Iowa Program Helps Companies Afford Some Added Expertise—By Adding Interns

Interns at ALMACO get much more than an overview of the company’s custom-built agricultural equipment. They become part of the team.

Brian Carr, ALMACO’s vice president of engineering, said student employees at the Nevada-based company get directly involved in completing projects—from initial design, through problem-solving challenges, to the eventual result.

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Faces of Iowa Industry: Joe Meier (Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co.)

Every so often (starting now), CIRAS intends to take a moment and tell you a little bit about the people who make Iowa businesses better:

Joe Meier started out as a sea-savvy machinist and worked his way to becoming vice president of operations for fast-growing Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co. in Independence.  Below you’ll find his secret to success and what he’d improve about Iowa industry if he could.

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 Gross-Wen Technologies: Using Algae to Clean City Sewage

A pioneering enterprise formed to treat municipal and industrial wastewater with algae hopes to launch into large-scale operation this summer with construction of its first functional, city-sized test facility in Dallas Center, Iowa.

Gross-Wen Technologies, a company launched by Iowa State University researcher Martin Gross and professor Zhiyou Wen, has been working for roughly two years on plans to turn its discoveries into a two-pronged business. The Gross-Wen approach uses tanks of wastewater, vertical conveyor belts, and a special biofilm to grow and harvest the algae. Once water treatment is complete, the algae can be scraped off the belts and sold as a fertilizer, effectively subsidizing the cost of running a large-scale treatment system.7

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Iowa Officially Launches Year of Manufacturing

 Former Gov. Terry Branstad, Governor Kim Reynolds and a host of other Iowa governmental and business leaders recently unveiled a plan to boost Iowa factories during a “Year of Manufacturing.”

The Year of Manufacturing initiative, which was announced in January during Branstad’s Condition of the State address, is designed to be a 12-month, concentrated focus on improving Iowa’s manufacturing Gross Domestic Product. Led by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and CIRAS, business leaders plan to fan out across the state to visit with companies and make certain that each firm is aware of the resources available to help them improve.

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Iowa Vendor Conference Plants the Seeds for Government Contracting Success

Shawn Frey saved everything the speakers handed out at last August’s Iowa Vendor Conference, eventually creating his own training binder filled with various tips and shortcuts for navigating the byzantine world of government contracting.

It was valuable stuff.

Attending that conference, an annual event sponsored by CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program, “definitely was a catalyst for me learning to talk to government entities about tool-kitting,” Frey said.

Nearly one year later, Frey, director of business development for Tool Keepers Foam and Etch, a tool kit manufacturing company in Fairfield, has grown more aggressive in pursuing government sales. Subcontract work that used to come in re-actively is now being proactively pursued. Tool Keepers has developed key relationships and made connections that they expect to lead to valuable opportunities in the future.

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