4X4 YOUR DREAM SUV HAS LANDED
THE PLACE WHERE
MADE IN AMERICA IS MORE THAN JUST A CATCH PHRASE
THE FANTASTIC FOUR
PERFICUT REVEALS THEIR SECRET WEAPON
THE GREATEST CITY IN THE UNIVERSE! * *ACCORDING TO MIKE DRAPER
FESTIVAL! 34 YEARS AND $8.7 MILLION FOR IOWA KIDS
YOU. AT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. WHEN PERFICUT HAS YOUR BACK, YOU CAN FOCUS ON WHATâ€™S MOST IMPORTANT AND LEAVE THE SNOW TO US.
AT PERFICUT, WE KNOW WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO US, BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU.
WINTER SITE MANAGEMENT FOR CRITICAL SITES
To be the best, we know that you have to recruit and train the best. With our new Perﬁcut University, we are writing the book on snow and ice management. Our 38-step curriculum ensures that our snow professionals are ready to tackle the most critical assignments.
The best way to prevent issues during winter weather is to anticipate them. That’s why Perﬁcut performs a detailed site inspection of each property before the season begins. During this review, we’ll identify safety and emergency access issues, review traﬃc and pedestrian ﬂow, and work to identify any special issues at the pr property.
Snow Plan We hate surprises and know that you do too. That’s why every site we manage has a detailed snow map that tells you exactly what services will be performed and when.
In Event Documentation Risk mitigation is the heart of our Snow & Ice Management Program, which is why we record the condition of your property throughout each snow event and document the performance of services in real time.
Monitoring & Communication Our meteorologist and communications team will keep you advised of the status of your site no matter the time of day or night.
Audit Four levels of internal and external audits ensure that every service is performed as designed and documented.
PERFICUT.COM | LIVE THE DETAILS
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THE WINTER AHEAD PUBLISHERS / MATT BOELMAN & KORY BALLARD
UTUMN ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE the busiest time of the year as we wrap up summer projects and begin planning for winter. Our meteorologists have been busy preparing models for the season ahead and are forecasting temperatures to be much colder than we experienced last winter. Precipitation is also expected to be above-average, with snowfall totals cresting above the ten-year average. Whatever happens, our sled dogs are ready and are already pulling at the stake and excited to get to work. Speaking of preparation, it’s never too early to get thinking about the Holidays. In this issue of Living Details, we have everything you’ll need to get started. Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Mars Cafe in the Des Moines East Village and then head to RAYGUN to pick up a few selections from our “Made in America” story (Page 14). If you hit it big in the market this year and are looking for something special for the man in your life, skip the socks at RAYGUN and turn to “Tools of the Trade” (page 18). The guys at New Legend 4x4 will get you behind the wheel of a reconditioned Scout or Wagoner that is guaranteed to get your heart racing while tackling whatever winter weather lies ahead.
As you turn your focus back inside, we have a feature story on the Great American Christmas Tree (page 22). We take a look at the annual “Festival of Trees and Lights” benefiting the Blank Children’s Hospital. The event, which is now in it’s 34th year has raised more than $8.7 million dollars to benefit children’s programs at Blank. It’s a story that will warm your heart no matter how cold the winter gets. Then, wrap up your shopping at the new “Outlets of Des Moines” in Altoona. This 34-acre campus opened in late-October south of Bass Pro Shop and we have all the details for you on page 40. As you move past the Holidays and begin to map out a plan for your New Years Resolutions, check out the feature story on Mike Draper on page 34 for inspiration. Mike and his team at RAYGUN have a bold vision for the future and share some stories of how they are building it one rock at a time. As always, there is much more inside, so place your winter preparation on the back burner for the moment, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this edition of Living Details.
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FESTIVAL! In its 34th year, the Festival of Trees and Lights has touched countless lives while raising more than $8.7 million for pediatric services across Iowa. Get into the holiday spirit at this inspirational event and then get out your checkbook and support the cause!
THE FANTASTIC FOUR Known across the green industry as the “Fantastic Four,” these four Des Moines-based Perficut Account Managers have been transforming outdoor public spaces one acre at a time.
THE GREATEST CITY IN THE UNIVERSE More than a decade ago, Mike Draper declared Des Moines the “Greatest City in the Universe.” Then all he had left to do was make it true.
SPECIAL DELIVERY Central Iowa’s newest retail destination, Outlets of Des Moines, is open for business in Altoona, offering major brands and deep discounts to area residents. We take you behind the scenes of the latest project from New England Development.
THIS PAGE Remembering summer past in a Scout Runner from New Legends 4x4 in Ames.
TOOLS OF TRADE
New Legends 4x4 promises to make the “mundane memorable” with their collection of modern classic SUVs built from vintage Scouts, Wagoneers, and International Harvester.
MADE IN AMERICA According to these two local business owners, “Made in America” is more than a catch phrase, it’s a philosophy. Learn more about the choices central Iowa consumers are making inside.
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GET THESE GUYS A HEAD START. ORDER YOUR LAWN APPLICATION PROGRAM TODAY AND GET ONE FREE.
LIVINGDETAILS EDITORIAL TEAM
PUBLISHERS / MATT BOELMAN, KORY BALLARD EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / CHARLIE WITTMACK CREATIVE DIRECTOR / CHARLIE WITTMACK COPY EDITOR / BEN GRAN
CONTENT / MATT BOELMAN, KORY BALLARD, JEREMY BOKA, JC OBRECHT, DAVE DAVIS, EMMA LOCKWOOD, C.K. WILDER, PHOTOGRAPHY / JENNIE ROSS, RICK LOZIER, C.K. WILDER, CHARLIE WITTMACK
PERFICUT COMPANIES, RAYGUN, MIKE DRAPER, NEW LEGEND 4X4, ANYTHING SCOUT, VON MAUR, BLANK CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, THE FESTIVAL OF TREES AND LIGHTS, OUTLETS OF DES MOINES, AND 8 | 7 CENTRAL
ENJOY MORE CONTENT AT PERFICUT.COM
COPYRIGHT 2017 TWG CREATIVE 112 S. TRYON STREET, SUITE 1200 CHARLOTTE, NC 28284
COMMERCIAL QUALITY - RESIDENTIAL PRICING But for more than 25 years, Perficut has been the site management company trusted by more businesses and organizations in Iowa than any other. Perficut is the only company in Nebraska and Iowa to be recognized for its leadership across all four seasons by publications including Lawn & Landscape, Landscape OL C ON T R Maintenance and Snow Magazine. And as the company R UB Gonly in the region with a snow and ice management program A T IO N accredited under the rigorous new quality standards of A E R CORE ISO-SN9001, the choice is now clearer than ever.
E E D IN
you’ looking for a new approach to the maintenance of If you’re IZE R your site, send up a signal or just pick up the phone and give F E R T IL G IN R P us a call today. S
P R CAM
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PERFICUT.COM | LIVE THE DETAILS
WINTER SITE MANAGEMENT THE PERFICUT WAY Perficut is chosen by more hospitals, clinics, high-traffic retail and corporate locations than any other site management company in the region. As the only company in Iowa with a snow and ice management program accredited under the rigorous new quality standards of ISO-SN9001, the choice is now clearer than ever. At Perficut, we sweat the details.
PERFICUT.COM | LIVE THE DETAILS
TOOLS OF THE TRADE WORDS / EMMA LOCKWOOD IMAGES / JENNIE ROSS
ur goal is to make the mundane memorable,” said Sean Barber, the owner of New Legend 4x4. “Whether you’re commuting to and from work, picking up your kids from practice, or exploring the backcountry for the weekend, we believe that every drive has the opportunity to be an experience that you remember for the rest of your life.” Sean has been curating and restoring classic SUVs for nearly two decades and is nationally renowned for his updates of classic Scouts, Wagoneers, and International Harvester SUVs. With his new line of ultra-high-end “New Legends,” Sean and his team of craftsmen and artisans are putting some of the greatest vehicles ever produced back on the road with modern engines, transmissions, and electrical systems. “The way that old vehicles connect you with the outside world is totally unique,” said Sean. “When you want to back-up in an old vehicle, you move around to see what’s behind you. You don’t just sit there and glance through a camera. It’s a simple act, but the extra movement forces you to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present for every action you take behind the wheel.” “Looking back” is an appropriate metaphor for Sean. His inspiration for the concept of his business grew from happy memories he had as a kid driving around southern California with his dad in a Wagoneer. With such an important starting point, New Legend believes in remaining true to the vision of the original creators of these classic SUVs. “We work hard to take the creators’ vision and blend it with modern performance and reliability,” said Sean. “We have transformed these rugged and vintage vehicles into reliable, safe, and easy to handle machines - all while preserving their authentic character.” Each New Legend vehicle is truly a unique work of art, and with price tags starting in the six-figures, New Legend SUVs are commissioned primarily by serious auto aficionados and collectors. For those with a little tighter budget, Sean also offers a line of “Runners” from $55,000 and Scout restorations starting at $18,000 Learn more at NewLegend4x4.com.
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TOP RIGHT: Seanâ€™s team in Ames, a restored Scout, the interior of Scout, Sean at work in Ames, and a restored vintage JEEP Wagoneer.
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THIS PAGE: New Legend 4x4s use top-of-the-line, modern components for reliability and performance.
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Made in America! AS THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH, CONSIDER FILLING SANTA’S SLEIGH WITH SOMETHING LOCAL. WORDS / EMMA LOCKWOOD IMAGES / C.K. WILDER Given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans say that they would rather buy the American product, according to a nationally representative survey conducted by Consumer Reports in 2013.
manufactured in Iowa. The furniture is manufactured across the street from RAYGUN’s retail store in the East Village of Des Moines. However, RAYGUN founder Mike Draper said that consumer attitudes toward “buying American” are often more complex than any survey can capture.
According to the study, 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that their primary motive in buying locally manufactured goods was their desire to keep American manufacturing jobs strong in the global economy. Sixty percent of respondents cited concerns about the use of child workers overseas or felt that American-made goods were higher quality.
“When Americans are surveyed, they say a lot of interesting things,” said Draper. “Everyone has the best intentions in a survey, but when Americans finish the survey and take action, there are a whole other set of activities that take place that people don’t really want to discuss during a survey.”
“For more than 25 years, we have operated our business with a focus on supporting the American worker,” said Kory Ballard, President of Perficut Companies in Des Moines. “We believe that American companies provide the highest quality products, produced in the most ethical way, and offer the greatest innovation.”
Draper said that consumers often respond to various factors that don’t show up on a survey. “What we have found over the last decade, is that for the most part, despite what they tell you, people don’t really care where their stuff is made,” said Mike. “What they really care about is how it looks and how much it costs.”
“Because we operate a service company, our workforce is all obviously local,” said Ballard. “But we are extremely proud to equip our teams with the very best locally manufactured products from John Deere and Toro, and fill our fleet with vehicles from Ford, Chevy, and Caterpillar.”
“So we have to have a really high quality product at a good price,” Mike continued. “But the ethical decision on how we achieve that goal is really up to owners.”
“When it came time for a fresh look for our site management team uniforms, it made perfect sense to us to pay a visit to RAYGUN in Des Moines,” said Matt Boelman, Ballard’s longtime partner. RAYGUN’s inventory is almost entirely produced and manufactured in the United States. The T-shirts are fair trade certified, manufactured in Los Angeles, and printed in Iowa. The paper is made in Madison. The glassware is
“The manufacturers have to answer the question, ‘Am I willing to sacrifice margin and profits to actually do the right thing?’” For companies like RAYGUN and Perficut, the answer is an unequivocal, “Yes.” “When you own a business, in a sense, the business is a miniature society,” said Boelman. “As an owner, you have the opportunity to make decisions about what type of a society you want to create. And those decisions have real consequences.”
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THIS PAGE: 1. Perficut t-shirt, manufactured in California and printed in Des Moines by 8 | 7 Central. 2. Des Moines t-shirt, cut and sewn in Americaâ€™s oldest Fair Trade Certified Factory in Los Angles and printed in Des Moines. 3. Ceramic mugs, made in America, printed in West Des Moines. 4. Book, printed in the USA. 5. Native t-shirt, cut and sewn in upstate New York and printed in Des Moines. 6. Notebooks, assembled by Garner Printing and FinishBinders in Des Moines with Wisconsin paper. 7. Stickers, printed in Des Moines. 8. Mouse pads, printed in Des Moines. 9. Wooden wall art, created from local trees lost to the Emerald Ash Borer, welded and built in Des Moines. 10. RAYGUN IPA, brewed and bottled in Coralville. 11. Greeting cards, printed on Wisconsin paper in Des Moines. 12. Wrapping paper, printed on Wisconsin paper in Des Moines. 13. Wall art, printed in Des Moines with frame from Ohio. 14. Kitchen Towels, made in the USA and printed in Des Moines. LIVING DETAILS 19
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THIS PAGE: 18. Hat, made in the USA and embroidered in West Des Moines. 19. Freaker Socks, made in North Carolina. 20. Tayham greeting cards, printed in the USA on American paper. 21. Tote bag, printed in Des Moines. 22. Perficut t-shirt, manufactured in Los Angeles and printed by 8 | 7 Central in Des Moines. 23. Ceramic mugs, made in America, printed in West Des Moines. 24. Candles, made in the USA. “At Perficut, our decision involve labor and manufacturing, but because we perform almost all of our services outdoors, our decisions also involve the use of natural resources like water and electricity, and considerations about what we’re putting into the environment, either through a new landscaping project or maintaining an existing site,” said Boelman. “These decisions are always easy to make because we have committed to doing things the way they should be done, rather than the way that is the most profitable.”
In Mike’s characteristic style, the shirts combine a form of sharp wit, with humor and a subtle message. Among the samples are shirts that read, “Mow-ticulous,” “Mr. Mow-it-all,” and “Perficut: Not Competing with Great Clips.” “The shirts were stitched in the same plant in Los Angeles where Patagonia does their stuff,” said Mike. And then with a shrug, he adds, “Patagonia gets $38 for theirs. We get $22.”
With that, Mike reveals the new T-shirts that he designed for Perficut. LIVING DETAILS 20
KEEP THE HOLIDAYS ON SCHEDULE. SITE MANAGEMENT FOR CRITICAL SITES Perficut is chosen by more shipping and manufacturing centers, hospitals and clinics, and high traffic retail and corporate locations than any other site management company in the region. As the only company in Iowa and Nebraska with a site management program accredited under the rigorous new quality standards of ISO-SN9001, the choice is now clearer than ever.
PERFICUT.COM | LIVE THE DETAILS
PERFICUT.COM | LIVE THE DETAILS
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IN IT’S 34TH YEAR, THE FESTIVAL OF TREES & LIGHTS HAS BECOME A HOLIDAY TRADITION WITH DRAMATIC IMPACT. STORY / EMMA LOCKWOOD IMAGES / RICK LOZIER + C.K. WILDER
ccording to Iowa historians, the first Christmas tree was set up in Des Moines by the Neumann family, nine-generations ago at a location near what would eventually become the city center. The Neumanns were a family of German immigrants who arrived on the frontier in covered wagons and made a life on the prairie, working in the family’s bakery business. As winter came, the days drew shorter and the darkness and cold seemed to discourage customers from visiting the bakery. Christmas trees were still relatively unknown in the rest of the world and had only recently begun popping up in the Christmas markets in Germany. There was a rumor circulating that Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, had set up a tree in Windsor Castle, but whatever the source, the Neumanns were inspired to bring this new holiday celebration to Iowa. So, on a cold, dark December night, the family came together to start a new tradition. Hours later, the tree had been covered in ribbons and candles, and topped with a star that had been fashioned from a shiny baking sheet. Candlelight spilled out onto the street, creating a sense of hope and excitement for the future in the midst of a dark time of year. In the generations that followed, the Christmas tree became central to countless family traditions, representing many different things to many different families. However, no tradition is more profound or important than the trees that are decorated during the Blank Children’s Hospital “Festival of Trees and Lights” in Des Moines. Since the event began 34 years ago, thousands of trees have been decorated as part of the annual event, which has raised more than $8.7 million dollars to support pediatric services across Iowa. “People decorate trees for all sorts of reasons,” said Brenna Finnerty, Development Director for Blank Children’s Hospital. “Some of the trees are done by families who want to share a meaningful holiday activity together, while others are corporate teams that come together to give back to our community.”
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THIS PAGE: Christmas tree provided courtesy of Von Maur. The tree and decorations are available at VonMaur.com
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ABOVE Batman takes a nap in the Neonatal Intensive Care at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. “The best part about the event is how it helps people come together to both heal from loss and celebrate life,” said Finnerty. “Some of the most special trees are those that have been created by friends and family members as a memorial for children for whom there was no cure.”
“THE BEST PART OF THE EVENT IS HOW IT HELPS PEOPLE COME TOGETHER TO BOTH HEAL FROM LOSS AND CELEBRATE LIFE.” - BRENNA FINNERTY
Last year, a tree adorned with maps provided a memorial for Josh Becker, a former patient at Blank who passed away, but whose legacy is still with us. “The inspiration for the tree came from Josh’s love of collecting and reading maps,” said Mark Becker, Josh’s dad. “Wherever Josh traveled and with whomever he was with, he felt at home. There were never strangers, just friends he hadn’t met yet.” “It was our hope that the tree would remind viewers that home is about the people and hearts you spend time with and not merely a physical location. While Blank was not Josh’s house, it became home due to the wonderful staff and comfort provided during his stay.” To celebrate Josh’s life, his family decorated his tree with maps that he had collected from around Iowa, the United States, and foreign countries. Josh collected maps from his own travels, and received additions to his collection from friends, family, and even strangers who had learned about his map collection. “He enjoyed looking through the maps and plotting routes to find people and fun places,” his father said. “Places with people we could call home.” During Josh’s stay at Blank, he enjoyed navigating and learning his way around the maze of hospital floors and hallways. “Navigating our safari adventures with hospital maps was a fun way to pass the time during his stay. As he was able, friends and family would go with him as he explored his way finding new places and new friends. Not only was this entertain-
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ment, but it promoted healing as it motivated Josh to move and provided a will to read, think, and spend time with others.” “While we miss him, he is still home,” said Josh’s sister, Alyssa. The Festival of Trees & Light has supported pediatric causes at Blank for decades. In more recent years, Festival has supported the Child Life program and the Center for Advocacy & Outreach at Blank Children’s Hospital. Both programs are provided to patients, families, and community members at little to no cost, and no one is ever turned away for any reason. “Child Life is an incredible program that provides Child Life Specialists to work with children to help reduce the stress and anxiety that many experience in hospital and health care settings,” Finnerty said. Some of their work is quite technical, as the team explains medical procedures in terms that children, no matter their age, can understand. The team also helps children in the clinics, emergency room, surgery and radiology, as well as in the hospital. Some of their work is also designed to be fun. “During the Holidays, the Child Life Team delivers gifts to all the children who have been admitted, as well as to their healthy siblings,” said Finnerty. “During the summer, they turn an entire floor of Blank Children’s into a traditional Iowa summer camp.” While the Child Life team helps children throughout their health care journey, the Center for Advocacy & Outreach’s goal is to keep children out of the hospital. They create programs that promote safety and injury prevention, provide education on healthy living, and partner with other medical organizations for neonatal, pediatric and obstetric education. “The work that each of these teams do is incredibly inspiring,” Finnerty said. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I cry every day. I love it. I think it’s the greatest place in the world.” “And Festival of Trees & Lights is the best way to get involved,” she added. “Whether as a sponsor, a designer, a supporter, or a visitor, no amount of support is too large or too small.”
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Brenna Finnerty helps coordinate the Festival of Trees and Lights for Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Members of the Child LIfe team support children throughout their health care journey. Superman and Spiderman make an appearance as window washers outside the children’s hospital.
The 2017 Festival of Trees & Lights is scheduled for November 22-26 at Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. For more information, please visit FestivalofTrees.com.
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F E A T U R E
THE FANTASTIC FOUR THESE FOUR ACCOUNT MANAGERS ARE TRANSFORMING DES MOINES ONE ACRE AT A TIME. STORY / EMMA LOCKWOOD
WEAR MY BOOTS TO WORK EVERY DAY and always drive my truck,” says Dave Davis, Perficut Companies’ Senior Account Manager.
Dave is actually wearing loafers and driving a Prius, but after watching him snatch some trash from a planter full of petunias and add it to the dead sticks and branches that already fill the back of his sedan, I realize that he’s speaking metaphorically. “Sometimes I have to get my hands dirty to clarify something for a crew, or get down in a hole and do a little digging,” he adds. At this point, I realize the metaphor is complete and the dirt and holes he’s referring to are literal. With more than 30 years of experience as a horticulturist, landscape architect, and account manager, Dave never digs metaphorical holes, he only fills them. Dave is the seasoned veteran in Perficut Companies’ front line of Account Managers, a team that has reached legendary status in the industry and is referred to by clients and competitors as the “Fantastic Four.” Their coverage of the local market is so complete, they quit making lists of their clients and started making lists of companies that weren’t their clients - yet. Shipping and manufacturing centers, high-traffic retail and corporate campuses, hospitals and clinics, parks and recreational areas, and the many new sprawling regional data centers, all fall within their portfolio. “If it grows or snows and the site has to be perfect,” Dave says, “we handle it.” With three decades of experience, Dave’s main superpower as part of the “Fantastic Four” is his ability to see the future. “One of the things that I enjoy about my role is that I have the opportunity to see projects through from a blank slate all the way to completion,” Dave said. “Then when you add another 10 or 20 or 30 years on those projects, you really have a chance to see how your ideas performed over time.”
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THIS PAGE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Dave Davis and JC Obrecht in Des Moines.
“When the young guys come to me with a new idea looking for advice, sometimes it really is something new and different that is going to be great. Other times, I just smile and think back to when I tried the same thing in ’89 and forgot to plan for the droughts and floods,” Dave said with a smile. “When you’re doing site management in Iowa, you really have to consider everything.” “Dave is an encyclopedia of information,” said JC Obrecht, the second member of the “Fantastic Four” and Dave’s colleague for nearly a decade. “He can glance at a plan or walk out into a vacant lot and tell you the number of shrubs and trees you’ll need, the gallons of water it will take to water
them, and what you’ll do with the snow in the parking lot. He’s an incredible communicator and a great teacher to all of us,” added JC.
His portfolio includes the vast majority of the most important and complex corporate and public sites in downtown Des Moines.
“This year we had a major new project that required several acres of new parking lots,” JC recalled. “I started looking at the landscaping and lots and realized that we could modify the design of the curbs to make snow removal more efficient and allow the lots to be used more fully during the busy holiday shopping season.”
In the past decade, JC has had the opportunity to plant gardens that were designed by an internationallyrenowned landscape architect and required tolerances of a quarter-ofan-inch, work on a LEED platinum garden installation that included every environmental strategy the team could dream up, and transform the outdoor spaces of some of the most significant downtown employers to parks that looked terrific across all four seasons.
“I took the idea to Dave, and he loved it,” JC said. “It’s always a good day when you get an approval for a new idea from him.” Innovative new ideas are JC’s superpower on the “Fantastic Four.”
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“The only thing that spends more time in Downtown Des Moines than JC are buildings, parks, and skywalks,” said
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THIS PAGE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Kyle Campbell and Ryan Katch in Des Moines.
Kory Ballard, the President, and coowner of Perficut. With his characteristic modesty, JC shrugs the compliment off, but adds, “When you’re serving these types of clients, it’s not like there isn’t a day off, it’s more like, there isn’t a minute off. I always put myself in the shoes of my clients and try hard to anticipate any issues before they occur.” “Two years ago, we had a lot of freezing rain around Christmas,” said Kory. “The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates had done a major holiday light installation and the freezing rain was causing a lot of problems with the exterior electrical systems.” “On Christmas Eve, I drove past the
site around 10 PM and everything was working great,” Kory recalled. “Then I turned the corner and saw JC. He was up in a tree in the freezing rain working on one last string of lights and completely soaked from head-to-toe.” “Apparently, he had put his three kids to bed at 8 PM and went downtown to check the lights,” Kory said. “That kind of loyalty and dedication is pretty tough to find these days.”
“Kyle joined our team a few years ago with experience in sales and production,” said Jeremy Boka, Perficut’s Director of Business Development and Sales. “Having been on both sides of the aisle, he was able to get up to speed quickly and in a short time was managing many of our most critical sites.”
“It really wasn’t a problem,” explained JC. “I made it home later that night, took a hot shower, and still got the presents under the tree for an on-time arrival from Santa the next morning.”
“Critical sites” are an industry term for important corporate locations that have zero tolerance for any issues or delays with snow and ice management. Kyle’s portfolio includes major shipping centers, airport services, and manufacturing centers that are located across the state.
Kyle Campbell the third member of the “Fantastic Four.”
“These are locations that typically have to continue at full operational capacity
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THIS PAGE Dave Davis works with a production manager at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, JC Obrecht inspects trees at Nationwide, and Ryan Katch inspects native grasses at Toro in Ankeny.
regardless of conditions,” said Kyle. “Shipping centers have to move packages. Manufacturing centers have to keep the assembly line moving. Hospitals have to remain open and safe. They all operate with a zero tolerance that doesn’t allow for snow or ice accumulation, which requires that you anticipate conditions before they begin.”
had numerous requirements for the fences and grounds that surrounding the manufacturing center. Through his review of the regulations, Ryan realized a small but crucial detail: there was a fence covering a small creek that was non-compliant. In the days before the inspection was scheduled, Ryan worked with his production team to bring the property back into compliance.
The newest member of the “Fantastic Four” is Ryan Katch. Ryan is known amongst the team as the “numbers guy.” With a degree in Earth Science from the University of Northern Iowa, Ryan takes a highly scientific, quantitative approach to every project.
“The client passed the inspection and was able to continue their international shipping operations without interruption,” Ryan said.
“With Ryan, every plan or drawing is accompanied by a spreadsheet that lays out specific metrics for a project,” said Jeremy. “He is incredibly detail-oriented and isn’t afraid to jump into complex projects and get deep in the numbers; or in some cases, deep into the regulations.”
Perficut’s “Fantastic Four” might not be leaping over all buildings or saving the Earth from alien invasions, but they are achieving great feats in the field of site management. Perficut clients are able to keep their facilities operating in all kids of weather conditions, and public spaces are getting a more imaginative and beautiful appearance, thanks to th ehard work of this team.
Recently one of Ryan’s clients was undergoing a complex C-TPAT inspection. The manufacturing client required special approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of a partnership that is designed to increase the security of cargo shipping channels. The corresponding regulations
“The ‘can do’ attitude of these guys is impossible to teach,” said Jeremy. “It’s part of an institutional culture that we have created. We’re lucky to have them.”
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THIS PAGE Kory Ballard and Matt Boelman, co-owners of Perficut Companies, discuss strategies with Jeremy Boka, Perficutâ€™s Director of Sales, at the Hub Spot in Des Moines.
THE GREATEST CITY IN THE UNIVERSE*
STORY / NICK TAYLOR IMAGES / PHILLIP HARDER
he skyline of Zermatt, Switzerland is dominated by the Matterhorn, one of the planet’s most iconic and intimidating mountains. With its imposing sunlit face, pyramidal shape, and dramatic ridges, many mountaineers consider the Matterhorn to be the most beautiful peak in the world. Mountains are timeless and seemingly permanent; this mountain existed for many millennia before the formation of the village of Zermatt that now resides at its base. For as long as children have been born in this community, the Matterhorn has been a part of their daily life, and just like any part of the natural environment, this massive rock formation has shaped the culture and the imaginations of the people who live in its shadow. The symbolism of the Matterhorn inspires even the most ambitious, dynamic entrepreneurs to reflect about the nature of creating change. Is culture an immovable object or a dynamic force? How can we get more of what we want out of life and make a difference for our communities while working within our natural limitations? Is making a small Midwestern city like Des Moines “cool” the most impossible journey of all? “For generations, the Matterhorn asked questions that couldn’t be answered,” said Matt Boelman, a Des Moines climber and entrepreneur, and co-owner of Perficut Companies. “Of course people wondered what it might be like at its summit, if the mountain could possibly be climbed, and what sort of transformation might occur to those who made the journey. Eventually the mountain was climbed – the first successful summit of the Matterhorn was in 1865. Heroically at first, then gradually, over more than a century-anda-half, ascents occurred more routinely. As some questions were answered, others arose. And over decades and centuries, the mountain shaped the culture of Zermatt and was woven into the fabric of daily life.” THIS PAGE Mike Draper and Matt Boelman and RAYGUN’s flagship store in Des Moines’ East Village.
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“Societal change and culture evolve incrementally over time,” says Mike Draper, the Founder of RAYGUN in Des Moines and friend of Boelman’s. “Whether it takes generations, or decades, or years is open to debate. But it doesn’t take days or weeks.” Draper and Boelman pause for a moment to consider what’s just been said. Draper is never serious for long, and quickly adds, “Similar to the cool kid in school, no one is ever 100% sure how cultural change happens, but a lot of it seems to be based on how you carry yourself. Fake it till you make it!” Upon meeting Bono for the first time, Bob Dylan was rumored to have said, “Talking to Bono is like having a conversation with someone who is moving on a train. You just feel like you are going somewhere.” And so it is with Boelman and Draper: two energetic idealists and entrepreneurs whose ideas and conversations seem to be in perpetual motion, bouncing from the ground to the clouds and all places between, with no consideration for the laws of physics. Their conversations are equally abstract and practical, with some ideas vanishing like clouds while others solidify and turn to bedrock. However, regardless of the changing physical state of their ideas, there is always movement – these guys are constantly interested in forward motion. Cultural change is a common theme for Boelman and Draper’s conversations. A little over a decade ago, Draper began a personal mission to reshape the social and cultural fabric of Des Moines. Des Moines was a cozy small city that was primarily known as a home for insurance companies – but Mike Draper wanted to help transform Iowa’s capital city into a hub of creativity and hip urban culture. This was a figurative “mountain” that would have to be built from the ground up, but Draper had a lofty summit in mind. One of the most successful early T-shirt designs at his RAYGUN store made the bold declaration that Des Moines is “The Greatest City in the Universe.” “Of course, it actually wasn’t,” Draper told Boelman, with his well-known laugh, but he declared an ambitious goal and then set to work to make it true. Since then, Draper has been building Des Moines’ own cultural “Matterhorn” one stone at a time while using his retail store, RAYGUN, as a community hub and organizing workshop for causes that have incrementally, yet dramatically, changed the face of Des Moines on the local, regional, and national level. And while the shop might not yet be so inextricably connected to the cultural fabric of Des Moines as the Matterhorn is to Zermatt, when you look at the issues of significance in Central Iowa, they all seem to pass across Draper’s desk at RAYGUN. ABOVE Custom screenprinting takes place across the street from RAYGUN at 8 | 7 Central. RIGHT The Perficut series of shirts designed by Mike Draper and RAYGUN.
In the last few years, Draper has hosted Tom Brokaw and Hillary Clinton, testified about health care to the United States Congress, been featured in national publications including Politico and the Washington Post, shaped policy for the building materials used by downtown developers, championed sidewalks
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in Windsor Heights, fought for water quality as part of the Des Moines Waterworks lawsuit, built protected bike lanes in the East Village, penned editorials on Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and even weighed in on the controversial redesign of the Cy-Hawk football trophy. From the headlines and media coverage, it often appears that no issue is too important or too inconsequential for Mike Draper. But it’s all part of building his “mountain” – making Des Moines the Greatest. “Life is sometimes big and sometimes small,” offers Draper. “So whether we are joining the discussion during a Presidential election or working with the City Council to figure out how to make it safer for kids to ride their bikes and walk to school, the issues are all more or less the same. We’re focused on the future.” Upon entering RAYGUN’s flagship store in the Des Moines East Village, your senses are easily overwhelmed. Draper’s designs often begin from a place that is silly and fun. A shirt emblazoned with “You’ve cat to be kitten me right meow,” is displayed next to a shot glass that says, “Does this pint glass make my hands look big?” Political topics are easy to find. Some are obvious: “Dear America, Sorry about Steve King. Sincerely, Iowa.” Many are topical inside jokes for newshounds and political junkies: “We have nothing to fear but covfefe.” Others are puns that require the customer to uncover a connection that isn’t provided. For example, a sleeveless tank top that says, “These are what the Founding Fathers were talking about.”
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“That one is a rather sophisticated 2nd Amendment joke – if we’re going to sell that shirt, we need to find a customer who believes that the Founding Fathers intended to preserve the right to ‘bare arms,’ and not the right to bear firearms,” offers Draper, with a wry smile. “And then, of course, they have to want to buy a tank top.” “We don’t sell many of those,” he adds with a laugh. “The T-shirt that says, ‘Baseball: Because it’s not politics,’ is a much better seller for us.” Despite his progressive political stances, RAYGUN’s customer base extends well across the aisle due to the effusive pride Draper takes in the Midwest. More than half of the products offered in the retail stores exude a contagious form of civic self-regard. “Iowans: The Few, The Proud, The Extremely Attractive,” “IOWA: 75% Vowels, 100% Awesome,” and a shirt with an outline of Iowa with bold letters declaring, “NATIVE,” are all top sellers. RAYGUN is not just selling T-shirts; in a city and state that were long made fun of for being “boring,” they are instigating surge of civic self-confidence. “Des Moines: Hell Yes,” was first printed by Draper more than 13 years ago when RAYGUN was only a dream. “Kansas City: Too Much City for One State,” “Party Like It’s Wrigleyville 2016,” and “Iowa City: All Our Creativity Went Into the Name,” are more recent additions.
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“Everything we do begins with the slogans,” Draper tells Boelman. “It’s like Pop Art in that we’re doing it in a way that makes it accessible to the average person.” “But there has to be substance behind the slogans,” he adds. “For example, the shirts are made in California by the same company that produces cotton for Patagonia. The paper is made in Madison. The glass is made in Des Moines. The furniture is made across the street. The fonts we use are clean and simple, but they have been tweaked by us, down to the pixel. We hire people that reflect our community and really look at what everyone can offer.” As Draper says this, a woman who is legally blind passes between us with a white cane and sets to work folding shirts that say, “NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED.” “When you get past the slogans and snark, it’s easy to see that Draper really is creating something different,” says Boelman. “It’s not about T-shirts. It’s about creating the a blueprint for communities of the future.” “Our goal isn’t to get larger,” says Draper. “Our goal is to not compromise. We don’t want to mix up the way things are with the way that they are supposed to be.” “If you see something that needs to be changed, are you the type of person that organizes and does something about it? Or do you just sit around and complain?” Draper asks, rhetorically. “Bike lanes, buildings, sidewalks - all of these outcomes are just complaining mixed with motion plus time.” For many entrepreneurs, time is a difficult concept. Big ideas take form quickly and results are expected immediately. One thing that makes Draper and Boelman unique amongst their peers is their patience, and their willingness to nurture ideas and relationships over years and decades.
“Last year, Hillary Clinton was campaigning in Des Moines at a time that she was widely believed to be the next President of the United States. We got a call that she wanted to come to the store to talk about health care and small business,” said Draper. “And she wanted to introduce me!”
“In 2009, I got a letter from the Main Street Alliance, asking if anyone would be interested in writing a letter about the impact of rising health care costs on small businesses,” Draper said. “I was the only person to respond. The letter ended up being published in a national trade magazine, which led to me being invited to go to Washington on a lobbying trip, which led to me testifying as a small business owner to Congress.”
“I couldn’t help but think that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t answered that letter in 2009. I was the only person that actually showed up,” Draper said. “In business, I learned early on that everyone is on a deadline and people will learn to call the guy that calls them back.”
In his well-known style, Draper began his testimony with his usual self-deprecating wit, saying, “I’m sorry if I seem a little nervous this morning. I’ve never spoken in front of so many empty seats before.” Following his own rule of always having substance behind the humor, he then went on to present a convincing and passionate case for what would become the Affordable Care Act. The speech caught fire on social media and Draper became an unlikely but accessible voice for the American small business owner.
From there, the pair’s conversation pivots to plans for the future. If Draper is credited for creating a model community, Boelman is the one working on providing that community with a place to congregate. For the past decade, Boelman and Perficut have been working tirelessly to improve outdoor public meeting places throughout the metro. “Our outdoor public spaces have really become the jewel in the crown of the city of Des Moines,” said Boelman. “Perficut has been blessed to have clients who see the value of providing people with gardens and grassy spaces where they can congregate with friends or spend time relaxing alone.”
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Austin Gribble, James Stetzel, and Nautica Whitehead at work at RAYGUN’s flagship store in the East Village of Des Moines.
“BUILDING COMMUNITY IS A DAILY ACTIVITY. IT DOESN’T WORK IF EVERYONE HAS TO GO INSIDE FOR SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR.” -MIKE DRAPER
“One challenge that we’re constantly working to overcome is the impact that our Midwestern weather can have on these spaces,” Boelman reflected. “We’ve found that a mix of hardscaping and landscaping works well, with native grasses and trees, and seasonal beds that are replanted throughout the year to offer seasonal color.” On this topic, Draper produces a T-shirt to illustrate the point, which provides a hypothetical five-day weather forecast for the “Midwest” including wildly different weather each day, ranging from snow and a low of minus-20, to a torrential downpour, followed by a high of 110 degrees. “Building community is a daily activity,” offers Draper. “It doesn’t work if everyone has to go inside for six months of the year.” “People still need to be able to stop and smell the flowers,” says Boelman. “Even in December.” With energetic innovators like Mike Draper and Matt Boelman in the city, Des Moines is well on its way to achieving its own “Matterhorn” – with a vibrant culture and a warm community spirit in all seasons of the year.
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SPECIAL DELI OUTLETS OF DES MOINES HAS OPENED IN ALTOONA, PROMISING “REAL BRANDS AND UNREAL SAVINGS.
FTER MORE THAN TWO-AND-A-HALF YEARS of planning and development, Outlets of Des Moines has opened in Altoona, ushering in a variety of new factory-direct shopping options to local consumers. The project was put together by Massachusetts-based New England Development after identifying Greater Des Moines as a desirable market for the retail concept. Construction management was provided by Ryan Companies, with landscape installation and maintenance by Perficut. “Outlets of Des Moines promises to bring ‘real brands with unreal savings,’” said TJ Just, General Manager of Outlets of Des Moines. “Our retailers will offer up to 70 percent off America’s most desired brands in an open-air lifestyle destination.”
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Perficut crews install the landscaping at Outlets of Des Moines in Altoona.
Some of the brands that took part in the development’s grand opening included Converse, Express Factory Store, Francesca’s, LOFT Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, and Vera Bradley. Located just south of Bass Pro Shop in Altoona, Outlets of Des Moines is a short drive from locations across the metro. For those that prefer public transportation, DART has recently extended bus route 17 to reach Outlets of Des Moines.
To keep the atmosphere in the pedestrian zones free of extra noise and confusion, the parking areas have been relegated to the perimeter of the site.
The sprawling 34-acre development features an “open air” design where customers access shops, restaurants, and retailers from internal protected pedestrian areas that include comfortable seating, seasonal flower beds, an outdoor fireplace, and other landscape elements.
While an exciting new concept for Des Moines, New England Development has been taking a creative, entrepreneurial approach to real estate development and management across the country for more than 40 years. The firm has a growing portfolio of retail projects from West Palm Beach, Florida to Clarksburg, Maryland, and from Asheville, North Carolina, to their new location in Altoona, Iowa.
“The common areas will be used to host a variety of special events for our customers,” said Just. “During our opening weekend in October, we hosted our first ‘Open Doors. Open Hearts.’ charity event and a BBQ Cook Off competition. In the future, we’re planning musical events and other culinary experiences.”
Landscape architecture for Outlets of Des Moines was provided by Snyder & Associates in the “Prairie Style” popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright. Perficut took responsibility for installing the landscape and will maintain the property moving forward.
Learn more at OutletsofDesMoines.com.
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