About the Heroes Center | News & Events | For Media | Contact Us | Sitemap

To Do Every Job We Do, Better Than Everyone Else: Merlin Manatt

Merlin Manatt
Transportation Mode:
Other Construction


Merlin Manatt started a small construction/trucking company with his brothers Junie and Clair, Manatt’s Inc. The company had grown from a few to near 700 employees when he retired from active involvement in 1991. It was at this time that Merlin sold the business to his sons and nephews.

Manatt’s Inc. seal coated and built many streets in central Iowa. Merlin was well known by many city council members at that time. He also operated the Tama Sand operations providing sand to Poweshiek and Tama counties.

Merlin worked hand in hand with his employees to develop methods still used today to install sub-drain along state and county roads. This allows road beds to drain better and last longer.

Merlin is well respected by those he worked for and by his many employees and competitors, as well as the communities of Poweshiek County. “Some of our very best friends are our competitors,” said Merlin Manatt.  “If somebody got in trouble and needed some equipment that we had, we’d loan it to them.  Later on, they’d loan something else back to us.  It’s been that way all the way through.” 

He gave back to many organizations, serving as

President of Associated General Contractors of Iowa in 1977

President of Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa 1979

2004 Hall of Fame by Associated General Contractors of Iowa (ACIA)

2008 BRAVO AWARD by AGCIA to Manatt’s Inc. for spearheading the steering committee to develop the Michael J. Manatt Community Center in Brooklyn

Served on the Board of Directors for the Iowa Transportation Museum from 2001 to 2010.

Merlin Manatt accepted his award, accompanied by his son’s Brad and Tony Manatt

Merlin's sons Tony (L) and Brad (R) continue the work of their father and uncles.
Retired employee Jack Gustafson (C) nominated Merlin as a Transportation Hero.
Grandson's Drew (L) and Joe (R) Manatt with dad Brad and grandfather Merlin.
Merlin Manatt accepts his Hero of Industry and Technology award accompanied by his sons Brad and Tony.
ITM Board of Directors and members of the Advisory Committee honor past board member Merlin Manatt.
Related Heroes
The Learning Zone