May 15, 2021

Maytag Dairy Farms, Phoenix Investors honored by NDC

Two businesses, with a round-about connection, were honored at the Newton Development Corporation’s annual Salute to Business and Industry luncheon at the DMACC Conference Center Thursday. Maytag Dairy Farms were recognized during the business presentation and Phoenix Investors received the Jim Tyler Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Jo Jenkins, chair of the NDC Board, welcomed the more than 75 business leaders in attendance and spoke about how NDC and those involved with the organization work to promote the community and expand the business portfolio of Newton.

“You are here because you love this community and it show over and over,” Jenkins said. “Some of you in this room are very visible to what you are doing out and about to help grow Newton. Others are behind the scenes, but you are all working together to push forward, to move and to grow Newton.”

Maytag Dairy Farms is emerging following a year-long, extensive remodel of its facilities. John Dannerbeck, the grandson of Fred Maytag and current chairman of the board and treasurer for the Maytag Dairy Farm, walked through the history of the farm from the first cow purchased to the latest remodel.

“I want to honor the members of our family that are responsible for the success we have had in Newton,” Dannerbeck said.

The Maytags first came to Iowa in 1866 with Daniel Maytag moving by covered wagon to Laurel. Almost 30 years later, Parsons Band Cutter and Self Feeder Co. was co-founded by F.L. Maytag and in 1907 the first Maytag washing machine, the Pastime, was produced.

Not long after, in 1919, E.H. Maytag purchased a cow to provide fresh milk for his family. The purchase led E.H. Maytag to develop a champion herd of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows known throughout the world. In 1941, after taking over the family business and farm, Fred Maytag developed the first Maytag Blue Cheese using cow’s milk instead of the traditional sheep’s milk.

The production continued through a 2004 expansion of the caves and remodel of the cheese plant until a recall occurred due to a possible listeria contamination in 2016. At that time, the farm completed another year-long extensive remodel to meet Food Safety Modernization Act regulations and in just the past month and a half have started selling products.

“We want to thank you for your continued investment no the community over the years and what is going forward,” NDC Executive Director Frank Liebl said.

Receiving the Jim Tyler Entrepreneurial Award, Phoenix Investors has not only made an investment into Newton but through that investment, has grown the workforce and utilized previously empty space. The commercial real estate firm purchased the former Maytag Plant 2 in 2015 and has since been working to renovate the building for new tenants.

“Opportunity, executive, value, creation has kind of been the motto for Phoenix Investors,” vice president of acquisitions and leasing Patrick Dedering said.

The company has been working to renovate the more than 1.3 million square feet to attract new tenants, dealing with second floor mezzanines, duct work and giant pits. When finished, the areas include new lighting, paint, cleaned floors and upgraded mechanicals.

The work has already started to pay off with Washington-based fiberglass recycling company Global Fiberglass Solutions selecting the location to invest $6 million, create 57 new jobs and utilize more than 100,000 square feet of the building.

“We recognize Phoenix Investors for bringing Plant 2 back to life,” Liebl said.

The event concluded with the first showing of a “New Newton” video created to showcase the community. The video highlighted areas including the schools, parks system, businesses, community events and general attraction to the community.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-791-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com