In 2007, Iowa governor Chet Culver began the Iowa Demonstration Fund. The fund's goal is to help Iowa companies bring their ideas to market and create jobs.
The fund helped Pella engineer and inventor Jeff Fleenor to build a prototype large wood grinder. Fleenor's idea also includes some technology he has patented which helps the grinder to save on diesel fuel.
“One of my customers spends three million dollars a year in fuel,” said Fleenor. “We hope to be able to cut the fuel used by around 20%,” he added. The idea caught the attention of the National Science Foundation, Iowa Economic Development officials and a handful of investors. Fleenor partnered with Co-Line Manufacturing near Sully to build the prototype.
Now the project is moving to the testing phase, and Fleenor will also be looking to sign a marketing agreement with a company. If he is successful, more jobs could be created to build this product. Fleenor also hopes to apply his technology to other products as well.
The State Demonstration Fund has helped Iowa firms create at least 700 jobs over the last five years.