“I was raised racing dirt bikes,” said Jon Kriegel, Tama, in introducing himself and his “Pitch” on Wednesday night, March 13. Kriegel was one of four presenters in the third Tama County Economic Development Pitch and Build competition. Kriegel’s pitch for the new Oak Ridge Motocross Race Track complex won over the judges and he received a gold award. Not far behind each earning silver status were Pitch and Build projects presented by Deb Oliver, Dysart, ActionCOACH, Pat O’Rourke and Phil Sankot, Solid Waste Energy Inc. and Kathy Myers, Kathy’s Barn. “Outstanding creativity” was the description Tama County Economic Development Director Heath Kellogg attributed to each of the enterprises. He stressed the importance and uniqueness each of the ideas has in building economic development across the county. Judges for the the competition were Dwayne Luze, chair of the Tama County Economic Development Commission, Lyle Niemeyer, SCORE Business counselor, Tracy Brady, Tama businessman and Amy Fisher, co-owner of the Dysart Locker and winner of the second Pitch and Build contest. Oak Ridge Motocross Kriegel said work is expected to begin “as soon as the snow is off” on construction of the two-track Oak Ridge Motocross facility. It is planned for a 40-acre site west of County Road T47 on 280th Street at D Avenue about three miles north of Montour. A top builder of motocross tracks from Wisconsin has been secured to work the course, Kriegel said. The dual tracks will provide one aimed at safety for younger riders, he said. A total of four to six races is planned for the opening season this year. Kriegel said 250-300 entries are expected per race day. Currently there are four motocross tracks in Iowa according to Kriegel. It is expected the track be a draw from across Iowa and midwest for both entrants and spectators. ActionCOACH Deb Oliver has had years of varied business and teaching experience combined with a doctorate in in organization in management. The longtime Dysart resident is now am member of the ActionCOACH business coaching team, a world-wide franchise organization. She says “It’s a new adventure” and she hopes to positively impact business in Tama, Marshall and Benton counties. Oliver says many small business owners share the same goal: “Owning their own business.” however, she says the businesses often end up running them - “running them ragged.” “These are thee people we are trying to help,” Oliver says of the consulting business. With a five-point approach covering - leads, conversion rate, average sale, number of transaction and profit margin, ActionCOACH strives to guide business owners to greater profitability. Oliver said she is able to rely upon expertise in business areas other than her own through the ActionCOACH network. Solid Waste Energy Inc. With what Heath Kellogg describes as “patented amazing technology” Ag-Bio-Power and Solid Waste Energy Inc. are seeking investors to jump start the company. Pat O’Rourke and Phil Sankot, representing Solid Waste energy said currently money is being sought to build a plant at the Thiessen brothers location on Tama;s east side to produce heat which will be converted to energy and do so at a profit. This would provide a model for the company to showcase what the system will do. What it does is takes waste materials and converts them to heat to produce energy without any omissions. The Tama site would burn a mix of used tire and wood chips. Costs to make the plant operational range from an estimated $157,000 for one using 100 tires daily to $325,000 for 300 tires daily. Kathy’s Barn “I love to buy, I am an American picker,” says Kathy Myers, owner of Kathy’s Barn a new antique-collectible shop in downtown Tama and long-time owner of Kathy’s Barn, a true old dairy barn loaded with all types of items at rural Marshalltown. Myers proclaimed the virtues of using the social medium Facebook to draw customers to her new Tama location from across Iowa and out-of-state. She said her Facebook page has generated business from as far away as Arkansas since she opened March 1 in Tama. She also has a large display of items fore sale in the nearby 2nd Hand store, also on 3rd street downtown. Myers was no stranger tot he internet also using eBay and Craig’s List as selling platforms. Myers said her appreciation for antiques lead her into the business. With her husband, Myers bought the rural property where they now live and she set about a three-year project of cleaning out the old dairy barn and filling it with her purchases. This grew to encompass the use of more of the farmstead out buildings. “I know how to sell to people,” Myers said. “Talk to them honestly, give the best deal you can and keep them coming back.”
-R- Heath Kellogg, Tama County Economic Development director, Kathy Myers, Kathy’s Barn, Jon Kriegel, Oak Ridge Motocross, Phil Sankot and Pat O’Rourke, Solid Waste Energy, Inc. and Deb Oliver, ActionCoach. Kriegel’s “Pitch and Build” won the gold award while the others all were awarded silver.