Business & Economy
Staking New Ground – Construction Supply Company Finds Quick Road To Success PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Cameron Clement   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:17
Innovation in Niche Market Leads to Rapid Start-up and Expansion Right off the Bat.

BlackBat Trueline Stakes started as a business idea involving the supply of wooden survey stakes for the construction industry including oil and gas, pipeline and highway rights-of-way, and infrastructure renewal projects.  This led to a new business model, which has found rapid acceptance and quick growth.

In 2009, BlackBat Stakes’ co-founder Bob Reeves presented Howard Bagby with an opportunity to establish a survey stake company. Howard, who has 30 years experience in the oil and gas business, was familiar with the need of this product, considering how much survey work is done before drilling projects start.

“I recognized that there was a need for high quality wooden stakes for our surveyors to use, and Bob’s plan would do something about it,” Bagby said. After speaking further with Reeves, Bagby discovered the stakes were from multiple sources that were inconsistent and consequently the quality was often below standards. “The quality varied so much that often an area had to be re-surveyed or would take too long to get right simply due to undependability and breakage of the stakes,” Babgy said. “This made Reeves’ proposal very interesting.”

Reeves’ idea was simple: “If we put a better survey stake in the market, we could save a lot of time and money in the cost of a project.”

In 2010, they bought a small Alma, Ark.-based regional stake maker and invested in new technologies that allow the company to produce a high volume of high-quality stakes that lead the industry in low breakage rates and durability. “We were very fortunate in the beginning. Once we got our manufacturing process worked out with our new designs, our volume and consistency was much better than we ever expected,” Howard said.

As BlackBat began introducing its stakes, made of pine or hardwood, to the market in February 2011, growth was immediate.  Orders increased every month.  Customers love the smooth finish on the stakes, making them easy to write on. The stakes’ consistent quality and straightness ensure survey projects are more efficient and accurate.

While BlackBat is excited about the rapid growth they are presently experiencing, the company also is staking its claim in the future. “We would like to see our company and its processes grow nationally.  It will be very easy for us to replicate this manufacturing process in other states. Wherever high quality wood products are sold we want to be there, and we want our name to be recognized,” said Reeves, now General Manager at BlackBat.

Gas Prices and Domestic Energy Production PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:01

Friday, March 2, 2012


During his weekly video address, Senator Chuck Grassley discusses the need to increase production of domestic energy to help lower gas prices and create jobs.  Along with other senators, he’s urging President Obama to examine his policies that contribute to higher gas prices, including restricting access to federal lands and permitting delays, regulatory threats to refiners, and his Keystone XL pipeline decision.



Click here for audio.


Here is text of the address:


Along with other senators, I wrote to President Obama this week asking him to examine his policies that contribute to rising gas prices -- such as:

  • restricting access to federal lands and permitting delays,
  • regulatory threats to refiners,
  • and his Keystone XL pipeline decision.


A lot of factors impact the price of oil – including OPEC decisions and Mideast turmoil -- but the Obama Administration has made things worse.  By limiting domestic energy production, we have less supply and higher prices.


Last year, consumers spent a greater percentage of household income on gasoline than any other year since 1981.

  • Paying $4 or more for gas acts like a hidden tax on individuals and families.
  • Rising energy prices also get in the way of job creation by raising costs of doing business for employers.


Americans need a comprehensive approach that:

  • ramps up domestic production of traditional energy,
  • allows the expansion of alternative and renewable energy sources,
  • and encourages conservation.


Greater domestic energy production would increase supply and help to lower prices, and it would create American jobs.




Governor Quinn Announces Illinois Among Top 10 States for Corporate Locations in National Survey PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Annie Thompson   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 07:54

Illinois Gains Over Last Year’s Ranking


CHICAGO – March 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that the state of Illinois and Chicago have been named among the top 10 locations for new and expanded corporate facilities. Illinois ranked seventh among states, an improvement over last year’s eighth place ranking, and Chicago second in the metropolitan areas category in the annual analysis by Site Selection magazine, one of the nation’s premier corporate real estate and economic development publications.


“We are committed to creating jobs and working hard to make Illinois an even more attractive place to do business not only in the Midwest, but globally,” Governor Quinn said. “We have an aggressive long-term strategy for bringing quality jobs to Illinois, which includes innovation, exports and foreign investment, business-friendly legislation, and addressing infrastructure needs. We will continue to do everything we can to further our economic growth and create jobs in Illinois.”


In 2011, Illinois had 216 corporate facilities locate or expand in the state. Illinois joins Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia on the list of the top ten states with the most locations and expansions. With 167 projects, the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area ranked second on the list of cities in the tier one, top ten metropolitan areas list. Illinois companies that have relocated or seen significant expansions this year include Ford, Motorola Mobility, Continental, FedEx, Chrysler and Mitsubishi, among others.


“We are pleased that Illinois has again been named to Site Selection’s top 10 list for new and expanded corporate facilities,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley. “Illinois is one of the top business destinations in the nation for good reason, and we will continue to direct our efforts toward attracting and keeping investment in the state, creating jobs for the future and strengthening our economy.”


The Governor’s Cup analyses, issued by Site Selection magazine, are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” Site Selection is the senior publication in the corporate real estate and economic development field and the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC, at The magazine’s circulation base consists of 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions, most at the CEO/President/COO level.



New Interagency Trade Enforcement Center PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 09:07

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the President’s executive order creating a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center within the office of the United States Trade Representative.

“When U.S. trading partners violate their obligations, the U.S. trade representative’s office already should be taking the lead and working with other agencies to take action as needed.  I’m skeptical that a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center is necessary to ramp up enforcement against trading partners who are playing fast and loose with trade rules.  There’s nothing to stop the United States from bringing more cases now.  I plan to press the trade representative on the need for this new entity when he comes before the Senate Finance Committee soon.  If this new center gets up and running, there should be real results to back up the presidential pronouncement.  The pressure will be on the White House to deliver.”

Braley Calls on Obama to Open Strategic Petroleum Reserve PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 08:44

Gas prices have increased for 22 consecutive days; some analysts forecast $5 by summer


Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today called on President Barack Obama to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help reduce spiking gasoline prices.


Gas prices have increased for 22 consecutive days nationally, and according to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas in Iowa today is $3.53.  The average price has spiked 20 cents in the past two weeks alone.  Some analysts have projected that gas prices could reach $5 per gallon in some parts of the country by summertime.


“Rising gas prices stretch Iowans’ pocketbooks and threaten our fragile economic recovery,” Braley said.  “We should nip this problem in the bud right now.


“Rather than waiting for politicians in Congress to bicker endlessly and take no action, I’m calling on President Obama to take decisive action now and release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  Each time it’s been opened in the past, its lowered gas prices – up to 33 percent in some cases.”


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in testimony before a Congressional panel earlier today that spiking gas prices are a temporary threat to the economic recovery.


Gas prices are increasing because of speculation and Iran saber-rattling, not increased demand.  In fact, gasoline demand is at its lowest level in the US since 1997.


Obama released 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year in response to disruptions in oil supplies caused by conflict in Libya.


Audio of Braley discussing his call for Obama to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve during his weekly press conference call can be downloaded at the following link:


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