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Success Stories

Lee County Companies Going Solar

Local welding and manufacturing shops anticipate a bright future with their recent instillation of solar energy at their shops. Huffman Welding & Manufacturing and Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing have both recently installed solar fields at their facilities.

Huffman Welding’s solar field is a 500 panel field producing 300,000 kwh of energy yearly with a 25-year warranty on equipment. The project was installed a few months ago by Mohrfeld Electric and the power was just turned on in January. Huffman’s invested was over $500,000 in this project, expecting the new system to handle over 90% of their yearly energy needs at this time.   

“This investment made sense for us as a small industry for several reasons. We are able to get a better return on investment over many larger energy users that get better rates due to the volume they use,” commented Jason Huffman. “We are excited to contribute to carbon reductions with this green investment along with keeping our costs low going forward so we can continue to be competitive for our customers.”

Steffensmeier Welding also recently installed a solar field at their facility, instillation process completed by Ideal Energy Solar pictured to the left, transitioning to 100% clean solar energy. Situated on 3.5 acres, the newly completed Steffensmeier solar field is Southeast Iowa’s largest installation and has earned Steffensmeier Welding and Manufacturing the distinction of being the first industrial operation of this scale to be 100% solar powered. The 430.66 kW array is comprised of 1,412 305W panels and 21 inverters, and will offset 8,917 metric tons of CO2 over the next 25 years. “The economics behind the project made the decision easy,” said owner Jenny Steffensmeier, who is looking forward to saving an estimated $92,000 per year in electrical costs. Over a 25-year period of time, the business is projected to save nearly $2.5 million in avoided utility costs.

Both companies are looking forward to not only the cost saving benefits but stated it’s what they wanted to do to help the environment and Southeast Iowa.

Foam Fabricators Expanding

May 2015, Foam Fabricators is beginning a 30,000 sp. ft. expansion at their Fort Madison facility. The expansion is primarily in warehousing space to better serve their customers. Foam Fabricators Vice President Mark Sabolcik stated, “We are currently undergoing a significant plant expansion in Fort Madison due to the continued business growth that we are experiencing in our overall customer base.” The expansion is targeted to be completed at the end of June or early July.        

Foam Fabricators began in 1957 as a single plant molding a very new material, expanded polystyrene (EPS), into ice chests and swim toys. Today, they are a coast-to-coast network of state-of-the-art molding and fabricating plants that provide a variety of industries with economical and efficient shape molded and fabricated foam products, packaging and components.

For more than 50 years, Foam Fabricators has led the industry's growth in new applications, new foams, and new technology. Instrumental in our leadership are our design and testing centers. Each is staffed with degreed packaging engineers and fully equipped with the latest in fabrication drop testing, computerized data acquisition and computerized part design and drawing systems.

Each of their manufacturing facilities are ISO9001:2008 certified through NQA, an internationally recognized standard for Quality Management Systems. Foam Fabricators has the experienced personnel and technology to excel in our customers' highly sophisticated quality programs. Their engineering-driven design processes can assist customer design efforts and our state-of-the-art production processes assure exceptional product quality.
The Fort Madison facility was relocated from the Joliet, Illinois area in 2002.   They moved the facility to better service their customers in the area. The major customers supplied by this facility are Whirlpool – Amana,  HNI Corporation and Winegard. The plant currently has approximately 55 full time employees. For more information visit www.foamfabricatorsinc.com

Iowa Fertilizer Company Donates to Local Schools

January 19, 2015, Iowa Fertilizer held a press event to announce two recent contributions to local schools. Shawn Rana, president of Iowa Fertilizer, announced the donations to Burlington Notre Dame and Fort Madison High Schools for the continued support of their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.
A $15,000 donation to Burlington Notre Dame will aid in their “Celebrating the Dream Goal” for renovations to science and technology classrooms for the school’s growing STEM fields and curricula. Val Giannettino, development director at Burlington Notre Dame stated, “This donation helps support our school’s constant effort to support and increase opportunities for our students in the science fields.”

Iowa Fertilizer also provided a $15,000 donation to Fort Madison High School for the purchase of an advanced plasma cutter for the school’s welding program.

The plasma cutter will provide increased exposure and training for the students as they prepare to continue their education and enter the workforce. Welding instructor Jim King described the donation as “…an opportunity to support our school’s mission of preparing our students with the skills they need to enter into the 21st Century workforce.”

These two recent donations highlight Iowa Fertilizer’s continued commitment to the development of the STEM fields in local communities and the state. When asked about Iowa Fertilizer’s local commitment, Shawn Rana described the impact of these donations on local educational efforts. “We are proud to partner with these schools to advance STEM initiatives in the local community. Iowa Fertilizer is deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in order to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to drive our state’s economy.”

By preparing students with the skills and knowledge they need to compete in a globalized economy, Iowa’s future workforce will provide increased economic opportunities for not just Southeast Iowa, but also for the entire state. Iowa Fertilizer will continue to identify opportunities to advance the STEM fields and programs in Iowa’s schools.

As these two donations highlight, Iowa Fertilizer’s regional  impact goes far beyond providing local farmers with a stable, domestic supply of fertilizer; in addition, IFC is proud to be a leading partner in advancing educational excellence for our workforce of the future. To learn more about the Iowa Fertilizer Company, visit www.iowafertilizer.com.

Huffman Welding & Machine Invests in Future Workforce 

June 10, 2014, Huffman Welding & Machine has grown steadily throughout the years and is now one of the Midwest’s most well- known fabrication, machining, specialty repair, and industrial equipment manufacturers with a focus on quality, dependability and exceeding the customer’s expectations. 

With their precision equipment Huffman Welding fabricates parts and equipment for local industries as well as customers across the United States. Truly a family business that strives in helping the local communities, the Huffman family gets involved throughout the community. 

The Huffman family feels strongly that the community needs to do everything possible to support vocational programs and create a skilled workforce in SE Iowa. “It is essential to have enough skilled workers to not only fill the demand for current local industries but drive economic growth to Southeast Iowa, all while providing a sustainable high earning career path for community members,” said Jason Huffman.  

For years the Huffman family has continually heard from local industry about the need for welders and skilled maintenance positions. The current FMHS principal has also heard that need and, having a prior welding program that had been sitting dormant for many years, contacted Huffman Welding for support.  “We gave basic insights on equipment, program structure, etc. and helped knock on doors to raise over $100,000 for the program.” stated Jason Huffman.  

Huffman’s donated 12 adjustable fabrication tables, a welder, and many hours of time and labor to help get the high school facility ready for use.  Jason said, “The local industry and businesses stepped up big and helped us raise the money needed for FMHS to launch their program and purchase the new welders and equipment needed. We thank the school board members and school staff for continuing to grow their vocational programs and promote the value they create.”

Independent Can Company
– 5 Expansions 

February 10, 2014 - Independent Can Company has experienced exponential growth, undergoing five significant expansions in its 35 years of being in Fort Madison, Iowa. The plant currently sits on 15 acres with room for more expansions in the future.

In the past two years Independent Can has added six new product lines. Specializing in the very popular tin signs that can be purchased through Desperate Enterprises. Independent Can is the only company in the country with equipment to print lomography on their tin signs, winning over 20 awards for their exceptionally high quality printing. Jeff Hardy, Plant Manager, stated the tin sign product lines has seen the most growth “growing from $1.9 million to $4 million in sales."

Siemens Wind Energy lands World's Largest Onshore Windturbine Order 

December 16, 2013 - MidAmerican Energy announced that they have selected Siemens Wind Energy to provide all the wind turbines and wind blades for four wind farms.  A $1.9 billion contract, this will mean that the Fort Madison plant will manufacture 1,344 blades for the 448 turbines that this large contract will require.

The expansion in wind energy is the largest in Iowa history and will result in up to 1,050 megawatts of additional wind generation in Iowa by the end of 2015. Once complete, the new wind projects will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 317,000 average Iowa households, according to MidAmerican estimates.

Iowa fertilizer company invest $1.8 billion to build state-of-the-art production facility

November 19, 2012 - Orascom Corporation has begun construction on its new fertilizer plant in Wever, IA and is expected to open one of the country’s largest fertilizer plants in 2015.

The Lee County plant will be the first, world-scale natural gas-based fertilizer plant built in the U.S. in nearly 25 years and will supply ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers farmers need. It is expected to produce 1.5-2 million metric tons of ammonia, urea and urea ammonium nitrate every year. At full operation the plant is expected to employ 165-200 permanent workers.

American farmers will benefit from this new plant by saving millions of dollars annually. Iowa Fertilizer will provide farmers across the Midwest with a reliable nitrogen source right here at home, keeping their costs down.

Climax Molybdenum – Produced 1 Billionth Pound of Molybdenum

In 2013, Climax Molybdenum in Fort Madison, Iowa, produced their 1 Billionth pound. of molybdenum. Molybdenum products have a wide range of uses in the steel, automobile, tool and die, chemical, and petroleum industries.

The products from Fort Madison are extremely pure and are used in many high-end applications. The local plant converts molybdenite concentrate, which arrives daily by truck and rail from mining locations, into both technical grade for metallurgical uses and high purity molybdenum for the chemical market.
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