• BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie (left), a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion takes notes and a grid reading inside a plastics factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. Spc. James Powell, a cavalry scout and native of Fort Pierce, Fla., assigned to the1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regiment, also records the grid as Iraqi factory workers lift material using a pulley system up to the second level of the building.

    BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie (left), a civil...

    BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie (left), a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion takes notes and a grid reading inside a plastics factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. Spc. James Powell, a cavalry...

  • BAGHDAD - Cavalry scout, Spc. James Powell, from Fort Pierce, Fla., assigned to the1st Sqdn., 7th Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., takes a break inside a water bottling plant during a civil affairs patrol to help raise awareness for a factory owner's council in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. The cavalry scouts provide security and assist the civil affairs' arduous mission to meet most of the factory owners in the neighborhood.

    BAGHDAD - Cavalry scout, Spc. James Powell...

    BAGHDAD - Cavalry scout, Spc. James Powell, from Fort Pierce, Fla., assigned to the1st Sqdn., 7th Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., takes a break inside a water bottling plant during a civil affairs patrol to help raise awareness for a factory...

  • BAGHDAD - Spc. James Powell, a cavalry scout and native of Fort Pierce, Fla., stands guard in the doorway of a water bottling plant in Boob al-Sham here, April 14.  Powell, assigned to Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, provides security for civil affairs Soldiers while they are meeting with the bottle factory owner. "We're assessing their needs by going door-to-door and factory-to-factory," said Spc. Trevor Gomez, a civil affairs specialist from Mesa, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion.

    BAGHDAD - Spc. James Powell, a cavalry scout...

    BAGHDAD - Spc. James Powell, a cavalry scout and native of Fort Pierce, Fla., stands guard in the doorway of a water bottling plant in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. Powell, assigned to Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, provides security...

  • BAGHDAD - An Iraqi factory worker guides a sheet of metal into a machine while 450th Civil Affairs Battalion and embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team members talk with the factory owner and assess his business in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. "We ask owners what their business plan is and just try to help them through that process," said Kaibeto, Ariz. native Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist assigned to the 450th CA Bn.

    BAGHDAD - An Iraqi factory worker guides a...

    BAGHDAD - An Iraqi factory worker guides a sheet of metal into a machine while 450th Civil Affairs Battalion and embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team members talk with the factory owner and assess his business in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. "We ask...

  • BAGHDAD - Blake Keller, an industrial advisor from Rochester, N.Y., assigned to the Baghdad embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team 3, tours a factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. The factory security manager (left) walked Keller and his team around, showing them machines circa 1970. Keller and the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion. have developed a plan to help factory owners through management training and awareness, not by simply handing out money.

    BAGHDAD - Blake Keller, an industrial advisor...

    BAGHDAD - Blake Keller, an industrial advisor from Rochester, N.Y., assigned to the Baghdad embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team 3, tours a factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. The factory security manager (left) walked Keller and his team...

  • BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes notes while talking to the security manager of a factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14. Dayzie and his team were assessing the factories to provide the factory owners with feedback on how to increase their employment and production.

    BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs...

    BAGHDAD - Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes notes while talking to the security manager of a factory in Boob al-Sham...

BAGHDAD - The 450th Civil Affairs Battalion and embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (ePRT) members patrol the small neighborhood of Boob al-Sham here, listening for the clanking sounds of industrial machines instead of gunfire. The team steps into shadowy, odor-filled rooms in aged factories looking for businessmen instead of insurgents.

The Americans know the importance of industry in this tentatively peaceful neighborhood, said Mesa, Ariz. native, Spc. Trevor Gomez, a civil affairs specialist assigned to the 450th CA Bn., 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad. "The security situation is dependent on the economic situation," he said.

The Soldiers patrol the area with 1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., out of Joint Security Station Istaqaal, in hopes of providing security through employment.

The Coalition forces are not simply handing money over to the factory owners, instead they are teaching them how to unite and manage their companies to make more money and Iraqi jobs, added Gomez.

"We're auditing the companies to try to understand where the bottlenecks are," said Blake Keller, an industrial advisor from Rochester, N.Y., assigned to the Baghdad ePRT 3. "Bottlenecks to growth and bottlenecks to employing more people are our main concerns."

Today was the first time that the Americans visited these three different factories in the area: a water bottling factory, a plastic manufacturing factory, and a tile making factory. According to Keller, the most pressing issue in Iraq is high levels of unemployment. "We have two major thrusts," he said. "One is to start up a factory owner's council to help advocate themselves to the Iraqi Government."

"Number two is to help alleviate the bottlenecks to growth," he added. "The plan is to identify the bottlenecks, then use the factory owners council to find relationships with banks and other development resources."

The visits were to spread the word to Iraqis about joining the factory owner's council. The council is in the process of being established and the local factory owners will elect officers to represent the area on the council to further their businesses.

"If it's not sustainable, we've got no interest in doing it," stated Keller. "The private business owners have a vested interest in their success and they're eager to learn and eager to get better because it's their money."

"We're structuring it so people can learn how to do it themselves," said Gomez. "That's why we aren't putting money directly into their hands."

The plan is to help the factory owners lobby the Government of Iraq for resources, provide training in managing and marketing as well as how to apply for bank loans, added Gomez.

"They already know what they want and need, we just get together and talk to them to give them ideas of how to go about getting it," said Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz. assigned to the 450th CA Bn.

The factory visits also add an important aspect of security to the neighborhood by walking through and talking to the people daily, added Dayzie. The supportive 1st Sqdn., 7th Cav. Regt. Soldiers have been vital in helping civil affairs tackle their mission of providing security through employment.

Walking door-to-door and factory-to-factory to assess the needs of the Iraqi factory owners boosts the communities' spirits and the area's hope for the future, added Gomez.

"I've met very smart and very successful businessmen with a clear goal to evolve," he said. "If they're involved, I can see a successful future here, but it's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take some time."

With time and dedication, the factory owner's council has a productive future ahead of itself manufacturing jobs, security and hope.

Page last updated Mon April 20th, 2009 at 14:59