"It's good not just for the Tribe, but surrounding communities," Mark Hubble, chief executive officer of Meskwaki Inc. said on Friday, April 14. He was describing the far-ranging efforts to provide diversification of enterprises for the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa - the Meskwaki Nation.
Right now, Meskwaki Inc.'s companies employes are made up of 80 percent who are Tribal members, Hubble said.
He projected within "three to six years, by necessity, at least 50 percent (of Meskwaki, Inc.) employees will be non-tribal members."
He characterizes these jobs as paying "above average wages" for nearby communities of this size in both Tama and Marshall counties.
The Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel operation and Pinnacle Bank are not part of the Meskwaki family of companies Hubble heads. He said the employment opportunities of Meskwaki, Inc. are aimed at providing work not associated with the gaming-hospitality industry.
Among them are the adjacent a new factory- warehouse under construction now, Woodlands Construction Company, Big River Trading Company, Renards Tobacco, Meskwaki Travel Plaza.
And, Fox Professional Services Inc., Red Earth Real Estate Holdings, Meskwaki Fuels Company, Red Earth Gardens and ventures into distribution of Cattail Creek brand premium coffee and Meskwaki Warrior brand barbecue sauces.
The new Big River Trading Company warehouse -factory is being built directly behind the Travel Plaza with completion, depending upon weather, planned for this fall, Hubble said.
It will house distribution operations of the various goods and serve as a factory for manufacture of the Renards brand of cigarettes and cigars. In addition, bagged tobacco, and Renards vapor products - eJuice - are also to be included in the line.
Hubble noted tobacco from cigars is from the Dominican Republic and the EJuice is pharmaceutical grade.
Hubble said the vapor line will include both nicotine and non-nicotine products.
One of the biggest projects underway for Meskwaki, Inc.'s Woodlands Construction Division is a 52-unit housing project off of the Wandering Creek Golf Course on the far west side of Marshalltown.
Hubble said excellent cooperation from the City of Marshalltown and support from Mayor Jim Lowrence were important factors in this work. He said the golf course community is a much-needed boost to the housing available in Marshalltown to attract and maintain employees for technical industry.
Woodlawns is also in the process of repurposing a downtown Marshalltown building on 2nd Street.
He said the Meskwaki Travel Plaza and standby generators at the hotel-casino complex are now being supplied by gasoline and diesel fuel being blended at the site of the former Trading Post. That facility was replaced by the Travel Plaza but underground fuel storage tanks were maintained there for the new fuel operation.
The Trading Post has been converted, in part, into offices for Meskwaki, Inc., with plans to move more offices now in Marshalltown to that location, Hubble said.
Fox Professional Services is a consulting firm with primary responsibility to aid in securing government assistance for Tribal and minority businesses for federal defense and state department contracts.
Meskwaki, Inc. this summer is offering an intern program for Meskwaki college students which has grown to six openings this year.