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In good company

Firms join to improve Loomis Park

October 11, 2012
By BILL SHEA, , Messenger News

A handful of workers from Cargill spent Wednesday afternoon putting down paving blocks to create a new patio near a cabin in Loomis Park.

A few feet away, employees of CJ Bio America painted picnic tables.

And workers from Rasch Construction, Heery International Inc., Gray Construction, Jay-Ton Concrete Construction and DTZ joined the effort.

Article Photos

-Messenger photos by Hans Madsen
Shawn Vincent, a safety manager with DTZ, places paving stones in Loomis Park Wednesday afternoon as part of a joint project with CJ Bio America and Cargill to restore a structure in the park and make other improvements.

About 45 employees of the seven companies came together this week to restore a little-used cabin in Loomis Park often called the Octagon House. Their work is expected to wrap up today.

Mary Jo Wagner, the president of the Fort Dodge Parks Foundation, described the project as a perfect example of companies coming together to improve the community.

"I think it's a great contribution," Mayor Matt Bemrich said Wednesday evening.

He said the businesses involved in the project are "the kind of corporate citizens that every community wants to have."

Rasch Construction is a longstanding Fort Dodge company, but the others that contributed employee time and materials are new or temporary additions to the community.

Cargill and CJ Bio America, which are developing plants in the North Central Ag Industrial Park, are new to the Fort Dodge area. Others, like Chicago-based Heery International Inc., are in the community only because they are working in the Ag Industrial Park.

Bemrich said it was "a real eye-opener" to find that companies that expect to be in Fort Dodge for a limited time still decided to be part of the project.

"They don't want to just build something and leave," he said. "They want to be an active participant as they work here."

The fact that the company's stay in Fort Dodge will be temporary makes no difference in its commitment to the community, according to Ron Marsh, its area manager.

"Heery does community service in every town where we work," he said.

"I was asking 'What could we do?' then this came up," he added.

Marsh, whose company is the construction manager for CJ Bio America, said community service projects build teamwork between employees and companies.

"Most importantly, it makes you part of the community," he said.

Scott McCormick, a senior project manager for Gray Construction, of Lexington, Ky., said his company has a similar philosophy.

"Anytime we come into an area, we want to establish a presence and give back to the community," he said

Gray Construction is building the CJ Bio America plant.

The Octagon House overhaul originated in conversations Wagner had with Marsh and Ron Hanson, a representative of Cargill.

"The two just got together and took over the whole project," she said.

Kyong Han, the chief financial officer and vice president of CJ Bio America, said his company got involved after learning what Cargill and Heery International were planning.

"We decided to join this kind of service," he said. "It's our pleasure."

Among the other participating companies are Jay-Ton Concrete Construction Co., of Burlinson, Tenn., which is helping to build the CJ Bio America plant, and DTZ, an international company that is a maintenance contractor for Cargill.

Planning for the job began about a month ago. The work began Tuesday.

Bill Slygh, a reliability and maintenance team leader for Cargill, said the volunteers found the Octagon House "definitely needing a little bit of help."

To provide that help, the workers performed these tasks:

Improved drainage around the building.

Built the patio.

Painted picnic tables.

Painted the interior of the building.

Improved the interior lighting.

Cleared foliage so that the Des Moines River can be seen from the site.

Rasch Construction had personnel working at the site Tuesday. The company then provided a backhoe and small excavator for the volunteers to use Wednesday.

Cargill bought the paint, paint brushes and rollers, and the landscape fabric used to make the drainage improvements. Blacktop Service Co., of Humboldt, provided sand needed for the construction of the patio.



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