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Dobson Pipe Organ Builders Finishes In Top 4 In ABI’s Coolest Thing Made In Iowa Contest

Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City finished in the top four spots in the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s (ABI) first annual Coolest Thing Made in Iowa. The contest was created to recognize the state’s robust and diverse manufacturing sector, highlighting the 225,000+ Iowans who work in manufacturing and the approximately $38 billion it contributes to the economy. It has been just under three years since a fire destroyed Dobson’s facility in Lake City. Shop Foreman Donny Hobbs says making it so far in the public vote contest has been somewhat of a comeback story for Dobson’s 18-person staff.

Dobson’s future in Lake City was uncertain after the 2021 fire, but the company quickly decided the Calhoun County community where the company was founded was where they wanted to stay. The world-renowned pipe organ manufacturer is slated to move into their new facility in Lake City later this summer. Dobson’s has been building pipe organs for nearly 50 years, but many Iowans aren’t aware of the work they do, including some locals. However, Dobson Head Designer Abe Betten says being recognized alongside other titans of Iowa manufacturing should help with that.

Other finalists for the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa were Musco Lighting for their products found in sporting venues, Sukup Manufacturing for their Safe-T Homes, and Vermeer for their ZR5-1200 self-propelled balers. Dobson Business Manager Deana Hoeg-Ryan says it was remarkable to see their small business recognized alongside companies with thousands of employees.

Vermeer’s self-propelled baler ended up taking home the ABI award for the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa. The winner was announced yesterday (Wednesday) during the association’s “Taking Care of Business” annual conference in Davenport.

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