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Iowa American Water - safety award

Iowa American Water's team at East River Station in Davenport hit a new safety milestone — operating seven consecutive years without an OSHA recordable incident. They are, front from left, Rick Baughman, Stephanie Drone, Cassie Allen and Sarah Quinn; back from left, Darrell Warren, Jeremiah Smith, Josh Lighton, Barb Latchaw, Louis Cervantes, Finas Brock and Joe Conner. Not pictured are Dave Alexander, Chris Avis, Mark Deaver, Matt Garrison, Tony Sotelo and Brian Weldon.

RE/MAX River Cities, Bettendorf, has become the first Iowa franchisee of Motto Mortgage, a new mortgage brokerage company launched by RE/MAX Holdings Inc.

Katie Sommers, broker/owner of RE/MAX River Cities, has opened Motto Mortgage River Cities at her real estate firm. 

Sommers, with 15 years of real estate experience, said the new franchise provides "a one-stop shop" for her Quad-City homebuyers. "We can provide the perfect union between our successful and trusted real estate office and the knowledge and expertise of our loan originators as mortgage matchmakers," she said.

Offered by Motto Franchising LLC, the mortgage company is the first national mortgage franchise.

Motto Mortgage Franchising President Ward Morrison said the company "is not only available to RE/MAX offices but also to independent real estate companies, loan originators interested in starting a new business as well as other mortgage brokers..."

Asked about the company's growth, he said Motto Mortgage does not have a target number of franchises or a timeline. "But we will continue to organically grow Motto Mortgage by attracting these various customers."

According to its website, Motto Mortgage is in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and now Iowa.

Motto Mortgage River Cities is located at RE/MAX River Cities' office at 4455 Utica Ridge Road.

IH Mississippi CEO attends war college

Brian Laufenberg, president and CEO of IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union, represented the Quad-Cities last month at the U.S. Army War College 63rd annual National Security Seminar.

Laufenberg, who leads the Quad-Cities' largest credit union, was among 160 business, government, academic and community leaders involved in the week-long seminar in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Participants shared their perspectives with the next generation of the military's senior leaders. The National Security Seminar is considered the capstone event of the Army War College's 10-month curriculum offered to future military leaders. Its students earn master's degrees in strategic studies. 

Laufenberg became a member of USAWC Seminar 23, which was made up of Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force officers at the rank of colonel or lieutenant colonel, a senior federal civilian and  three international officers. The Class of 2017 includes 381 students representing a cross-section of the joint military, federal agency, and multinational security environment.

Iowa American Water hits safety milestone

Seven years. Or 2,555 days.

That is how long the crew at Iowa American Water's East River Station Treatment Facility in Davenport have worked without experiencing an OSHA recordable incident. 

Their safety milestone and the employees themselves were celebrated last month at a company-wide luncheon.

"This is a true testament to the professional and safety-conscious team we have," said Mary Jane Midgett, operations director. "They are committed not only to providing reliable, high quality water service to our customers in the Iowa Quad-Cities but also to following all safety regulations and procedures to keep themselves, their co-workers and our neighbors and community safe."

Iowa American Water conducts regular safety training including classroom training and hands-on learning with employees, who also participate in facility and job site audits and safety tabletop drills.

"This safety milestone means a lot to our team, but even more important is, by the end of their work day, having our team members arrive home in the same or better condition than when they started their work day. That is our number one priority," Midgett added.

Big River Packaging earns award

Big River Packaging was won the 2017 Innovation Award from the Clinton Regional Development Corp.

The 40-person staff design, manufacture, market and ship bakery packaging out of their Clinton factory. Operating online as BRP Box Shop, the box makers supply bakers all over the world and compete against much larger companies.

The award recognizes the e-commerce company's innovation in leveraging technology and systems thinking.

"Data driven decisions are great, but the real magic happens when information is processed within the context of our relationships — first with one another and then with our customers,'' said Kip Simpson, BRP's marketing director.

Calling the Innovation Award an honor, co-founder and president Bob Simpson said "I think the real innovation is how we treat one another."

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