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Digga digging in as anchor industry at Dyersville site

2013 - February 4. Article from Dubuque Telegragh Herald

An economic development official says new plant helps generate interest in the industrial center.

One year ago last Friday (Feb. 1), visiting executives from Australian manufacturing company Digga were greeted with the best an Iowa winter has to offer. "Thank goodness it wasn't as cold a year ago as it was (last Friday)," said Jacque Rahe, executive director of the Dyersville Area Economic Development Corporation. "It was actually a beautiful day."

In the ensuing year, Digga transitioned from prospective tenant at the 20 West Industrial Center to an anchor industry poised to begin operations later this month.

Unfortunately, the weather, which in the past week has included snow and ice storms and consecutive days of single-digit temperatures, has changed as well. "It was kind of like, 'Cue Mother Nature for our Australian visitors,' last year," Rahe said.

Regardless, progress has been relatively smooth at the new site, according to Digga CEO Suzie Wright. The building itself is nearly complete and the hiring and sales processes have begun.

Employees at the Dyersville location will work in conjunction with sites in Australia and England to manufacture gearboxes and drilling bits. The products, which range in size and strength, eventually will be attached to excavators and used to dig holes for construction projects.

Wright said her company is taking advantage of a "developing" industry that has emerged in recent years. A drilled drilling hole usually displaces less soil than one that is dug using traditional methods.  "It's quick, effective and very good for ground stabilization," Wright said. "(Construction workers) don't have to use tons and tons of concrete."

Wright, who has been in Dyersville off and on since June, said her first real Iowa winter has demonstrated a stark contrast between the weather found in her home country. "It's certainly been a learning experience, designing a building for sub-zero temperatures," she said.

Even though Digga is still weeks away from production, its presence already is helping lure more patrons to the industrial park, according to Rahe. She said an undisclosed company is in the final stages of acquiring a 17-acre lot.

"I think that when it was basically just a farm field, it was hard to visualize," Rahe said. "... When you see a building like (Digga's), especially one that looks like that does -- it's clearly a very visible structure -- I think that generates a lot of interest."  (TH 2-4-13)  cc:  Chandra, Dan, Kelsey, Marla