Benton Development Group | 319-472-5545 info@bdgia.com

CIPCO brings first of 5 solar sites online

Information was originally published by Dar Danielson on October 24th, 2016 to http://www.radioiowa.com/2016/10/24/cipco-brings-first-of-5-solar-sites-online/

 

That state’s largest solar energy project is on its way to turning the sun’s rays into power.

Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) spokesperson Kerry Koonce says they recently flipped the switch on the first of 5 sites for the solar array that’s eventually expected to generate 5.5 megawatts of electricity.

“It’s producing electricity through the solar system — which is a benefit to all of our members. All five sites will be up and generating through the end of the year,” Koonce says. The first site has some 3,700 solar panels on that site in Urbana, which is within East-Central Iowa REC’s territory. Other sites are in Wilton, Pella Osceola and Marshalltown.

Koonce says the solar power adds to what the coops already produce. She says outside of some purchased wind generation, they generate their own power and she says this will increase their general power capacity to meet new growth.

Koonce says the solar power adds another option to the power they produce. “Customers won’t notice anything as far as their bills, there’s no increase in cost or anything like that. Solar is a very cost-effective utility for us,” Koonce says. “The thing that they can notice is that the generation company that provides their energy will be increasing our ability to provide emission and carbon-free energy, which is something that is very important to a lot of our members.”

Koonce says the solar site will eventually pay for itself in the energy it produces. She says the total cost of the project is about $9 million and is spread out over 20 years to take advantage of some the federal solar tax credits. Koonce says the cost of all five solar sites is significantly less than what it costs to build a new coal-fired electric plant. She says the time of payback is not exactly known.

“It’ll depend on how much electricity actually gets generated through the system each year,” Koonce explains. “On average we are expecting it to generate enough to power over 700 homes. Assuming that, we will have a nice playback well before that 20 years is up.”

CIPCO is Iowa’s largest cooperative energy provider serving 13 electric cooperatives and associations spanning 58 of Iowa’s 99 counties. It’s territory stretches 300 miles diagonally across the state from the Mississippi River on the east to Shenandoah in the southwest.

Photo courtesy of the East Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative.

Celebrate Manufacturing

advancing-futures-logo

October marks a time to celebrate our manufacturing organizations who are creating many great things and tremendous opportunities our local, regional, state and national economies.  Manufacturing is not what it used to be.  The manufacturing industry has transformed into an innovative and technology driving industry which paves the path for feeding and serving the world.  Today’s manufacturing organizations offer high skilled positions allowing for a great deal of future potential.  Career opportunities in manufacturing are diverse with varying levels of education required.  Examples of career paths include production, engineering, operations, human resources, sales and marketing, quality improvement and beyond. 

Manufacturing is essential to the economies in both Benton County and the state of Iowa. This industry is the largest economic sector in the state contributing $31 billion annually to Iowa’s economy and represents 18.8% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This industry is also responsible for providing jobs to over 215,000 workers (13.5 % of Iowa’s total employment) and is offering some of the highest paying jobs available.

We want you to help celebrate and bring awareness to the importance of manufacturing locally.  Kirkwood has teamed up with several manufacturing organizations around Iowa’s Creative Corridor to create Advancing the Future Manufacturing Tours.  These tours are an opportunity to get our current and future workforce excited about manufacturing and build awareness around what is created right in our backyard. 

Clickstop, in Urbana, is one of the organizations that will be opening their doors for visitors.  They will be offering tours from Monday, October 17-Friday October 21 at 10AM AND 2PM.  Clickstop representatives explain, “The Advancing the Future Tour is a unique opportunity for us to connect with community members and share the accomplishments of our Manufacturing Team, the innovative pieces of our company culture and variety of careers we have available.  We’re excited to host public tours alongside local manufacturers in the Corridor to inspire the next generation of talent.” 

All Advancing the Future tours are free to attend.  Please visit www.kirkwood.edu/advancingfuture for a complete list of participating locations, times, and appropriate apperal.

The above facts were gathered courtesy of Iowa Economic Development Authority and Kirkwood Community College. 

GUEST POST: Friends of the Herring

Non-profit Extravaganza

  Over 20 nonprofit organizations from Benton, Tama, Poweshiek, and Iowa counties are joining to celebrate the first day of autumn at the 2016 Fall Treasure Fest in Belle Plaine, September 24, 8:00 – 2:00, at 1523 Sunset Drive.

   The fest will have something for everyone, with live entertainment and great buys on fresh produce, baked goods, nuts, graphic T’s and sweatshirts, household goods and other rummage sale items, and much, much more. Raffle tickets will be on sale for chances at original art and other great prizes, and there will be hot dogs, brats, and chips on sale for lunch.

   Participating organizations include Belle Plaine After Prom, the Belle Plaine Ambulance Service, the Belle Plaine Legion Auxiliary, Belle Plaine Music Boosters and Athletic Boosters, Benton County Community Foundation, the Blairstown Library, Drake Library, First Lutheran Preschool, Herring Hotel Building Alliance, HLV German Club, Hope Lodge #175, Iowa County Historical Society, Marengo Memorial Hospital Hope Project, Tama County Community Foundation, Virginia Gay Hospitals and Clinics, the Wallace Winkie Foundation, and the Youngville Historic Association and more.

  More on participating nonprofit organizations, sales, entertainment, and schedule, can be found at belleplaineeventsplanner.weebly.comor the Fall Treasure Fest events page on Facebook.

Ideal Industries Named to Inc. 5000 List

Ideal Industries Named to Inc. 5000 List

 

BIG congratulations to Pat Lyons and his team at Ideal Industries for being named as one of Inc. Magazine’s 5000 fastest growing companies.  Please read the press release provided by Mike O’Connor.

 

Vinton, Iowa – August 15, 2016 – Ideal, Industries, Inc., headquartered in Vinton, Iowa, has been named to the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America.

According to Inc. President and Editor in Chief Eric Schurenberg, on average, the companies who have made the Inc. 5000 have experienced almost five-fold growth over the past three years. With its inclusion on the 2016 list, Ideal Industries joins the likes of established brands like Microsoft and Oracle, as well newer success stories such as Dollar Shave Club and Yeti Cooler.

The Inc. 5000 is based on revenue growth, and with a 70% growth rate since 2013, Ideal Industries more than fits the profile of an Inc. 5000 Company. Ideal President Pat Lyons spoke to what it means for the company he joined in July of 2008, to be recognized so significantly for its achievement.

I think it validates that what we’re doing is working,” said Lyons, “and it’s a reflection of the quality of the people who work with us.”

Ideal Industries has made several strategic acquisitions during Lyons’ tenure. Those purchases have positioned Ideal Industries well as both a contract manufacturer of custom metal products and an OEM, with Ideal-branded products in the agricultural and self-service car wash industries.

Lyons commented that the company’s plan for future growth called for an emphasis on the OEM side of Ideal Industries’ business.

“A significant part of our growth has been based on increasing the OEM percentage of the products that we manufacture,” Lyons allowed. “The strategy is to get closer to the customer. The way we execute that strategy is to buy and build product lines that go directly to the end user.”

For more information on Ideal Industries, go to: www.idealii.com. For more information on the Inc. 5000, go to www.inc.com.

Notice of Public Meeting

Iowa DOT Notice of Public Information Meeting – US 30/US 218 Interchange

218 loop SE Quad

Please find the link above to notification of a public information meeting being held in Benton County on Thursday June 30th from 5:00pm-6:30pm at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School.  The meeting will be held to discuss and answer questions about the proposed US 30/US 218 interchange and the associated right-of-way needs that correlated with the project.  Other details regarding the meeting can be found int the notification above.

I have also attached a map of the proposed project.  As you will notice from the map, the loop ramps are in the NW and SE quadrants to avoid Youngville Café and the cemetery.  There will be a bridge over the four lanes of US 30.

If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please do not hesitate to let me know or reach out directly to Cathy Cutler at (319) 364-0235 or catherine.cutler@dot.iowa.gov.

Vinton Popcorn Company

A couple of weeks ago Melissa Schwan, from Vinton Unlimited, and I wrote a story and helped the students of the Vinton Popcorn Company create a video to help tell their story.  The story has been published in this week’s Iowa’s Creative Corridor Digest as the “Big Story”!  Watch the video and read the story below! 

 

 

The story of Vinton Popcorn is one that details a great deal of community history, mentorship, commitment and creative minds that have led to today’s success.  

 

Vinton Popcorn was started in the 1940s and was sold several times before the end of operation in 1998.  Although there were several different owners there were some things that remained consistent: the name Vinton Popcorn; and the reputation of this widely known, tasty treat.  Vinton Popcorn was responsible for a number of jobs in the community as well as feeding many Americans a high-quality product that garnered attention from numerous news outlets throughout its years of operation.  

 

It was not until 2011 that several community leaders and the Vinton-Shellsburg School District came together to bring this community staple back to life.  It was decided Vinton Popcorn would live on as a project for local students involved in the entrepreneurship course at the Vinton-Shellsburg High School.  The beauty of this partnership is the recognition of the strengths of the student body and the ability to transform aspects of our current educational model to focus on hands-on, project-based learning.

 

The unique advantage of this project is that Vinton Popcorn is completely run by the students.  The students are responsible for the accounting, marketing, production, sales, and administration of the company.  Having a completely student-run business comes with its challenges and opportunities.  One of the most evident challenges is the cycle of human resources the company goes through.  There is constant transition with each new trimester and work to get new students acquainted with the company, its practices, and its product.  With this challenge, opportunity is quick to follow.  Each new student that comes into the company has a different perspective and is another creative mind.  These creative minds work together to provide top-quality service and new products. Most recently, the company had a yearning to provide a new variety to their customers.  After a community and client survey, they decided to start production of caramel-flavored popcorn.  This product hit the shelf in January 2016 and is now their top-selling product.

 

The enhancement and development of the participating students’ 21st Century skills is undeniable.  Each day these students are faced with a number of issues or obstacles they must tackle with their team.  They have gained experience managing and facilitating tough conversations with their peers, vendors, board members and clients.  They have also gained the knowledge of the many steps it takes to have a compliant business and product, including navigating FDA regulations.

 

The hard work and dedication of these students does not go unnoticed.  The Vinton Popcorn Board, which is entirely made up of business and community leaders, serves as a source of input and an outlet for the students to remain engaged within the community as well as other communities throughout the state.  Recently, the board members made the decision to recognize one valuable student employee each year.  This has resulted in a small cash award given to a graduating senior on their annual Senior Awards Night. This is a small token for this student to truly understand the direct value they had on the future of the company.  
To order your Vinton Popcorn, please visit www.vintonpopcornproject.com.

 

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