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Jon Holt, left, and Rob Holt of Superior Radiator Coils at its Chaska plant.

, Star Tribune

Superior Radiator Coils product shot

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Developer George Sherman in downtown Minneapolis in front of the aLoft Minneapolis Hotel on Washington Ave.

David Brewster, Dml - Star Tribune

Inside track: Radiator firm SRC is coiled for expansion

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY
  • Star Tribune
  • August 4, 2012 - 8:55 PM

Super Radiator Coils (SRC), a specialty manufacturer of heat-exchanger coils, plans to add as many as 35 people in the next 16 months at its flagship Chaska plant of 130 people thanks to demand for high-test heat-exchanger coils for the nuclear power and other industries. The company employs 340 nationally.

SRC, with record 2011 sales, is one of three manufacturers globally certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to meet exacting standards for key nuclear plant equipment. The company, acquired in 1985 by an investment group led by Chairman Jon Holt, is in the middle of a 13,000-square-foot, $4 million plant-and-equipment expansion in Chaska. The expansion is driven partly by a multimillion-dollar contract from Pacific Gas & Electric for its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California. PG&E will replace safety-related coils associated with two reactors over the next five years.

"We see strong growth for these kinds of coils as well as coils for HVAC equipment used in nuclear plants in the years ahead," said Rob Holt, chief executive of SRC and son of Jon Holt.

The company has grown from about $6 million to nearly $80 million in sales since 1985, when Jon Holt acquired majority control.

"The reason we've been successful is our ability to solve engineering and heat-transfer problems ... in food processing, oil and gas exploration and production, data storage centers, university research labs and commercial refrigeration," said Jon Holt.

SRC, owned by the Holt family and employees, also operates plants in Arizona and Virginia.

"We've had the opportunity to move to Virginia, North Dakota and Texas," Jon Holt said. "But Duluth is my hometown and we like Minnesota. We have good relations with our union, and a good, very well-trained workforce. The wage and benefits package, and our average wage is about $20 an hour before overtime and benefits, exceeds the average of our industry because we want them to stay with us."

SEVERAL DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS DEVELOPMENTS ARE IN THE WORKS

SEVERAL DEVELOPMENTS ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR PLANNED IN THE WAREHOUSE DISTRICT NORTH OF HENNEPIN AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS:

•Last week, developer Hines completed acquisition of land, including the Union Plaza office building at Washington and 3rd Avenues N., for nearly $14 million from an investment partnership managed by Bruce Lambrecht, a creator of the "Twinsville" plan a decade ago that eventually led to nearby Target Field.

Hines struck a development agreement several years ago with Lambrecht and a partner, who manage a 32-year investment partnership and parking lot company that is the seller. Hines, a national developer with downtown holdings, plans a 185-unit complex called Dock Street Apartments. Hines and Lambrecht declined comment until the proposal receives the necessary city permits.

•Developer George Sherman has acquired vacant land and a parking ramp for $2.4 million for a 140-unit apartment complex at 324 N. 1st St. Sherman acquired the land from the trustee overseeing Wall Street's bankrupt Lehman Brothers assets. A previous developer stalled at the site after building a parking ramp on the site a decade ago. Sherman hopes to start construction next March.

•At Washington and Hennepin Avenues N., a long-vacant car dealership, Minneapolis developer Ryan Companies is constructing a $70 million upscale apartment complex that will be anchored by a Whole Foods grocery store.

SHORT TAKES

•A venerable, Minnetonka-based IT consulting and software development firm has unveiled a sleeker name and website to complement a strong growth story.

Solution Design Group is now doing business as just SDG.

"With the rapidly changing landscape and the advent of social media ... rebranding has given us a more up-to-date and dynamic presence on the Web and across the market in general," said SDG President Keith Martin. The firm touts its reputation as an employee-oriented place that's grown 20 percent annually since 2007. The company employs 100 and had 2011 revenue of $16.4 million. Owned by founder Bill Francomb, Jeff Daniel and Martin, SDG acquired in 2010 two cabins on Bay Lake, near Garrison, Minn., that are shared among employees.

•Nationwide layoffs at hard-pressed Supervalu (2,500) and Best Buy (2,800), each representing nearly 2 percent of the workforce, make these Minnesota companies the No. 8 and No. 7 job cutters in the land this year, according to last week's ranking by Business Insider. The leader is Hewlett-Packard, with 27,000 heads rolling, followed by bankrupt American Airlines (14,200). No. 15 Archer Daniels Midland is laying off 1,200 due to profits crimped by surging commodity prices. The merged United and Continental Airlines are cutting 1,300 of their 87,500 global employees.

•Business broker Mike Tikkanen, a longtime guardian ad litem and board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Minnesota, reports that the Minnesota nonprofit is participating in the 2012 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. CASA has late registration entries available to runners who agree to raise at least $350 in donations for the cause. The nonprofit recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for kids whose parents are in criminal court. Contact Kelly Hudick at khudick@hotmail.com for registration information. Tikkanen said the federal government has cut most of the $15 million it once gave the CASA national organization for support of state programs. More on CASA Minnesota at: www.casamn.org.

•Bremer Bank reports that customers and employees more than matched its $50,000 annual summer challenge grant for Second Harvest Heartland and local Feeding America food banks by helping to raise a record total of $111,174.

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