Heard on the Street — Jeff Kiger column sig

While the pandemic is putting thousands of jobs on hold, some businesses are looking for employees.

Many of those hiring are national and regional retailers, like Walmart and Kwik Trip, though one operation is looking for drivers.

MedSpeed, the Elmhurst, Ill.-based firm that transports medical goods for Mayo Clinic, is looking for couriers to handle intra-campus and inter-campus deliveries of diagnostic specimens, internal mail, supplies, food-service items, linens and equipment. Medspeed took over the contract from Gold Cross Courier in 2018.

"MedSpeed expects to hire approximately 200 Logistics Service Representatives (medical couriers/drivers) across the country over the next few weeks, with a fair number of those hires in Rochester," said Angie Gray, MedSpeed’s Chief Human Resources officer. "In the immediate future, we anticipate hiring up to 10 in Rochester."

Gray said the company is hiring full-time and part-time couriers for first, second and third shifts. All applicants must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. The job requires frequent standing and the ability to lift and move a minimum of 50 pounds.

"There is an ongoing demand for what we do, because we move patient-critical materials. However, there has been increased demand within the health care organizations we serve to move more specimens to the lab for urgent testing as well as moving personal protective equipment and other equipment from facility to facility," she explained.

Those interested in the jobs can visit medspeed.com.

Biz buzz

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned down the volume on Rochester's previously booming downtown.

While some restaurants are still operating by offering takeout and delivery, others, such as The Loop and Cameo at the Castle, have decided to temporarily close as the situation plays out.

Holly Masek, the executive director of the Rochester Downtown Alliance, said this emergency hits at the core of what people like about downtown — gathering for events like Thursdays on First and Third and SocialIce.

"Obviously, the reason we all love downtown is being together ... meeting and being with friends and co-workers," she said. "It's very quiet downtown now."

The feeling downtown last week was all about immediate crisis management and mobilization, she said. The mood on Monday already felt different.

"This week has been more about how can we help each other in a longer term type of way," she said. "We will all need to do our best to be supportive and stay positive."

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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