Columbia's Twin City Benefits from IBM

8 years 6 months 1 week ago Sunday, May 30 2010 May 30, 2010 Sunday, May 30, 2010 2:34:27 PM CDT May 30, 2010 in News
"Dubuque Part Two" is a good name for Columbia, and the people at IBM might agree. Columbia will be home to IBM's second IT building in the United States.

Dubuque, IA is home to about 60,000 people,while Columbia can boast a little more at about 100,000. The median income for a Columbia household is $33,729, while Dubuque beats Columbia out at $36,785.

Apart from population similarities, the location of the new IBM is also eerily similar. In Dubuque's case, IBM chose to renovate its historic Roshek Building. The new IBM in Columbia is also a renovated structure.

Greater Dubuque Development, Rick Dickinson says he doesn't feel disheartened by IBM's new location pick.

"It's not in any way a threat to our community, in fact we were fully aware of IBM looking for that Dubuque two," he said.

Both cities even boast multiple colleges and universities. Columbia has the University of Missouri, Stephen's and Columbia College. Dubuque has the University of Dubuque, Clarke College, Loras College and a few others. It is actually the heavy university presence that caught IBM's attention.

"Seeding the operation with existing staff from around the country, and there has been some of that, the other is to recruit talent locally that would fit the bill for the employment they're looking for, and the third resource would be to recruit from outside the community," said Dickinson.

That's where Mark Warner comes in. He moved from St. Paul, MN to become an IBM employee. However, like all IBM employees, he's sworn to secrecy on exactly what he does while on the job, "I can't speak about that," he said.

Dickinson calls the Dubuque Center an IBM"experiment" in keeping jobs at home. He says IBM is two-thirds of the way to hiring its promised 1300 people by the end of the year - and that's ahead of schedule.

"It will bring brand and recognition to your community that you have never had before. Within weeks of the announcement that IBM was coming to Dubuque, over 10,000people had applied for the positions," he said.

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