Photo of 3M


  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Manufacturing

For its many innovations over decades, producing thousands of successfully commercialized products, from the unique optical film that revolutionized the design of laptop computer screens to breakthrough technologies that make possible the ubiquitous “Post-It¨ Repositionable Notes. For aggressive international expansion producing nearly half of 3M’s $14 billion in sales, including $1.5 billion in U.S. exports. And for creating 86,000 jobs worldwide, including 48,000 in the U.S.

3M is responsible for some of the best-known products ever manufactured, including Scotch Tape, Nexcare health products and Post-it notes. That wide range of products is by design – for more than a century 3M has fostered an atmosphere that encourages its employees to bring new ideas to the table.

Started as a mining company in 1902 – Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. — 3M has become one of the globe’s most powerful brands. Based outside St. Paul, Minn., the company employs nearly 90,000 workers and boasts annual sales of more than $30 billion. The company today manufactures some 60,000 products.

Among the employees are scientists that have turned 3M into one of the world’s most influential research companies. The company was so committed to innovation that in 1948 it adopted a program allowing employees to dedicate one day each week to developing their own products.

Among the company’s many firsts: waterproof sandpaper, masking tape, cellophane tape, dry-silver microfilm, and advancements in products ranging from computer screens and projectors to stethoscopes.

In 2014, the company earned its 100,000th patent and recently opened a state-of-the-art research lab on its campus to keep the innovation coming.

By Bob Warren