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IBM moving out of Dubuque, economic leaders saddened but without regrets

A spokesman said they will be consolidating it with their facility in Missouri
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Employees at the IBM facility in Dubuque received the news on Wednesday that the company will be shutting down its local operations on November 2.

Fred McNeese, an IBM spokesperson, said they are consolidating operations with a facility in Columbia, Missouri. He said most of the employees will be offered the same position or a similar one in Columbia, while others will be assigned to work from home or at client facilities in the Dubuque area. McNeese added they are closing the Dubuque facility as an effort to find the most efficient ways to source products and services.

Back in 2008, IBM launched an effort to find site locations to offer domestic customer service. Dubuque was the first location selected, followed by Columbia, Missouri, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Rick Dickinson, president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, said only Dubuque reached the number of promised jobs on the development agreement.

”The agreement was that they needed to hit a threshold of 1,300 employees in a two year period, actually they reached it in about two and a half years,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson said they reached that number in 2012, but it did not last.

”Ever since the fall of 2012, they reduced that number down, down, down,” Dickinson recalled. “The last official number we received from them was in January of this year at 345.”

Dickinson said the primary funding they got was a per-job incentive that totaled a little shy of $11 million. Also, the non-profit group Dubuque Initiatives spent $39 million on the historic Roshek Building as the worksite. They were in the process of helping them look for a new home since the building’s new owners wanted them out by 2021.

”Our community had been working very closely with IBM, real estate, relocation a year from now and we had some great options for them,” Dickinson said. “It was a disappointing surprise to our community with no warning.”

But, Dickinson said, despite the tremendous effort and expense, the city would do it again.

”To date, we have had payroll in our community from IBM receiving $400 million,” Dickinson said. “We are sad to see them go and wish they would change their mind.”

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