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Jobs come by the truckload

ROCK ISLAND -- Jobs are coming to Rock Island by the truckload.

Dispatch/Argus Photo By Gary Krambeck

Jim White and Pat Perez, employees of Quality Painters, worked on window trim at the front entrance of the old J.I. Case building in August, which was being revitalized for Dohrn Transfer.

When officials at Dohrn Transfer last spring announced the company expected to create 50 to 75 full-time jobs by 1999, their estimates were dramatically conservative. By fall, the trucking company already had hired 50 new workers.

Company owner and president Gary Dohrn has said he expects to add another 25 people to the payroll this year and an additional 25 next year.

The creation of as many as 100 jobs and a multi-million dollar renovation of a long-vacant warehouse, has won Dohrn Transfer the applause and gratitude of city leaders.

Shortly after announcing the company is spending $2.5 million -- $1 million more than originally planned -- to renovate the former J I Case plant, the company was awarded the Mayor and City Council's Trophy for investment in the city.

As the company expands, it is spreading its wings inside a completely renovated office building. The main office at 350 3rd Ave. essentially was gutted and all the windows replaced before Dohrn made its move.

City officials now say the company's investment in a once-depressed industrial area has made a world of difference to the entire section of town.

``For one thing, the visibility of the property along a well-traveled roadway has really improved the appearance of the area,'' city manager John Phillips said. ``(Dohrn) has done wonders for the old, less positive industrial days.''

Mr. Phillips credited Mr. Dohrn with meeting a challenge many business owners wouldn't have touched.

``It was a huge challenge for him -- as with any old industrial site,'' he said. ``But he's demonstrated an extensive committment and surpassed his promises and our expectations.''

In addition to bringing new jobs to the area and improving the overall appearance of the riverfront property, Mr. Phillips also notes the Dohrn expansion also is producing new tax revenue.

``The project has been important for a lot of reasons,'' he said. ``As with most challenges, it's been worth it.''

-- By Barb Ickes (February 9, 1998)

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