MM Winter 2018

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Middle school STEM

WWII flight school

Community Y renovated

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ISSN 2475-7128

Jan/Feb/March 2018

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry



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In this issue Generations of GPC. . . . . . . . 2 Stepping into STEM. . . . . . . . 5 WWII Flight School . . . . . . . . 8 Things to Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Y Renovations . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Raymond Corporation. . . . 14 Art Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 On the covers Front cover: Muscatine photographer Paul Brooks captured this wintery scene at Weed Park. Back cover: A snowy downtown Muscatine - photo art by Jim Van Winkle.

Editor’s Corner Muscatine may be a small town, but I would sure not characterize it as sleepy! There has been a lot of news lately that affects the whole town and all of Muscatine County. The largest-impact piece of recent news was the announcement that Muscatine and Muscatine County have received a $500,000 Community Attraction & Tourism (CAT) grant from the State of Iowa.

The Community Improvement Action Team led the effort to raise enough local funds to capture the state grant. Residents, the City, County and businesses responded by donating $8.2 million. Key contributors included Kent Corporation, who made an enormous difference by matching monetary gifts, and HNI, whose donation of its former headquarters kicked off this effort, giving the library an attractive new home and making Muscatine a contender for the grant. With these combined efforts, it happened! The funding will pay for the conversion of HNI’s building into the new community center and public library, the establishment of an off-leash dog park, trail improvements and expansion, and the construction of cabins at Deep Lakes Park.


Need something else to happily anticipate? There will soon be a musical celebration of international friendship. In 2018 (the third consecutive year), there will be a Chinese orchestra here during the Chinese New Year. They will perform on February 21. (See page 12.)

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 563-263-8895 Fax: 563-263-7662

Happy New Year, readers! As you watch and participate in the changes and improvements locally, remember to pause and enjoy the moment sometimes, too.


Muscatine Magazine is published quarterly by:

— Kathy Kuhl, Editor

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 Email: ISSN 2475-7128 Editor: Kathy Kuhl, GMCCI Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design Contributors: Paul Brooks, Anne Collier, Andrea Grubaugh, Jessica Hubbard, Tina Roth and Jim Van Winkle For advertising info: Contact Kathy Kuhl at (563) 263-8895 or Muscatine Magazine is a quarterly publication focused on Muscatine, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and/or edit any materials submitted for publication. Published articles and advertising do not constitute endorsement. ©2018

Read Muscatine Magazine online!

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Orthopedic Rehabilitation • Sports Physical Therapy Aquatic Therapy • Industrial Rehab • Ergonomic Analysis Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 1

Investing in the long term GPC values its greatest resource – its people Stories by Tina Roth A strong family leadership and a long-term commitment to investing in its employees, its families and the community they live in has always been a hallmark of Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) and its parent company, Kent Corporation. That commitment has translated into a workforce featuring employees who have worked for the company their entire adult life, as well as several instances of multiple generations of the same family choosing to make a career at GPC. According to Gage Kent, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Kent Corporation, families like the Manleys, who have the third generation now pursuing a career at the company, are common. “We offer careers rather than jobs,” stated Kent, the grandson of founder, G.A. Kent. “We truly want – expect – people to stay. We invest in our families. We hope they see that. It helps them make the commitment if they know we are committed to them.” “When you talk to people like Dave and Seth Manley, it is very heartwarming and gratifying to know you have had multiple 2 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

generations working for you,” added Kent. A key to such loyalty is being a privatelyheld company rooted firmly in the Muscatine community. “As a private company, you know the people that work for you – and their families,” emphasized Kent. “It is inspiring for us when they commit to a career here. It is our goal that their family also sees commitment from the company.” Doyle Tubandt, president and chief operating officer of Kent Corporation, spotted the difference immediately when he joined GPC in 1978. At his previous place of employment in a publicly-held corporation, Tubandt did not feel the same connection. “Coming to GPC was so different because it is family-held,” said Tubandt. “I am working with people who have been here for decades. “I have been blessed here,” he added. “We think long-term and invest in our employees long-term, which means people stay.” Kent and Tubandt also credit the Muscatine community with making a career at GPC attractive.

“Muscatine offers a safe environment to raise and educate a family, “ stressed Kent. “That resonates with people.” In return, the corporation further invests in its families by investing in the community. “I don’t believe there is an organization in town that one of our employees isn’t a part of or has served on,” Tubandt said. “We highly encourage employees to get involved. We even require that our upper management members live in Muscatine. We want our employees to be part of the community.” Kent added, “In Muscatine, we have the opportunity to participate in community activities and actually be impactful. We are committed to being a good corporate citizen.” The Kent family established feed operations in Muscatine in 1936 to take advantage of the Mississippi River transportation opportunities. The diversified portfolio of companies has grown and now includes Grain Processing Corporation (established in 1943) as well as Kent Nutrition Group, Kent Pet Group and Kent Precision Foods Group, all providing long-term career opportunities and support for families of their nearly 2,000 employees. n

Like father, like son 3 generations of Manley family find their fit at GPC GPC was a large presence in Seth Manley’s life while growing up. “I tell everyone I grew up in a GPC house,” said Seth. “My grandfather was one of the original employees. My dad worked there his entire adult life. He eats, sleeps and breathes GPC.” In 2009, Seth became the third generation of his family to continue the tradition that started with his grandfather, Elmer Manley. Elmer joined the company as a maintenance employee soon after its founding in 1943; he retired in the early ‘70s. In 1967, Seth’s father, Dave, began his career with the organization just two days after his high school graduation. He started out doing prep work in the advertising department print shop, eventually becoming the company photographer. In 1986, he moved to the plant, working swing shift until his retirement in 2003. “If you graduated from high school or college and a parent worked there, you had a job,” Dave said. Despite the family history, Seth, a self-described “art kid,” had decided in high school that a future at GPC was not in his plans. “Growing up, I swore I’d never work at GPC,” said Seth. “I told my dad, I love GPC, but I am an artist. I wanted to go to art school.” Then, according to Seth, “life happened.” Rather than going to college, he took a good-paying, but stressful, position in collections. He got married and started a family. But — Continued on next page Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 3

Like Father, Like Son Continued from previous page —

‘Dad I want to work at GPC like you when I grow up.’”

“I am as proud of what he’s accomplished as I am of myself,” Dave said.

the job took its toll on his family life and when his position was cut in 2009, Seth decided it was time to go an entirely different, yet familiar, direction.

Seth and Dave have also added a new dimension to their relationship. Despite being close, Seth acknowledged that finding common ground with his dad was sometimes difficult.

The art ambition that Seth has harbored since he was a young boy has also been fulfilled at GPC. Once his fellow employees discovered Seth’s talent, he was asked to create logos for a GPC maintenance contractor and design a food-grade safety sign for use in the plant.

“I was married with a kid. I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Seth explained. “I could have gotten a job in collections again, but I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I was at a point in life where my values were important.” So he went and talked to his dad. “I told him, ‘Make sure this is what you want to do, because it will change your life completely,’” said Dave, a well-respected veteran of GPC, who in 36 years never missed a day of work. “’I can get you an interview, but the rest is up to you.’”

“My Dad has been my best friend my entire life, but we are very different people,” stated Seth. “I am an artist. As a kid, I was introverted and into art and comic books. My dad was an athlete, and I didn’t play a single sport. We never had something big in common.” Now they do. “I go over to his house and say, ‘This

It is the best decision I have ever made. I love my job. — Seth Manley

Seth took a position at GPC as a dryer operator in the wet starch. He describes his first day on the job at GPC. “The plant crashed. There was starch everywhere,” recalled Seth. “I stood there and hosed for 12 hours straight.” “As a kid you get this image in your head of what your dad does,” he added. “My first time walking into GPC as an employee I was like, ‘Man this is not what I envisioned as a kid.’ The environment blew my mind.” He loved it. He has since worked his way up to department supervisor.

“It has totally changed me,” stressed Seth. “It is the best decision I have ever made. I love my job. “My wife says I am a completely different person,” added the father of three. “My previous job had been so stressful, and I missed the first three years of my older daughter’s life. Since working at GPC, I am always there for my family -- for every dance recital and practice. My daughters are 4 and 10, and they are already saying,

4 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

happened at the plant today’ and he says, ‘Oh, I know, this one time…,’” explained Seth. “We were already close, but my working at GPC has brought us even closer.” Dave was delighted to have his son follow in his footsteps.

“You can’t walk through GPC without seeing it,” said Dave proudly. Seth’s art talent has garnered him his own notoriety and paved the transition for the next generation of the Manley family at GPC. “When I first started, I couldn’t go anywhere in the plant without someone seeing the name on my hardhat and saying, ‘You Dave’s boy?’” commented Seth. But recently the tables were turned when his dad visited GPC and commented on the poster hanging on the wall – Seth’s poster. Dave said, “Now they say ‘You’re Seth’s Dad?’” n

Design and modeling teacher Andrew LeClere helps West Middle School eighth graders Belen Medina-Sosa and Brooklyn Dipple in their project to design a spinning sign. This class is a part of Project Lead the Way, a STEM-based initiative at the middle schools in the Muscatine Community School District.

Stepping into STEM:

Middle school students explore concepts in coding, design classes By Andrea Grubaugh The bell has just rung at West Middle School. Down one hall, students get out work packets filled with graph paper while their teacher passes out their puzzles for the day. A couple hallways away, students are working at their personal laptops, figuring out how to use pieces of code to create pieces of art. These aren’t your average math and science classes, or even your typical middle school classes. These are the new STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes that are being offered at the middle school level.

Currently, there has been a push to offer STEM classes to students during their elementary and middle school years. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of high school students are interested in a STEM career. Among freshmen who have an interest in the STEM field, 57 percent lose interest before graduating. Because so many STEM classes are only offered at the higher levels, for some students the classes come too late for them to develop any real interest.

to prepare classes that provide a good intro to STEM fields.”

“Kids need earlier exposure,” Muscatine Community Schools Superintendent Jerry Riibe said, “And our staff works hard

In Andrew LeClere’s design and modeling class, now in its fourth year, students

Two of these classes currently being offered are design and coding. John Kvapil’s coding class, now in its second year, teaches students to use text-based coding such as HTML and Javascript to create pieces of art made up of shapes and colors, websites, and even simple games. The coding learned in this class can also be applied to robotics, another STEM class.

— Continued on next page Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 5


Continued from previous page —

learn how the design process works using various projects, from building air skimmers to solving and creating their own 3-D puzzle cubes.

West Middle School eighth grader Belen Medina-Sosa attaches a sign to her spinning mechanism during a robotics class.

“We move from one project to the next, with each one building on previous skills as well as teaching new ones,” LeClere explained. As background music plays, students stay diligently focused on their projects as they’re given time to figure out the foam puzzle cube they’ve been given. How the puzzle fits together is just as important to the assignment as putting it together. As each puzzle is solved, the kids eagerly move onto the next one with the confidence to solve it. “A student that may struggle with other traditional classes may be able to thrive in these more hands-on and visual STEM classes,” LeClere said. Problem-solving plays a big part in these STEM classes, as does collaboration and patience. STEM is just as much as a creative field as it is a scientific one, with many students sharing that they enjoy being able to use their imaginations along with their hands as they work. “My favorite thing I did in Mr. LeClere’s class was making air skimmers,” student McKenzie Lemkau shared. “I liked measuring and how we got to color our design.” There are still some frustrations, but most students admit they enjoy the challenge along with the opportunity to explore and experiment with fields new to them. Still, not every child who takes a STEM class will be inspired to continue on with it, but that doesn’t lessen the skills these classes offer, especially in our technologically advancing world. “You still have to take math classes even if you aren’t planning on becoming a mathematician,” Kvapil says, “The (STEM class) skills are still important.” n

6 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

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Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 7

Flying by day, dancing by night Muscatine welcomed WWII-era pilots at local flight school By Anne Collier In 1939, while news of the war in Europe made front page headlines, it became evident that the United States lacked sufficient airplanes, trainers, and qualified pilots should the country be drawn into the war. Thus began a nationwide program under the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) for civilian 8 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

pilot training (CPT) through colleges and universities. Muscatine’s Junior College began the CPT program in September of 1940. Applicants had to be American citizens, 19-26 years of age, physically fit, and a temperament necessary for a military pilot. The only cost to the student was a fee for the medical examination and insurance, which was mandatory. The school provided the classwork, while flight instruction was held at the Muscatine Airport. The program had various phases of training in academics and flying. Ground courses included

such topics as the theory of flight and aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, and civil air regulations.

Sometimes, the young pilots in training had time for a joke.

Flight instruction consisted of 35-45 hours of flying. Trainees had to pass CAA exams and a flight test to qualify for a license. As students advanced, they practiced spins in order to learn how to pull the plane out of one. Precision landing without the use of the motor was required. The instructor would cut the motor and the student had to change course, fly into the wind for landing, as well as find a field other than the airport. Cross country training involved longer flights and tested students on navigational skills. Those who graduated from the program would receive further training in the Army Air Force (the Air Force did not yet exist as a separate military branch) Women were initially allowed to enroll and records indicate that two passed the training here. Some women attended further training to become WASPS – Women’s Army Service Pilots. Just over 1,000 were accepted. Their duties included everything from ferrying new planes from the factories to military bases, testing overhauled planes, and towing targets for shooting training. The first local flight instructor was Roy Tooman Jr. He later attained the army rank of captain, received an award for outstanding achievement in the Far East, as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal as a bomber pilot. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the U.S. was plunged into war. The Civilian’s Pilot Training became the War Training Service (WTS) as the need for trained pilots became critical. Graduates were now required to enlist if they hadn’t already done so. The airport became a hub of activity. The Civil Aeronautics Administration began enrolling one-time pilots who had let their licenses lapse and those who had previous experience. The eligibility age was raised to 35. Later that year, an

These ladies worked at the Muscatine Café, a place that welcomed the young pilots. Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 9

Louis Callas serves up a meal at Weed Park for the flight school students.

Guys and gals line up by the Weed Park lagoon.

10 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2017 10 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

During wartime, Merle Wood took leave from teaching at Muscatine High School to instruct at the flight school and be in charge of its dormitory. Here, he poses on the rooftop of the dorm, a building now transitioning into becoming the new HNI Community Center & Musser Public Library.

intensive training course for five flight instructors began at the airport, with the maximum age raised to 42. Instruction also began for light airplanes and glider pilots, especially for those who did not qualify for earlier aviation training. In August of 1943 the WTS in Muscatine ended. About 600 training schools were closed at this time since the remainder of the training would be under the authority of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to an article in the local paper, the program in Muscatine had instructed about 400 students with no serious accidents and only a couple of minor incidents. During this time, the abandoned Baker hospital #2 building at 408 East Second St. had served as a dorm. Merle Wood, a teacher on leave from the high school, was the commander in charge of the

barracks. Trainees were expected to clean their quarters, keep clothes clean and pressed, and shoes shined. There were rooms for studying as well as recreation. These were given a homey feel with drapes, courtesy of the Muscatine Business and Professional Women’s Club.

swimming. Parties and dances were held, with local ladies’ groups providing food and entertainment. Churches invited the men and women to services, urging families to include them in Sunday dinners. A barbecue was held at Weed Park, with food prepared by Louis Callas.

A block up the street, the Muscatine Cafe at 305 East Second St. had been chosen as the meal site for the men. It was owned and operated by Louis Callas, whose family lived in the apartment above the cafe. Some family members served as waitresses/waiters, befriended the trainees, and also took photos. A scrapbook containing these photos eventually made its way to a granddaughter of Mr. Callas.

In the early months of 1943, the Elks Club held a dinner and dance for the students, servicemen and women home on leave, and their spouses or girlfriends. The men were invited to the spring formal at the Masonic Temple. Trainees, as well as those home on leave, were also invited to the Moose family picnic.

The townspeople welcomed the servicemen and the trainees -- most of whom came from areas throughout the Midwest. The YMCA offered free

After the local program ended, all of the dormitory furnishings were sold, erasing the last physical remnants of the Civilian Pilot Training and War Training Service. All that remained were the photos and memories. n

Thank you to Barb Rensink Dungan for the photos and contributions to the story. Information concerning the training was gleaned from various Muscatine Journal articles, as well as numerous stories/blogs written by those who had been a part of the War Training Service. Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 11

Things to Do Melon Patchers Quilt Guild hosts quilt show March 23-24 The Muscatine Melon Patchers Quilt Guild will gather to present “Piecing the Generations Together” quilt show. The event will be at First Baptist Church, 3003 Mulberry Ave., from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Admission is $5. Cindy Clark, president of the 65-member organization, said the quilters host a show every three years. Typically the group has more than 300 new items. All quilts and quilted items are hand or machine-pieced by the members. Techniques include applique, paper-piecing, traditional, modern and what are known as “generational” quilts. “Maybe a grandmother started a quilt, and two or three generations of the same family work on it,” Clark explained. The show will also feature sales. There will be items made by members for sale, a yard sale of quilting-related items and several vendors with fabric, notions, patterns and quilting items. The ladies of the church will provide foods and beverages for purchase. Muscatine Melon Patchers Quilt Guild meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Mulford Evangelical Free Church, 2400 Hershey Ave., from January to October and for a Christmas party. New members and guests are always welcome. n

Girls Getaway Weekend As of our deadline there is not yet an exact date set for Girls Getaway Weekend in downtown Muscatine, but the event will be in the earlier part of April. In the party’s ninth year, planners figure on making it bigger and better than ever.


If you are interested in being on the planning committee for Girls Getaway, call Jodi Hansen at (563) 263-8895. Look for the event’s announcement soon. n 12 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

Ragtime piano music, eagle watching liven up January weekend By Kathy Kuhl January can be quiet, but for the 24th consecutive year, the Muscatine County Arts Council will fill the first month’s last weekend with piano music. Eagles and Ivories features talented pianists performing ragtime music from Friday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 28. David Ales, who founded the event, was inspired to bring a ragtime festival to Muscatine after attending the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, Mo., several years. Among the volunteers he said make the festival possible, Ales got agreement that mid-winter is a good time of year. “What do you do in the middle of winter in Muscatine? We figured it’s a good time to enjoy some quality piano music,” Ales said. To add a uniquely seasonal flair, an eagle watching event is included. Ivory and Gold, featuring Jeff and Anne Barnhart, will again headline the event. Along with Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi and Daniel Souvigny, they will perform a 7 p.m. concert on Friday and Saturday and a 2

p.m. show on Sunday. These concerts are at Wesley United Methodist Church, 400 Iowa Ave., and cost is $20. A 5-7 p.m. soup supper on Friday at Wesley United Methodist Church will feature the music of the Mad Creek Mudcats. Saturday, the Locust Street Boys will perform at a 5-7 p.m. Syncopation Supper, also at Wesley United Methodist Church. Cost for these events is $15. Sunday, there will be two ragtime/jazz gospel worship services at 10 a.m. The Mad Creek Mudcats will perform at Wesley Church, and Jeff and Anne Barnhart will perform at Faith United Church of Christ, 3307 Mulberry Ave. The “eagles” part of the weekend will be an eagle watch at Pearl City Station from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It will include presentations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and naturalist Dave Bakke, and spotting scopes set up to watch the raptors along the Mississippi River. This event is free and open to the public. Go to for a full schedule of events. n

Chinese Orchestra performs in February The big sound of traditional Chinese music will again fill the air close to the time of Chinese New Year here in Muscatine. For the third consecutive year China Window Group, LLC, and the Muscatine China Initiatives Committee have scheduled an orchestra from China to perform in Muscatine and tour the area over the time of Chinese

New Year. The 2018 concert – in the Year of the Brown Dog – is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 21. The beginning of the 2018 Chinese New Year, in U.S. time zones, is Feb. 15. More details will be available in local media including Facebook pages for Muscatine Magazine and Grow Muscatine. n

Community pools resources to give the Y needed new space, renovations By Jessica Hubbard

will be completed in three phases.

Youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility are the three building blocks that make up the core mission of the YMCA. The Muscatine Community Y will be better able to foster those principals with improved and expanded spaces.

Phase I will bring with it a new gym which includes a new basketball court, exercise studio and a new indoor flat track for runners and walkers. The completed exterior is visible on the east side of the campus (by the soccer fields).

The improvements are underway, including new structures on the campus. The Y’s current building at 1823 Logan St., was built more than 25 years ago and the vision was the same in 1991 as it is now. Due to an increase in members and Y programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County, Family Program Services, and Special Olympics, the facility has reached its maximum potential for growth. Within the first few years at the current location (after moving from 312 Iowa Ave., now the Muscatine Center for Social Action), the Y saw the addition of two racquetball courts along with a Kids Club area and an exercise studio. However, no other renovations have been made until now. With about 9,000 current members, the need for expansion is imperative for continued growth of the Y, according to Executive Director Bret Olson. He said it

Phase II was expected, at the time this story was written, to be completed by mid-December 2017. This part of construction has been on the west side of the existing building. The changes it will bring include a large conference room, larger office spaces for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics, as well as an updated Teen Center, two family locker rooms, and the new Kids Adventure Center which will be geared towards preschool to early elementary-age children. “Phase II will also mean one main entrance for the Y which provides better security of the facility and will be user friendly for check-in and registration desks,” Olson said. Twenty-one new parking spaces along with six additional handicapped spots will also be added in Phase II. Three of the handicap-accessible spots will be on the Logan Street side of the building and three on the Cedar Street side.

Another part of Phase II will be the renovation of the existing exercise area. The banked track will be removed from the room, freeing up 4,500 square feet for exercise equipment and space between pieces of it. Phase III will be the completion of the new gym’s interior – in April or May. “We had to complete the new structure so we had somewhere to move things for Phase II,” Olson explained. “The floor goes in last.” Melanie Steckel, Health Promotion Services Director of the Muscatine Community Y, said she is looking forward to what the expansion will bring. “With the new gym, we will have more space for all Y activities such as basketball and pickleball, as well as additional space for Kids Club and youth and teen activities along with a new cycling room.” Steckel, who has been with the Y for over 40 years says she’s excited about it all and the new opportunities the Y can offer members and the community. Susan Miller, who spends time at the Y at least five days each week, is enthusiastic about the changes. “The main workout room is where my — Continued on page 17 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 2017 13

Business Profile

Mark Weigand measures a part that has a Radial Articulated Arm with a laser scanning head. This piece of equipment is used to probe or/and scan parts.

Raymond: more than forklifts While at near-record production, facility sees future in warehouse solutions

By Kathy Kuhl Behind a huge hill at 3305 North Highway 38, employees in a somewhat hidden 180,000-square-foot Raymond manufacturing facility produce the ubiquitous warehousing vehicle: the electric forklift. In recent years, The Raymond Corporation has also created solutions for warehousing operations—one of them specifically named “iWAREHOUSE.” ”It’s all about the ‘brains’ of a warehouse,” said Geof Bissell, director of operations for Raymond-Muscatine. “Quite frankly, that’s the future of Raymond. The company is a leader in warehousing solutions. “Raymond is meeting the needs of customers in information technology and warehouse set-up with a package of goods and services,” Bissell said. 14 Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018

iWAREHOUSE gathers and presents data to improve warehousing operations. Users of iWAREHOUSE have complete visualization of existing fleet and operator data to run better and manage smarter. The fleet management and warehouse optimization system tracks forklift and operator performance, improving fleet and asset efficiency and operational visibility. Compatible with any type of powered industrial equipment, iWAREHOUSE provides a comprehensive view of warehouse operations. It offers actionable insights to help warehouse managers improve labor and equipment productivity, fleet utilization, industrial battery management and warehouse optimization. Beth Downing, human resources manager at the local manufacturing facility, added, “A combination of innovation and technology is the new

direction of the company. We do more than trucks.” Yet there is still a great demand for forklifts. With e-commerce still booming, the forklifts alone could keep The Raymond Corporation busy. Production is at an all-time high since the facility was a new Prime Mover operation (a former iteration of the same company) in the 1980s. “We’re going to be at our highest build rates we’ve ever had from December to February,” Bissell said. Employment is also at a peak. As of mid-fall 2017, the Muscatine plant boasted 375 employees and up to three shifts in some areas of operation. Jobs run the gamut from engineering, quality, finance and logistics to welding, painting, assembly and inspections. Bissell said that in December through

February, the facility is ramping up its hires (including temporary) to just under 400, which is at or near a factory record. Part of what’s driving the increased production is the demand for light-duty trucks, the 8210 model, which have a capacity to lift 4,000 pounds. A heavier 6,000/8,000 pound capacity truck – the 8720 second level order picker (able to reach the second level of a parts rack) is a new product for Raymond which is also expected to have a positive impact on production. And finally, production of the self-driving Courier automated lift trucks, which provide the versatility to run manually with an operator or automatically, is increasing. The Raymond Corporation strives to make growth work for both customers and employees. “Our customers are growing, and we’re growing with them by providing even more quality products and end-to-end solutions to make their jobs more effective,” said Rick Harrington, The Raymond Corporation’s vice president of U.S. Manufacturing. “And by continuing to expand our operations, we are helping grow the community — providing jobs to the local workforce that also come with opportunities for furthering education and skills development.”

Raymond-Muscatine’s facility manufactures thousands of Toyota, Raymond, and Lift-Rite brand pallet trucks annually. They are all Class III lift trucks (as defined by the Industrial Truck Association) including pallet trucks, pedestrian (manually powered) trucks, and stackers. These machines are part of the warehousing solutions and equipment that Toyota Industries, The Raymond Corporation’s parent company, provides its customers worldwide. The products from

We’ve got that Midwest work ethic.

— Beth Downing, HR Manager Raymond - Muscatine

Muscatine are used for order picking, hauling, stacking, and loading/ unloading trailers. Raymond headquarters are in Greene, N.Y. The Muscatine location makes sense in part because it is centrally located in the country and close to Interstate 80. Employees – most with a 15-minute or shorter commute – are also close, and they are productive.

“We’ve got that Midwest work ethic,” Downing said. Like many businesses with long histories, the story of Raymond’s facility in Muscatine is the story of several companies. • In 1950, HON Industries, known then as Home-O-Nize, partnered with Bell Aircraft Corp. to offer the Prime Mover gasoline-powered material handler that could be equipped with a platform, bucket or snow plow. After Prime Mover became a whole line of warehousing equipment, it became a separate company in Muscatine. • In 1988, Europe’s leading provider of warehousing equipment, BT Industries AB of Sweden, bought the company, creating BT-Prime Mover. • BT Industries acquired The Raymond Corporation of Greene, N.Y., in 1997. Raymond had provided electrical materials handling equipment since 1922. • In 2000, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Ltd. of Japan bought BT. Now the company is part of the Toyota Industries Corporation. The Japanese business culture shows at the Muscatine facility through practices like a “training dojo,” where new factory employees test skills like dexterity — Continued on next page

Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 15


Continued from previous page —

and visual inspections. It is a walled, dedicated area of the factory floor. Bissell said he wants to see employees “well-prepared, trained and happy.” Externally, he and Downing would like the company to be one of the first employers mentioned when people are talking about Muscatine’s industries. Downing said, “We would like for people to list Raymond when they’re talking about the big employers in Muscatine. We employ hundreds, and we offer high-quality jobs.” She emphasizes this at job fairs, where she often first speaks with the six to eight engineering students who each year join Raymond-Muscatine to “co-op” with the company. The co-op students have an opportunity for full-time placement after receiving their degrees. The benefits run both ways: students learn processes and business culture, and the business gets the benefit of fresh ideas and working with talented students. Downing said she tells all job applicants about the facility’s warmth. “This place has a family feel,” she said. Dave Lord, a new weld kitter in the factory, agrees. “There’s a friendly atmosphere. Everyone’s taken me around to get familiar, and they’ve taken care of me.” Raymond-Muscatine strives to be a good neighbor, supporting a number of local charitable efforts. The company matches employee gifts to the United Way annual campaign, and employees at Raymond-Muscatine have also rallied to financially support Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl-a-Thon, several Muscatine school carnivals, the Muscatine High School marching band and HyVee’s fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, to name a few. “It’s a good place and we have good people,” Downing said. n

16 Muscatine Magazine • Winter Fall 2017 2018

GREAT JOB. GREAT LIFE. We are Raymond—a company where innovation, quality and service are everywhere you look. We design and build the best lift trucks and materials handling equipment in the business. We export our top-notch products around the world. We’ve been a steady part of the same community in Muscatine, Iowa, for many years—working to makes things better every single day. Find out what we have to offer at

For career opportunities: Raymond-Muscatine Inc. 3305 N Highway 38, Muscatine, IA 52761 563-263-1761

The Muscatine Art Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Faces of Iowa State

On view February 15 - April 15, 2018 Faces of Iowa State features 39 portraits painted by Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen. Frantzen’s art has been featured nationally, including an exhibit of her Portrait of Maquoketa project at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Her lifelike and radiant examination of humans and our world bring together a long tradition of oil painting and portraiture with the skill and forward thinking of a 21st century artist. The exhibition subjects were chosen by Iowa State University’s colleges and select units. Portrait sitters included students, faculty, staff, alumni, and individuals with close ties to the university. “Portraits are more than simply a record; they illuminate intelligence, importance, virtue, beauty, taste and other qualities of the portrayed person as seen through the eye of an artist,” said Lynette Pohlman, Director and Chief Curator for University Museums. “By celebrating these people, this exhibition focuses on the diverse qualities that define the people of a great university. Faces of Iowa State portraits are in the University Museums’ Art on Campus Collection and continue the portrait tradition.” n Faces of Iowa State is organized by University Museums with major support from: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, ISU Extension and Outreach, University Library, Office of the Vice President for Research, and University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Community Y Continued from page 13 —

husband and I go in the mornings. It needs space, and it looks like we’re about to get it.” After coming for their own exercise in the mornings, the Millers bring their 9-year-old grandson in the evenings three to four times a week. On the weekends, they bring him with one or two of his friends so they can swim.

“We’re trying to teach him to live a healthier lifestyle,” she said. “This place is great for all of us. We sure get our money’s worth!” The Muscatine Y expansion has been fully funded by donations, so money for the project has come from many, varied sources. A combination of individual monies and corporate dollars from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, HNI Corporation, Kent Corporation and the Howe Family Trust has provided the $7

million needed for the project. Olson feels that people and businesses in the area have pulled together to make this expansion a reality. “(Financial contributions allowed for) this expansion, which will create additional space and add equipment,” he said. “This will positively impact the community and allow for greater healthy living opportunities.” n Muscatine Magazine • Winter 2018 17


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