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Alta company wins Renew Rural Iowa award

By Staff | Mar 27, 2009

Rob and Tara Hach, stand in front of portions of the towers they build to record wind speed and direction. Their business, based in Alta, serves customers all over the United States and overseas.

ALTA – Once a proposed project to construct a wind farm just about anywhere in the U.S. is made, Anemometry Specialists is one of the first Iowa businesses to be contacted.

This Buena Vista County-based company, which provides feasibility studies of wind availability for proposed projects, was the January recipient of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month Award.

Wind data surveys must be completed before any wind turbines can be constructed, said company owners Rob and Tara Hachs. A site has to have enough wind, and direction does matter when placing turbines. There can never be too much wind, the Hachs said.

Anemometry Specialists fills an important niche, a Farm Bureau’s news release reads.

To accomplish their study, Anemometry Specialists erects a 200-foot pole with sensor cups to record wind speeds and direction. A meteorologist evaluates this information. It takes one year to complete the research.

The toothpick-looking structure on the horizon, to the left of the farthest left wind turbine, is the meteorological tower erected by Anemometric Specialists to measure wind data before any wind towers are constructed. This wind farm is near Alta.

The company began with the Hachses and one employee. Seven years later, there are 27 employees. They have done testing in 34 states and four foreign countries. This week, a crew was heading for Colorado and another crew, including Hach for South Africa.

A strong proponent of community-owned wind farms, Hach would prefer to see more wind farm development from private or local sources. About half of their clients are international utilities.

“There are opportunities out there for community wind farms,” said Hach. “We will help with the ground work, interconnect studies and the necessary permitting.”

Hach said that when he worked for Dr. Frederick Moore, president of Buena Vista, he thanked Moore for the opportunity to work for him.

Moore said, “You didn’t work for me, you worked with me.”

That same spirit is what the Hachses say they extend to their co-workers. “We are a team. Sometimes we feel more like a family working together.”

A business that could have had its base anywhere, the Hachses said they “have 101 reasons for choosing Alta.” Small town rural America is where they wanted to raise their three children. The quality of life far exceeds life in any big city, said Rob Hach.

“Iowa truly is the best place to be to develop wind energy and because of wind patterns and topography, we know our state has potential for much more growth,” Hach added.

But, growing and meeting client demand in this time of economic change is never easy. “That’s why they sought business advice through our Renew Rural Iowa program,” said Farm Bureau’s economic development administrator, Sandy Ehrig, adding that the company is hoping to grow to 30 employees in the next two years.

“Anemometry Specialists is a great business success story and we’re glad to have them located here in the Iowa Lakes Corridor region,” said Thomas Manley, vice president of Community Bank and Insurance, in Spencer. “Our region is great place to live, work and play and has much to offer for entrepreneurs like Hach.

“Sometimes all a company needs to thrive is the kind of hands-on mentoring that’s offered by Renew Rural Iowa.”

The first Renew Rural Iowa seminar was offered in the Iowa Lakes Corridor region, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake in December of 2006. Since then, 22 seminars with more than 1,500 participants have engaged in RRIowa seminars to help their companies thrive and grow.

For additional information on the Renew Rural Iowa program or to register for the Adel seminar, call (800) 254-9670 or go online at www.renewruraliowa.com .

Contact Renae Vander Schaaf by e-mail at renaefarmnews@gmail.com.

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