With a growing network of researchers, entrepreneurs and educators, Ames is quickly becoming an innovation center in the Midwest. Due to the continued growth of the Iowa State University Research Park, exciting collaborations have helped fuel startups and small businesses across our area.
Since its completion in 1989, the park has grown from 200 to 400 acres. Today, it provides 2050 jobs with a projected growth of 6,000 jobs over the next ten years. A central part of this success is the Ames Municipal Airport.
When it was first approved in 1943, it was half the size it is now. With the completion of the Ames Municipal Airport Modernization Project in 2017, our community fully committed to the airport by unveiling a new terminal, airport hangar and the fixed base operator, Central Iowa Air Service. The $4.4 million investment was the result of a community-wide public-private-partnership led by Iowa State, the City of Ames and the Ames Economic Development Commission. Together, we have transformed our city to a regional hub for those who rely on general aviation, from college basketball teams to tech startups.
Ames Municipal is our city’s front door. We continue to attract new businesses into the area. With plans to extend the runway and expand our operations, we have sent the message to job producers across the country that we are willing to invest in them. Danfoss and Renewable Energy Group (REG) are prime examples of the airport’s business development impact.
As a global engineering company and the largest private sector employer in the city, Danfoss has been eager to set up shop in Ames, where they have access to the airport to help them better connect with employees and stakeholders. Similarly, REG knows the value of the airport to reach faraway markets for distribution and logistics. Since 2007, REG has made Ames their U.S. Headquarters because our city gives them access to the airways where they can easily connect with their regional offices, operational facilities and terminal locations.
As the director of business retention and expansion, I see every day the value that general aviation has had on our local economy. The diverse sectors, people and uses of our general aviation airport continue to grow, and I am proud to be a part of it.
Drew Kamp, Director of Business Retention & Expansion, Ames Chamber of Commerce