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Growth Alliance: FD poised to grow with manufacturing

Fort Dodge remains poised for growth with manufacturing as a key driver of the economy, according to leaders of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

”I do think that Fort Dodge is extremely well-positioned,” Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Growth Alliance, told the City Council Monday.

”You are getting investments that can’t be moved,” he added. ”They’re using so many indigeneous materials. They have a reason to be here. And most importantly, these are companies that are worldwide and have access to the global markets.”

Plautz, along with Kelly Halsted, the alliance’s economic development director, and Jill Nelson, its community development director, presented the council with some statistics on the local economy and the activities of the alliance.

Halsted said health care and social assistance accounts for the largest sector of the local economy, at 16.4 percent.

Next is retail trade at 13.5 percent, she said.

Manufacturing comes in third, at 12.4 percent. But Halstad said manufacturing drives other sectors of the economy.

She said there are 2,442 people employed in local manufacturing operations.

Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, embodied by Elanco and AML Riverside, accounts for the biggest segment of the manufacturing sector at 45.45 percent, according to Halstad.

Employment in the manufacturing segment has grown by 7 percent over the last five years, she added.

”We’re really outshining the rest of the state in our manufacturing growth,” she said.

In the last five years, Fort Dodge has seen a net job growth of 1,449 positions, according to Halsted.

Over the last 10 years, she said, local wages have increased by 24.5 percent.

”We’re creating jobs that are actually raising the wages,” she said.

Nelson outlined the various programs that the Growth Alliance offers.

One of the longest running of the programs is Leadership Fort Dodge, which Nelson said is intended to cultivate the next generation of community leaders.

She described it as a ”broad-based interactive experience that seeks to shape future leaders by providing them with background information and tools to become a positive force in the community.”

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