A seed planted in a classroom this spring already has sprouted into Per Mar Security Services' first hire through its new Grow Our Own program.

Luis Miranda was a senior at Moline High School when Carri Waack, Per Mar's human resources coordinator, visited one of his classes to discuss the security company and its job openings. Waack, who helped kickstart the school program for Per Mar, learned Miranda had an interest in becoming a security officer after he graduated.

After a thorough background check and interviews, Miranda has been hired and now is a security officer in training.  

"The whole focus is planting that seed," said Waack, who has been in the classroom of at least seven Quad-City area schools to introduce them to Per Mar and its job options.

"In most cases, we don't see anything (prospects) right away," she said, adding that the students might "go home and tell their parents, grandparents or an uncle that we're hiring."

Waack said the students learn about jobs ranging from security officers to customer service, dispatchers, technicians and investigators. She also has fielded other employment questions such as how to write a resume, what to wear to an interview, and how to handle a job interview.

Thrilled to have joined Per Mar, Miranda said he looks "forward to having a long career at this company."

Employees also are launching Grow Our Own programs at Per Mar's South Bend, Indiana, and Des Moines branches as well as looking to expand outside the immediate Quad-Cities, Waack said.   

Lofts grows Sterling's housing stock

A partnership led by Economic Growth Corp. has resulted in the adaptive reuse of the previously under-used Lawrence Building in downtown Sterling, Illinois.

The $5.6 million redevelopment project has converted the building's second through fifth floors — vacant for decades — into Lawrence Lofts. The upper stories now boast 20 affordable residential loft units with rent ranging from $215 to $740 per unit.

The project is considered a milestone in downtown's redevelopment, which is a community initiative between Economic Growth Corp., the city of Sterling and Sterling TODAY, a nonprofit community and economic development organization. 

"We're excited to witness how Lawrence Lofts will serve as a catalyst for additional downtown revitalization," said Brian Hollenback, president/CEO for Economic Growth Corp., a national nonprofit based in Rock Island.

Pre-applications are being accepted and the organization is working with the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Sterling to solicit referrals for veterans. For more information and pre-applications, visit EconomicGrowthCorporation.com.


  • If you spotted the iconic RE/MAX balloon in Moline last week, it was here to honor RE/MAX Elite Homes' anniversary. The real estate firm, with a sister office in Davenport, celebrated the third anniversary of the Moline office at 1485 41st St. Owned by Rich Bassford, who also works as a broker, the Moline office has grown to 20 agents. RE/MAX Elite Homes QC employs 37 agents and was opened in 2016. 

Dozens of RE/MAX Elite employees and other visitors were treated to a safety lesson and a history lesson about hot air balloons from its pilot Bennett Schwontkowski. RE/MAX also has a larger, cold air balloon to use in inclement weather.

  • Roof Top Sedlums is celebrating its 10th anniversary, led by the sister duo of Teresa Nelson and Roxanne Nagel. In 2007, the Davenport business became the first Iowa company dedicated to supplying green roof systems and one of the first licensed growers of LiveRoof brand systems. With the experience of Nagel, a horticulturist, and Nelson, a landscape architect and green building design professional, Roof Top Sedlums has collaborated on green roof projects throughout the Q-C and across the Midwest. Among them are LiveRoof systems at Western Illinois University and Black Hawk College, both in Moline; Pear View Condos in Muscatine; Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport; and the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building and Voxman Music Building at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com.