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AKG to expand, hire more workers

AKG North American Operations, Inc. announced Tuesday it will be adding approximately 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space to its location on the south side of Mitchell.

AKG to expand
Wolfgang Dallmann, vice president of AKG North American Operations, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning in Mitchell. The company is expanding its facility by 60,000 square feet. Also pictured is Bryan Hisel, executive director of Mitchell Area Development Corporation. (Chris Huber/Republic)

AKG North American Operations, Inc. announced Tuesday it will be adding approximately 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space to its location on the south side of Mitchell.

During a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, AKG North American Operations Vice President Wolfgang Dallmann said the expansion will be built because of a need for more warehouse space.

"We have been a bit crowded in our production area and this will give us more room to be efficient," he said.

AKG has recently expanded its workforce by 80 people and plans on adding another 80 employees by 2015, which would bring its total workforce in Mitchell to 300.

"This means more families will have good jobs with benefits right here in Mitchell," Dallman said.

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AKG is a German-based company that produces custom-designed, brazed aluminum air-cooled heat exchangers for radiators, oil coolers, air coolers and fuel coolers. It mainly sells its heat exchangers to large construction and farm equipment companies.

Construction on the project has already started and it expected to be completed by the end of year. It is being built by Nelson Engineering Construction Inc. of South Sioux City, Iowa.

Dallmann would not disclose the price of the expansion but did say loans won't be needed for construction.

"We don't like to talk about how much it cost but the good news is the money is there and no bank will be needed," he said.

Bryan Hisel, executive director of Mitchell Area Development Corporation, called Tuesday an exciting day for Mitchell.

"It's great to have to have an international presence like AKG is in our community because it really adds value to our city," Hisel said.

The Mitchell Area Development Corporation recently gave AKG $50,000 for workforce training. The money was available on a loan basis that would be forgiven for each job that would be added.

"The agreement was for 100 new jobs or a cost of about $500 a job," Hisel said. "They have already added 80 employees since then and are expecting to add another 80 so we felt like it was a great investment into the community."

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The money from the development corporation was set up in two parts in order for the company to hire workers from around the Mitchell area, he said, but also to recruit new families to move to Mitchell from other states as well.

With AKG adding employees, Hisel said the industrial park on the south side of Mitchell will house approximately 1,000 jobs in about a four-city block radius.

Mayor Lou Sebert was on hand for what will be the last groundbreaking he attends as mayor of Mitchell. He congratulated AKG for continuing to look toward the future during a down economic time.

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