Ankeny boasts a bunch of business types, including a few specific to the city
Ankeny is one of Iowa’s fastest growing communities, fittingly leading to surges in jobs. In fact, over 3,000 high-quality positions have been created in the past five years, according to city data.
“Ankeny has a dynamic and continuously evolving business community where both recent graduates and experienced professionals can find careers among our diverse industry sector employers,” says Derek Lord, economic development director. “New and existing residents at all skill levels have the ability to live and work in the community they call home.”
In addition to popular professional careers in health care, business and marketing, and education, these specialized industries call Ankeny home.
New on the scene this fall, Kreg Tool makes products that professional and do-it-yourself woodworkers love, including the Kreg Jig, which is dubbed as a must-have for carpenters.
Started in nearby Huxley in 1992, the company has expanded quite a bit, including a new building in Ankeny. Their building on the Interstate 35 corridor is a celebration of modern architecture. The front of the building is clad with windows, with angled supports holding up the seamless, slim roof. Solar panels on the warehouse roof provide enough energy to power the entire office.
The structure is 150,000 square feet and houses more than 140 office and operations staff members. The building helped the company win the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s 2020 Economic Impact Award and has brought quite a buzz to the city.
“The exact location of Kreg near the east mixmaster is a tremendous advantage,” says Melany Stonewall, manager, strategic communications with Kreg. “Not only will it provide easy access from a distribution standpoint, but the visibility alone from the 10s of thousands of vehicles that pass by Kreg on a daily basis on I-35 will serve as great brand recognition and help with employee recruitment and marketing.”
Stonewall adds: “Being located in Ankeny will make it easier and more convenient for [employees] to attend events and network with others in their areas of expertise. As Kreg has grown and become a more progressive company, professional networking opportunities have become even more important.”
With science- and tech-based Iowa State University about 25 minutes away, there’s ample agriculture and research talent in the area.
Power Pollen, a small biotech company, works to preserve and enhance crop productivity to meet global food demand by harnessing the pollen. The research business has helped corn producers increase yield by 20% (an estimated $1,000 an acre) and plans to expand to rice and wheat crops.
Lauridsen Group Inc. is a large ag-based business also with global reach. The company serves the food, life science research, animal and human nutrition, biopharmaceutical, and veterinary vaccine industries. The Lauridsen name is easily found around Greater Des Moines, including the new Lauridsen Skatepark, the largest of its kind in the United States, downtown.
John Deere Des Moines Works: A global farming brand, this business operates a massive plant right in Ankeny, which puts together and ships much of its spraying, tillage and cotton equipment. The more-than-400-acre campus has grown quite a bit since first locating in Ankeny in 1947, and its reach now extends all over the globe.
Sited on the southeast side of town, a number of food-related businesses employ thousands of residents in both professional and blue-collar capacities.
Casey’s: One of the largest metro employers and, depending on whom you ask, provider of some of the best pizza, this gas station and convenience store has a can’t-miss headquarters along Interstate 35 in Ankeny. More than 7,500 people work for the company, which has reach throughout the Great Plains and beyond.
Mom’s Meals packages fully prepared, refrigerated meals for seniors, those recovering from surgery and those with chronic conditions. The family-owned company prides itself on its client care and delivers meals throughout the country, including running about 225 delivery trucks on regular routes. The business operates out of a 46,000-square-foot facility on Corporate Woods Drive east of Interstate 35. The company expanded with a $3.5 million, 30,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center. It creates its own recipes in a test kitchen in the headquarters, perfected to family-sized portions that are taste-tested by company staff, who are routinely asked to weigh in on new recipes.
Mrs. Clark’s Foods: This food manufacturer manages to stay under the radar, but it serves companies all over the world. Its bread and butter is salad dressings and other similar products, which are often sold under a different label. It’s growing, too. In 2020, the company announced an expansion that will include a 60,000-square-foot production and warehouse facility—its second expansion in less than 10 years.
Sysco, a global food distributor, also calls Ankeny home. It’s a top employer for 2021 in providing diverse jobs in fields such as sales, merchandising, information technology, warehouse work and transportation.
Hy-Vee: While this Midwest grocer is headquartered in West Des Moines, it operates two of its major businesses in Ankeny.
• Perishable Distributors of Iowa: This wholly owned subsidiary of Hy-Vee helps package and ship products to the company’s stores in eight states. Its corporate office and 698,000-square-foot warehouse are located on 140 acres.
• Hy-Vee Fresh Commissary: This business makes prepared meals sold in their retail stores throughout the eight states in which Hy-Vee operate.