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BIZ BYTES: Estes Construction celebrates 50 years in business.
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BIZ BYTES: Estes Construction celebrates 50 years in business.

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Estes Construction, a company that started as a one-person operation on a card table and has grown into a multi-company business with about 400 employees in nine offices throughout the Midwest, is celebrating 50 years in business this fall.

Jim and Lori Estes grew their company, which now is run by their nephew, Kent Pilcher. He acquired the company from Jim and Lori Estes in 2004 and serves as the family business president and chief executive officer.

Pilcher explains the mindset and business strategy that helped the company succeed during the economic downturn in the early 1980s.

“Jim and Lori decided they were not going to participate in the recession," Pilcher said. "The company took jobs in Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans and Memphis to grow. The jobs sometimes had tight timelines, and Estes Construction earned the reputation of delivering projects on time and under budget. That’s still how we operate today.”

Pilcher carries on his family’s legacy through education and career development opportunities. Twelve new college graduates are participating in Estes’ project engineer program. The structured, three-year program teaches technical and leadership skills needed to advance within the organization.

As Pilcher plans what is next for his growing company, he is reminded of his uncle’s can-do, will-do, positive attitude.

“Jim would say, ‘Always tell yourself what an opportunity,’ ” Pilcher said.

Bushels for Hunger program to help hungry

The Bushels for Hunger program has kicked off its 11th year of Illinois Quad City farmers helping local families.

Farmers can donate bushels of grain at participating elevators until Jan. 31, 2021. Proceeds from grain sales will benefit River Bend Foodbank and food pantries throughout the Quad-City area. Since 2010, area farmers have donated a total of $238,000 and provided over one million meals to those in need.

Mercer County farmer and Illinois Farm Bureau District 3 Director Jeff Kirwan is excited about this years’ campaign.

“With the generous donations of thousands of bushels of grain to the Bushels for Hunger campaign, local farmers will work together to fight hunger in the Quad-City community with these funds” Kirwan said.

Michael Miller, CEO and president of River Bend Foodbank said: “2020 has been a crazy year for all of us. The need is up 50 percent, but we’ve been able to respond with record food distributions since COVID because of all the support we’ve received from the community. Bushels for Hunger is a huge part of that support.”

Mike Secymore, grain merchandiser with Gold Star FS said: “I believe that the Bushels for Hunger program is a good way for the local farmers to give back to the community. It is nice that the money stays here locally and is helping neighbors who may be struggling to put food on the table.”

The Bushels for Hunger program is a joint program coordinated by the following five Illinois County Farm Bureaus: Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Stark and Whiteside in conjunction with the following area grain elevators and ethanol plants: Atkinson Grain, Big River Resources, Cargill, CHS, Consolidated Grain & Barge Co., Gold Star FS, Hillsdale Elevator, River Valley Cooperative and Rumbold & Kuhn. For more information, contact your local County Farm Bureau.

UnityPoint opening new express clinic

A new UnityPoint Clinic–Express location will open Oct. 12 at Duck Creek, 1417 Kimberly Rd., in Bettendorf.

The clinic offers walk-in care 8 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days a year. No appointment is necessary.

The express clinics have an average in and out time of 30 minutes, and they also offer diagnostic services, prescriptions and X-rays.

Ohnward Bancshares cited for ag lending

Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. financial institutions have been ranked in the American Bankers Association’s top 100 list for farm lenders by dollar volume.

The institutions — First Central State Bank, Maquoketa State Bank and Ohnward Bank & Trust — ranked 90th in the country for agriculture lending by dollar volume in the second quarter of 2020.

Ohnward’s roots were built through helping the eastern Iowa and western Illinois agricultural community, Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. President Abram Tubbs said.

“Helping farmers and those involved in the agricultural community is something we’ve always been passionate about,” Tubbs said. “We will continue to build relationships and help foster a successful future for our area farmers.”

A total of 14 Iowa banks made the national list, with just five of those located in eastern Iowa. Wells Fargo topped the national list for the second quarter.

Across the company, Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. has 18 agriculture lenders. They include Leo McGarry, Matt McGuire, Scott Wiley, Kathy Sellnau and Tyler Vandendooren at First Central State Bank; Jan Kahler, Joel Lasack, Brian Nabb and Laura Farrell at Maquoketa State Bank; and Ken McDermott, Dave Tabor, Robb Wessels, Pat Recker, Nick Miller, Dave Kehoe, Dave Tabor, Don Green and Eric Heims at Ohnward Bank & Trust.

First Central State Bank has offices in DeWitt, LeClaire, Clinton, Goose Lake and Eldridge.

Ascentra CMO named Credit Union Rock Star

Jennifer Naeve, native of Clinton and resident of DeWitt, Iowa, is among 39 credit union professionals and volunteers named to the Credit Union National Association’s 2020 Credit Union Rock Star list by the editorial team of Credit Union Magazine.

The Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines who use their unique strengths to advance the mission of their credit union.

Naeve, senior vice president and the chief marketing officer for Ascentra Credit Union in Bettendorf, leads the marketing, training and business development teams for the credit union and serves as a member of their senior management team.

“We knew a long time ago that Jennifer was a ‘rock star,’ ” said Dale Owen, president and CEO of Ascentra Credit Union. “The term encompasses her approach to everything she does in her career. Her passion, commitment and efforts have helped our credit union grow, not just financially but organically through communication, community involvement and connection with members, staff and the industry.”

Naeve is one of the 39 people featured in the fall 2020 issue of the Credit Union Magazine.


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Mark Grywacheski spent more than 14 years as a professional trader in Chicago, where he served on various committees for multiple global financial exchanges and as an industry Arbitrator for more than a decade. He is an expert in financial markets and economic analysis and is an investment adviser with Quad-Cities Investment Group, Davenport.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Any prices or quotations contained herein are indicative only and do not constitute an offer to buy or sell any securities at any given price. Information has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the material presented is accurate or that it provides a complete description of the securities, markets or developments mentioned. Quad-Cities Investment Group LLC is a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

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