Power Lift tells governor about expansion plans

Jeff Conner (right), owner and CEO of Jefferson-based Power Lift, gives Gov. Terry Branstad a tour of the company’s 70,000 square-foot manufacturing facility on Highway 30.

Power Lift’s CEO and general manager—the father-son team of Jeff and Chris Conner—told Gov. Terry Branstad last week that they plan to expand their sports-performance-equipment manufacturing facility in Jefferson.

With 45 employees, the east-side expansion of the fabrication area, expected in the next two years. Would mean another five to seven employees, General Manager Chris Conner said.

Branstad toured the Jefferson business for about an hour last Wednesday. “Greene County’s not a big county, but it’s a county that’s got a lot of activity,” Branstad said.

Power Lift began in 1999 with a plan to manufacture Olympic lifting platforms for athletic and sports-performance facilities.

“To get started in the business, I had to rely on my friends,” Jeff Conner said. A $100,000 loan from Home State Bank seeded what is now an “eight-figure company,” Conner said. “That’s how we got going,” Conner said.

Since then, the company has grown substantially and added a high-quality weight equipment line.

Power Lift prides itself on being an innovator in an exclusive market. Key components to the success: a precise engineering process, as well as the high quality of manufacturing.

“I wouldn’t want to really manufacture anywhere else,” Jeff Conner said. He added, “Everything I’ve ever done in my life has been right here.”

Power Lift’s expanding customer base includes colleges, universities, professional sports teams, the U.S. military, high schools and athletic-performance facilities.

“Our equipment is popular for its unique design and appearance, professional and student athletic recruiting appeal and its safe, multifunctional training capabilities,” Jeff Conner said.

Seventy percent of the company’s work is with colleges, universities and high schools. The company is heavily involved in professional sports as well, as evidenced by its work with the National Football League’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. Another 7 percent of the work is for the military and 7 percent is overseas. Power Lift has sales representatives in the United Kingdom and Japan.

Power Lift has outfitted training facilities for athletes’ personal residences. Among the high-profile customers: NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson; former NFL player and high-profile television analyst Howie Long; former New York Yankee Derek Jeter; and Triple H, the professional wrestler.

Courtesy of Douglas Burns, The Jefferson Herald, 2/26/15

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