Branstad, Government and Economic Development Officials Cut Ribbon on Accumold Expansion

August 9, 2016

Accumold ribbon cutting 2 08 09 16ANKENY, Iowa – Accumold, a global leader in the design, development and production of micro-engineered parts for various high-tech industries, cut the ribbon today on its second expansion since 2011.

Gov. Terry Branstad and other government and economic development officials were present to dedicate a 40,000-square-foot, $10-million expansion that will result in more than 200 employees in the next three years. The addition is a robust/hardened facility capable of withstanding an F-5 tornado.

Noting his involvement in previous Accumold celebrations, Branstad said, “This is a habit I’ve gotten used to and one I enjoy very much. Few things make me happier than to see Iowa businesses grow and thrive as much as Accumold has.”

Branstad said the new facility was about more than the success of a company. Citing former congressman Jack Kemp’s admonition that “economic growth doesn’t mean anything if it leaves people out,” Branstad added that Accumold’s growth “means so much to so many people.”

“This latest expansion created work for architects and engineers, construction workers, plumbers and electricians. It will result in the creation over 200 high-skill, good-paying jobs over the next few years and, in fact, the company has already hired more than 100 people,” the six-term governor said. “These are jobs that challenge people to innovate, create and to help set the pace in the medical, automotive, defense, aerospace and telecommunications industries. The technology and advances developed by Accumold’s people improve the lives of millions of other people around the world every day. And, something tells me they’re just getting started.”

Ankeny Mayor Gary Lorenz recalled the city’s start as a coal-mining town and outlined its evolution into a rapidly growing, economically diverse community. He described how Accumold was founded in a nearby rented garage in 1985 with a commitment to develop micro-molding parts and technology that didn’t even exist at the time.

“Since our founding days, Ankeny has survived adversity in the form of tornadoes, the Farm Recession of the 1980s, the recession of the last decade and more.  But we’ve always come back stronger thanks to our ingenuity, our perseverance and our commitment to make tomorrow even better than today,” Lorenz said. “Those are the very traits I admire in the entire team here at Accumold.”

David Maahs, Executive Vice President of Economic Development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said that the expansion is big news for the entire region.

“Greater Des Moines’ success stems from our ability to work together as a region, as well as the leadership that our corporate community shows,” Maahs said. “Accumold has long been a great corporate leader, and their success has benefited not only the City of Ankeny but the entire Greater Des Moines region.”

Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens attributed the company’s success to its philosophy of “never waiting for things to change.”

“Instead, we have changed them ourselves. We constantly evaluate what we do and then change what we need to change so that we are more innovative, more efficient, more productive and more competitive to stay ahead of the pack every day,” he said.

Hargens said the expansion, which has the capability to be a stand-alone facility because of its unique features, represents a “vastly different change in our operations and our approach to business.”

“As we approached this latest expansion, we changed things ourselves because our customers who already rely on us needed to know that we will be able to deliver uninterrupted as we always do, no matter what Mother Nature or anyone else might throw at us,” he said. “We’re able to do that because of our extraordinary employees, an investment team that we think is the best in the business, our customers who truly are strategic partners who collaborate with us at every turn to design exceptional products and our partners in the public sector and educational community.”

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            Since its inception, Accumold’s mission has been the production of super-micro, ultra-precision, plastic injection-molded parts with components that often measure in mere microns. Parts manufactured by the firm are critical components for the medical, micro-optics, electronics and other high-tech emerging industries.  They can be found in personal communication devices, telecommunications, surgical tools, hearing aids, medical devices, antennas, connectors and more. To produce those parts, Accumold builds specialized molding machines engineered to handle volumes from prototypes to millions per year while maintaining consistent, precise tolerances that are unique in the industry. For more information about the company, log on to

Iowa State University Bus Driver Guilty in Student Death

August 1, 2016

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University bus driver entered a guilty plea to a single misdemeanor charge in the case of an 18-year-old student who was struck and killed on a rainy December 2015 morning. The driver faces no more than 30 days in jail, Eric Woolson writes for School Transportation News.

Labor Shortage: Immigration Policies, Worker Shortages Challenge Potato Growers

July 1, 2016

The Washington potato industry is facing a labor shortage — but it is far from alone, according to two experts featured in Eric Woolson’s latest article in Potato Country magazine.

Delivering Flavor, Freshness are Crowning Achievements for Iowa’s Carrot King

June 7, 2016

In a state where nation-leading corn and soybean harvests are the undisputed rulers of production agriculture, Iowa organic grower Gary Guthrie proudly wears the crown of The Carrot King. The moniker was bestowed upon him years ago by a writer who was wowed by the taste of a crispy, sweet Bolero. Read the full story in Eric Woolson’s feature in the summer issue of Carrot Country magazine..


June 6, 2016

WAUWATOSA, Wis. – After 55 years at the Mayfair Mall, Richard Bennett Tailors is moving to Brookfield Square Mall and building a new, larger store, owner David Miller said today.

“A lot of our customer base that was downtown has moved west to industrial and business parks in Moreland and along Highway F, Highway 64 and I-90 over the years. We’re following our customers to make it more convenient for them,” Miller said. “The move also gives us an opportunity to evolve by updating our store and product offerings.”

An inventory sale at the store opens to the public on Thursday, June 9, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and continues at those hours each day except Sunday, when the store is open 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“As we make the move, it just makes sense to reduce the inventory as much as possible and also make way for the next season’s fashions and additional product lines,” said Miller, who noted the new location will be nearly twice as large as the current 2,800-square-foot location.

The store will also continue its close relationship with textile makers around the globe, which results in a broad selection fabrics unique to the region. “We’ll have a room of fabrics for custom suits, jackets and shirts, a separate formal wear area and all the casual wear will be displayed in a different area,” Miller added. “It will make it easier for customers to shop.”

Miller’s store is the last independently owned business at Mayfair Mall. His father, Elmer, opened the business in 1961 — only six years after the mall opened.  It was one of seven original Richard Bennett Tailors stores around the country that featured an innovative photometric custom-fitting technology.

“All we sold back then was custom suits, pants and shirts for men and women. As our customers and their tastes have changed, we’ve changed too. We continue to offer custom-made apparel, but we also carry a lot of other product lines, too,” Miller said. “We carry product lines for younger guys who are a slimmer fit, but we’re one of the few stores that carry lines for men who don’t wear that trimmer style.”

Miller is beginning to see a reversal of the long trend of lower-priced, casual workplace attire. “A big part of our business is exceptional customer service and we’re seeing more customers who recognize the value of higher quality and working with someone who knows how to properly fit them,” Miller said. “We want customers for life, not for one purchase.”

Miller began working at the store in 1980 and became a full-time employee in 1983 following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His son, Matt, is the company’s third generation. “He has raised our internet profile and helped us to pursue that younger clientele,” Miller said. “His influence has been great. He’s inspired me.”


More Bang for the Buck: Short-term Leasing Offers Long-term Benefits for School Transportation Departments

June 1, 2016

Eric Woolson writes in the June issue of School Transportation News, “It took a couple years, a good measure of persistence, a happy coincidence and some ingenuity on the part of leasing company but Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437 took the plunge into leasing and Director of Operations Richard Jones couldn’t be happier with the outcome.” get the full story on the benefits of short-term leasing.

Cooking Up Opportunities

May 11, 2016

Eric Woolson writes in the May/June issue of Potato Country magazine that shifting consumer trends and various forces pressuring restaurant profit margins present potato growers and processors with opportunities to work more closely with important allies to increase product demand. Read the full article.