Sage Electrochromics has shipped its first large order of energy-saving, variable-tint glass from its $150 million Faribault, Minn., factory that’s ramping up toward full production.

The new plant allows Sage, a unit of Paris-based building products giant Saint-Gobain, to produce larger-sized, lower-cost electrochromic glass for major commercial buildings. Electrochromic glass changes tint with the flip of a switch to reduce solar radiation. Sage’s first large order was shipped to Argonne National Lab’s Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility, which is under construction outside of Chicago, the company said last week. The lab’s south-facing wall will have more than 2,000 square feet of SageGlass that controls glare and heat gain, the company said.

The new, larger factory next to Sage’s Faribault headquarters was completed last year. The market for smart glass is expected to grow eightfold to nearly $700 million by 2020. Sage’s technology offers energy savings on lighting, heating and cooling. Saint-Gobain, a huge French building products company, acquired Sage in 2012.


Cargill makes $1 billion supplier pledge

Cargill has pledged to buy $1 billion of supplies annually from women- and minority-owned firms, doubling its $460 million annual buying. CEO Greg Page made the commitment during last month’s annual meeting of the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) in Golden Valley. In attendance were more than 450 minority business owners and representatives of General Mills, Ameriprise, Best Buy, Cargill, 3M, Deluxe, Medtronic, U.S. Bank and other local corporations.

The supplier council comprises large firms and minority entrepreneurs determined to expand supply chains. The effort not only enhances employment, training and technical skills within the smaller firms, but also gives the larger firms access to responsive, nimble and skilled minority-owned companies.

MMSDC President Duane Ramseur said: “With this, Cargill will join the MMSDC’s Billion Dollar Round Table Club, which has 18 corporate members …[including] Dell, AT&T, Boeing, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Ford’’ among others.

Page said his farm-and-food global giant will gradually diversify its supplier base. Cargill already does business with local minority-owned firms such as Synico Staffing, Catallia Mexican Foods, Worldwide Technology, and research and investment firm Harris & Ford.


3m wins gold ‘edison award’ for its led bulb

3M has been honored by the national Edison Awards for fostering innovation with two recent technological developments.

3M’s “LED Advanced Light”received a gold award in the lighting category while the “3M Molecular Detection System” earned a silver award in the diagnostic/analytic systems category.

The 3M LED light — the company’s first-ever bulb — is appropriate for an innovation award named after incandescent light-bulb inventor Thomas Edison. The 3M light provides an option that’s just as bright as a traditional bulb, lasts up to 25 years, saves energy and provides “a more friendly and functional light source at a fraction of the energy,” said Ray Johnston, a scientist for the 3M electronics and energy group lab. “It’s beyond meaningful to receive an award associated with Thomas Edison, someone regarded as the father of the light bulb.”

3M Food Safety’s new 3M Molecular Detection System, designed to detect dangerous food-related pathogens like salmonella, E. coli and listeria, saves time for processors, increases their productivity and ensures their overall testing accuracy.

campbells cited for ‘service above self’

Jim Campbell, retired CEO of Wells Fargo Minnesota, and his wife, Carmen, recently were honored with the Service Above Self Award of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Rotary’s highest honor. Jim Campbell led the Itasca Project, served as president of the University of Minnesota Foundation, chaired the board of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and also served Courage Center, Junior Achievement and the Children’s Home Society. The Campbells are decades-long United Way volunteers and leaders.

Jim Campbell was the driver behind Wells Fargo acquiring the former Honeywell campus in south Minneapolis in 2000 and renovating and expanding it as a regional headquarters for Wells Fargo Mortgage, one of the biggest private construction projects ever in Minneapolis. Carmen Campbell, a onetime Minneapolis schoolteacher, serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota and North Dakota. She served Cornerstone, a Bloomington shelter and provider of domestic abuse prevention services. She has also served on the board of Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis and as a trustee of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Past Rotary award winners include Chuck Denny, Wheelock Whitney, Bill and Penny George and Marilyn Carlson Nelson.

Wells Fargo Advisors, Merrill Lynch fined

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry cop, last week fined Wells Fargo Advisors and Merrill Lynch a total of $2.15 million and ordered them to pay $3 million-plus in restitution to customers for losses on floating-rate bank loan funds. Such funds are mutual funds that invest in secured senior loans made to borrowers whose credit quality is rated below investment-grade. The funds are subject to significant credit risks.

FINRA found that Wells Fargo and Banc of America brokers (now Merrill Lynch) recommended floating-rate bank loan funds “to customers whose risk tolerance, investment objectives, and financial conditions were inconsistent with the risks.’’ The firms didn’t admit any wrongdoing, but they consented to FINRA’s findings.