Eight Iowa Entrepreneurs and Leaders Honored with Iowa Venture Award
on Friday, December 3, 2021
The Iowa Area Development Group (IADG), on behalf of Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and independent telecommunications companies, honored eight distinguished Iowa companies and leaders with the Iowa Venture Award. The awards were presented at a luncheon held in conjunction with the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting.
“The Iowa Venture Award provides an opportunity to uphold the courage, contribution, innovation, job creation, and vision of Iowa entrepreneurs,” said IADG President Rand Fisher. “IADG, on behalf of our sponsors, is proud to recognize these seven outstanding companies for their accomplishment and contribution to their community, region and state.”
The 2021 Iowa Venture Award Recipients include:
Nominated by Access Energy Cooperative
Ralph and Colleen Krogmeier’s dairy farm sits on 400 acres near the southeast Iowa town of Donnellson. They are committed to raising healthy cows fed non-GMO crops grown on their farm, caring for the land and producing high-quality, 100% natural milk. In 2019, Hinterland opened a new cheese production facility and an on-farm store. Hinterland Dairy weekly produces cheese, Quark, a low-calorie, high-protein spreadable cheese, cheddar and Happy Jack (a take on Monterey Jack). They direct market cheese products to local grocery stores, markets, the on-farm store, and an online store.
Industrial Packaging Corporation
Nominated by Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative
Industrial Packaging Corporation was founded in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, in 1989 to produce a corrugated product for the packaging market. In 2002, they expanded their operations with a new plant in Wilton. This facility specializes in honeycomb cardboard, a rigid board with hexagonal cells providing a high vertical compression resistance and load-bearing capacity. The Wilton facility remains a profit center for the company and is approaching capacity as its customer base expands. In 2019, they more than doubled their Wilton operation with a 30,000-square-foot addition, adding a second honeycomb panel line.
Nominated by Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative
ProPulse, a Schieffer Company, began in Germany in 1923. In 1998, the third generation of Schieffer’s and managing partner Jeff Theis located their first U.S. manufacturing plant in Peosta. Starting with a 12,000-square-foot building, the company has consistently grown and in 2015, they underwent a rebranding to become ProPulse. Combined with rental space, ProPulse has more than 135,000-square-feet under roof today. ProPulse manufactures hoses and fittings for high-pressure fluid conveyance used mostly in industrial applications. They serve world-class OEMs, including John Deere, Equalizer and Tommy Gate.
Nominated by North West Rural Electric Cooperative
RiverView Ridge is an independent and assisted living facility owned by a group of approximately 50 local investors. Construction of the new facility was nearly complete in June 2019. Tragically, the building was destroyed in a fire just days before opening. Investors boldly moved forward with rebuilding plans and completed the project in fall 2020. Residents moved into this 39-unit facility in October 2020. RiverView Ridge is meeting an important need for housing in Rock Valley.
Nominated by Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative
Rolinda Acres, owned by Tara and Pat Reisinger, is located near the northeast Iowa town of Waterville. The Reisinger’s have five hog buildings, farm 1,500 acres, milk 785 cows and operate a dog breeding business. In 2001, the Reisinger’s milked 150 cows. Today, that number has climbed to 785 cows, with plans to nearly double in 2023. To grow their herd and shorten their workdays, they constructed 96,000-square-foot barn housing eight robotic milkers in 2020. Approximately 550 cows are milked robotically, while 260 are still milked in the existing parlor. Rolinda Acres plans to add another building and eight additional robotic milkers by 2023.
Sister’s Home Style Entrees
Nominated by Midland Power Cooperative
Deb Davis, owner of Sister’s Home Style Entrees, turned her hobby of preparing meals for family and friends into a statewide business in 2011. Today, 47 employees prepare more than 70,000 meals per month and serve all of Iowa and its bordering states. Sister’s Home Style Entrees strives to provide delicious home-style meals at an affordable price. Its core customers are elderly and homebound populations, but families also love the convenience and flexibility of their savory meals.
TrinityRail “OUTSTANDING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR”
Nominated by Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative
Trinity Industries selected Butler Logistics Park near Shell Rock as the location of TrinityRail, a $60 million state-of-the-art rail maintenance facility to serve the upper Midwest. This facility is the largest and most equipped maintenance facility in the Trinity Industries network serving Class 1 railroads and shippers. Activity at the facility ranges from repairs and maintenance to coatings, cleaning, inspections, testing and full rebuilds. The facility includes 370,000-square-feet of manufacturing floor space and 7 miles of rail track. It currently employs 150 with plans to expand to 260 employees and beyond based on demand.
Rand Fisher “Leadership in Economic Development
Rand Fisher will retire as President of Iowa Area Development Group on January 31. During Fisher’s tenure, IADG has supported 1,756 projects totaling $9.25 billion in investment, and creating or retaining 40,000 jobs. In addition, 358 awards were secured through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant program totaling more than $159 million in project support across Iowa. Partnerships are the bedrock of economic development, and Fisher has also been a part of creating many important partnerships to support business development and community vitality.
In addition, the Iowa Area Development Group Community Foundation has worked with the Iowa Rural Development Council to recognize Rand Fisher’s legacy by endowing the annual “Rand Fisher Rural Leadership Award.” The Award, which will be presented annually at the Iowa Rural Summit, will recognize Iowans who have made tremendous contributions to a rural community or rural Iowa.
Note videos showcasing each recipient are available at IADG.com/HallOfFame
About the Iowa Venture Award
This marks the 33rd year that IADG has presented Iowa Venture Awards to individuals and organizations, both large and small, in recognition of their significant contributions to Iowa's economy through entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and the creation of job opportunities. History has demonstrated that these are among the most accomplished and successful companies in the state. Together they are helping to sustain and grow Iowa’s economy. The Iowa Venture Award Hall of Fame showcasing these 280 companies can be found at www.IADG.com/HallOfFame.
About Iowa Area Development Group (IADG)
IADG is the business and community development leader for Iowa’s rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and independent telecommunication companies. Since 1985, the partnerships and economic development efforts of IADG and their sponsors have assisted with more than 2,250 projects, generating in excess of $13.2 billion of capital investment and over 54,500 new or retained jobs for Iowa.