Ceremony kicks off Allied Blending expansion project

Carl A. Nelson & Company representatives joined company and local elected officials in an Aug. 3, 2023, groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a 50,000 SF expansion of Allied Blending's production facility in Keokuk, Iowa. CANCO photo

10 months, 1 week ago

KEOKUK, Iowa — Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO) design-build team members joined local dignitaries and company officials from the United States and Germany Aug. 3, 2023, to break ground on a 50,000 SF production and warehouse expansion by Allied Blending in Keokuk, Iowa.

Work will begin in September, and take about a year to complete.

Allied Blending CEO Frederic Schulders said the groundbreaking "marks a significant milestone in the extraordinary journey that will shape our future."

"The term 'groundbreaking' describes something that is innovative, revolutionary and has a significant impact. It implies setting a new standard and pushing through what we thought was previously possible," Schulders said. "That is precisely what Allied Blending is setting out to accomplish here, creating innovations in all aspects of our business model, including this expansion. This groundbreaking ceremony signifies more than the start of construction. It represents the collective efforts, dedication and collaboration of countless individuals who have worked tirelessly to bring this idea to life."

The multi-million dollar project includes a 50,000 SF addition to the existing plant facility, renovation of the production tower and other improvements including employee welfare and life safety systems, while adding to production, warehousing and distribution capacity, and also setting the stage for future expansion.

"We first want to congratulate Allied Blending on this momentous occasion," said Jamie Stanley, vice president of operations in charge of CANCO industrial projects and the firm's Cedar Falls office. "Second, we want to extend our gratitude. We're just so grateful that Allied Blending has put their faith and trust in Carl A. Nelson as their design-builder."

Site work will commence later this summer and continue into the fall, followed by construction of foundations before winter sets in, then erection of the building.

"We look forward to standing here with you, hopefully not too much longer next year from this date, having a grand opening celebrating this new expansion," Stanley said.  

Allied Blending was founded more than 40 years ago in Keokuk as a starch distributor, and later expanded to add blending capacity for the dairy, bakery and plant-based food industries, and also includes a tortilla production facility in California (opened in 2007), and a dairy and plant-based research center in St. Louis, Missouri (opened in 2011). Allied Blending became a division of a family-owned company based in Germany, J. Rettenmaier & Sohne (JRS Group), in 2017. JRS Group Board member Dr. Michael Hempe said the JRS Group operates more than 60 production facilities across the globe, including 15 in the United States and three in Iowa, all focused on producing sustainable plant-based products for a range of industries.

Expansion of the Keokuk plant is made possible by significant revenue growth seen at the plant since it was returned to an independent blending company within the JRS Group following the 2017 acquisition, said board member Nils Gersonde. Schulders, Hempe and Gersonde each made note of the JRS Group's commitment to the Keokuk community through the investment in the Allied Blending facility. 

Other speakers at the ceremony included Iowa 1st District Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks; Iowa State Sen. Jeff Reichman of Keokuk; and Jessica Martin, executive director of the Keokuk Chamber of Commerce. The Rev. David Browfield from All Saints Parish in Keokuk provided a blessing and prayer for good weather for the construction.

Carl A. Nelson & Company Vice President of Operations (Cedar Falls), Jamie Stanley, right, speaks with J. Rettenmaier & Sohne board member Dr. Michael Hempe following the Aug. 3, 2023, groundbreaking ceremony at Allied Blending in Keokuk, Iowa. The plant will be the site of a 50,000 SF expansion to production and warehouse facilities, with Carl A. Nelson & Company in the role of design-builder. CANCO photo

Current and past company leaders from Allied Blending, its parent company JRS Group, elected officials and Carl A. Nelson & Company Vice President Jamie Stanley turn dirt during groundbreaking at the Allied Blending plant in Keokuk, Iowa. CANCO photo

Members of the design-build team for the Allied Blending expansion project are, from left, Carl A. Nelson & Company Project Manager Trevor Brown, Project Executive and Vice President Jamie Stanley, Project Superintendent Corey Mumme, Ryan Kuntz, P.E., S.E., from Shoemaker & Haaland, and Carl A. Nelson & Company Chairman Tim Seibert, P.E. CANCO photo