WAPELLO COUNTY WORKING TO SURPRISE YOU AN INDUSTRIOUS COUNTY OF OPPORTUNITY AND LAND
Wapello County, created in 1843 by several hundred settlers, still embodies an eager culture of development. Entrepreneurs, major corporations, and small businesses are able to produce within the county for local and global markets. This tradition began over 100 years ago with industrial products such as coal, cigars, and meat packing. Though much of the county’s manufacturing is now ag-based with the production of tools, equipment, food and beverage, and food ingredients, the times are changing while the spirit remains the same. While Wapello County will always include agriculture in its manufacturing mix, the availability of land continues to fuel a spirit of development, and opportunity. Nationally prominent companies such as John Deere (1837), Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (1885), JBS (1953), Plastipak (1967), and Frog Legs, Inc (1996) showcase Wapello County’s ability to provide space for expansion, a stable workforce, and support for industrial development in a central location of the US.
LOCATION AND TRANSPORTATION
The recent expansion of Plastipak, a company celebrating 50 years of success, into the Ottumwa Industrial Park, is a prime example of available land meeting opportunity. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation worked with the Iowa Economic Development Authority for a generous incentive package for Plastipak. Plastipak located a plant in the area near its ready-made customer the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. A typical trend in the plastics industry is the clustering of fabricators near customers, controlling shipping costs. Updated roads, bridges, active railroad lines, and connections to state and national highways such as US 34, US 63, IA 149, and the Des Moines to Burlington Expressway make the area conducive for transportation of products. The Ottumwa Regional Airport, complete with two runways, rental hangars, and full aviation services is another draw for companies seeking convenient travel.
Transportation is now the focus in the development of a certified site on the northside of Ottumwa. Industrial site certification for 82 acres, known as the Helgerson Flats, is in the final phase of a traffic analysis. McClure Engineering is creating a strategy to ensure a traffic plan with mobility, safety, and convenience. The certification, slated for 2018, demonstrates Wapello County’s willingness to create development-ready space for new manufacturing.
The 2016 Laborshed study of Wapello County found nearly 76% of employees have education credentials beyond high school. The findings delineate a skilled, educated, and stable workforce. Manufacturing has an industry-wide need for education and training initiatives. Wapello County instituted an aggressive program, C3, (Cradle College Career) to affect a collective impact on the culture. Started in 2014, C3 already boasts of an up-tick in enrollment in technical courses and certifications at Indian Hills Community College. In addition, the Job Corps location in Ottumwa was ranked 7th out of 124 campuses across the nation. 89% of students hold a primary credential before leaving the program. “Assisting in the development of a quality workforce is a mainstay of OEDC’s mission,” says Sharon Stroh, Director of OEDC.
The eagerness of Wapello County to institute accommodating and growth-supporting initiatives for manufacturing is far from surprising. It harkens back to the industrious spirit of the area. The perseverant, hard-working nature of the workforce is reflected by OEDC as they help the current manufacturers in the county expand, as well as actively prospect for the community. Wapello County offers well-ordered space for industrial development, and is a county proven to be rich with opportunity.
Wapello County Courthouse
Ottumwa, IA 52501