STORY CITY — Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday visited three manufacturing plants in Story County that have recently been tapped to receive state funding through the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Reynolds started the tours a M.H. Eby trailer manufacturing in Story City, where the IEDA has awarded $176,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits from the state’s High Quality Jobs program.
Reynolds said that celebrating the milestone accomplishment for Eby was timely because it was Manufacturing Day in Iowa on Friday. The visit comes almost a month to the day before the Nov. 6 election, in which Reynolds is seeking re-election and being challenged by Democrat Fred Hubbell.
“Manufacturing is the highest percentage of our GDP. It’s about $30 billion that is infused into our economy annually,” Reynolds said. “So, to be able to celebrate the expansion of Eby is a great way to celebrate Manufacturing Day in Iowa.”
“We’ve been working really hard to create an environment where business and industry feel confident about continuing to invest and grow in our state and in communities like Story City.”
Reynolds said the state is seeing “great results and phenomenal momentum” from these efforts.
“Our economy is growing. Wages are growing. It is an exciting time to be in Iowa,” she said. “We’re recognized as the No. 1 state in the country, and that is all about our people, our work ethic, our values and companies just like Eby that are making a difference in communities all across the state.”
Eby’s $7.2 million expansion will more than double the square footage of the Story City facility and is expected to add between 64 and 68 new jobs. The company makes aluminum truck bodies and livestock haulers. The expansion will increase existing lines and add product lines into the facility.
“Basically, we’ve got about 40,000 square feet now, and we’re going to be adding this 41,000 square foot expansion and are hoping to break ground soon,” said Adam Anderson, branch manager of Eby in Story City.
A new building, as large as 16,000 square feet, will also be built on the east side of the property and will be a sales and service building, with a customer-focused atmosphere.
“It’s going to be a very attractive building. It will remind you a lot of an implement dealer when you go in there — just class,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Reynolds said partnership is a key to successes like the expansion of Eby.
“It’s about local, it’s about state and it’s about economic development working together,” Reynolds said.
“This is a great day in Story County. There are 10,000 manufacturing jobs here in Story County,” said Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission.
Reynolds and other officials were slated to visit two other Story County locations after they left Eby: Burke Marketing Corporation in Nevada and 3M in Ames. All three companies were among five projects that recently were awarded IEDA funds.
Along with Eby, 3M and Burke, the companies recently approved for the state funding are automed Inc., in Huxley, and Nebullam, of Ames. The funding supports the creation of 330 jobs with a combined capital investment of more than $185 million.
3M was awarded tax benefits for a project that will repurpose about 30,000 square feet in the company’s Ames facility. The project, estimated at $27.8 million, will include increasing the capacity of utilities and adding climate controls to areas of the plant. The project is expected to create 16 jobs.
The IEDA board also awarded Burke Manufacturing Corp. tax benefits for the addition of 200,000 square feet at its Nevada plant. The $150 million expansion is expected to create 210 jobs to accommodate increased production.
The company automed Inc., which specializes in automatic livestock medication delivery, received a $300,000 low-interest loan to help with its expansion. The funding will help hire and train up to 40 new workers, build out a new office and research production facility, and facilitate new research and development and commercialization efforts.
The IEDA also awarded a $100,000 Demonstration fund loan to Nebullam to continue development and refinement technology. The company is a comprehensive technology provider to new and expanding indoor farmers in leafy green, microgreen, herb and pharmaceutical plant production.