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Cedar Valley (IA) Business Monthly reports:

Rudolf de Jong isn't moving his family from the Netherlands to the Cedar Valley just because he thinks it's a good business decision. He's doing it because, above all else, he thinks his family will be happy here.

De Jong is the president of Zuidberg North America Inc., an offshoot of Netherlands-based Zuidberg Frontline Systems B.V., which manufactures tractor hitches, transmissions and heavy-equipment parts. The company has decided to expand its operation to the United States, with Cedar Falls as the company's national headquarters.

Agricultural technology being the bread and butter of Zuidberg-pronounced "Zideburg"-de Jong said it wasn't too difficult to select Iowa as the ideal location for the company's first American distribution center.

"Iowa and the Cedar Valley are very central within the USA, and have an excellent reputation for global manufacturing, including a hardworking and reliable workforce," de Jong said. "This fits with the Dutch and the Zuidberg mentality in particular."

De Jong went on to say the hospitality and quality of life available in Cedar Falls attracted him to the area, along with the support he got from city officials and local leaders in economic development.

"My family needs to be happy as well," de Jong said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "The standpoint of the company is, if I'm not happy, the company will not be successful."

De Jong's company will occupy a new 40,000-square-foot building at 3105 Capital Way in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park.

The city agreed last year to provide local developer Brent Dahlstrom a parcel of about 5 acres and a five-year partial industrial property-tax exemption if he constructed a building with a valuation of at least $1.6 million, according to Bob Seymour, community services manager with the city's Department of Developmental Services.

As a gesture of thanks to Dahlstrom, de Jong presented the developers with a shovel during the press conference.

"This is my symbolic idea, to hand it over to you guys, so you can start working," de Jong said with a smile on his face. "Frost is four feet deep in the ground, so it will not be easy. But you're strong guys."

Site preparation work has already begun.

Once the building is finished, Zuidberg plans to hire six employees to work in the initial 10,000 square feet. Additional employees will be hired as the entity grows. Twenty percent annual growth is projected, de Jong said.

"It is significant that (Zuidberg) makes their first North American investment in the Cedar Valley," said Steven Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber. "This decision again affirms the Cedar Valley as a location to manufacture and serve global markets, and we deliver a quality of life that persuades young professionals like Rudolf de Jong and his family to relocate her from the Netherlands."

Mayor Jon Crews also was present at the press conference to welcome de Jong to the community.

"We are glad to welcome Zuidberg as our newest member of the Cedar Falls industrial park and look forward to a successful long term partnership," Crews said.

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