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Lean Tech Presented IFBF 'Renew Rural Iowa' Award
Iowa Ag Connection - 02/09/2018

Many Iowans are familiar with Pella’s historic Strawtown Inn and downtown shops, with buildings dating to the region’s settlers in 1850s. Although the shops are no longer there, the historic space remains, and it is now home to an innovative software development and consulting firm that is this month’s Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) Award winner.

Founded in 2003, Lean Technologies is a problem solving and software development company, yet they do much more than simply sell a product. Thrive is the off-the-shelf software offered by Lean Technologies, and it is sold as a package solution for manufacturing companies to help them manage data and consolidate multiple systems into just one. The product allows manufacturers to get a better handle on inventory, equipment, maintenance, safety, and quality control to help their customers become more efficient.

“We recognize that our software product isn’t just a commodity, and our product has a key service element,” says Scott Sorheim, founder and president of Lean Technologies. We work to understand what our customers’ goals are, and we see ourselves as having a 50/50 split between a software product company and a service company.”

While the Thrive software product initially brings customers to Lean, many companies come back to do more work with the company and have Sorheim and his team tailor the product to address their individual needs, providing the consulting and service that has earned the company national recognition. While Lean Technologies serves clients from California to Connecticut from their Marion County offices, the company has also earned praise from local community leaders.

“Since our county is primarily rural, I think it’s important to have companies like Lean Technologies, with an entrepreneurial mindset, that can bring excitement and ideas to our community, while also helping local manufacturing businesses grow,” says Dustin DeMoss, a Marion County Farm Bureau board member. DeMoss noted the positive local economic impacts Lean Technologies fosters as they help local manufacturers grow and eventually hire additional workers.

Carla Eysink, executive director with the Marion County Development Group, appreciates the role of Lean Technologies as a facilitator of economic growth within the county and praises Sorheim for serving as a mentor to other entrepreneurs.

“We’ve been involved with Scott for a long time,” Eysink says. “He’s taken our leadership program and worked through our local entrepreneur workshop, and he’s just been a tremendous asset to our community by mentoring other entrepreneurs and helping create an environment for other entrepreneurs to succeed, grow, and follow their dreams.”

Given the nature of the business and a national customer base, Lean Technologies could be located anywhere, but they prefer Pella. Sorheim, and his wife, Jenny, who helped Scott form Lean Tech and now focuses on the company’s financials, fell in love with the community, and after becoming involved in their local church, the Sorheims can’t think of anywhere else they’d rather be.

RRI is an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources. Since its inception, RRI has helped create $125M in economic impact for rural communities. The RRI program is based on the five pillars of Education, Mentoring, Connecting, Recognition, and Financing. The next RRI Business Success Seminar takes place February 13 at Southeastern Community College in Keokuk. For more information about RRI and the RRI Pathways, a searchable technology that connects entrepreneurs with resources, go to http://programs.iowafarmbureau.com/RRI/.

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