Sen. Joni Ernst visited Glen-Gery Brick in Redfield Thursday, July 5. The stop was part of her trip to all 99 counties in Iowa throughout 2018.

While visiting Glen-Gery, Sen. Ernst toured the plant, talked with employees and learned about the company’s history.

Ernst said going on tours, such as the Glen-Gery tour, is important because she is able to learn about different companies.

“I wouldn’t know some of the challenges they might be facing right here in this plant unless I went out and visited it. That’s why we do the 99 county tour every year,” Ernst said. “It makes sure that I’m getting out, I’m going out into communities, I’m seeing what’s going on in those communities and then we can address any situations that they might have that might be hampering industry. … It just helps us better understand our own state.”

Jim DeSilvey, Glen-Gery plant manager, was able to talk with Ernst about issues the place faces during the tour.

The number one concern is ensuring safety for all employees.

“Putting dust masks on is not the answer because it’s 100-plus degrees. And that’s a whole other safety issue,” DeSilvey said.

Ernst agreed that safety is important and wants to address it in a “commonsense manner,” while keeping the environment safe.

One aspect of the plant that Ernst was surprised by was that the facility employs multi-generations within families.

“That’s an important fact that I want to know because it tells me that they’re a great employer - so much that parents want their kids to come here and work,” Ernst said. “(The plant has) been here awhile and it will continue to be here awhile, as long as they have workers that are engaging.”

Before leaving the plant, Ernst expressed that she enjoyed her visit to Dallas County.

“I’m so glad I came here. I know (the plant does) a lot of projects, but the fact that (they) have brick going to Kinnick Stadium - I mean that’s just a little factoid that I think a lot of folks will want to know,” Ernst said. “Kinnick Stadium, that’s a big part of history.”

Sen. Ernst continues her tour of the 99 counties in Iowa while visiting Page and Pottawattamie counties Friday.