© 2023 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 105.7 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Economy

Deere Dubuque Works 75th Anniversary

deere crawler dozer 1.jpg
John Deere
/
a Crawler Dozer - one of the products made at the Dubuque Works

The largest employer in the Dubuque area celebrated its 75th anniversary this fall.

Overall
David Lee Mjolsness
/
John Deere
Deere Dubuque Works

The John Deere Dubuque Works opened in 1947, and now has 3,000 employees - half in production and half in engineering, supply, and customer support.

General Manager Mark Dickson says post World War II labor shortages forced Deere to build its new plant away from its tractor plants in Waterloo. And Dubuque welcomed the new plant.

deere skid steer 1.jpg
John Deere
/
a Skid Steer made at Deere's Dubuque Works

"And made affordable housing that they could rent to own for the employees and their families. And so there' s a portion of Dubuque that wasn't actually annexed into Dubuque until a few years later called "Deerevville" which was upwards of 100 to 150 homes that were built."

The new plant initially made tractors, but converted to construction and forestry equipment in 1970. He estimates a total of 1.2 million machines have been produced there since it opened.

COVID slowed down production for a while.

"While we felt a little bit of a slowdown, it was just a natural part of it, but it rebounded extremely fast and things look really good this year and it looks really good again next year."

Dickson predicts the Dubuque Works will keep its current workforce, and could add up to 10 per cent more next year.

The construction and forestry equipment made there is mainly sold in North America, but some goes to Latin America and the rest of the world.

Economy
A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.