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New Howard plant: 26 jobs now, 95 later

HOWARD — Donnerite Inc., a Minnesota-based company, announced this week that it will expand its operations to Howard.

Donnerite operates a truck and heavy equipment repair company and manufacturing business that specializes in custom design and fabrication of all types of projects.

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The company will locate in what’s known as the Knight & Carver building in Howard, which formerly housed a wind-energy business. Plans include 26 employees in the first year of operation and up to 95 total employees within five years.

“Donnerite Inc.’s decision to expand its operations to our state is a testament to what South Dakota has to offer,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard in a news release. “Word is spreading that South Dakota has a business-friendly environment, quality workforce and an unbeatable way of life.”

Bill Donner, co-owner of Donnerite Inc., was also quoted in the news release.

“We are very excited to be expanding our design and fabricating business to Howard,” Donner said. “We are moving into an existing building and will be hiring local people. We hope to bring in others from outside Howard and surrounding areas, encouraging them to relocate to the community.”

Donnerite Inc. is co-owned by Bill and Deb Donner, of Spicer, Minn.

The Knight & Carver building in Howard came into the possession of the state Board of Economic Development at 75 percent ownership and Heartland Consumers Power District at 25 percent ownership by way of a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The two entities are selling the building to Donnerite by way of a contract for deed for $625,000.

“Donnerite Company is the perfect fit for Howard and the vacant Knight & Carver building,” said Russell Olson, CEO of Heartland Consumers Power District, based in Madison. “We have been working with state and local officials for some time to fill that space. Bill and Deb Donner have a passion for small towns and have run a successful company for nearly two decades. They will have a positive impact on the community and we at Heartland are excited about Howard’s bright future.”

Donnerite Inc. began its operations in 1996 with a repair shop based out of Bill and Deb Donner’s home. During the past 17 years, Donnerite has grown from one small shop to six businesses throughout Minnesota, employing close to 100 people.