I was at Arctic Cat’s recently expanded engine production (and engineering) facility in St. Cloud, Minn., earlier this week, where the company held a ribbon cutting featuring various dignitaries from the St. Cloud area as well as Arctic Cat personnel.
The St. Cloud facility is where the company has produced many of its ATV engines since 2007, and the C-TEC2 DSI 6000 series snowmobile engine since becoming a production model for 2014.
Last year the company transitioned several teams of ATV engineers from Thief River Falls to St. Cloud as part of a larger strategy to expand its engineering footprint and employee base.
To make space for the added employees, Arctic Cat expanded its inside floor area. In addition, it equipped the new office area with various, improved means of communicating with Arctic Cat employees at other locations (TRF, Minneapolis, Bucyrus, Ohio) as well as its vendors and suppliers. Modern video conferencing and useful collaboration areas were part of the makeover.
If communication is indeed the foundation of all successful relationships and business – and I believe it is – then the company has incorporated many of the latest and most useful tools to make communicating as easy as possible.
In addition to the expanded office space, Arctic Cat purchased nearby land on which it will construct an ATV/ROV test track, with ground prep beginning as early as this fall. And there is talk about the modularity of the existing building and what sounds like an expansion for increased production and/or engineering facilities.
Along with a new paint line in TRF and the just-opened HQ in the North Loop of downtown Minneapolis, these expansions are part of a big-picture push by the company to grow its size and profitability. Think of it as customizing an old favorite snowmobile with a modern new engine and suspension, then filling up its fuel tank for a nice big ride. Thing’s gonna ride way better, faster and more efficiently for a lot more years into the future.
Which is what I expect for Arctic Cat as a company.
Based on what I saw on computer monitors of CAD designers at St. Cloud, and what I gleaned from conversations with several engineers, there’s A LOT of cool stuff coming. The new Wildcat X and 4X models introduced last week are the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
So the ribbon cutting and hand-shaking on Monday was a celebration of the makeover and expansion of the St. Cloud facility; a thank you to the great employees who manning the stations there; as well as an acknowledgement that the company is poised to go full-gas down the patch set forth by CEO/President Chris Metz.
Everything I saw on Monday has me pumped up and ready to help hit the gas. It’s going to be a fun ride folks!
Thanks for reading.
Inside the lobby at the St. Cloud facility.
A new, expanded office environment was built to provide ATV engineers the optimal tools to design and build future machines.
ATV Engine engineer and emissions manager Dan Johnson spends most of his time in TRF, although weekly trips to St. Cloud are pretty common. Check out the cool historical collage of images behind him!
Rows of H2, 700H1 and C-TEC2 DSI 600 engine were ready to be shipped to TRF for production of ATVs, side-by-sides and snowmobiles.
The company’s Board of Directors met at St. Cloud to see the facility and test some new products. CEO/President Chris Metz (middle, green/grey shirt) is the person whose vision is guiding what’s happening here and throughout the company.
Tracy Crocker, VP & General Manager of Offroad and Parts, Garments and Accessories at Arctic Cat, said a few words prior to the ribbon cutting.
Warren Peterson of Lube-Tech (a key lubricants supplier to Arctic Cat) was at St. Cloud to fry up 23 turkeys for an employee lunch in the afternoon. I personally consumed three of the birds myself. Thanks Warren, Kenny Fett and all the Lube-Tech people who prepped those delicious turkeys!
A fist-pump to the roughly 100 Arctic Cat employees in St. Cloud.