Success Stories
 
Left to right: Steve Kohl, AAI Engineer of Manufacturing; Derek Thompson, CIRAS; Pete Bardole, Greene County Farm Bureau; Lisa Ebersole, AAI Marketing Manager; Mark Lane, AAI VP of Operations.

American Athletics Incorporated (AAI) of Jefferson has been named the recipient of Iowa Farm Bureau's 'Renew Rural Iowa' (RRIA) Entrepreneur Award. Read more »

AAI American Athletic Incorporated Entrepreneur Award Greene County Jefferson Renew Rural Iowa success stories

 

Premier English tool maker Robert Sorby is delighted to announce it is partnering with Iowa-based
woodworking museum and furniture workshop RVP~1875. Read more »

Greene County International Partnership Jefferson RVP~1875 Success Stories

 
Sen. Charles Grassley speaks to employees of Scranton Manufacturing during a visit to Scranton. Grassley also toured the plant, which makes New Way refuse haulers.

Following a walking look at the refuse-truck manufacturer’s sprawling Scranton complex, Vice President of Operations Jim Ober announced that the company posted a record month in March during a visit by Senatpr Grassley. Scranton Manufacturing will ship 102 vehicles. The highest number prior to that: 74. Read more »

Daily Times Herald Douglas Burns Greene County record month Scranton Scranton Manufacturing Senator Grassley Success Stories

 
Nutritional Services Manager Joel Schmidt (front row, second from the right) and his staff cut the ribbon signaling the official opening, surrounded by members of the Audubon Chamber of Commerce.

The Nutritional Services division of AMVC celebrated the grand opening of their new facility on Thursday, Oct. 29 with a ribbon cutting by the Audubon Chamber of Commerce. Read more »

AMVC Audubon County Audubon County Advocate Journal business expansion Grand Opening Success Stories

 
Michael McLaughlin talks to the Coon Rapids Rotary Club to discuss the purchase of Macke Motors.

Scranton Manufacturing will venture into the car dealership business once it finalizes purchase of Macke Ford. This is just one of many business endeavors for this Scranton-based firm, founded in 1971. Read more »

Business Growth Business History Coon Rapids Enterprise Greene County Macke Ford New Way Scranton Scranton Manufacturing Success Stories

 

Flint Hills Resources announced today it is adding 5 million bushels of corn storage at its Fairbank and Menlo ethanol plants. The new ground piles will more than double each plant’s on-site corn storage capacity and are expected to begin receiving corn in early October. Read more »

Capacity Expansion Flint Hills Resources Guthrie Center Times Menlo Success Stories

 
Whiterock Board Member, Jen Garst of Ames cut the ribbon at a Whiterock trail.

Whiterock Conservancy hosted three days of outdoor activities and unveiled its extended trail system last weekend before visitors and guests from across the state Read more »

Backcountry Trail System Coon Rapids Coon Rapids Enterprise Guthrie County Guthrie County Tourism Recreation Success Stories Tourism Trail Expansion Whiterock Conservancy

 

Wild Rose Jefferson is on schedule to open Aug. 1, with a grand opening slated for one week later, Aug. 7-8. Another job fair slated for June 27. Read more »

Grand Opening Greene County Greene County News Online Job Fair Sneak Preview Success Stories Wild Rose Jefferson

 
Darko Bilic and Puck Custom Enterprises founder Ben Puck christen the company’s first retail store, located in Croatia.

Puck Custom Enterprises is poised to take advantage of the growing Eastern European market for swine technology. Read more »

Audubon County business expansion Croatia Daily Times Herald Manning overseas expansion Puck Custom Enterprises Success Stories

 

A normal order for New Way can take anywhere form 60-90 days. In order to meet the demands of a new client, a Canadian-firm, New Way plans to cut that time in half, 30-45 days, for a June 15 delivery of 31 custom garbage trucks. Read more »

Coon Rapids Enterprise Custom Order Greene County International Business New Way Scranton Success Stories

 

Grow Greene County and Wild Rose Entertainment got the green light for a casino and its companion convention facility from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at the Commission’s regular meeting this morning in Burlington. The vote went to the finish, with a 2-2 vote before Commission chair Jeff Lamberti cast the final vote, a “yes.”

WR Casino stacked logo2The Commission voted 3-2 to approve the gaming license for the proposed $40 million facility. About 25 Greene County residents, including almost all the Grow Greene County group, was present. All the Commissioners spoke very highly of the participation of residents in the process. “I feel very pleased and proud of the way you approached it,” Commissioner Carl Heinrich said in his comments, aimed at both supporters and opponents of the application.

Heinrich cast the first vote, a “no” vote. He said he had looked carefully at the data from casino market studies done for the Commission, and that with the negative impact named in the studies, and no advantage to the state (the studies showed little new gaming revenues were likely), he did not support the application.

Dolores Mertz voted second. She said that as an Iowa legislator, she had learned that the political divide in the state is not as much Democrat vs. Republican, but urban vs. rural. “Competition is good for you. It makes you more alert, a better observer of what’s going on,” she said, and then praised Prairie Meadows for improvements already underway. After talking about the benefits of the proposed casino, she added, “Rural Iowa is missing something. Sometimes, can’t rural Iowa have a little piece of the action?”

Mertz said her gut feeling is that a casino in Greene County would be a good thing and she noted the 75 percent approval of the August referendum. She voted “yes.”

Kris Kramer cast the third vote, a “no.” Her comments were brief as she explained that her vote was based on the market studies. She said now is not the time for another casino in Iowa.

Commission member Rich Arnold tied the vote with his “yes” vote. He also made only brief comments, but said that he found the projected negative impact on existing casinos to be minimal.

The approximately 125 persons in the room were silent and alert as Lamberti began his comments. He echoed what other Commission members had said about the quality of the effort and the difficulty of the decision. “We all studied the criteria set forth in Code and in our administrative rules, but we’re also all entitled to judge those criteria and how much weight we put on those, which ones really make a difference for us in making our final decision,” he said. “That’s what’s unique about the system we have in Iowa. There are no magic guidelines that tell us when we should issue a license and when we should deny, and that makes it very difficult on us as individual commissioners. But we all do that. We all study and we all listen. We weigh this against those criteria with one idea in mind, and that is to arrive at the best decision we can, one that we can support, one that we believe is in the best interest of the state of Iowa.”

Lamberti also talked about a “gut feeling.” “I can go back and forth almost day by day in coming to my decision. Quite frankly, as Dolores mentioned, a lot of it comes down to your gut, to what you believe, and in the end if it’s the right decision for the state of Iowa.”

He said he sees a positive economic benefit of a casino in Greene County. He also sees an impact on existing facilities. He said he lives in Ankeny, and he based his decision on optimism about the future of Polk County. ”We’ve had lots of advantages in Polk County, and we have lots of advantages that are going to come in the future. We’ve got significant population growth amongst all of our suburbs. We’ve got some things that are in the works that are quite historic by Iowa standards. Quite frankly we have advantages that other parts of the state don’t have, and quite frankly, I think we’re going to be just fine.”

“I also, being from Polk County, have an interest in making sure that the rural folks get a part of this as well,” he said before saying he wouldn’t draw the decision out any longer.

“I feel confident that the decision we’re going to make is the right decision, though I respect everybody’s decision on this because it is that close of a decision. I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong call on this. We all have to go with what we believe and we’ll make our decision and we’ll move on,” Lamberti said. At that point he cast his “yes” vote. Only about 10 seconds of applause followed, and the Commissioners approved the formal motion with specific criteria Wild Rose Entertainment must meet along the way. Read more »

Success Stories

 

The historic Warren Cultural Center in Greenfield has once again taken its place as the "grand lady" of town square. Enabled by REAP funding, its expansive windows, oxidized copper accents and distinctive turret provide the architectural foundation for the three-story brick structure that serves as a landmark destination for culture, art and commerce in southwest Iowa.

The multi-purpose center occupies nearly 30,000 square feet- an entire corner of Greenfield Square. In addition to the restructured opera house auditorium and balcony that seats 240, it provides office space, conference and meeting rooms, guest rooms and a spacious lobby and gallery that showcases art and photography exhibits.

Ed & Eva's (the Warrens' first names) occupies the ground floor retail space, once home to the Warrens' dry goods store. It sells a collection of works by more than 80 Iowa artists, who receive 70 per cent commission from sales. The original dry goods store sign still resides inside Ed & Eva's, which sells pieces varying from metal sculpture and woodwork to handmade jewelry and bar ware.

Originally built in 1896 and put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, a century later and in disrepair the building was gifted to Main Street Greenfield by a private citizen in 1996.

In 2000, the E. E. Warren Opera House Association (EEWOHA) was formed as a non-profit corporation, officially taking the reins for redevelopment of the property. REAP funding was secured through an Historical Resource Development Program grant in 2010.

Iowa REAP funds were used to remove the storefront and restore its copper trim. The original double-hung windows were repaired, restored, and thermally upgraded, using preprinted metal frames that matched the original wood-profile paneling and insulated glass that facilitates higher energy efficiency and stability. The copper and mortar on the parapet was also selectively tuck-pointed and refabricated to match the existing finish, keeping the majority of the copper original on the turret.

"Most of the brick was repointed and it has to be done in a very particular was to meet the historical standards," explained director Ken Sidey.

"The removal and replacement process was carefully orchestrated among mason, copper contractors, roofers and other laborers, since each building component installation had a direct impact on the others. Because sometimes two or three lifts were in use at once, safety for pedestrians and drivers was a top priority," said EEWOHA vice-president Catherine Howe.

Howe explained the impact of REAP funding on the project's success: "As an early funding source during the capital campaign, the REAP grant demonstrated the confidence the State of Iowa had in the realization of the vision for these historic buildings. When potential supporters see evidence there is broad based support within the community in addition to county, state and federal sources, they are willing to make the investment. To know that as a contributor each dollar had the potential to be matched 2 or 3 times, their willingness to commit increased. The potential donor is also convinced of the sponsoring organization's creativity and commitment in securing project funding when the base for support reaches diverse sources."

The restoration project dollars have found their way into the local economy in several ways, Howe said. As required by grant funding, $1.3 million has gone to Greenfield contractors. Additional spending has gone to firms and workers in nearby towns. Local restaurants, lodging and stores have benefited as well.

Along with numerous local and state awards, the Warren Cultural Center was awarded the prestigious National Preservation Honor Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2013. - The Adair News Read more »

Success Stories

 

Des Moines, IA – May 2, 2014: The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) honored economic development organizations from Ames, Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Spencer and Stuart during the SMART Economic Development Conference held in Des Moines on May 1.

The PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional economic development initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies. Receiving awards for their support of BRE in 2013 were:

BRE Overall Program: Greater Dubuque Development Corporation
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
Ames Economic Development Commission

Single Project: Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation
– Polaris Industries Expansion Expansion
Midwest Partnership Economic Development Corporation
– Scranton Manufacturing Co., Inc.

“Supporting Iowa’s existing industry is a key priority for PDI’s membership,” stated Stacie LoVan, PDI President. “The BRE Awards are intended to increase the focus on fostering Iowa business growth by economic development organizations and spotlight BRE programs and projects that have made a significant impact on Iowa communities.”

Founded in 1973, with current membership of over 320, PDI is an organization dedicated to advancing the professionalism of its members through a wide range of programs and services. As an association, PDI provides professional training that helps its members do a better job for their community. PDI creates an atmosphere of support and offers an instant network of seasoned experts for local professionals to seek advice and support.

Learn more about PDI at www.pdiowa.com, www.facebook.com/ProfessionalDevelopersOfIowa and www.twitter.com/pdiowa .
Read more »

Success Stories

 

Earth Day was celebrated near Coon Rapids with the groundbreaking ceremony for Whiterock Conservancy's $4.8 million state-of-the-art backcountry trail system.

The 35 mile trail will give visitors the opportunity to experience being surrounded by nature. Winding through the seven square miles of Whiterock Conservancy, visitors will be taken to oak savanna and prairie restoration areas, forests, ponds, stunning vistas, pastures and sustainably farmed land in the Middle Raccoon River Valley.

"We could not think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than marking the start of construction for a trail that will allow many, many more Iowans to experience the beautiful natural landscape Whiterock was created to protect," said Conrad Kramer, executive director.

"Whiterock works every day to protect and improve this special land, but being able to have students from Coon Rapids-Bayard School and volunteers help plant trees the same day was the perfect complement to the groundbreaking."

Adding to packed aggregate trails already at Whiterock, this sustainable designed dirt trail will bring the total number of miles available to walkers and runners to 40.

For the first time, 16 miles of single track trails specially designed for mountain bikers will be added. An additional 7 miles and an open pasture ride will be constructed to specifically serve equestrians. The remaining miles will be double track trail offering some of the best vistas in Iowa and will be open to all trail users including those with mobility restrictions who can use rented low power vehicles to venture deep into the wilderness.

Other improvements being made as part of the trail system are a new horse RV campground, new hike/bike in wilderness campsites, new interpretive signs and nature viewing blinds, and the renovation of the Burr Oak Visitor Center to provide additional meeting and event space. -Audubon County Advocate Journal Read more »

Success Stories

 

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have announced that Greene County has earned the designation as the first Home Base Iowa community.

Branstad and Reynolds plan to be in Jefferson at the AAI Showroom from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13, for a ceremony introducing the program to the county.

Greene County officials, led by Home State Bank President Sid Jones and Greene County Development Corporation Executive Director Ken Paxton, have worked closely with the governor's office on the initiative to recruit returning military veterans to Iowa.

"Since we launched the bipartisan Home Base Iowa veterans jobs plan, Greene County has made it clear that the community stands ready to welcome service members and match them with good, high-paying jobs," Branstad said. "I commend the entire Greene County community for their work and look forward to being there in March to celebrate the achievement."

Paxton and Greene County business leaders are organizing veterans and workforce delegations to greet Branstad and Reynolds and other state officials associated with Home Base Iowa.

"When Governor Branstad and I launched the Home Base Iowa initiative to attract service members with their unique skillsets to Iowa, Greene County was there standing ready to adopt measures to become a Home Base Iowa Community," Reynolds said. "I look forward to joining Greene County leaders, business and citizens to announce the exciting designation."

The governor rolled out the overarching plan last fall at Camp Dodge in an event attended by Greene County leaders. In a follow-up news conference at the State Capitol, where has was joined by Paxton, Branstad described how cities and counties and businesses can earn designations as veteran friendly through jobs and housing programs, as well as other efforts.

A White House report says each year the military separates between 240,000 and 360,000 service members - and that the services are "expected to separate a million service members over the next several years."

Branstad said Iowans have a responsibility to those veterans - professionals who also have the training to make enormous contributions in the state.

"We want veterans to know that Iowans can provide them with not just a job, but a career in a caring welcoming community," Branstad said.

Branstad will detail resources and programs involved with Home Base Iowa during the Greene County event.

In Greene County, a countywide Veterans Jobs and Career Task Force led by a number of businesspeople and former military veterans has been meeting for about four months to leverage elements of the developing state plan. The goal: recruit veterans and their families for more than 1,000 jobs Greene County officials expect will be available in the next three to five years. -www.carrollspaper.com
Read more »

Home Base Iowa Success Stories

 

After a rigorous training and application process, it was announced Thursday, February 6, by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, that Guthrie Center in Guthrie County was named one of three new Main Street Iowa communities, along with Avoca and Newton. Main Street communities are designated after demonstrating the ability to work together and develop a strategic plan to further strengthen and create opportunities in their cities. Each community receives approximately 40 days on on-site training and technical assistance as well as 30 days of training for volunteers and local staff for the first three years of their designation. The state of Iowa's total investment for each Main Street community is $120,000 over the first three years and $10,000 in technical assistance and continued training annually. Read more in this news release from Iowa Economic Development Authority. Read more »

Success Stories

 

Superstition in the 19th century typically would have prevented a furniture maker from building and displaying a coffin specifically for his showroom. It seems that folks back then thought if you build one, someone would surely wind up in it. But when Robby Pederesen, the Jefferson furniture maker who adheres to the techniques, tools and finishes of the 1870s, waned a coffin for his own showroom, he did something presumably would have freaked the muttonchops right off even the most hardened veteran of Antietam. He measured himself. And you know what? Working daily in the shadow of his own coffin, Pedersen's RVP~1875 historical furniture shop is thriving.

Pedersen, 43, recently signed off on his 820th career piece. "Lots of dining room tables come out of here," he explained one recent morning as a fire crackled and popped inside his hearth's shop.

The shop is coming off a banner year- having produced 82 pieces and nabbing the state of Iowa's 2013 outstanding tourism business award in October- but it looks like history will repeat itself in 2014.

Just 30 days into the new year, Pedersen already is only four orders away from being booked with work through Christmas. "This is the farthest out we've been," Pedersen said.

That's also merely keeping with historical accuracy. In 1875, he said, the average furniture maker had a waiting list of at least six months.

The first weekend in February RVP~1875 will host the first in a series of three-day workshops this years at a cost of $250 for beginners to learn about the trade. By Sunday, students will have built their own piece of furniture. Additional workshops are scheduled for March 7-9 and September 26-28.

When Pedersen set up shop nearly six years ago in the old Milligan Lumber, Grain and Coal building just off the Square, conventional wisdom suggested that his business model had about as much of a chance at succeeding as an infant born on the prairie during a cholera outbreak.

"Everybody said "If you're going to make a living t it you're going to have to use power tools,'" he said. Instead, he is now arguably the only shop in the nations- possibly the world- that turns out period furniture the way it would have been done in the 1800s, and produces enough of it to be self-sustaining. "We've got a business model that proves it can be done," he said.

The more than 400 hand planes lining Pedersen's shelves is a good indicator that RVP~1875 is a cut above similar-minded shops. The 19th century woodworking tools in his shop- including the Barnes Velocipede saw, a 140 year old, leg-powered, bicycle-like contraption- aren't just for show, despite their advanced age. The finishes also are a recipe of his own. He boils walnut husks for the dye, adding tints of raspberries, onion skins, and other goodies, but how much he uses remains a fiercely guarded secret.

His wife and business partner, Angie Pedersen, doesn't even know.

The whole endeavor makes for something totally unique to Jefferson- hence the Iowa Tourism Office's recognition last fall of RVP~1875 and the adjoining History Boy Theatre Company as a top draw for visitors to the Hawkeye State.

A 1989 graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School, Pedersen spent ten years as a historical interpreter at Living History Farms near Des Moines before setting out on his own with RVP~1875, which was initially located in Story City. "We needed to pick our permanent home," he explained. "We did a national search and got offers from all over the country." The list was whittled down to three well-established tourist destinations, including Galena, IL., all of which were offering lifetime lease incentive. "I came home to talk to my parents about my options," Pedersen recalls. "I don't even know why, but I came up and looked at this building. I just fell in love with it. It had everything I would ever need. Jefferson wasn't even on my radar. Now it feels right. It made sense to come home."

His hometown of Jefferson makes it possible, he believes, to be a true production shop.

Today Pedersen has shipped his furniture to places as far away as Finland and Australia.

Like Iowa's settlers, Pedersen has staked one of the first claims of its kind in Greene County. But whether his settlement now goes the way of Jefferson or Angus remains to be seen. "we're here to start the tourism anchor. Hopefully, they utilize us," he says. - adapted from The Jefferson Herald Read more »

Success Stories

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