Manufacturing Leaders Recognized at Statewide Event

October 13, 2017 | Manufacturing remains strong in Iowa

In its third annual Legends in Iowa Manufacturing event, Elevate Iowa, a program of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), recognized leaders in manufacturing at an awards dinner on Sept. 20. Nearly 200 people attended the event at the Prairie Meadows Hotel & Conference Center in Altoona.

Awards were presented to the following individuals, companies and organizations:

  • Fred Buie of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Co. was the Legend chosen from among leaders of companies with fewer than 100 employees.

  • Todd Sommerfeld of Kreg Tool Co. was the Legend chosen from among companies having 100 to 300 employees.

  • David Zrostlik of Stellar Industries Inc. was the Legend chosen from among companies with more than 300 employees.

  • Dr. Ron Cox and Michael O’Donnell of Central Industrial Research and Services (CIRAS) were chosen as the 2017 Manufacturing Champions.

  • Gary Vermeer, formerly of Vermeer Corp., whose daughter Mary accepted the Posthumous Legends award.

  • Kelly Barrick of CIBC was chosen for the Ambassador of the Year Award.

  • Dennis Murdock of Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) was awarded the Honorary Ambassador of the Year Award.

“As one of Iowa’s largest industries, manufacturing contributes $31 billion annually to the state’s economy,” said ABI President Mike Ralston. “It’s an honor to recognize the founders and leaders of these amazing Iowa companies, and to thank them for the outstanding contributions they make to our state.”

Legends was sponsorsed by the following companies: 

  • Gold sponsors: Agri-Industrial Plastics, Iowa Economic Development Authority, CIRAS, Kreg Tool Co. and DMACC
  • Silver sponsors: Commerce Bank, Accumold, Impact 7G, QPS Employment and Emerson
  • Bronze and supporting sponsors: M2K Marketing Group, Indian Hills: Midwest Photonics Education Center, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Aureon, United Equipment Accessories Inc., Iowa Lean Consortium and Stellar Industies Inc.
  • Additional sponsors included Bankers Advertising and Tru Art Color Graphics (gift hats), CIBC (music), and Kirkwood Community College (centerpieces).

Elevate Iowa ( is a statewide, integrated marketing campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. The initiative is directed by a coalition of all 15 Iowa Community Colleges, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the private manufacturing sector and the state of Iowa. Elevate Iowa offers resources to the public and educational institutions to educate unemployed/underemployed Iowans, U.S. veterans, and K-12 students and their families about the opportunities in advanced manufacturing.