Western Iowa Leads the Way in Retaining Homegrown Talent

Western Iowa Leads the Way in Retaining Homegrown Talent Main Photo

1 Apr 2024

Western Iowa Advantage is celebrating success in the construction industry in Jefferson, Iowa. As the state with the second lowest cost of doing business, it’s no surprise that Iowa is an ideal place to attract and retain construction business owners. Two local business owners, Andy Rowland and Chris Deal, shared their insights into why they chose Iowa as their business home.

Rowland Construction Bolsters the Workforce With New Townhomes

Andy Rowland, the owner of Rowland Construction, specializes in custom single-family homes and townhomes. His projects span far beyond his hometown of Des Moines and have now led him to create new homes in Jefferson.

Rowland started building in Jefferson five years ago when approached by a representative from People’s Bank. He quickly finished 12 townhomes in 2020, all of which were electric and offered residents low utility costs. Following the success of that project, he’s now in the process of completing 10 more townhomes and 8 single-family homes in Jefferson. The new units are part of a workforce housing tax credit project, and should attract skilled workers to the Jefferson area.

Prior to Rowland’s work in the city, there was a major shortage of available units for rent. Other construction projects were planned but fell through due to lack of funding, further exacerbating the situation. However, Rowland’s new project is well underway and is expected to wrap up sometime in 2024. “There was such a shortage of new, quality housing in the area,” Rowland said when asked about these new homes. “I’m glad I can help provide that.” Rowland, who started his construction business after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, says he chooses to keep his business local to stay close to his family and roots.

Chris Deal Uses Engineering to Expand the Community

Chris Deal, engineer and part-owner of Modus, also brings a unique perspective to the Jefferson community. His background in business comes from helping run his family’s fourth-generation apple orchard in Jefferson.
Deal has spent a considerable amount of time traveling, visiting six continents and living everywhere from Kansas City to Africa. However, when he was ready to pick a spot to settle down, he didn’t want to go anywhere but Iowa. “Choosing Jefferson to raise a family was a no-brainer,” he said. “Small town Iowa was it for me.”

He credits the tight-knit Jefferson community to his fulfilling and vibrant childhood. His experience growing up in a rural community gave him the opportunity to pursue a variety of interests, from music to physics to eventually, construction. Even in high school, his curriculum included building a house from the ground up with a team of other students. When asked why he chose to settle in Iowa, Deal said, “Jefferson is a community that pushes the envelope of what a rural community can look like in this day and age. It’s an example of the rural revitalization happening throughout the country.” 

Deal continues to use his engineering expertise to expand construction projects throughout Western Iowa. He says he’s looking forward to seeing one of his current projects, a restaurant build-out, be completed in the near future.

Why Western Iowa?

These two local success stories serve as an example of why Western Iowa locals choose to stay connected to their communities. With the stellar education system, abundant opportunities, and tight-knit family environment, many successful business owners like these don’t look for opportunities elsewhere – Jefferson, Iowa remains unparalleled as a place to call home.