New MEDCO chairman to focus on existing business expansion

Organization needs to work on facilitating business for Marion, official says

March 28, 2014 | 10:28 am

Tom Barnes knows what it's like to launch a business as an entrepreneur and the challenges a business faces when considering expansion.

Barnes, who began a two-year term as chairman of the Marion Economic Development Co. on Jan. 1, began Barnes Manufacturing Services in 1979 with a single employee. The Marion company is a state-of-the-art heavy steel fabricator and a precision machining operation.

Barnes Manufacturing Services builds  components for food packaging equipment, wind energy, recycling, grain processing and the scientific and space industries.

Barnes, who also served as 2001-2002 MEDCO chairman, said the organization needs to facilitate the expansion of Marion’s existing businesses.

"They are already vested in Marion and are a sound investment for the future," Barnes said. "MEDCO must do what it can to encourage entrepreneurial business growth.

"I started my business from scratch with the help of the good citizens of Marion, and MEDCO must facilitate the growth of new locally owned businesses."

Barnes said MEDCO will continue to work with regional economic development organizations to market Marion to perspective employers from the United States and abroad.

"We have a wealth of shovel-ready ground and Marion has a highly desirable work force that can attract new business," Barnes said.

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