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Making Tractors, Airplanes, and Armor in the Quad Cities

Local leaders from the Quad Cities fill us in on the area and its manufacturing history.

Ed. Note: Watch President Obama speak on the critical role the manufacturing sector plays in the American economy from Alcoa Davenport Works in Bettendorf, Iowa live at 2:05 PM EDT on

Today, the President will travel to Iowa to the Alcoa Davenport Works Factory -- a state-of-the-art aluminum rolling mill that serves as the manufacturing hub for Alcoa’s $3 billion aerospace business. While at the Alcoa Factory, President Obama will be joined by local leaders from across the region. Before the President’s visit, we heard from these leaders about how advanced manufacturing plants like the Alcoa Factory impact the regional economy in the Quad Cities.

Michael Freemire, the Mayor of Bettendorf, Iowa gives us background on the local economy:
 “The Quad Cities area has long been known for its primary manufacturing, advanced technology, and highly educated, motivated workforce.  That’s one of the hallmarks of our local economy and why this region has remained stable in what has otherwise been an economic downturn for many.”

Don Welvaert, the Mayor of Moline, Illinois enlightens us on why the Quad Cities are attracting businesses:
“Manufacturing is a significant part of the Quad Cities economy. Whether manufacturing farm implements at John Deere & Company, military guns, armor and ammunition at the Rock Island Arsenal, or the many aluminum aircraft parts and assemblies at Alcoa, we manufacture products sold worldwide. The strong work ethic and quality craftsmanship are two of the primary reasons companies choose to locate in the Quad Cities.”

Dennis Pauley, the Mayor of Rock Island, Illinois tells us a little about the area’s leading companies:
“For many years companies like Alcoa, John Deere and the Rock Island Arsenal have been leaders in advanced manufacturing. Alcoa has been and continues to be a leader in developing new uses and processes in the manufacturing of Aluminum. The technicians on the Arsenal always step up to the needs of our military personnel from developing armor plating for the humvee vehicles to discovering new ways to use titanium. John Deere personnel are leaders in developing equipment and processes to feed the world. The Quad Cities economy depends on the expertise of the people working to develop new and improved ways to manufacture products.”

John Thodos, the Mayor of East Moline, Illinois fills us in on how Alcoa is working with the Department of Defense to produce critical resources for the country:
“Recently Alcoa partnered with the Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (JMTC) which is the only vertically integrated metal manufacturing facility in the Department of Defense located at the Rock Island Arsenal as well as the area’s largest employer. JMTC and Alcoa provided prototype vehicles to address new methods to combat IEDs through advanced manufacturing.”

Bill Gluba, the Mayor of Davenport, Iowa explains how advanced manufacturing, and the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) will continue to help the local and national economies:
“Cutting edge manufacturing techniques such as innovations at Alcoa will continue to lead the way towards more job creation in this competitive global economy.  President Obama’s initiative in promoting advanced manufacturing is moving our country’s economy in the right direction.  The advanced manufacturing sector is and will continue to be vital to future job growth in the economy of Davenport and the Quad Cities.”

Jeffrey Grindle, the Mayor of Riverdale, Iowa sums up what the President’s visit means to the local residents and workers:
“By President Obama visiting Alcoa Davenport Works he recognizes Alcoa is a world class leader in advanced manufacturing along with the workforce being second to none.”

 David Agnew is the Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs