CLINTON – “It’s about to get a little German here,” said Jochen Riepl, prompting laughter followed by cheers and applause.
The RAIL.ONE CEO touched down in Clinton from his Neumarkt, Germany headquarters last week, overseeing his newest plant’s start of production. On Tuesday, Riepl addressed 165 dignitaries in a white tent beside the facility. They included his countrymen and state leaders like Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham. And there were Clinton community members that Riepl said “made it happen.”
“I want to welcome you all here in this most modern concrete tie plant of the world,” he said. “It’s our newest one, and this is the most modern one you can see, placed here in Clinton, Iowa, in the Midwest of the United States.”
Construction, Riepl added, moved along very quickly, with an ambitious goal for completion.
“We went through a lot of road blocks,” he said. “But we went around and got through it. We did it in 12 months.”
Clinton had the space. RAIL.ONE had a need. One year later, Riepl, Reynolds and others had a ribbon cutting.
All of this signified to Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich that the Lincolnway Industrial Railpark has officially begun. The first business opening of the industrial zone – located between his city and Low Moor off U.S. 30 – is the realization of a dream two decades in the making.
“Today is a monumental moment in the history of Clinton,” Vulich said during his turn for a speech. He talked about how years ago, a group of Clinton leaders stood in a corn field and dreamed of possibilities. “They envisioned a railpark in this area. As far as I’m concerned, they were visionaries for their time. They looked at the corn field and saw something that was possible.