CIRAS Helps Company Rebound after Fire

A central Iowa manufacturer of sports performance equipment credits CIRAS with getting the company back on track after a fire left them dealing with extensive smoke and water damage.

“Without them, we would’ve been set back a year or more, and if we’d tried to move forward on our own through trial and error, it probably would’ve been longer than that,” said Chris Conner, general manager of Power Lift in Jefferson.

The assistance CIRAS provided helped Power Lift get their product out the door a lot sooner, resulting in more than $1 million in sales retained.

CIRAS account manager Derek Thompson contacted Conner soon after hearing about the August 2018 fire. Thompson said he and other CIRAS team members regularly monitor the news, reaching out whenever a natural disaster or catastrophe impacts a client or prospective client.

“We just want them to know that we’re here to help,” Thompson said. “For Power Lift, that meant offering our services for a new plant layout to replace one we’d just finished for them.”

The first layout, which had been completed but not implemented, used the plant’s existing footprint. Modifications were needed when fire, smoke, and water damage changed that footprint. CIRAS provided more than 40 hours of time to help with the new design plus assistance securing other resources to recover from the fire, which saved the company $50,000.

Conner said the new layout is working well and all but one department has found a home within it. And the next time he needs help, Conner added, he won’t hesitate to contact Thompson.

“Of course, I hope we never go through anything like another fire, but I know there are many other ways CIRAS can help businesses like ours,” he added. “They have so many resources. Whenever I talk to Derek, he tells me, ‘I have a resource for this. I have a resource for that.’ It’s reassuring to have access to so much expertise.”

The myriad resources offered by CIRAS are available to all Iowa manufacturers to help them remain resilient in an ever-changing business climate.

“All businesses must be ready for the next disaster,” said Mike O’Donnell, CIRAS associate director. “Whether it’s planning for the future, responding to today’s emergency, or putting your business back together after a disaster, we’re here to help with things like developing continuity plans, finding alternate suppliers, or even finding a temporary location for your work.”

For more, contact CIRAS account manager Derek Thompson at or 515-419-2163.