Month: August 2020

Agreement Means Meat Processors Grow

Joe Cordray put it simply when asked to explain the impact of new inspection rules that went into place for small Iowa meat processors this spring. “It’s really a pretty big deal,” said Cordray, a longtime meat science professor at Iowa State University. “The smaller plants, they’re essentially located in rural Iowa. And a lot of our rural Iowa towns could use a little revitalization.”

Internet Marketing Boot Camp Moves Online

A major CIRAS tool for helping Iowa companies get the most out of their internet marketing efforts is moving permanently online. The Internet Marketing Strategy Boot Camp, a popular CIRAS event that has existed for roughly eight years as a two-day deep dive into topics such as search engine optimization and web analytics, was repackaged for the first time in May as a series of webinars and follow-up consultations.

ToolKeepers Finds Its Fit in Government Contracting

Understanding your business doesn’t mean you don’t need help understanding government contracting. ToolKeepers is a Fairfield company that uses high-density foam to make custom inserts that organize and protect tools (or other valuable objects) used in military and industrial settings. Clark Plummer, ToolKeepers’ director of strategic accounts, said the company long ago “recognized its ability to provide solutions to military and government organizations, but . . . needed help making connections with government purchasers and adapting products specifically to the needs of government organizations.”

New Normal: Dickson Industries Growing with Gowns

A Des Moines company with an eight-decade history of working with fabrics in the food and medical industries is returning to its roots following the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded in 1946, Dickson Industries made its name making medical fabrics and garments before venturing into various lines of food-industry clothing and preconsumer products, such as specialized netting used to enhance the flavor of meat during smoking. When the coronavirus decimated demand for food-industry products, Dickson officials realized that they were ideally situated to help fill part of Iowa’s need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Ag Leader Seeks CIRAS to Help New Ideas Grow

The best part about the CIRAS innovation process, Mike Myers believes, is that it makes it easier for his company to quickly find the ideas that help customers most. Myers is marketing development manager at Ag Leader Technology, an Ames company created 28 years ago to help farmers better monitor their fields. Today, precision agriculture is a wide-ranging industry with competition fueled by venture capitalists and start-ups looking to profit from helping farmers manage data. Now, more than ever, Ag Leader needs to be focused on the right ideas.

Pandemic Prompts Collaboration Among Iowa Manufacturers

The call came toward the end of March. The state of Iowa was projecting that it would come up at least 500,000 face shields short of what was needed to provide front-line medical workers with personal protective equipment in the battle against COVID-19. Would Adam Gold be willing to help? Gold, president of The Dimensional Group, a Mason City custom packaging company, soon found himself in a flurry of CIRAS-arranged calls, emails, and meetings. A plan quickly formed to pair Gold’s company, which had no previous experience producing medical equipment, with Ottumwa-based Angstrom Precision Molding. Within two months, the team would produce more than 1.3 million medical face shields.

CIRAS Survey UPDATE: Business Impacts of COVID-19

August 7, 2020 — (Update 20) As COVID-19 proliferates across our nation, the crisis continues to negatively impact our economy and spark concerns for the future of small and medium-sized businesses. CIRAS has been conducting a phone survey so we can better understand the needs of Iowa companies and better connect them to appropriate resources. Here is what … Continue reading CIRAS Survey UPDATE: Business Impacts of COVID-19

CIRAS Survey UPDATE: Business Impacts of COVID-19

July 31, 2020 — (Update 19) As COVID-19 proliferates across our nation, the crisis continues to negatively impact our economy and spark concerns for the future of small and medium-sized businesses. CIRAS has been conducting a phone survey so we can better understand the needs of Iowa companies and better connect them to appropriate resources. Here is what we’ve learned so far: