Western Iowa's Pro-Business Climate and Local Lenders Boost Accu-Steel's Success
20 Jul 2020
Jason Owen, owner and president of Accu-Steel Fabric Covered Buildings, is committed to satisfying his customers’ needs and appreciates all that Western Iowa has to offer to bolster that commitment in terms of workforce, lending, and location. For nearly twenty years, Accu-Steel has provided innovative building solutions for Iowa and the world.
As you might expect from a building company located in Iowa, they are often associated with storage structures for cattle, grain, and fertilizer, but according to Owen, “the underpinning of Accu-Steel sales is in commercial industrial projects.” Accu-Steel has a long list of projects completed for mining, salt storage, and energy sector customers. There have also been some celebrity crossings. They provided a structure for a ranch in Wyoming that Kanye West purchased to sustainably raise sheep.
“We have sold buildings in over forty US states, Canada, and Mexico,” says Owen. “We’ve had projects in Mali, Africa and Trinidad and Tobago. Accu-Steel manufactured the largest salt building ever erected in the United Kingdom. We custom designed a fabric building to house bitcoin mining servers in North Carolina in order to reduce the heat load on them by increasing natural ventilation. We have covered military equipment in the Middle East and tennis courts in Seattle. We have provided cattle producers with mud-free environments for their livestock, and rock crushers with dust containment solutions that help them cost-effectively comply with EPA standards.”
So how did a company with such worldwide reach originate out of Templeton, Iowa? Western Iowa is Owen’s home.
“Manufacturing was my way of coming back to the area where I grew up,” says Owen. “I didn’t have an opportunity to come home and farm, so if I wanted to come back to the area to live I needed to have a different plan. My grandfather started Peck Manufacturing, a grain auger company in Herman Nebraska, so I grew up interested in metal fabrication. I attended Iowa State University College of Engineering after high school, but I left when an opportunity presented itself to start a contract manufacturing business. The contract manufacturing business grew into what is today AMANCO located in Audubon, Iowa. Although I’m no longer affiliated with AMANCO, I take pride in having played a part in bringing a great business to the area that has provided high quality jobs and products since the late 1990s.”
However, it was more than his roots that compelled Owen to locate Accu-Steel in Western Iowa — specifically Audubon County, near the Carroll County line. The professional resources available to him were a perfect complement to his business and manufacturing acumen. In addition to finding benefits from his memberships in both Western Iowa Advantage and Audubon County Economic Development, Owen believes that “the location has the perfect mix of being far enough away from the larger metro areas, but close enough to all the resources you need to be successful in life and business.”
“I located my business on my family’s farm outside of Templeton because it could be a low cost manufacturing location with access to a world class workforce,” says Owen. “The labor pool has changed over the years but Accu-Steel has been able to attract and retain excellent long term employees.”
Having a local lender has been important to Accu-Steel also.
“Since I returned home from college, I have banked at the Templeton Savings Bank,” says Owen. “Having a local bank that shared my vision for what Accu-Steel could become has been instrumental in growing my business. In general, Iowa has had a pro-business climate, but having local lenders that are willing to partner on risk to grow economic development has been one of the biggest factors for Accu-Steel’s success.”
“Being located in the ‘Heart of the Heartland’ we are excited about designing buildings that have excellent ROI [return on investment] for customers,” says Owen. “We purchase raw steel materials, fabricate the materials into building components, and transport the products for hot dip galvanizing — mostly in Nebraska. Accu-Steel maintains sales outlets to sell fabric buildings globally, but has a network of independent dealers that focus on the North America market. Accu-Steel dealers coordinate building design and provide construction services for the customer. Accu-Steel employees 15 full time employees.”
As Accu-Steel approaches its twentieth anniversary in 2021, Owen says, “It has been a rewarding challenge to start a business from nothing and grow into the company we are today. With all the buildings and locations we have, most importantly Accu-Steel has maintained a focus on satisfying our customer’s needs. I enjoy leading and working with the excellent people that make Accu-Steel what it is today and I look forward to leading Accu-Steel for years to come.”
Follow Accu-Steel Fabric Covered Buildings on Facebook. Manufacturing companies looking to expand and improve should consider Western Iowas for future endeavors. Contact Western Iowa Advantage to learn more about the region, workforce, and available sites.