BLUE EARTH - Express Diagnostics International, Inc., keeps growing by leaps and bounds.
The Blue Earth-based company is happy to show how it makes the drug testing units that are used all over the world.
Employees did that Thursday as part of the Tour of Manufacturing, sponsored by EideBailly and Minnesota WorkForce Center. The tour included 13 businesses in southcentral Minnesota, most in the Mankato/North Mankato area. EDI and Wells Concrete were the only Faribault County businesses featured, and none from Martin County were included in the tour.
Stacy Scofield, left, of Express Diagnostics International, Inc., in Blue Earth talks to a tour group about how EDI is growing while workers box up drug testing units in the background. EDI hosted the Tour of Manufacturing Thursday.
A handout from the sponsors said the tour was "an opportunity to learn about what's manufactured here and the many exciting career opportunities available now and in the future."
Stacy Scofield, Express Diagnostics' marketing coordinator, touched on those opportunities as she led a tour group through the building. EDI started in 2004 with two small offices; today, it covers 30,000 square feet and employs 90 to 95 people.
"A majority of our workers are from Faribault County," she said.
The company will soon bring in 15 more workers and steadily hire more.
"We continue to grow and need employees," Scofield said.
Those employees assemble several variations of drug-testing kits that are used by everyone from probation officers to businesses. The kits include color-coded strips for specific drugs, and the kits can be custom ordered to the customer's needs.
The products have an 18-month shelf life, but "we're manufacturing so quickly nothing is staying on the shelves," Scofield said.
She added that the company is conscious of where their raw materials originate.
"It's 100 percent U.S.-made," Scofield said, adding that some of the plastics used are made in Minnesota.
The work force isn't the only growth area: EDI plans to knock down a wall and expand into space that is now used for storage.
One of the reasons for all the growth is their latest product.
"We developed a test for anemia (where the blood does not have enough red blood cells) and will be expanding into blood testing," Scofield said. "There is a very large need in developing countries for testing for anemia on pregnant women and children."
When asked where they get the ideas, Scofield credited management.
"Paul (Johnson, CEO) and the owners are very forward thinkers," she said, adding they have lots of contacts and they listen. "Upper management is 100 percent behind what we want, to make efficiency happen."