(Left) Zach James Wagner thanked soldiers for their service at the company’s Annual Veterans Day on Nov. 11. (Right) Minnesota Wire supports the University of Minnesota’s Racing Team.
Minnesota Wire, a 54-year-old family-owned business that specializes in manufacturing wire for defense and medical markets, cites “community” as being a core value. Below, the company explains what that includes.
The Minnesota Wire Charitable Giving Fund, established in 2001, has donated over $750,000. Minnesota Wire founders Fred and Nora Wagner created the fund that over the years has donated to organizations from adoption agencies and the Special Olympics to veteran’s organizations and homeless shelters. The company has assisted hundreds of different organizations/charities within its communities.
Beyond direct company donations, Minnesota Wire invites employees to suggest charities, and encourages them to give back through donations and/or volunteer time. Those include individual and team volunteer involvement grants, matching donations and charity donations. That translates to support of MS Bike Rides, Polar Plunges, highway clean up projects and support of local youth sports teams. But the company’s largest hosted event continues to be its Annual Veterans Day celebration, which was celebrated on Nov. 11, 2022.
The event honors area veterans and their families and is open to the public. Minnesota Wire and its employees are dedicated to providing life saving connections to soldiers, veterans and their families. This year marks our 13th Annual Event. The company hosts and sponsors it while employees do the event planning, recruit sponsorships, create literature/promotion, procure raffle prizes, arrange booths for area Veteran Services available, provide a free lunch and beer, arrange inspirational speakers, local school bands/choirs to perform, display military or classic vehicles and provide same day event staff. Pre-pandemic, the event served up to 600 free meals and was long the only Veterans Day Celebration in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The company offers employees who are Veterans paid time off to attend. We like to say, “Come to Thank a Vet ~ Stay for the BBQ!”
Minnesota Wire is inclusive, employing people with a multitude of various disabilities, and providing them the accommodations so they can perform their jobs successfully. It starts from home, as company Chairman/CEO Paul J. Wagner named the Eau Claire building where this happens after his beloved son, Zachary James Wagner, who thrives daily regardless of his intellectual disability (ZJ Enterprises). Zach, an Eagle Scout, regularly participates in the Veterans Day event.
The extended Wagner family operates a farm in Wisconsin for people with developmental challenges called Community Homestead. There, some 40 people of all ages and abilities celebrate land and human sustainability, run an organic dairy farm, an organic biodiverse garden and CSA, a bakery and food processing kitchen, a woodshop and many crafts. Not only does the company financially donate to the farm, Zach enjoys volunteering his time on the farm as well.
Minnesota Wire believes in strong STEM programs. At Eau Claire, the company partners with area middle schools to help promote STEM opportunities within the manufacturing sector. It provides monthly factory tours, speakers and “hands on” activities. At our R&D facility in St. Paul, the company welcomed astronaut Duane “Digger” Carey (http://astronautbiker.com/) as a guest speaker at their 50th Anniversary Celebration. In honor of his participation, the company donated to the Farnsworth Aerospace Charter School in St. Paul which serves pre K-8 STEM and aerospace programs. The company enjoys a long history of sponsorship and engineering support for the University of Minnesota Racing Team (Gopher Motorsports). Paul J. Wagner also devotes his time to being a mentor/judge in area high school Robotics/STEM groups and university level Robotics competitions.
Charity and giving back is more than a special occasion for Minnesota Wire, it is an essential part of who we are.
Manufacturers GIVING BACK
This is part 13 of Wire Journal International's first-ever feature presenting 16 manufacturers that have given back to their communities: hundreds others could just as easily have been here. Each entry has a unique story, yet the common thread is the people—of all ranks—who care about their companies as well as their communities. Big volunteer efforts deserve applause, but so do smaller ones as they all head in the same direction. In a time when there is seldom a lack of daunting news, one can take pride in the industry spirit.
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Looking for other parts of this feature series?
Hitachi Cable America (now Proterial Cable America), Viakable, Acme Wire Products, High-Performance Conductors (HPC), Kris-Tech, Allied Wire, Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc., Cerrowire, Belden, Fort Wayne Metals, Optimus Steel, Prysmian, Minnesota Wire, Southwire, Service Wire, Alloy Wire International
> Employer alert! Volunteers make for a better workforce.
> How can a small business start a ‘giving back’ program?