WIUM Tristates Public Radio

State Supports New Keokuk Business

Nov 25, 2014

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is lending its support to a new business in Keokuk.

A new company in Keokuk will produce insect control materials targeting bedbugs and mosquitoes, among others.
Credit Flickr / martakat83

The agency's Board of Directors awarded VAMA, Inc. $200,000 in tax credits through the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program.

VAMA, Inc. is a bio-tech company located in Keokuk's industrial park.  The state support will help it begin production in January on a wide variety of insect control products.

Steve Bisenius with the Lee County Economic Development Group (LCEDG) said these products have already proven successful in India.

"(They've) been highly effective," said Bisenius.  "They have eradicated mosquitoes and Dengue in areas outside of Mumbai.  They have several hotels already buying the product for bed bugs."

He said the company plans to invest more than $800,000 in the facility and employ 45 people over the next three years.  Many of them will have a starting wage of $17.60/hour, per the agreement with the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

"It's a very exciting introduction for Keokuk and it is a diversification of what is here," said Bisenius.

He said LCEDG has been working with VAMA, Inc. for about one year, through a connection to another individual working to establish a business in Keokuk.  He said the company will eventually produce more than 60 different products.

"They have been testing the mosquito product and the bed bug product at Iowa State University's School of Entomology and (they have) passed with flying colors," said Bisenius.

He said VAMA, Inc. is also working on a product to eradicate mites that are killing honeybees.