Manufacturing in the Iowa Lakes Corridor Helps in Redefining What Modern Manufacturing Looks Like

Manufacturing in the Iowa Lakes Corridor Helps in Redefining What Modern Manufacturing Looks Like Main Photo

27 Oct 2023


Manufacturing is facing a resurgence in the United States. Gone are the days when people looked at manufacturing jobs as monotonous tasks in dirty, dark, and dangerous environments. Modern manufacturing is something better. The latest technologies are used to create unique products—requiring creative and strategic thinkers skilled at problem-solving.

In 2021, the Iowa Legislature passed, and Governor Reynolds signed, legislation to help increase technology investment through the Manufacturing 4.0 grant program for small manufacturers. Awards were made to 121 companies for projects totaling $24,788,503 ($18,499,664 in private investment leveraged).

The Iowa Lakes Corridor is home to manufacturing companies producing goods using the latest technologies and raw materials. During Manufacturing Month, we at the Iowa Lakes Corridor have been celebrating these companies’ employment opportunities and innovations that grow our economy.

Leaders in the Iowa Lakes Corridor

Iowa Lakes Corridor manufacturers are leaders in combining the latest technology and good workplace practices to produce high-quality products and consistently innovate to progress their industries. The Iowa Lakes Corridor is proud that these companies have made their home here.

Redwood Farms Meat Processors, located in Estherville, is a cull hog slaughter and processing operation with an average production of 1,400 head daily in a single-shift plant. The pork products (mostly Primal’s) are primarily shipped to New Jersey, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and Nebraska, as well as into South America and the Dominican Republic.

DEMCO Products is a fourth-generation, family-owned company headquartered in Boyden, Iowa, with a location in Spencer. DEMCO manufactures grain trailers, drop deck trailers, liquid tender trailers, and side dump trailers. These products are shipped across the nation to all 50 states, Australia, South America, and Ukraine.

Merrill Manufacturing has over 60 employees working out of four buildings, creating products for Well Water Systems shipped worldwide to all of North America, most countries of Europe, and Australia.

Metal Works, Inc. was initially founded in 1985 with roots in Spencer. Since then, they have upheld their values and made building on the job site easier. You can find their products in constructing metal-clad post-frame buildings, equestrian complexes, garages, storage buildings, commercial buildings, steel frames, and residential buildings. MWI products go to customers across the United States and Canada.

Matuska Taxidermy Supply Company has over 5,000 products they ship to taxidermists and companies worldwide, including original sculptures, wildlife manikins, ear liners, and wildlife products. Matuska Taxidermy employs 28 dependable and energetic employees.

Godbersen Metal Works LLC has grown from a few-employee startup to 20 highly-skilled workers. The contract manufacturer produces parts for various OEM customers throughout the Midwest, primarily Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas.

moveero, Inc. consumes approximately 12,500 tons of coil steel and 2,500 tons of sheet annually to manufacture hubs, spindles, and wheels for agriculture, construction, material handling, and mining off-highway markets. These products are shipped across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Europe.

Veridian Fire Protective Gear produces FireFighter Protective Clothing (structural, proximity, technical rescue, and wild-land) and additional FireFighter protective elements like hoods, gloves, suspenders, and boots. Recently, they’ve expanded into military gloves as well. Their products ship across the United States, Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East.

TransAgra International Inc., a minority- and woman-owned company, manufactures stable and functional microbial fermentation products for agriculture. Product lines include products to enhance animal feed, products to protect hay and ensure healthy silage, and an entire plant product line for seed treatments and foliar applications. Though their site is small, they have an extensive reach and impact on farming in many foreign countries. A lot of international visitors come to the Storm Lake site.

Iowa is a State for Manufacturing Growth 

Manufacturing’s importance in the Iowa Lakes Corridor and throughout Iowa comes from its stability and growth, ultimately creating jobs and economic opportunities for local communities. Manufacturing contributes over $39.3 billion to the Gross State Product annually, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Other significant data includes:

  • $15.4 billion in exported manufacturing goods.
  • Over 3,000 Iowa manufacturers employ 224,500 people
  • Average annual compensation of $63,694.

Manufacturing Takes Center Stage in Northwest Iowa

Manufacturing Day occurs the first Friday of October each year, and is an opportunity to help your community become more familiar with the possibilities present at your company. Hosting an event helps highlight the reality of modern manufacturing careers to your future workforce and those who can assist your development - students, parents, teachers, and community leaders.

The Corridor has been celebrating Manufacturing Month through organized tours of manufacturing businesses, social media campaigns, and educational news and events. Continue to follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn or the website to learn more about manufacturing companies and regional manufacturing data.