By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Jones County Economic Development held its annual meeting on Dec. 11. During the meeting, several Jones County businesses and entities were recognized for their impressive success and growth in 2012:
• Bennett Machine & Fabricating
• Fidelity Bank & Trust
• Grant Wood Area Abstract
• Innovative Ag Services
• J&P Cycles
• Polo Custom Products, a division of M-C Industries
• Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative
• MinnTex Citrus Inc.
• Oak Street Manufacturing
• ORBIS Corporation
• State Farm Insurance
The cities recognized for development were: Monticello, airport terminal building project; Anamosa, successfully hosted RAGBRAI in July; and Wyoming, Little Eagle Nest Learning Center project.
JCED recognizes the importance of agriculture in Jones County, and specifically the contribution of farming families in making our economy strong and diverse. In an effort to increase the awareness of the farm economy and honor our agricultural heritage, JCED took nominations for the First Annual Jones County Farm Family of the Year award.
The 2012 winner of the Farm Family award went to Pete and Cindy Hall of Monticello.
“They contribute to the economy of Jones County,” said Dusty Embree, JCED director, of the Halls.
The Halls farm land along County Road D-62 and volunteer and contribute to the county. Cindy has served on the Jones County Tourism Board. They also restored an original Hall family cabin on their land and open it up for school groups.
Throughout the year, Embree and JCED have assisted several local industries with growth and research, helping them apply for necessary permits, offer justification for local growth, helping these businesses with state and local financial programs and looking for available properties in the area.
After conducting interviews with local companies/business, Embree said they discovered:
• 10 Jones County companies have expansion plans with in the next three years.
• Skilled worker shortage is the biggest barrier for growth.
• 43 percent of companies rate the availability of workforce as poor.
• 50 percent of companies rate the productivity of our workforce on a very high range.
JCED partners with organizations in Eastern Iowa to assist in marketing outside of the area. Prosperity Eastern Iowa is a regional marketing organization that covers Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, Jones counties and the City of DeWitt. PEI offers regional tools for Jones County businesses and workforce with the Buyer-Supplier Connection and attracting a world-class workforce that meets the needs of existing and future industries.
The Corridor Alliance is a regional marketing organization that includes the Kirkwood Community College’s seven-counties: Linn, Johnson, Jones, Iowa, Benton, Cedar and Washington. They help organize educational workshops and helped adopt a new regional brand, “The Creative Corridor.”
JCED also collaborates with Kirkwood’s Jones Regional Education Center, Iowa Workforce Development and Ignite Jones County Young Professionals.
JCED continues to hold monthly round table discussions at the Renaissance Center in Monticello. They’ve featured a wide array of topics such as workplace drug policies, OSHA, entrepreneurial operating system and Jones County Laborshed Analysis.
Throughout the year, it was important for JCED to develop a new mission statement: “Jones County Economic Development is a public-private partnership dedicated to strengthening the economic base in the region by assisting existing businesses, attracting new investment and jobs and fostering a business climate favorable for economic growth.”
The three fields they will be focusing on as part of their 2012-15 strategic plan include existing business success, new business development and organizational development.
To learn more about JCED, their strategic plan and all of the programs and opportunities they have to offer, visit
PHOTO: During the 2012 annual meeting for Jones County Economic Development, county businesses were awarded for growth and development. Those present to receive their awards were, from left, Doug Herman, City of Monticello; Kris Gobeli, Fidelity Bank & Trust; Mary Thomas, Innovative Ag Services; Dan Zwack, Polo Custom Products; Sharon Minger, Grant Wood Area Abstract; Doug Wortman, ORBIS Corporation; Alan Johnson, City of Anamosa; Rick Meyer, State Farm Insurance; and Curtis Martin, Bennett Machine & Fabricating Inc. Not present were J&P Cycles, Maquoketa Valley EC, MinnTex, Oak Street Manufacturing and the City of Wyoming. (Photo submitted)