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MOORHEAD, MN-A wind energy company and the nation’s largest John Deere sales and service company are both consolidating and expanding operations in Moorhead’s McCARA industrial park. The moves are partly a result of the state’s Job Opportunity Building Zone initiative.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the industrial park was “the perfect place for these two companies to consolidate and expand solid businesses that expand the abundance of wind energy and build on the area’s deep agricultural roots.”

Midwest Construction Services, Inc., a holding company that encompasses seven distinct companies related to wind energy manufacturing and technology, intends to build four new buildings in Moorhead. The move will bring together seven disparate and far-flung companies, all but one of which currently operate in North and South Dakota.

With 55 locations around the country, RDO/PROffutt Limited Partnership is the nation’s largest dealer of John Deere agricultural and industrial equipment. The company plans to close its Fargo, ND operations and open a John Deere service, parts and sales facility or industrial, agricultural, and consumer product equipment. There may also be a refurbishment and remanufacturing unit within the premises.

The two JOBZ projects combined represents at least 150 new jobs over the next two years, as well as retention of another 169 existing local jobs in Moorhead. The JOBZ initiative offers a variety of local and state tax incentives to companies that start up, expand or relocate in one of ten designated regions of Minnesota.

Since the program’s inception in January 13 companies have executed agreements to invest more than $29 million in the state and will create at least 230 new jobs, averaging about $12.50 an hour, plus benefits.

Scott Neal, the real estate division manager for RDO/PROffutt, confirms his company considered expansions at other North Dakota and Minnesota locations, but were persuaded that the JOBZ benefits made Moorhead a logical choice for the move. “We were courted heavily by city officials and I think it’s fair to say that the JOBZ program was the major deciding factor for us,” he says.

Paul Bruhn, president and chief executive officer of Midwest Construction Services, agreed the JOBZ program “was a very positive influence for us in deciding to expand in Moorhead, and it’s a very positive thing both locally here in Moorhead and for the state.”

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