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.