AMES, Iowa — With an official proclamation from Gov. Terry Branstad, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Center for Industrial Research and Service is celebrating 50 years of service to Iowa business and industry.
On June 6, Gov. Branstad signed the proclamation acknowledging that CIRAS enhances the performance of industry through applied research, education and technical assistance and has a vision for Iowa of healthy communities through business prosperity. In the proclamation he urged Iowa companies and communities to partner with CIRAS “to help our state prosper and grow.”
CIRAS was established at Iowa State in July 1963 with leadership from the College of Engineering. The Iowa Legislature appropriated funds and authorized the Board of Regents, State of Iowa to establish the Center.
“During its first five years of service, CIRAS field staff made more than 8,000 personal calls on Iowa industry, handled more than 2,500 individual industry requests and created an inventory of Iowa firms and individuals,” said CIRAS Director Ron Cox.
“Compare that to the momentum of the past five years, with CIRAS and its partners making more than 52,000 contacts with industry,” Cox said. “Companies have reported a cumulative impact of more than $1.8 billion, including $1.5 billion in sales gained or retained, $227 million in new investments and $100 million in costs saved or avoided. These companies also reported adding or retaining 25,675 jobs as a result of the assistance they received.”
CIRAS assists Iowa companies with a variety of services, Cox explained, from engineering and government contracting to management practices, productivity, quality and innovation.
Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, called CIRAS a key resource for manufacturers in this state. “But CIRAS isn’t just for manufacturers. Thanks to CIRAS, Iowa businesses are safer, smarter and more innovative. At ABI we value our partnership with CIRAS, because CIRAS helps Iowa grow,” Ralston said.
CIRAS has helped Hawkeye Steel Products Inc., located in Lee County, sort through a broad range of issues, and the company continues to use CIRAS resources, said company president Tom Wenstrand. “The staff is uniformly responsive, courteous and always asking how they can be more relevant in advancing manufacturing in the state of Iowa. CIRAS does a great job of making it easy to access the considerable expertise of the Iowa State University faculty,” Wenstrand said.
“The whole point of a land-grant university like Iowa State is to offer access to highly qualified faculty interested in investigating phenomena and problems whether they require basic research or are applied in nature,” said Cathann Kress, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach.
“This combination benefits both learning and discovery. CIRAS, like the rest of ISU Extension and Outreach, works to foster an engagement effort using that knowledge to drive economic activity, enhance productivity and improve the quality of life for our citizens,” Kress said.