FEDA Announces Plans for New Child Care Center in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD, IOWA (November 4, 2019) – FEDA announced today plans to construct and open a new child care center in Fairfield, to expand a much-needed service to working parents in the community. The center will be owned and operated by Jefferson County Kids, Inc., a local nonprofit corporation. Although its design is in the beginning stages, the new facility is slated to be nearly 14,000 sq. ft. and will be licensed to offer between 150 and 200 child care spaces.

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association, and Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Early Childhood Iowa for Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Counties, are Project Managers for the development.

Laraby stated, “After reviewing the strengths and challenges of new construction versus renovating existing facilities, with the help of a comprehensive assessment conducted by Levi Architecture of Cedar Falls, Iowa, the decision was made to construct a new facility.”

In partnership with Levi Architecture, an in-depth analysis of existing local buildings was conducted prior to deciding on constructing a new facility. Projected renovation costs came in much higher than initially expected. To ensure the most efficient use of space and ongoing annual expenses, the Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Board of Directors determined new construction was the best option.

Fairfield was identified as the preferred location in Jefferson County for such a child care center, after a market study was completed in 2018. The study reported a deficit of over 500 child care spaces in the community. “It’s imperative we move forward to add another child care center. The need for access to available, quality and affordable child care is no longer solely a parent issue, it’s a business issue, a workforce issue, and an infrastructure issue. This is an opportunity to attract and retain workforce and to grow our community,” Laraby said. An assessment of viable sites is in process. Fundraising efforts will commence in January, with construction slated to start late Spring.

Joshua Laraby with Fairfield Economic Development Association and Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson with Early Childhood Iowa for Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Counties facilitated assembling the board of directors for the new child care center. The Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Board of Directors consists of the following community leaders: Bryan Hunger, CEO of Jefferson County Health Center and President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc Board; Teri Bockting, Vice President of Human Resources at Cambridge and Vice President of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Kate Van Pelt, Owner of Chickadee and Secretary/Treasurer of Jefferson County Kids, Inc.; Todd Reifsteck, Human Resources Director, Dexter Laundry; Terri Kness, Realtor at Davis and Palmer Real Estate.

Media Contact:
Joshua Laraby



Fairfield CoLab Has A Office Membership Available & Growing

The Fairfield CoLab has an awesome membership available for a private office space available that’s connected to the collaborative open workspace.

Those who are entrepreneurs at the deepest level, absolutely need that platform that supports their creativity, productivity, and connectivity.  Some people don’t understand entrepreneurship and think entrepreneurs are just “those people” who don’t want to clock-in and clock-out at a job. Although that part may be true, entrepreneurs love to problem solve and manufacture solutions for things that the rest of us encounter in our daily lives. One thing we know for sure is that running your own business and being an entrepreneur can be isolating at times, even if you have a team around you. What’s important is having a community that understands and has the ability to collaborate who those who get it! We all know that No-Successful-CEO has ever done it alone! The Fairfield CoLab provides a shared workspace, with a community of entrepreneurs that support each other in both their growth opportunities and growth hurdles.

Everything is included in your membership – 24/7 access, unlimited free coffee & a collaborative community when you need that network.

The Fairfield CoLab provides a centralized affordable location for individuals and entrepreneurs to conduct and grow their business. While the space provides basic physical amenities such as a workspace, high-speed internet access, a conference room, and printing resources, it’s also designed to encourage collaboration among similarly minded individuals and entrepreneurs.

CoLab members have access to a variety of financial and business development services through partnerships with Indian Hills Community College, Fairfield Economic Development Association, banks, private investors and the Bonnell Project. The space is also designed to host community events such as an annual business pitch, tech meetups, educational speakers, and business plan writing seminars.

*The Fairfield Colab Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
107 1/2 South Main Street
Fairfield, Iowa 52556


(641) 569-8939
Please leave a message if you are interested in membership!


Fairfield Economic Development Association is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Fairfield area. This study will geographically define which communities contribute to Fairfield’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.

The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Fairfield area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high-quality workforce.

For the success of this study, we will be sending letters to employers in Fairfield asking that they provide us with aggregate counts of their employees’ residential ZIP codes. This will allow us to determine what the scope and scale of Fairfield’s Laborshed area is and better understand where Fairfield’s workforce resides.

A confidential survey of residents will also be conducted to collect workforce characteristic information specific to the area. Residents will receive a letter directing them how to take the survey online. Survey questions will cover topics such as: employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits, education level, and type of occupation among other things. However, Iowa Workforce Development will not be asking survey takers identifiable information such as: name, social security number, or date of birth.

Every year Iowa Workforce Development conducts Laborshed studies across the State. The results of each analysis are publicly available online at www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “Additional workforce is the greatest need for business and industry right now, this an ideal time to be commencing this workforce study. This completed study will be helpful to both existing employers who are making their growth plans, and for prospective employers looking to relocate to Fairfield. In addition to Fairfield, the same study will be commencing for 9 other communities in our Southeast Iowa regional economic development area. This will also allow us to measure the data against others and learn how we can become more competitive for attracting workforce to Jefferson County and the State of Iowa.

If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold at 515-281-3035 or Joshua Laraby, with Fairfield Economic Development Association at 641-472-3436. Thank you for your support and participation


Katie Lippold, Project Manager
Iowa Workforce Development
1000 E Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319
Telephone: 515-281-3035
FAX: 515-281-9656

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director
Fairfield Economic Development Association
101 N. Court Street, Fairfield, IA 52556
Telephone: 641-472-3436


Interior of the New Dexter Laundry in Fairfield, Iowa

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (May 13th, 2019) Dexter Laundry has completed construction of its new 6,000 square foot strip center and has opened the new Dexter Laundry at the corner of Burlington Avenue and 4th Street. The new state-of-the-art self-service laundry will occupy 3,000 sq. ft of the new strip center with the remaining 3,000 sq. ft. available for lease to accommodate additional new retail outlets.

“We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our latest products and technology and serve our community with a large, clean laundry facility. We will also use this location as a world-class training center for our global network of distributors,” states Craig Kirchner, President of Dexter Laundry. “This is Dexter’s 125th year in business, this new strip center and laundry is an excellent way to celebrate and thank this community for its support.”

The new laundromat will feature Dexter’s most advanced equipment and technology, including DexterPay, an optional mobile phone application that allows customers to manage their laundry experience, including making washer and dryer settings, monitoring progress, and paying for their laundry. The new laundromat also has a workspace and free Wi-Fi available for customers.

Dexter Laundry regularly hosts customers and technicians from around the globe. The new laundry will function as a showcase for their products and serve as a global training center for their commercial distributors and service technicians.

Kristina and Emma Timotina using the New Dexter Laundry

Fairfield Economic Development Association’s, Executive Director, Joshua Laraby says, “Dexter has considered every detail when it designed this new facility and they’ve exceeded expectations with aesthetics, energy efficiency, and technology. We are thankful and humbled by Dexter’s continued belief and investment in Fairfield. We look forward to supporting Dexter in securing new business for the adjacent retail space.”
The former laundromat facility is slated to be demolished and converted to additional parking. A grand opening celebration is being planned for June.

Media contact:
Dexter Laundry
Director of Marketing & Customer Support, Amanda Konczal

For more information about the available retail space, contact:
Fairfield Economic Development Association
Executive Director, Joshua Laraby

New Fairfield Shell Building Breaks Ground

     (Pictured above is an artist rendering of the shell building under construction)

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (March 26, 2019) – Groundbreaking took place today on construction of a new 30,000 square-foot shell building in Fairfield’s newest business & industrial park. Fairfield Economic Development Association (FEDA) announced the facility will be located on a three-acre parcel within FEDA’s 61-acre Business & Industrial Park and will be marketed to businesses considering expanding within, or relocating to, Fairfield.

“We’ve had companies look at Fairfield, but we didn’t have the available building stock with the matching needs,” said FEDA’s executive director, Joshua Laraby; “some of the main issues have been low eave heights and limited clear span construction with existing buildings,” he added.  The location is prime for business, being adjacent to the Highway 1 – Highway 34 interchange on Fairfield’s southside.

The project is a culmination of discussions which began in early 2016, to position the City of Fairfield for further growth and creation of new jobs.  With the advisory support of Iowa Area Development Group (IADG), by August 2016, a 28E partnership agreement was formalized between FEDA and The City of Fairfield, Jefferson County, Access Energy Cooperative, and Northeast Power. Laraby says a strong partnership has made the new park shovel ready.

FEDA purchased the most recent 55 acres in 2015, with intent to develop the site into a new Business and Industrial Park.  By 2016 FEDA had completed bringing sanitary sewer infrastructure to site with the assistance of a low interest loan from Access Energy Cooperative’s revolving loan fund. Later that same year, Access Energy Cooperative invested in bringing 3-phase electric to the site – positioning the site for commercial and industrial development. FEDA also partnered with CR Signs of Cedar Rapids to bring a new community-impact billboard along Highway 34, bringing more exposure to Fairfield.  Last year, 227th Street was newly paved with the assistance of the City, County, and an Iowa DOT RISE Grant.  Shortly thereafter, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development awarded Access Energy Cooperative a $300,000 grant, plus $60,000 in matching funds from the Cooperative, for the Fairfield shell building project, which in turn is available to FEDA in the form of a loan.

“Breaking ground today on a new industrial building in a new industrial park is exciting, as FEDA and its partners open another era of providing the infrastructure necessary for local business to grow.  We thank our partners: the City of Fairfield, Jefferson County, Access Energy Cooperative, Northeast Power and Iowa Area Development Group for their cooperation and support for this project,” said Tim Kuiken, FEDA Board President.

Schaus-Vorhies Contracting of Fairfield was awarded the bid for General Contractor for the project. The 100 x 300-foot steel frame construction will boast a 27-foot eave height and will be manufactured by CECO Building Systems in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Kevin Wheeler, General Manager/CEO for Access Energy Cooperative, said, “Access Energy Cooperative and Northeast Power are pleased to partner with the Fairfield Economic Development Association, Jefferson County and the City of Fairfield to bring this building to fruition.  One of the key pillars upon which we are grounded is commitment to community, and we take great pride in assisting with economic development in southeast Iowa.  This project allows us to bring new development to this area, with great visibility to Fairfield.  We look forward to working with the partners in showcasing Fairfield and Jefferson County.”

The construction of the shell building is expected to be completed by September 2019. Businesses requesting more information about the shell building or other opportunities within the industrial park can contact Joshua Laraby, FEDA Executive Director at 641-472-3436 or Joshua.Laraby@growfairfield.com


Sponsoring Entrepreneurs for Entrefest


Cedar Rapids, IowaMay 16-17, 2019

Entrefest – Iowa’s Largest Entrepreneurial Gathering – May 16-17.

Opportunity Squared Regional Economic Development will be sponsoring 2 entrepreneurs to attend.

Based on the State of Entrepreneurship 2019 Report released by the Kauffman Foundation, “In a thriving ecosystem, entrepreneurship empowers individuals; improves standards of living; and creates jobs, wealth, and innovation in the economy. Yet, entrepreneurs face many barriers when turning their ideas into realities. Despite challenges, many Americans are finding ways to break through these barriers to successfully launch businesses and revitalize entrepreneurial ecosystems across the county.”Opportunity Squared is prepared to register two individuals from its nine-county area to attend and learn firsthand from entrepreneurs that have “Been There, Done That”.

Visit www.entrefest.com for more information and to see a schedule of speakers and topics.

Download an application HERE

Please email completed applications to: sstroh@ottumwaiowa.com

Complete this application and return by April 12th for your chance to attend on our dime. (This is a competitive process)

FairCast receives over $43,000 in energy efficiency rebates

News release


Media Contact: Mike Wagner

 Phone: (319) 786-4040

FairCast receives over $43,000 in energy efficiency rebates

Custom rebate program helps new owners update production line and pollution controls

FAIRFIELD, Iowa – January 18, 2019 – When the new owners of FairCast began operations in June 2017 they wanted to install energy-efficient equipment to improve the facility and its operations. A $43,797.86 rebate from Alliant Energy helped the iron casting company upgrade its air compressors and bag house pollution control system.

These improvements will reduce FairCast’s energy use by over 345,000 kWh and save the Fairfield, Iowa company approximately $27,000 a year on their energy bills.

“FairCast greatly appreciates the ongoing partnership with Alliant Energy. These financial incentives provide additional funding for our energy efficiency program,” said Roger Vorhies, FairCast board member. “Since we took over this operation, Alliant Energy has been with us every step of the way working with us on energy efficiency projects and working to make sure our company is a success!”

“This project is going to make us more energy efficient and will assist us in improving our bottom line,” said Ken Ledoux, FairCast president and general manager.

“It has been a pleasure to work with the FairCast team,” said David Vollmar, key account manager for Alliant Energy. “We appreciate their commitment to reduce their impact on the environment and applaud their focus to pursue energy efficiency projects.

Custom rebates are available to Alliant Energy’s retail electric and gas customers located in the company’s Iowa service area. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com/customrebates or call 1-866-ALLIANT (866-255-4268).


Photo (from left to right): FairCast Board Member Roger Vorhies, Alliant Energy Senior Account Manager David Vollmar and FairCast Plant Manager Jim Steinbeck.

Alliant Energy Corporation’s Iowa energy company, Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL), utilizes the trade name of Alliant Energy. The Iowa utility is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and provides electric service to 490,000 retail customers and natural gas service to 220,000 retail customers. The employees of Alliant Energy focus on delivering the energy solutions and exceptional service their customers and communities expect – safely, efficiently and responsibly. Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is a component of the S&P 500. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com.

Open House for Current Registered Child Care Providers and Those Interested in Becoming a Registered Child Care Provider

Location: Washington Elementary, 406 East Madison Ave. Fairfield
When: Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
6p.m. -7 p.m.

The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, and the Fairfield Economic Development Association to host an open house for .those interested in becoming a home-based child care provider, and those already providing child care in their home.

A Child Care Nurse Consultant is a free service that provides support and resources. I can help with special needs care planning, immunization questions, in addition to any health and safety questions. I can work with providers to obtain points for the quality rating system. I am also certified to inspect playgrounds. I provide trainings to help with the required training hours. I can also do a handwashing training with the children in care. For more information, please contact mandi@jeffcoph.com

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) provides resources and education to support quality child care, including consultation and training for new and existing child care providers. Child Care Consultants can assist you with starting a child care business, meeting the Department of Human Services (DHS) regulations, applying for Iowa’s Quality Rating System (QRS), and any other questions you may have regarding child care. CCR&R also provides the registration application for new child care providers and can help you become registered with DHS. For more information, please contact jledger@caeiowa.org

New Child Care Business Kits. CCR&R worked with our DHS partners to develop a business kit to provide you with information on 4 topics critical to your growth and success as a child care provider. This opportunity is specifically designed for newly registered providers or those in the process of becoming registered. Thanks to partnership with Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk ECI, grant funding will allow providers who commit to 4 on-site consultation visits to receive up to $250 in resources for your child care program. During each visit, the provider will work 1 on 1 with an experienced child care consultant to better your business and increase the quality of care you provide. This program is funded by Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa. For more information, please contact Chelsea Van Daele cvandaele@caeiowa.org

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the USDA and works to combat hunger. CACFP serves over 4,000,000 children with healthy meals & snacks and is an indicator of quality child care. The CACFP encourages healthy meals and snacks to be served by child & adult care providers. Benefits of being a CACFP provider are financial reimbursement on groceries, education & training on healthy eating, tools & resources to use every day, and support from the entire child nutrition community. Requirements to be in the program in Iowa are that you are a registered child care home with your county Department of Human Services and that you are signed up with the local agency who sponsors the CACFP. For more information contact Glori Headley Johnson or Julie Pitzl at Sieda Community Action 641-682-8741 or gjohnson@sieda.org or jpitzl@sieda.org.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) assists childcare providers throughout the state to increase their professional development through sponsored scholarships. Several scholarship models (or choices) exist for family child care home providers, child care teachers, directors, and part day preschools or program providers. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact http://www.iowaaeyc.org

Child Care WAGE$® IOWA is a nationally licensed program currently funded in 37 counties across the state. WAGE$ provides salary supplements to childcare providers based on their levels of education and contingent upon continued work in their current eligible program. In doing so, WAGE$ seeks to increase education rates for staff, reduce turnover rates for early education programs, and improve the quality of care for children. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact jocee@iowaaeyc.org

Media Contact:
Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties