Seed of industry Featured

7:46am EDT June 27, 2005

Jack Schultz combined his Harvard MBA with experience in his family's agriculture business to form Agracel Inc.

At first, Agracel Inc. was focused on agricultural development, but after seeing a need for retaining and diversifying the manufacturing base in Effingham, he changed the focus to industrial real estate development in small agricultural-based towns.

Schultz has grown his company from two people to 40 and now owns 50 properties in eight states. He has become a recognized national expert on economic develop in agricultural suburbs, which he terms "agurbs."

Schultz has used innovative strategies to keep manufacturers and to attract new ones to small towns.

* Total quality warehouse. Schultz recognized the business risk created by tenant vacancies. To mitigate this risk, he started a company to provide short-term warehousing. The warehousing company is available to utilize the facilities when vacated to assist in meeting the short-term warehousing needs of tenants and other companies in the area.

The availability of short-term warehousing acts as an additional incentive to companies considering leasing the facility.

* Effingham railroad. Schultz created the only new railroad in Illinois in the 20th century. He realized the town had the distinct advantage of being at a crossroads of two Class I railroads.

By constructing a new three-mile railroad that connects with both of these Class I lines, the company can provide prime industrial real estate locations for distribution companies or companies that need shipping via rail.