Keeping skilled employees and continuing to add additional qualified people

Just in time, ICC Turnkey stepped in to keep Canby's JVNW alive, albeit with a different business name.

The struggling company had some financial difficulties and its owner wanted to retire. ICC stepped in and on Oct. 1 the St. Louis-based company took over, changing the name to a hybrid, ICCNW.

Not one employee received a pink slip. In fact one of the reasons for ICC Turnkey's takeover had to do with JVNW's reputation as a manufacturer of customer-made stainless steel tanks and systems for brewing, wine, food and pharmaceuticals.

ICC Turnkey is an engineering firm that designs and builds various types of equipment. Similar to JVNW, it provides engineering and design build services, including automation, Smart 3-D design, greenfield construction and capacity expansion for process-driven businesses such as beer and cold-brewed coffee, distilleries, as well as petro chemical, pharmaceutical and fast moving consumer goods firms.

It specializes in design-build services of engineered and efficient facilities with the lowest total cost of ownership. Its engineering branch is a professional, multi-discipline engineering and project management firm. It also has a group based in Honolulu called ICC Hawaii Industrial Structures that provides customer engineered steel building design and construction for industrial, warehousing and aviation industries in the states.

It's taken on and will keep its newest group here in Canby. JVNW was founding in 1981. It continues its manufacture of stainless steel tanks for food processing, beverages, pharmaceutical, pure water and chemical industries. These tanks may hold everything from Coca Cola to wine and from beer to pharmaceuticals. They are designed from rolled steel and built and polished to a shiny inside surface using a variety of tools.

The equipment the new ICCNW produces covers everything JVNW made previously from tiny machine and lath parts for giant tanks to towering beer and Coke a Cola tanks. There also make the giant lids to cover these tanks as well as the pieces that allow carbon dioxide into beer tanks and out of distilleries. The finished products are shiny, spotless and perfectly clean and ready for their products.

HERALD PHOTO: CAROL ROSEN - The large lid that tops the tall brewing and soda tanks, also made of rolled stainless steel and welded into the form for the tank.

These items all require skilled employees, artists, ICCNW CEO Alex Alexandrov calls them. It's important to him, because "we desperately are looking for skilled and qualified workmen. We make the things that people want and want the people that make them," Alexandrov said.

At the peak of JVNW's history, there were 120 skilled workers at the plant. That fell to 50 and is now up to 90, says Kyle Sawyer whose title now is president, he was the general manager at JVNW. However, to keep the company functioning at its best, they want to grow it even more. These are people who do a bit of art, he added, to build and weld the tanks, mixers and pipes. "It's a craft, and this industry needs craftsmen. Having craftsmen is very important."

"I'm proud of the people that work here, and I want to allow the community to prosper," Alexandrov said.

One of the things they are doing to increase employees is to improve their health insurance, says Alexandrov. ICCNW is moving to put better health care insurance into the company's benefit package. "We're already insured, but it's complex and daunting. We want to demystify health care in order for us to be a responsible, corporate citizen and bring good things to our community," he added.

That insurance will go to the entire staff, including receptionists and admins. But, he noted, it's especially important for the skilled staff; the welders, engineering staff, fabricators, procurement and purchasing and production and planning.

ICC has a long list of customers including breweries in the continental U.S, Hawaii, and here in Portland, Iowa, Texas, Denver and Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The company has just joined Canby's Chamber of Commerce and wants to be a positive influence in the Canby area. "We want to do things locally for business and people to focus on and create a positive influence and value," Alexandrov said.

He and Sawyer noted they are a green company, recycling all unused scraps and pieces of the stainless steel even down to the trimmings. "We're proud we created sustainable breweries for craft brewing lines," Alexandrov said. For example, their work allows breweries to recycle and reuse water more efficiently.

Their technology also allows breweries to take nutrients from the waste water of beer and use these bio-reactors to produce methane gas to run their equipment. They also can allow breweries to capture every ounce of carbon dioxide that comes out and put it back into the beer enhancing the supplies.

"Our future is bright. The business climate is very good and this is rewarding work," said Alexandrov.

"And our backlog is phenomenal. We're building a factory in Long Beach, CA that will make cannabis cocktails. All kinds of cocktails like Old Fashions and others with no alcohol but flavored that way with cannabis infusions," said Sawyer. He also noted ICC is contracted to building a factory in Indiana that will make cold-brewed coffee and beer.

Carol Rosen
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