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The Quad-Cities certainly has reason to be proud — at least five companies operating on Quad-City soil have been ranked among the World's Most Admired Companies in Fortune Magazine's annual list.

Among them is Deere & Co., with hometown headquarters, which has once again been ranked in the World's Top 50 Most Admired Companies. Deere Chairman and CEO Sam Allen said the ranking is ''evidence that John Deere's 60,000 employees around the world remain focused each day on service customers and living our core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation."

Also making the definitive report card on corporate reputations were Arconic/Alcoa Corp., with aluminum operations in Riverdale; Exelon, the parent company of the Quad-Cities Nuclear Generating Station; U.S. Bancorp, the Minneapolis parent of U.S. Bank, with Quad-City locations; and Archer Daniels Midland Co., or ADM, with operations in Clinton.

The ranking recognized the contributions of employees of both Alcoa and Arconic, which was spun off  last year as a standalone company and includes Arconic Davenport Works. Alcoa Inc. has been on Fortune's Most Admired list since the ranking began more than 30 years ago.

Making the list is no easy feat. More than 1,500 companies are reviewed on their performance on nine criteria: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment value, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.

Exelon, which made the list for an 11th consecutive year, was the only company in its sector listed on the Fortune 100. Chris Crane, Exelon's president and CEO, credited the company's "continued growth and investment to create a clean, affordable, next-generation energy grid." 

U.S. Bancorp was ranked for a seventh consecutive year as the most admired superregional bank. It also ranked in the Top 10 companies across all industries in four key attributes or reputation. It ranked No. 1 among superregional banks in eight of the nine.

ADM, one of the world's largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, made the list for a ninth year in a row. It employs 32,000 people around the globe. 

The winners are in good company as the Top 5 World's Most Admired are: Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Berkshire Hathaway and Walt Disney.

Q-C Pizza Ranch owners expand to Sterling

Residents in Sterling, Illinois, have lassoed their own Pizza Ranch restaurant thanks to an expansion by the owners of the Pizza Ranch in Bettendorf. 

The latest Pizza Ranch opened Monday in Sterling as the third franchise for Mike and Matt Middendorp and Ryan Wynn. The Middendorps own the sister store in Bettendorf. 

Matt Middendorp said the restaurant is much more than delicious food. "We can't wait to get involved with the Sterling community, helping people host their events and fundraisers."

Founded in 1981, the Orange City, Iowa-based company owns, operates and franchises more than 195 locations in 13 states.

Cattlemen on hunt for best burger

The search is on for Iowa's Best Burger in Iowa and the Quad-Cities is sure to have some sizzling competition.

For the eighth year, the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association are asking Iowans to nominate their favorite burger. Nominations must be 100 percent beef and served on a bun or bread product. 

"The Best Burger contest uses checkoff dollars to showcase some of Iowa's best restaurants, and obviously, best burgers," said Steve Rehder, the beef council's chairman.

You can nominate your favorite restaurant's burger by mail, text or online. For details, rules and nomination forms, visit www.iabeef.org, or text BEEF to 313131. Nominations are due by March 13.

A winner will be selected from 10 finalists and announced May 1.

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

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