National Small Business Week
The Nelson Company
Marvin (Pete) Nelson bought some machining equipment and set up shop in his garage in 1968 and then incorporated his business in 1972, taking rough metal castings from the local foundry and turning them into finished parts that would often be installed on agriculture equipment.
He did pretty well at his work and soon needed to expand, so in 1969 Pete moved his business to the old artesian ice plant at 607 West Grimes, a space now currently occupied by Paint-Line. By 1993 the business outgrew that location so once again the company moved, this time to an 88,000 square foot facility on Stone Avenue, where the business runs to this day. Currently, 45 employees staff two shifts. The company buys rough aluminum, ductile iron, and grey iron castings from places like the Faircast Foundry. The company then tools the rough castings into machined castings and sells them to companies like Case-New Holland where they are then shipped all over the world.
When Pete was ready to retire in 2000, he wanted to keep the company intact so he created an ESOP; an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which allowed the employees at the time to assume ownership of the company rather than selling to a larger company that might strip the business for its machinery and close the shop.
That business strategy worked well as demonstrated by the longevity of its employees. The newest President is no exception. Bob Bowman started with The Nelson Company as a machine operator at the age of eighteen. Clint Hardin, Vice-President of Operations, recalls telling young Bob in his first few years that “You’ll make a good employee someday, just not for us”. Bob is a stubborn guy and took that to heart. Now, 27 years later, Bob can say with earned pride that he is only the fifth President in the company’s history.
Bob and Clint, who both have 26 years of service, are joined on the senior management team by Rich Foreman, the Day Shift Supervisor with 37 years of service. David Waugh, who is Head of Maintenance, can boast 31 years in the plant. Quality Manager Jason Engle is approaching 20 years of service. The office team of Mindy Ferrel with 26 years and Cindy Merrill with 13 years, round out the business team.
Much of what the company does has changed little, although some changes include becoming ISO 9001 Certified in 2011. This certification is a world-wide standard administered by an international organization based in Switzerland and is recognized as a sign of quality by over a million organizations world-wide. In April of 2013, the company invested in a vertical lathe that could machine parts up to thirty-one inches in size and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds.
Another home-grown business that is standing the test of time, The Nelson Company continues to be a critical part of the manufacturing businesses that make up the Fairfield area.
Business After Hours - Temp Associates and West Briggs Business Suites
2709 W. Briggs Avenue, Fairfield
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
4:00pm - 7:00pm
Join us for Business After Hours on Thursday, May 20th from 4pm to 7pm! Temp Associates and West Briggs Business Suites will be our hosts this month. Start off the upcoming summer season with a Ball Park themed Business After Hours and enjoy hot dogs, chips, peanuts and cracker jacks! Thirsty? Come join us for a cold soda or beer!
Temp Associates opened in 1986, as Muscatine, Iowa's first staffing service. They are the largest staffing service in the area. Since 1995, Temp Associates has opened offices in Burlington, Clinton, Marshalltown, Mt. Pleasant, Fairfield and Grinnell. Their staff combines over 100 years of experience in Human Resources to provide you with the professionalism you deserve.
West Briggs Business Suites offers rental business suites in Fairfield, Iowa. Looking for a new office space? Contact West Briggs Business Suites!
The Chamber Business After Hours is a free, monthly networking event open to Chamber Members, their guests and the general public. If you are interested in hosting a Business After Hours, please contact the Chamber at 641-472-2111 or by email at Info@FairfieldIowa.com.
National Small Business Week
Davis & Palmer Real Estate
It's a family affair! The Davis family to be clear. Debbi and Chris Davis, owners of Davis & Palmer Real Estate, have been at this occupation since before they bought the business from Chris' parents, George and Jean Davis, in 2002.
George Davis was a farmer who added realtor to his occupation when he attained his license in 1966. He then teamed up with Lyle Palmer and they bought the Mogged Realty business and renamed it Davis & Palmer Real Estate back in 1970. Davis & Palmer had offices in Washington, Mount Pleasant, and Fairfield but when George bought out Lyle in 1973, they closed all of the offices except for Fairfield.
Chris Davis originally thought he would take over the family farm someday. Instead, he got caught in the construction business with his brother Mark, where they formed Marcris Builders from 1978 to current, with Mark leaving in 1985. The next year, George hired Debbi to staff the front of the office and soon after, both she and Chris became licensed realtors in 1988. With George working well into his 80's, eventually the time came to retire; which is why Debbi and Chris bought the business in 2002. Enter the 3rd generation, daughters Terri (Davis) Kness and Christie (Davis) Kessel who, in 2005, both found their way back to Fairfield and to the family business. Both had plans to live elsewhere, but as it's often been said, "There's something about Fairfield". Rounding out the team is Sandy Fiedler, who started in 2019.
The real estate business can be challenging; there was a time when two pieces of paper would cover a home sale. A one-page Listing Agreement and a one-page Purchase Agreement. Now a minimum of twenty-one pages are required to complete the same process.
In past decades, there were often 300+ houses on the market at any given time. Back in those days, they had two books with houses listed, Book One was for homes under $100,000. Book Two was for homes over $100,000 and often there were equal amounts of listings in the two books. Things are a little different now. All listings are on websites and often times potential buyers will have researched the home thoroughly before ever stepping on the property. Buyers will call from in front of a home and want to see it immediately. In this area, homes now range from $50,000 to $1,250,000. With low interest rates, and especially during COVID, there have been twenty-eight to thirty-two homes on the market lately; many in an accepted offer status. Realtors have to work all days of the week, long hours and holidays.
One way Davis & Palmer continues to be successful is by giving back to their community. The family has collectively been involved in the Chamber of Commerce and their Christmas Committee, the ELKS (both Chris and Debbi are Past Exalted Rulers), the SE Iowa Board of Realtors, Rotary & the Rotary Auction, the Fairfield Park & Rec Board, Jefferson County Kids, Art Walk, and the Country Club Board. Especially close to the heart of this family is the Little Super Heroes non-profit which was started by Christie and Alex Kessel and has helped many families who have children with special health needs. That organization hosts the Festival of Trees every other year and is one of the ways the non-profit helps fund their mission, "To provide help & hope to children facing serious health issues through providing assistance to families facing long term medical crisis".
Family matters in this business.
State Confirms B.1.617 Virus Variant in Iowa
May 4, 2021
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed two cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 in Iowa. This variant is also referred to as the India variant because it was first detected there. We are still learning about the characteristics of this strain.
B.1.617 is not designated as a “variant of concern,” indicating that there is not currently evidence of increased transmissibility or more severe disease caused by this variant. However, we share this information as a matter of public interest given the virus impact and newly issued travel restrictions to India. The P.1 and B.1.1.7 variant strains which were previously confirmed by IDPH are considered “variants of concern.”
The cases were detected in and adult and an older adult in Jefferson County. IDPH and local public health have initiated contact with the individuals to understand exposures and initiate the public health monitoring process. The process includes notifying anyone with whom the individuals have been in close contact. As always, affected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance.
The case was identified by the State Hygienic Lab (SHL). SHL is doing sequencing to understand what strains are circulating here in Iowa and contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 activity in the United States. Routine analysis of genetic sequence data assisted in identifying the new variant strain in Iowa.
“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to prevent this, or any other currently circulating strain of the virus from spreading through the population. Since the vaccine is now open to all Iowans over the age of 16, we have the opportunity to use this tool to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, IDPH State Medical Director and Epidemiologist.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tracking COVID-19 variants based on here.
Iowans who have not been vaccinated should visit https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/ to find a provider and schedule an appointment.
The emergence of new variants underscores that it remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
Get a COVID-19 vaccine Wear a mask or face covering
Practice social distancing with those outside your household
Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
Stay home if you feel sick Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, review CDC guidelines here