Staff Directory 10644746

Dee DePass

Reporter | Manufacturing
Phone: 612-673-7725
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Dee DePass is a business reporter for the Star Tribune. She spent the last four years covering Minnesota's manufacturing and mining industries. She previously covered the economy, workplace issues and banking.


Originally from the East Coast, Dee earned her undergraduate degree at Vassar College and a master's degree in journalism at the University of Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, fitness, reading, and being an adjunct journalism professor.
Recent content from Dee DePass
Patients have been placed in new COVID-19 units created by Ecolab throughout Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

St. Paul-based Ecolab plays key behind-the-scenes role in fight against COVID-19

Company has been working tirelessly over the past three months to produce enough disinfectants, and help customers use them.
Pictured is a file photo of Viracon's Owatonna plant from 2019.

COVID-19 hits 81 at Viracon glass factory in Owatonna

A COVID-19 outbreak among 81 workers at Viracon’s architectural glass factory caused the Owatonna plant to close down for deep-cleaning for two days last week,…

St. Cloud college gets $2.5M grant to build manufacturing training lab

The lab will train workers for skilled-manufacturing jobs and will be matched by local funds.
3M's headquarters in Maplewood.

3M suppliers told they will have to wait longer for payment

3M is not alone in sending out the letters and says the change was in the works before COVID-19.
A cross-section of a dock piling made of recycled materials by Bedford Technologies in Worthington, which was on display at the 2017 Minnesota State F

Minnesota offers $400,000 in new recycling grants

New MPCA recycling grants look to create jobs and direct waste away from landfills
A thermal temperature system is one step Cambria is taking at its Le Sueur plant to protect workers.

Cambria, Polaris add measures like high-tech scanners to protect workers

Temperature scans and distancing are part of back-to-work plans.
Polaris is discontinuing the Larson FX brand of fishing boats.

Polaris shutting Indiana boat plant, displacing 120 workers

The company also will retire the Rinker and Striper brands.
Honeywell's Stinson Boulevard plant in Minneapolis has closed for deep cleaning after four employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Honeywell, Renewal by Andersen plants close temporarily after workers test positive for virus

Both the Honeywell plant in Minneapolis and the Cottage Grove Andersen plant will be deep-cleaned before reopening.
3M is increasing U.S. production of N95 masks even more.

3M wins defense contract, boosting U.S. N95 production

The company will temporarily make additional masks in Wisconsin.
3M's Maplewood campus. (ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Star Tribune)

3M completes $650M drug delivery unit sale, but business to remain in Twin Cities

Manufacturer retains minority stake in business now owned by Altaris.
The effort began last month when Gov. Tim Walz reached out to Ecolab CEO Doug Baker, shown, who is an executive committee member of the Minnesota Busi

Racing the world to acquire PPE, Minnesota gets expert help from companies based in state

Much work has been going on behind the scenes even before a new economic council was announced.
Ecolab CEO Doug Baker told analysts this week he does not expect a recovery until the second half of the year. Shown is a Nalco division salesman talk

Manufacturing plummets in April in Minnesota, across the nation

A Midwest manufacturing report shows sector conditions at the lowest since Great Recession.
3M's corporate headquarters in Maplewood.

3M posts strong Q1 results, but warns of more cost-cutting

Health care and consumer products drove sales, revenue, but other units hurting.
A worker packed N95 masks at a 3M plant.

3M's complex road to enough N95 capacity took many hands

As the coronavirus mushroomed across the world, a global shortage of N95 masks would develop and test 3M like nothing else in its 118-year history. Retirees, workers, partners joined forces in crisis to ramp up mask production.
Graco pledges to keep workers employed and also stay the course on capital expenditures. Pictured is the company's Minneapolis factory.

Graco says it will not furlough workers despite tough short-term conditions

Minneapolis-based company's first-quarter profits fell 16%.
Kathryn Scharnweber and Angela Murphy, both Mayo Clinic medical professionals, have taken temporary assignments making face shields at Pepin Manufactu

Mayo medical staff take temp assignment making face shields for colleagues

With nonessential medical services stopping and Pepin Manufacturing needing the help to make 300,000 shields, Mayo redeployed 35 staff members
Pellet load-out bins stand at the back of the Hibbing Taconite Co. pellet manufacturing plant in this file photo.

Hibbing Taconite laying off 650 workers as it idles Iron Range operations

The taconite mine and plant will close from May 3 to July 6.
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

3M contract with Pentagon for N95 masks worth $76 million

3M will receive $76 million under a Pentagon contract for N95 respirator masks it shares with Honeywell and Owens & Minor.The Maplewood-based company said earlier…

Virus slowdown idles Keewatin taconite plant; 375 workers affected

Temporary closure, prompted by falling demand for iron and steel, will affect 375 workers.
This is the site of the former Magnetation Jessie Loadout facility. Prarie River Minerals is going to construct an iron ore production plant there.

Iron Range getting new ore plant near Coleraine

Prairie River Minerals — with former legislator Tom Anzelc as one of its investors — will process old tailings for the steel industry.
3M headquarters in Maplewood. (ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Star Tribune)

Cummins will make respirator filters for 3M at Wisconsin plant

Auto engine maker will provide thousands of PAPR parts from its Neillsville, Wis., plant.
DR-grade taconite pellets at the Northshore Mining operations.

Northshore Mining on Iron Range laying off 470 workers until August

Northshore Mining on the Iron Range is being idled through August amid coronavirus concerns and lower demand for steel as global economies slow to a…
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

Ford to begin assembling 10,000 3M-powered air-purifying respirators

Companies moved quickly to redesign and start building vital air-purifying equipment.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, holds a 3M N95 mask as she and Vice President Mike Pence visited 3M headquarters in Ma

3M, law enforcement step up efforts to stop N95 scams

State attorney general, U.S. attorney launch task force to investigate new scams.
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

Trump, 3M reach 'amicable' deal on N95 mask supply

The deal involves providing an additional 55.5 million masks monthly — mostly N95 respirators — to U.S. health care workers.
Army soldiers from Fort Carson and Fort Lewis are setting up a field hospital for non-COVID-19 patients at CenturyLink Field Events Center in Seattle.

Minneapolis company among suppliers for makeshift hospital in Seattle Seahawks stadium

Versare Solutions also making the products to help crisis in Seattle, Long Island.
In March, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, held a 3M N95 mask as she visited 3M headquarters in Maplewood with Vi

Trump mandates 3M sell N95 masks to FEMA

President Donald Trump issued the order in an effort to speed up the distribution of desperately needed hospital masks.
Jose Pedro Sanchez,a seamstress at Blue Delta Jeans, sews together a face guard at the jeans manufacturing company's site in Shannon, Miss.

Minnesota, Midwest factory conditions plunge because of coronavirus

Manufacturers confidence levels hit record lows; supply chain issues complicate matters.
In announcing layoffs of 248 Minnesotans, student loan collection agency National Recoveries Inc. cited an executive order that postpones all federal

Student loan collection agency lays off 248 from three Twin Cities offices

National Recoveries Inc. cites a student loan deferment order issued last week for layoffs.
Polaris is restarting some production but is taking numerous cost-cutting steps to survive the downturn resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

Polaris resumes some work but initiates pay cuts and furloughs

Some Polaris workers will be furloughed for two weeks while others have their pay cut 20% through June.
Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, in a file photo taken earlier this month. The agency on

Minnesota jobs agency, hit by wave of claims, asks new filers to follow schedule

DEED is trying to smooth out the volume of filing of jobless claims. More were filed in the last two weeks than in all of 2019.
Versare Solutions in Minneapolis, a maker of room and cubicle partitions, has pivoted to making retail and reception room screens as the economy chang

From kayaks to face shields: Minnesota companies switch gears to fight coronavirus

Versare Solutions pivoted to retail screens, Lightning Kayak to face shields.
Dylon Eisele worked on the control panel of a Delkor case loader last spring. Delkor’s robotic packaging machines are in hgih demand as food compani

Empty shelves mean suppliers like Arden Hills' Delkor are adding workers

Delkor makes food packaging machines, and order are up from Hormel to Blue Bunny ice cream.
The 3M corporation based in Maplewood, Minn. has become one of the most important companies in the fight against the Coronavirus with their personal p

GM, Ford plans to retool include 3M and Twin City Die Castings

Other companies also forming partnerships to meet the needs of health care providers.
An HVAC worker at Daikin Applied Americas in Faribault, Minn., is among many factory workers having to adjust to work in the coronavirus era.

Minnesota factories still churning out goods despite coronavirus

Factories are trying to protect employees, reconfigure their operations
Dr. Deborah Birx, ambassador and White House coronavirus response coordinator, held a 3M N95 mask, with Vice President Mike Pence at 3M in Maplewood o

3M doubles production of respiratory masks, warns of counterfeits

Two other Minnesota factories start producing thousands of COVID-19 test kits and ventilator parts.
Hibbing Taconite, like many other Iron Range operations, is trying to stay open as the coronavirus pandemic changes the steel industry.

Minnesota's taconite plants trying to stay open despite coronavirus effects

Ore plants and workers are juggling a new world of fear, no school and strict sick leave, plus the temporary loss of one of its biggest markets.
Laser operator Mike Alziebler worked last week at Ajax Metal Forming Solutions in Fridley, which has sent ill workers home.

Sick leave, sales strategies shift as Minn. small businesses brace for coronavirus

Sick leave, deliveries and sales strategies shift as employers try to adjust and prepare.

Iron Range producer Cleveland Cliffs buys AK Steel in stock exchange deal

Deal creates combined firm that can now both mine and convert iron ore into steel.
Matt Weiss, president of JATO Dynamics North America spoke about what's ahead for trucks at the inaugural National Truck Summit at the Minneapolis Con

Coronavirus outbreak will disrupt production of popular SUVs, light trucks

National Truck Summit in Minneapolis highlighted how the industry already has been affected by the outbreak.
James Geist-Lindberg, a former St. Francis High School student, working in the Saints Manufacturing space last year.

Minnesota high school's factory wins $100K contract to make snowplow parts

The technical education class that turned into a real company inside St. Francis High School has won a second manufacturing contract with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Christina Cuellar, center, received help from English teacher Ian Rude during class at Cambria. Noelia Sotelo was seated at left.

Cambria's ESL classes are improving the workplace and changing lives

Minnesota countertop maker's program for immigrant workers has boosted production and resulted in promotions.
3M is ramping up production of respiratory masks as coronavirus cases spread. Above, a passenger at the Sao Paolo airport in Brazil waited for a fligh

3M cannot keep up with demand for masks because of coronavirus outbreak

Demand for sanitizers and masks, disruption in China have state's manufacturers scrambling
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

3M Co. agrees to pay $55M to settle PFAS contamination case in Michigan

Settlement money will be used for environmental remediation near shoe maker's disposal site.
Christine Lee

Nurse Christine Ruth Lee dies at North Memorial, where she cared for 1,000 patients

The nurses at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale often joked that they hated taking over the day shift after one of nurse Christine Lee’s…
Cirrus Aircraft has now sold 170 of its $2 million, carbon-fiber single-engine jets, the company said.

Duluth's Cirrus Aircraft posted its best sales year ever in 2019

The Duluth company said sales of its $2 million jets increased by 29% last year.
In Wuhan: In this Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, patients infected with the coronavirus take rest at a temporary hospita

First of Minnesota's largest companies confirm coronavirus will affect bottom line

General Mills, Medtronic, Ecolab talk about how the outbreak is affecting their businesses during investor events.
Ecolab's latest adjusted profit rose 8%, but executives said the firm's results in 2020 will be affected by effects from coronavirus.

Ecolab saw adjusted quarterly profit rise 8%

But fourth-quarter results fell shy of expectations.
Polaris retooled its Slingshot with automatic transmission on the model R.

With sales down, Polaris does major retooling of Slingshot

Medina-based company has reinvented the three-wheel motorcycle after a full review from customer feedback to engineering.
A doctor takes a swab from a woman to test for the COVID-19 virus at a fever clinic in Yinan county in eastern China’s Shandong province on Wednesda

Target, Best Buy could be hit by supply disruptions because of coronavirus

Minnesota companies are scrambling to shift as suppliers struggle to ramp up production because of the epidemic.
Andersen Windows & Doors has launched a rebranding effort that includes a new logo.

Andersen Windows and Doors launches multimillion-dollar rebranding effort

Its first in a decade, the campaign includes a new logo, tagline and ads across TV, radio and social media.
Justin Vandevoort, center, talked with machinist Rod Sammon, left, and press department lead Ben Froman as they worked with a metal stamping die at MR

Look to apprenticeships to jump into hot jobs like skilled manufacturing

Thanks to the tight workforce and more state investment, employers statewide are offering on-the-job training for hard-to-fill jobs.
Winter X Game medalist Mike Schultz teamed up with Protolabs to create a racing prosthetic.

Winter X Games medalist and Maple Plain fabricator team up to make new racing prosthetic

The new prosthetic parts helped "Monster" Mike Schultz take home the gold at the adaptive snow bikecross competition at the 2020 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.
Shown is the 2020 GMC Sierra HD. Minnesota is the national leader in light truck sales.

Twin Cities Auto Show bringing top industry players to inaugural truck summit

The National Truck Summit will be March 6, the day before the weeklong auto show starts at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Park Industries in St. Cloud, which makes machines that cut granite, has revamped its recruitment process to attract needed workers. Shown is one of t

Factories in Minnesota, across nation rebound from slumps

The Midwest showed a higher growth rate after a weak December
Lifetouch's headquarters.

Shutterfly to move up to 100 jobs from California to Eden Prairie

Its California headquarters will lose up to 100 marketing positions to Eden Prairie.
3M global headquarters in Maplewood.

3M to cut 1,500 jobs, reports weak financial results

$214 million in charges for litigation related to water contamination lawsuits had not been included in the company's forecasts.
People wearing masks head Wednesday for Beijing Station in Beijing, China. 3M has workers on overtime to meet the demand of people wanting protective

3M boosts production of face masks as coronavirus spreads in China

3M has dramatically boosted production of respiratory face masks in its Chinese factories in response to the sudden rise of a deadly coronavirus in Wuhan,…
3M global headquarters in Maplewood.

3M flooded with lawsuits on defective earplugs, PFAS chemicals

Firm faces litigation from 2,000 combat veterans.
Polaris taps former Michelin exec as first chief digital officer

Polaris taps former Michelin exec as first chief digital officer

Power sports vehicle maker Polaris Inc. has appointed a former Michelin Groupe executive to the newly created post of chief digital officer, effective immediately, officials…
The start of the tests comes weeks after the city of Decatur notified Maplewood-based 3M of its intent to sue for abatement costs.

3M will drill, test for PFAS contamination at Alabama school site

Chemical, dumped in regulated landfills decades ago, re-emerges as health concern.
Ecolab corporate headquarters in St. Paul.

St. Paul Ecolab jumps into livestock safety by buying company in Belgium

St. Paul-based company purchasing Flemish biosecurity and hygiene firm.
The Wayzn Slide allows dog owners to open the door for pets remotely, even if they are not home.

Sleep Number, Protolabs receive nods for innovation at big CES trade show

Sleep Number won for its new smart bed, and Protolabs shared an award for the Wayzn Slide.
Lawsuits filed by nearly 40 U.S. veterans who sued 3M Co. for defective earplugs and hearing loss have been moved to federal court.

Lawsuits against 3M regarding combat earplugs head to federal court

The cases were moved from Hennepin District Court at 3M's request.
Fastenal headquarters in Winona.

Fastenal worker loses job after angry tweet ripping holiday gift goes viral

Manager's tweet chiding firm's holiday gift violated company policy, CEO said.
Uponor’s Bryan Baxter (left), a process engineer; Andy Jensen, barrier line operator; and President Bill Gray inspect tubing manufactured in Apple V

Building sector has challenges but it is in a good spot for 2020

For Uponor North America's president, builder confidence over the longer term is a big question.
Doosan Bobcat CEO Scott Park at the company's new Global Collaboration Center in the Fifth Street Towers building in Minneapolis.

Doosan Bobcat adding 200 workers through Wisconsin acquisition

The company is buying three Schiller Grounds Care brands and a Wisconsin factory.
Emerson Automation Solution in Shakopee has expanded its operations.

Midwest manufacturing crawls back into growth territory in December

New factory orders and improved sales helped regional factories last month, study says
3M global headquarters in Maplewood.

3M sells ballistic helmet unit for $91 million

Avon Rubber could end up paying another $25 million, company officials said.
Ginny Yingling, left, of the Minnesota Department of Health, talked about PFAS with Sharon and Bruce Perkins in Woodbury.

Lawsuits intensify concerns of 3M's liabilities over PFAS

"This [PFAS] is somewhat like asbestos in that it's very ubiquitous, which means it's pretty much everywhere," said Peter Kelso of the environmental consulting firm Roux Associates.
Ecolab headquarters in downtown St. Paul.

Ecolab spinning off energy business in a deal that will create a $3.5 billion company

The St. Paul-based company will then merge the unit with Texas-based Apergy Corp.
The Cray Plaza surrounded by the twin Galtier towers in Lowertown St. Paul.

Cray Plaza in St. Paul's Lowertown sold with plans to convert offices to apartments

Bigos Management, which owns two nearby apartment towers, buys struggling St. Paul building.
Avivo, a Minneapolis nonprofit, has started a job training program for people who have undergone trauma. (Provided photo)

$400,000 grant funding job training program for people overcoming traumatic events

The pilot program, which launched this summer with six participants, has already shown progress and will be expanded.
Photo shows prototype seal for an adult feeding tube. The product won a Cool Ideas award from Protolabs. (Provided photo)

Protolabs awards two grants to improve feeding tubes for patients

New "Cool Idea" health care manufacturing awards go to Cleveland Clinic and MedStar.
3M on Thursday announced the sale of most of its drug delivery business. Shown is the company's headquarters in Maplewood.

3M to sell bulk of drug delivery unit to Altaris Capital for $650M

The deal involves the transfer of about 900 3M employees to Altaris.