the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the President's Trip to Iowa


The President will continue his recent series of White House to Main Street tours with stops in Iowa. In the early afternoon, he will tour the Siemens Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Plant in Fort Madison that received nearly $3.5 million in Recovery Act tax credits for clean energy manufacturing jobs. The President will then deliver remarks and share ideas with workers for continuing to grow the economy and to put Americans back to work. The audience will be made up of approximately 230 employees and 100 White House guests.

Peter Loescher, CEO, Siemens AG (Global) will offer a brief welcome before the President and Secretary Vilsack arrive.  Upon arrival, Secretary Vilsack will deliver brief welcome remarks during the pre-program.

Elected Officials Expected to Attend

Governor Chet Culver
Mayor of Fort Madison Steve Ireland
Mayor or Mt. Pleasant Steve Brimhall
Mayor of Keokuk Thomas Marion
State Senator Tom Courtney
State Senator Gene Fraise
State Rep. Elesha Gayman
State Rep. Jerry Kearns
State Rep. Phyllis Thede
Supervisor Tom Furlong
Supervisor Robert Morawitz
Councilman Chris Greenwald
Councilman Bradley Randolph
Councilman Robert Chestnut

Tour Guide

Robert Gjuraj, Plant Manager, Siemens Energy, Ft. Madison, Iowa will lead the tour.
Robert Gjuraj is the plant manager of the Siemens Wind Turbine Blade Plant in Ft. Madison, Iowa.  Robert has 20 years of power generation equipment manufacturing experience from the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Siemens Energy.  Prior to his plant management position he held several positions within plant operations and supply chain.  He holds a B.S.M.E degree from the University of Kentucky.  

Robert Gjuraj has written a blog post about preparing for the President’s visit and the company’s growth and investment in clean technologies, which is available HERE.


Provided by Siemens

48C Tax Credits for Ft. Madison, IA Facility – The Siemens Ft. Madison Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing Plant received nearly $3.5 million in incentives under the U.S. Department of Energy’s manufacturing tax credit program (48C). Siemens used the federal tax credit to secure additional blade molds and increase production of its next generation blade, which is designed to improve wind harvesting in low-wind conditions. The market success of this innovative technology will enable growth for the renewables market in the U.S. and has contributed to the Ft. Madison plant's ability to expand and nearly double employment. Additionally, Siemens received $4.33 million for the new wind turbine nacelle assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kansas, which is currently under construction, and is expected to employ 400 people by 2012.

Plant Capacity – Total output of plant represents enough electricity to power more than 400,000 homes per year. 

Jobs at Siemens Plant in Ft. Madison – Hired first employee in the fall of 2006; produced the first blade in May 2007 with 230 employees, and today have 609 employees in 600,000-sf plant (542 production, 67 management and other support functions); 65 percent were former employees of larger companies in the area that had closed or downsized. Siemens is the largest employer in Ft. Madison with nearly 600 employees (top-five employer in Lee County). 

Facility Before Siemens – Wabash National, headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana, purchased the former Fruehauf Trailer Company in the spring of 1997 and produced semi-trailer dry freight vans at the Ft. Madison location. In November of 2000, with a peak of 250 employees, the trailer industry slowed and production was reduced back to a one-shift operation.  In August of 2001, Wabash announced the closing of the Ft. Madison facility, and a year later the plant was permanently closed. Siemens acquired the 240,000-sf Wabash facility in 2006 and renovated and expanded it for the wind turbine blade production plant. Pam Crutchfield, who had been the acting plant manager of the Wabash facility was the first Siemens local employee hired in October 2006 and is currently a material logistics specialist.

Production – IntegralBlade® wind turbine blades for 2.3-MW wind turbines; average output 16 blades/week in FY 2008; 36 blades/week (April 2010).

Supply Chain – More than 82 percent of the direct materials for the blades are procured in the U.S. (35 percent in the Midwest). Most operational services, including catering, building maintenance, groundskeeping and office supplies, are also provided by local vendors.

Shipping – As of April 2010, the Ft. Madison facility has shipped a total of 2,163 blades to 18 different projects in North America. By shipping approximately 90% of the blades produced in Ft. Madison via rail, Siemens is able to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting the blades by 80%. 

Blades – Siemens is the only manufacturer that uses an innovative, patented process for making the blades in a single, seamless piece that makes them extremely durable and reliable – virtually maintenance free for the 20-year lifecycle of the blade; blades are made primarily from epoxy, fiberglass and balsa wood; they range from 148-160 feet long and weigh between 11-12 tons; three blades are used for each of our 2.3 MW wind turbines; each turbine produces enough power for approximately 700 homes.

4:40 PM

Later in the afternoon, the President will hold a town hall meeting at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa. There will be approximately 2,100 people in the audience. 70% of the tickets were general admission, distributed Monday on a first come, first served basis. The other 30% were distributed by the White House to elected officials, community leaders, etc. 

Elected Officials Expected to Attend

Attorney General Tom Miller
Mayor of Ottumwa Dale Uehling
State Senator Joe Bolkcom
State Senator Keith Kreiman
State Senator Becky Schmitz
State Representative Mary Gaskill
State Representative Curt Hanson
Wapello County Attorney Allen Cook III
State Representative Eric Palmer
State Representative Kurt Swaim
Wapello County Supervisor Greg Kenning
Wapello County Recorder Joyce Hass
Wapello County Treasurer Dianne Kiefer
Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker
Wapello County Supervisor Steve Siegel
Wapello County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon


Pastor Judith Bunyi will deliver the Invocation.
Bunyi is the pastor at Ottumwa First United Methodist Church.

Landon Greenfield will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Greenfield is a native of Birmingham, IA and is the student body president. He is currently enrolled in the advanced technology program specializing in laser and electro-optics technology. He will graduate this spring with an Associate’s Degree.

Mitchell Jon Bean will sing the National Anthem.
Bean is a native of Columbus Junction, IA and an honor roll sophomore at Indian Hills Community College. He is active in theater.

William Wynn will Introduce the President.
Wynn is a native of Albia, IA and is currently enrolled in the Advanced Technology Bio-processing program that will prepare him for work in biological and biochemical science applications for agriculture, biofuel production, value-added processing and health product industries. He will graduate this spring with an Associate’s Degree.