.

"The employees that we have here and now, we want to honor them by staying here," Peterson said. "Also to honor the community that has been supporting us all these years, including dating back to the original Owatonna Business Incubator at West Hills."

"The overall environment of Owatonna suits us quite well and really aligns with Sue’s and my personal goals," he continued. "It is a very tight-knit, very giving community, and those are all things that are near and dear to us."

Along with the new facility, CDI will be adding 50 new jobs. We are already working on adding 25 new positions for our unique night shift, which runs from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. We altered the night shift hours because it is "what the employees desired."

"One of the benefits of being a smaller company is we can really be in-tune with what our employees want," he said. "The reasons they wanted these hours is because then they could be home for dinner with their family and back for breakfast and to see the kids off to school in the morning."

Peterson said CDI is also currently in talks with the Career Pathways coordinator at the Owatonna School District to work on bringing students into the company for an afternoon shift. He said this will make them the first business in Owatonna to have 16- and 17-year-olds in the manufacturing world.

We are also in the process of rolling out an afternoon shift geared at "semi-retired" individuals which will allow individuals to work a few hours in the afternoon and be done by 8 p.m.

"Essentially, we will be doubling the business over the next three years," Peterson said, noting that this means in staff size and production levels. 

To learn more about these opportunities, please visit our Careers page.