Iowa-based Vermeer Corporation has announced plans to build the Vermeer Applied Technology Hub in the third phase of the Iowa State Research Park in Ames. The Vermeer facility will house offices, meeting space and an equipment testing building. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Phase III Research Park took place Sept. 10 with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Vermeer officials taking part.
The two Vermeer officials in the photo accompanying this article are Mindi Vanden Bosch and Bob Vermeer. Vanden Bosch is the manager of continuous improvement for the company and a third generation Vermeer family member. Bob Vermeer is chairman of the board and a second generation Vermeer family member.
Headquartered in Pella, the construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer recently signed a letter of intent with the university to build the center. The final cost, size and completion date for the building have yet to be determined. Once complete, the center will provide a place where Vermeer employees and ISU students and faculty can work together on testing Vermeer's equipment.
State-of-the art facility for students to learn and gain experience
"This unique research park will provide state-of-the-art office space and facilities to allow Iowa State students, faculty and part- and full-time Vermeer team members to work collaboratively on technology advancements for Vermeer industrial and agricultural equipment," said Stephen Leath, president of Iowa State University.
Vermeer Corporation is represented by dealership coverage in more than 150 countries around the world. As technology is developed, the proposed high-bay equipment testing facility at the ISU Research Park will allow for testing and validation in a space that can physically accommodate Vermeer equipment. The first priority of the space will be to create an environment for software engineers to excel in the development of practical, affordable and modular equipment technology.
"In our opinion, there is no better place to allow this important work to be done than Iowa State University," said Doug Hundt, president of underground and specialty excavation solutions at Vermeer Corporation. "While career opportunities are plentiful for software engineers today, Vermeer believes there is a highly-skilled, technical population at Iowa State who would also be inspired by the tangibility of turning the wrenches and seeing how the software comes to life. That's what the Vermeer Applied Technology Hub will be all about."
New facility will provide a number of educational opportunities
While this facility will be developed with the technical needs of an engineering facility in mind, opportunities exist across many disciplines.
"The Vermeer Applied Technology Hub is intended to be a hotspot of ideas for the way we design, manufacture and support the equipment and the customers who buy it," said Mark Core, vice president and chief marketing officer at Vermeer Corporation. "Not only does this create opportunities for full-time students at Iowa State to have close-to-campus, real-life experience including part-time work and internships, but also creates an offsite, desirable location for full-time Vermeer team members, seeking to live in Ames or pursue additional education through Iowa State University."
In 2012, Vermeer was the first Iowa-based manufacturing corporation to create an office presence in ISU's Research Park as a way to engage future workforce and benefit from increased collaboration with academia. Since then, there have been seven Capstone projects where Vermeer and ISU students have partnered together to advance the educational instruction of students using real-life Vermeer opportunities. In addition, more than 25 students and Vermeer team members use the office each year.
Also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Vermeer CEO Mary Andringa said, "We are excited to continue our relationship with Iowa State to demonstrate how partnership between Iowa's education system and private industry can best be applied. When the state, our education system, and the state's private industry come together, strong economic development potential can follow."
About Vermeer: Vermeer Corporation delivers a real impact in a progressing world through the manufacture of high-quality underground construction, surface mining, tree care, environmental and agricultural equipment. With a reputation for durability and reliability, that equipment is backed by localized customer service and support provided by independent dealers around the world. To learn more about Vermeer Corporation, visit www.vermeer.com.