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GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program can Open New Doors

Small businesses that sell products or services to the government received a new tool for growth last fall when the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched its new All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program.

The program, which expanded on capabilities that previously existed for Certified 8(a) disadvantaged businesses, essentially put all small businesses on a higher level of competiveness by making them viable bidders for larger-scale federal contracts.

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CIRAS Shows ADA Enterprises How to Build for the Future

A Northwood, Iowa-based manufacturer of pig and calf flooring and commercial outdoor furniture should see a major boost to its production capacity because of a CIRAS-assisted expansion of its production plant.

Thomas Stensrud, president of ADA Enterprises, said his company’s recently remodeled and expanded footprint should provide 20 years of growth for the maker of park furniture and plastic-coated pork industry flooring. “We plan on at least doubling or even tripling our capacity,” he said.

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American Coating and Welding Growing Rapidly—With CIRAS by Its Side

CIRAS government contracting specialist Andy Alexander was eating breakfast in downtown Onawa one morning in 2014 when he suddenly came face-to-face with the aspirations of a Monona County sheriff’s deputy.

“He walked in and wanted to know if that was my government car out there,” Alexander recalls. “I thought he was going to give me a ticket.”

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CIRAS Helps Clarion Packaging with Search for Sturdier Future

A major manufacturer of egg flats and fast-food drink carriers has turned to CIRAS for help with the next phase of improving its business.

Clarion Packaging—a 100-employee plant in Clarion, Iowa, with a sister facility in Brook, Indiana—first approached CIRAS roughly two years ago for help achieving food safety certification. The company now is working with CIRAS to test its product quality and plan for the future.

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Good Strategic Planning Starts with a SWOT

Usually, when you’re trying to take a cold, hard look at your future, it’s best to do it with fresh eyes.

That, according to Greg Ervin, is partly why Marion-based Timberline Manufacturing Co. has been working with CIRAS to plan the company’s best path to growth. Timberline, a maker of wire harnesses, control panels, and custom electronics that is now in its fifth year as an employee-owned business, approached CIRAS roughly a year ago seeking help with mapping the next portion of its future.

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CIRAS Networking Helps Express Employment Make Good Matches

Connections created through CIRAS networking events and hands-on assistance have helped a Cedar Rapids-based recruitment company grow during the past year.

Express Employment Professionals is a full-service staffing agency specializing in the industrial, administrative, IT, and engineering fields. Michele Oswood, owner of the Cedar Rapids franchise, said her company’s client base has doubled since she purchased the business in February 2016.

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Engineering Capstone Projects Lead to Innovative New Products

Two Iowa companies over the past year have separately discovered a new way to safeguard vibrating truck fenders and a new, more attractive way to lock patio doors—both as a result of work done by graduating students at Iowa State University.

Capstone students in Iowa State’s College of Engineering worked on the truck fender project for Link Manufacturing, a Sioux Center company that manufactures heavy-duty truck suspensions. The company asked students to extend the life of after-market fender brackets that sometimes were breaking because of vibration.

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ISU Job Fairs Start Sept. 19 (but it all Starts with CyHire)

Iowa State University’s digital job board helps companies connect with a pool of potential employees that includes both graduates and current students.

“CyHire is my one-stop shop for finding internships,” said Bradley Hagen, a senior in mechanical engineering. “There are always hundreds of jobs on CyHire. The built-in search filter is helpful when deciding which companies and jobs I’m going to pursue.”

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