COLD SPRING -- From starting off as a small granite company, to contributing to the war effort during World War II, Coldspring has been playing an intricate role in central Minnesota for over a century.

Coldspring (formerly known as Cold Spring Granite) will be featured in this year's Tour of Manufacturing. Scott Piecek, Director of Human Relations says the company has grown into one of the largest natural stone manufacturers in the world.

"All the way from during World War II we created ship hulls and tank turrets. Its diversified itself pretty well, and then we started getting into the bronze manufacturing, so that's another expansion of it. We've also gotten into diamond tooling."

Piecek says by creating their own diamond tools it saves the company money and they no longer have to buy it from an outside agency.

Coldspring has a large presence in Central Minnesota. It's headquarters, primary manufacturing facility and bronze foundry are all located in the town of Cold Spring. Within the area the company employs more than 700 employees.

The company extends across the country with 30 quarries, four fabrication facilities and an roughly more than 200 employees outside of the state.

Among employing hundreds of workers, Coldspring also sells stone slabs including granite, limestone, marble and standstone to local businesses for residential use. The company also manufactures and distributes bronze memorials, is a cemetery building consultant and provides construction services. Piecek says with Coldspring's many operations, it is in need of more employees.

"Anything from a quarry worker, to an estimator, to a housekeeper, to individuals that need to work in the bronze factory."

Qualifications for each position vary from needing a high school diploma to a 4-year degree.

Coldspring is investing in the next generation by supporting STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) programs. The company has been working with ROCORI school district and St. Cloud Technical and Community College to encourage students to pursue a STEM field career.

"The average employee right now is 45-years-old and have been in the company for 25-years. The students that really start to participate in the STEM activities, really have the soft skills, employability skills...it's being able to work, collaborate, team work, communicate."

Coldspring actively supports robotics clubs and other STEM field activities.

The Tour of Manufacturing begins on Saturday. Coldspring will be hosting tours at its main facility in the town of Cold Spring, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Closed toe shoes and long pants are required to go on the tour.

(Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)