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14 Best Places to Work in Southeast Minnesota honored; Hearth & Home Technologies brings the heat

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LAKE CITY, Minn. (FOX 47) -

Fourteen of the best places to work in Southeast Minnesota were recognized on Thursday night.

This year marks the 8th year that Workforce Development, Inc. has brought about this recognition to Southeast Minnesota.

At the award banquet at Rochester International Event Center, those top companies mingled together for cocktails, dinner, and a presentation.

These best workplaces hail from various areas in the region, including Austin, Albert Lea, Stewartville, Preston, Cannon Falls, Lake City, and right here in Rochester.

Here are the recipients:

Custom Alarm/CCi, Smart HR, Werner Electric, DoubleTree, Gauthier, Pace International, and Pace Dairy Foods in Rochester; Freeborn-Mower-Cooperative Services; Semcac in Preston; GEOTEK in Stewartville; Cooperative Response Center in Austin; Albert Lea Area Schools; Bergquist in Cannon Falls; and Hearth & Home Technologies in Lake City.

We visited one of the businesses before the event on Thursday to get a taste of what it's like to work at one of the "best places to work in Southeast Minnesota".

Hearth & Home Technologies in Lake City has been producing gas fireplaces since 1992.

Boasting roughly 600 employees, the company produces about 1000 fireplaces a day.

Not surprisingly, a fireplace is a Minnesotan's best friend come the frigid winter months.

"A place that they can rally around in the living room and different rooms in the house, adding the heat and really a point of relaxation," said Brian English, the MCR Manager of Hearth & Home Technologies.

This isn't the first time Hearth & Home has received this recognition.

"This will be our seventh time, maybe even our 8th, winning the award in the last ten years," said English.

Though the product is very popular, it's not just that making it one of the top workplaces in the region; Rather, it's the people.

"Everybody says good morning everyday and smile on their faces," said Niki Maslowski, the Group Lead for Lines 1 and 5.

The business is a well-oiled machine, where teamwork is at the forefront.

"Every member depends on everybody else. So, if one member is having trouble or a part's not fitting, basically everything shuts down and we help the team member in trouble," said English.

Add in hard work and ambition, plus employers who value the knack for the craft, and you've got a winning combination.

"You put in the hours and effort and gain the respect of everybody," said Maslowski.

"We like to showcase our members and what they do, and the skills and talents that they bring everyday," said English.

If you're looking for a job and are interested in working at one of the best places to work in Southeast Minnesota, maybe you're calling is at Hearth and Home.

Visit the company's website to learn more about the company, and even apply to start a career.


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