Iron mining has long been an economic driver of Northeast Minnesota – and Jasper Engineering & Equipment Company’s single largest market.
So when the Iron Mining Association of MN (IMA) was founded in 1992 to represent not only the region’s iron mines but businesses – like Jasper– that supply goods and services to the industry, then-President Tom Jamar knew he wanted his company to be involved.
“…we got involved to learn how we could further support the industry and proactively be involved in its future,” Jamar said.
Jamar was one of 11 original supplier members to serve on the IMA board. This year, the IMA celebrates its 25th anniversary, and Jasper Engineering celebrates 25 years as a member.
“The association has matured and evolved into one that provides a lot more opportunities for sharing ideas and expertise,” Jamar said, noting its expansion to include committees on public information, membership, membership, safety and health, workforce and education, and government affairs.
In 25 years, IMA membership has grown from a handful of supplier members to more than 150 today. This year, the association also expanded to include businesses and individuals not directly connected to iron mining but who want to show their support for this vital Minnesota industry.
“We learned to use all the resources available through all the members versus relying on just a few in the first years,” said Jamar, who retired in 2015.
Jasper Engineering’s involvement with the IMA has benefited the business in a number of ways, according to Vice President Jason Janisch, who is currently serving a second consecutive term on the IMA board representing Jasper.
“Networking with all the members has been very beneficial through sharing ideas and getting to know people on a more personal level,” he said. “Jasper has also benefitted through gaining a better understanding of the challenges facing the industry such as environment, workforce, and safety.”
Jasper Engineering & Equipment Company is a manufacturer’s representative and distributor with a full service equipment repair and rubber application facility. The company has two divisions – the Mechanical Process, Pump and Material Handling Division and the Instrumentation, Heat Trace and Control Valve Division. Each has its own team of sales engineers, application engineers, factory-trained technicians, and inside sales professionals trained to meet the specialized needs of their customers.
Jasper was founded in 1958 in Hibbing to serve the burgeoning needs of the taconite mining industry on the Mesabi Iron Range and today supports customers across 10 states in industries as diverse as oil and gas, grain and biofuels, pharmaceutical and medical technology, power and municipal water treatment, food and dairy, and chemical and oilseed processing.
With all its growth, the Hibbing-born company still relies heavily on Minnesota’s iron mining industry.
“Our belief is that if we are to have a vibrant and healthy region, then we need a vibrant and healthy iron ore mining industry,” Janisch said.
Thank you to Tom Jamar and Jason Janisch for sharing their experiences with the IMA. The IMA will be posting profiles on the different founding vendor board members throughout the year to celebrate the association's 25th anniversary.