Waterloo, IA: (319) 232-1156 | Cedar Falls, IA: (319) 266-3593

Tag Archives: manufacturing

Live it Up! Nick Kostner of Kryton Manufactured Metals, Inc.

How does Nick Kostner #livethevalley?

photo of Nick and Megan Kostner wedding

Nick Kostner, Megan Vogt-Kostner

What Nick Kostner does as Supply Chain Manager for state-of-the-art manufacturer KRYTON Engineered Metals in Cedar Falls can change from one hour to the next. You might find Nick working at his desk, on the shop floor, or in a customer location. He loves being empowered to try new things. “I’ve been given a lot of freedom in my day-to-day job to research and create new strategies, procedures, and processes to improve operations throughout the entire company.” Nick helped create the role that he began during an internship that almost didn’t happen: about a year earlier he was unenrolled from the University of Northern Iowa due to poor academic achievement. Ouch. He presented a detailed plan, was granted readmission, and got his act together. In 2016, he graduated from UNI with a Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management. Newlyweds Nick and wife Megan live in Waverly: small enough to see people they know everywhere but with the conveniences of a larger metro. #liveitup

Cedar Valley Manufacturing Events Throughout October

Before Gov. Terry Branstad left Iowa to become the U.S. Ambassador to China, he and then Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds declared 2017 the Year of Manufacturing in Iowa. This initiative is focused on building a skilled workforce, promoting innovation and R&D, and improving the global competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers.

Manufacturing makes up the largest business sector of Iowa’s Gross Domestic Product. Not only are manufacturers critical to our state’s GDP, but these companies employ more than 200,000 Iowans. The Greater Cedar Valley is also driven by manufacturing: more people here work in the industry than in any other.

We’re excited for all that is happening in Iowa, and specifically the Greater Cedar Valley, to thank our manufacturers and educate the public on what our manufacturers do and what manufacturing careers look like. Throughout the month, we’ll be showcasing Cedar Valley manufacturers on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Facebook page.

Manufacturing Month in the Cedar Valley

You can also learn more about manufacturing by attending a manufacturing event.  Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month have been national initiatives since 2012, and throughout the month we’ll be showcasing Cedar Valley manufacturers and manufacturing events.

More than 160 events will be hosted throughout October in Iowa, from facility tours to presentations for students interested in manufacturing careers. As you can see in this graphic from Manufacturing Day, there’s an amazing distribution of events all throughout Iowa. Our state hosts quite a concentration in comparison to its neighbors.

Events in the Greater Cedar Valley Region include:

Various manufacturers around Buchanan County are opening their doors to the public for tours, including Bertch Cabinet Mfg, Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co., Pries Enterprises, Inc., East Iowa Plastics, Hager’s Coffee Roasting Company, and Circle 8 Cyclery.

The Alliance & Chamber is hosting this event. Parents are invited to tour Power Engineering & Manufacturing, the UNI Metal Casting Center, and the Cedar Valley Makerspace. Then, they’ll be able to network with resource providers including Elevate Iowa, Hawkeye Community College Admissions, and Hawkeye Cedar Valley Career Connections.

Other events celebrated Manufacturing Day last week:

  • October 2:  Rada
    • Rada gave Wapsie Valley High School students a tour.
  • October 6:  Sukup Manufacturing
    • Aplington-Parkersburg High School students toured Sukup Manufacturing.
  • October 6:  Geater Machining and Mfg Co
    • Jesup High School students toured Geater Machining & Manufacturing, Co

Cassie Evers Grimsman is Business Services Coordinator for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. To learn more about manufacturing events or available businesses services, call 319-232-1156. 

Iowa Community Colleges Team Up To Improve Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

WATERLOO—A new campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing has been launched in Iowa.  Hawkeye Community College, along with the other Iowa community colleges, has teamed up to improve the state’s manufacturing workforce with the assistance of the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium and Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).

The “Elevate Advanced Manufacturing” campaign will begin by addressing the current public perception of manufacturing and educating Iowans on the opportunities that exist within this industry.

“When you ask the average Iowan about advanced manufacturing, they think of an outdated image – a dirty, unsafe work environment,” says Mike Ralston, President of ABI. “That simply is not the case. Iowa has strong, innovative companies that make cutting-edge products and are well-regarded as leaders in their industry,” says Ralston.

Computer savvy employees, a highly skilled and compensated workforce, and innovative products are the reality of the term, “advanced manufacturing”.  This industry relies on skills and creativity to produce highly-specified and complex products.  The website, www.elevateiowa.com, has been launched to support this campaign with the use of video testimonials, self-assessment career guides, job search tools, and training information.

By 2018, there will be a shortage of 6,672 skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing sector*. These available positions offer attractive pay and benefits packages. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2011, the average manufacturing worker made $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits, while the average worker in other industries earned $60,168.

“Iowa’s 15 community colleges offer a broad range of training opportunities within advanced manufacturing,” says Stephanie Ferraro, Project Manager of the I-AM Consortium. “With funding from the U. S. Department of Labor, the I-AM Consortium is building capacity in programs across the state. Colleges are redesigning and developing industry-influenced curriculum, embedding industry credentials into educational pathways, and purchasing state-of-the-art equipment to replicate the technology-rich work environment found in Iowa’s manufacturing sector. Now is the ideal time for those considering careers in manufacturing to begin training at their local community college.”

Manufacturing contributes the largest share of Iowa’s gross domestic product (GDP) at an annual level of $27.6 billion, more than 18 percent of the state’s economy. As of March 2012, Iowa’s manufacturing firms supplied 215,600 jobs to Iowans, representing 14% of the state’s total employment – and that number is growing.

In order to make a lasting impact on the state of Iowa’s economy – industry, government, and education have combined efforts. Key players include ABI, the I-AM Consortium, a collaboration of all 15 Iowa community colleges, and various programs throughout the State of Iowa including the Governor’s STEM initiative, Iowa Workforce Development’s online Job Bank, and more. Each party has a common goal: to elevate the perception of advanced manufacturing and to arm Iowans with the skills they need to engage in Iowa’s workforce.

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing’s message and efforts are in action throughout the state, including:

  • The Elevate campaign website will feature video testimonials, a self-assessment for potential career pathways, career search tools (powered by Iowa Workforce Development), information on training opportunities (at Iowa’s 15 community colleges), and ways for industry to get involved. Visit: www.elevateiowa.com
  • Educational opportunities and curriculum integration with K-12 schools involving advanced manufacturing tours, speakers, and demonstrations.
  • Statewide media campaign using testimonials from skilled employees and manufacturers in Iowa.
  • Statewide events including exhibits at the Iowa State Fair with the American Welding Society booth, Iowa Speedway (Sept.7-8), Girls Scouts of Iowa Annual Conference, and more.

The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (I-AM) is an Iowa community college initiative to elevate advanced manufacturing, funded through a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program.  The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has been the voice of Iowa business since 1903, and its mission is to collectively provide value to business and industry on issues impacting Iowa employers. ABI is currently comprised of over 1,400 Iowa businesses of all types and sizes employing more than 300,000 Iowans.



Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees