Top 10 Co-Line news stories of 2016

By Dale “Rail” Brand, owner

1. The biggest Co-Line story of 2016 included a 120,000-square-foot addition to Co-Line’s south facility. And for Rail Brand, any year with a construction project is his favorite time of year. Co-Line teamed up with Jensen Builders, Manatts, and Van Maanen Electric for its 12th and largest expansion project in Co-Line’s 37-year history. The finishing touches are on schedule to be completed in early 2017.

2. Co-Line was named one of the best finishing shops in the U.S. That was according to an industry benchmarking survey conducted by “Products Finishing” magazine, a trade publication that has covered the industry since 1938. Only 50 companies nationwide were named a “Top Shop.”

3. Co-Line expanded its tube bending capabilities with the purchase of a Starbend 800 CNC mandrel tube bender in February 2016.  Offering the latest interpolation bending capability, this purchase continued to put Co-Line on the leading edge of equipment advancement and technology.

4. Co-Line took safety to a new level in April 2016, installing fire alarm and heat sensing detection throughout both buildings. Every exit now has a pull station that dials right into the local fire department.

5. In August, a new team member assessment form was released and completed on every Co-Line employee. This new evaluation process looks at five core values and three areas that define if the role an employee plays at Co-Line is correct. The new process will be completed on each employee a minimum of twice per year. This same set of values is being used in Co-Line’s hiring process, too.

6. Employee fun abounds with a heroic summer party complete with heroes from near and far, skydivers, and an over-the-top fireworks show. Luaus at break time, Halloween costume contests, a Thanksgiving feast, ugly sweater contest, lighting contest, longest beard contest, and more improved employee morale companywide. Watch for more team building events in 2017!

7. Late 2016 revealed a big change to Co-Line’s 401k retirement program for 2017. The company match will be double what it has been for many years, changing the 0.25 percent for every one percent an employee puts in to 0.5 percent for every one percent an employee puts in up to six percent.

8. A new rolling billboard was put into service in 2016. The Co-Line delivery truck got a facelift promoting Co-Line’s services and capabilities and can be seen throughout the state of Iowa making deliveries.

9. The lower level dam road was paved by Manatts in mid-summer of 2016, improving traffic flow between buildings. Or maybe it was the Brands’ attempt at their very own drag strip?!?!? Also improving deliveries between buildings was the purchase of a new yellow tug.

10. After more than 19 years of service, “Dependable” Earl James retired from Co-Line. Other employees reaching retirement in 2016 included David Pierce after six years of service and deWayne Lemons with 13 years of service. Congrats to all and best wishes in your retirement.