MWP holds annual meeeting

~courtesy of The Scranton Journal

Midwest Partnership Economic Development hosted its annual meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Lake Panorama Conference Center in Panora. The evening celebrated a successful year with an eye to the future of business development in Guthrie, Adair, Audubon and Greene Counties.

Norm Fandel of Jefferson concluded a year of service to the organization as president. Laurie Gilbert as treasurer presented the financial report.

Retiring board members were thanked for their service. They included Warren Varley 2006-18; John Rutledge 2008-18; Brett Irlmeier 2010-18; Peggy Toft 2014-18, and Scott Weber 2017-18.

Dennis Flanery was presented  the Guy Powell Award. Serving as the market president of Peoples Bank in Guthrie Center, Flanery is active on numerous boards and committees in the community including Guthrie Center Economic Development and Guthrie Activity Center. He was nominated by Mike Underwood with the award presented by Scott Tonderum, 2019 MWP president.

Sarah Gomez, executive director, summed up the past year. The main priority is business development, focusing on school to work, an employer / educator summit, Entrebash, which is in its fifth year with Greene County hosting the event in the spring, marketing and housing.

Hernan Etcheto

The keynote address was given by Hernan Etcheto, owner and CEO of Nutriom. The business has opened in Panora (moving from Washington state) after extensive remodeling an old facility and beginning operation in 2018. It currently has just fewer than 50 employees. The firm recently received the Venture Award from the Iowa Area Development Group.

Etcheto came to the United States in 2001 and has been involved in developing OvaEasy®, dehydrated crystal egg products. These are a dependable and high-quality food storage and transportation solution for food service. It is convenient and easy to use.

Nutriom’s multistage crystal dried egg is shelf stable. The low temperature process preserves egg functionality and flavor (it looks and tastes like a fresh egg). The low processing cost makes it competitive with shell eggs and after logistics costs are included, production in Iowa will lower raw material costs further.

The company’s first customer was the United States Navy. The market expanded to land forces but Etcheto’s wife joked with him, “Civilians eat eggs, too.” That caused him to beef up the sales force. They are constantly looking for new products to make.

Civilian customers of Nutriom include Panera Bread, Kroger, prison commissaries and many others. Their export markets include Canada and South Korea.
OvaEasy® product has a three to seven year shelf life with no refrigeration necessary. It occupies one-fourth of the space of liquid or frozen eggs. It has a proven track record with ten-plus years in the armed services.

The product is easier to cook than frozen eggs, requires no thawing or refrigeration, mixes instantly, and cooks consistently like fresh egg. It’s sold in pouches, cans or boil bags.

“It won’t turn green in the buffet line,” joked Etcheto. “We need to be where the products are located. That’s what drew us to Iowa.”

The business uses exclusive crystal drying technology. The product is made by gently evaporating water from fresh liquid, 100 percent whole egg. It is dried at a low temperature to preserve the flavor, natural nutrients and solubility. It maintains the purity and wholesomeness of the original egg.

“Everyone has been very helpful, the city, county and economic development,” added Etcheto. “We’re very happy here.”

Scott Tonderum, Midwest Economic Development Corporation president (right), presented the past president’s award and gavel to Norm Fandel of Jefferson who concluded his term heading the organization. | News Gazette photo

The 2019 board of directors for MWP includes:
• Greene County: Travis Dvorak, secretary; Norm Fandel, Rick Morain and Sid Jones.
• Guthrie County: Jerry Sullivan, treasurer; Mike Underwood, Cheryl Marks, Douglas Burns, Everett Grasty, Julie Zajicek, Kristen Renslow and Marty Doud.
• Audubon County: Laurie Gilbert, vice president; Sara Slater, Todd Nelsen, Troy Wessel and Jason Hocker.
• Adair County: Scott Tonderum, president; Stacie Hull and Matt Wedemeyer.

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