CIRAS’ first Manufacturing Leadership Program was broad, educational, and useful, according to the newly graduated Martina Bockenstedt, general manager for FarmTek and Growers Supply. “It offered everything from finance and marketing to more of the leadership skills,” she said. “I could glean something from every one of them.”
Planning is now under way for CIRAS’ next campaign to focus its industrial and economic expertise on projects for the benefit of a large Iowa manufacturing subsector. A total of 102 people from 55 organizations took part in two previous Innovations Summits arranged by CIRAS in spring 2014 and spring 2015 under a five-year effort funded by the United States Economic Development Administration’s University Center Program. The events, focused on bringing new technologies to businesses in the plastics and machinery manufacturing sectors, spawned upgrades and innovations that led to $1.5 million in new or retained sales for the participating companies and more than $184,000 in various cost savings to date.
The maker of JOLLY TIME® Pop Corn turned 100 last year, but with eyes focused as much on the future as on the past.
Consortium Hopes Better Packaging Will Help Companies Cut Costs, Increase Sales, Improve Sustainability
Keith Vorst doesn’t think outside the box so much as he thinks about the box—and how it affects everything around it. Vorst, an associate professor in Iowa State University’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, also is director of the university’s new Polymer and Food Protection Consortium. He has spent the last year working to build a national center for packaging research and expertise—a place where companies in Iowa and elsewhere can go to assess the design, safety, function, and value of the packaging that envelops their products.
Iowa industry leaders should be able to launch test projects early next year with a new metal 3-D printer that CIRAS has obtained to educate manufacturers about the enormous, groundbreaking possibilities of additive manufacturing technology.
It was supposed to be a boom time for Grasshorse Studios. Kathy Buxton and her brother, Stephen Jennings, relocated Grasshorse, their television animation and visual effects business, from California to Iowa in 2007 to expand the company. Iowa’s film industry was roaring, and the projects were lucrative, thanks to a generous state tax credit program for the film industry. But it all changed drastically in a matter of months.
WASHINGTON D.C., November 5, 2015 – Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) received the USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award at a ceremony held today in Washington D.C. IADG was honored for expanding rural economic development opportunities in Iowa and across the nation by being a national advocate of USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL&G) Program, as well as other contributions and accomplishments of its rural sponsored economic development mission.
A George, Iowa, manufacturer of farm equipment, scooters, and hydraulic lift equipment is ramping up production in a new 26,000-square-foot building that was designed, with CIRAS’ help, to take the entire operation to a higher level. Diversified Technologies Inc. (DTI) traces its founding back to the 1888 blacksmith shop of a German immigrant. The company has evolved over the intervening decades to become a diverse corporate family that includes Sudenga Industries Inc. agricultural equipment, Ranger All-Season Electric Scooters, and the popular Dur-A-Lift line of mounted aerial lifts.
The numbers tell the story. In less than four years, Sisters Home Style Entrées went from preparing 200 frozen meals a month for families and individuals to roughly 41,000. The one-woman, Humboldt, Iowa, company started by Deb Davis swelled to employing 37 people. And, with help from CIRAS and the Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), it moved from a 2,500-square-foot facility to a new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.
U.S. Manufacturing Day technically was Oct. 2. But thanks to a long list of organizers and promoters (including CIRAS, Elevate Iowa, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and community colleges around the state) the celebration in Iowa continues throughout the rest of October.