Iowa manufacturing ‘legends’ honored
In its first Legends in Iowa Manufacturing event, Elevate Iowa, a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, recognized outstanding leaders in manufacturing. Nearly 200 people attended the awards dinner at The Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona.
Awards were presented to the following individuals, companies and organizations:
- Robert Wersen of Interpower Wersen is an Iowan by choice, and he brought to Iowa an outstanding company, Interpower, the premier supplier of power system components worldwide. Interpower now has locations in Ames and Lamoni, along with Milton Keynes, England. Under Wersen’s leadership, on-site manufacturing has increased from 10 percent to 70 percent of overall sales.
- Dick Smith of Agri-Industrial Plastics In a career spanning more than 50 years in manufacturing, Smith has been a pioneering innovator, a visionary businessman and a community leader. After working in manufacturing plants around the country, Smith founded Agri-Industrial Plastics Co. in Fairfield in 1978. The company now has 175 full-time employees who produce a wide array of custom blow-molded parts for agricultural, recreational and commercial use.
- Drew Vogel of Vogel Paint Inc. Vogel is not only well-known in the coatings industry but also in the manufacturing industry overall as a businessman who leads and makes decisions from a foundation of faith and integrity. His nominators wrote that he “always puts others’ needs before his own — be it employees, customers, the community or the company as a whole — and in everything he does, he acts with humility and in service to others.”
- Charles and Eugene Sukup of Sukup Manufacturing Co. Nearly 50 years ago, Eugene Sukup devised a machine that would stir grain to maximize drying. Since that time, the company that originated from that single invention has grown to be the largest independent grain bin steel building and drying company in the world.
- Jack McMahon of Barker Co. now known as Hillphoenix was posthumously honored. McMahon started the Barker Co. in 1982 and grew it from one facility with 10 employees to three facilities with more than 700 employees today. In addition to being an outstanding businessman, Jack was a pillar of the community — a family man who was philanthropic and cared not only about the success of his company but also the success of the people who worked for him.
- Iowa Association of Community Colleges and Iowa’s 15 Community Colleges. Since its inception 50 years ago, the Iowa community college system has been a key supporter of Iowa’s manufacturing industry. As the primary provider of technical skill education and training for current and future manufacturing professionals, the colleges’ belief in manufacturing is key to the success of many companies in Iowa.