PDI Blog

PDI's Blog will include legislative news, economic development news headlines, messages from our PDI President and other topics contributed by our membership. Choose from the list of contributors and categories, listed to the right,  to find the type of articles you are interested in.

Presidential Post - March 1, 2013

Dear Members: Thank you to everyone who joined PDI for the annual Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol last week. Twenty-two exhibitors braved the snow and storms to represent the ...

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Written by Brent Willett
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Sabre Industries, Inc. Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Industrial Complex in Sioux City, Iowa

Sioux City, Iowa - (January 15, 2013) Sabre Industries, Inc. held a ribbon cutting ceremony today for their new Iowa industrial complex in Sioux City’s Southbridge Business Park. A multi-phase expansion project, this new 150 acre site provides Sabre with the ability to locate all Sioux City operations on one campus.

Speakers at today’s ceremony included Iowa Governor Terry Branstad; Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds; Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott; Economic Development Director Marty Dougherty; Sabre Industries’ President and CEO, Peter J. Sandore; and Brian Newberg, Executive Vice President of Sabre Steel Products.

Purpose-built for the manufacture of steel communication and electric transmission structures, Sabre Industries’ new state-of-the-art Iowa facility has 192,000 square feet of production space and offers the most streamlined and efficient manufacturing. Once completed, the new industrial complex will include a paint and blast building, plate blast building, maintenance building, and new administration building.

"Sabre is pleased to host the ribbon cutting for our new Iowa Industrial Complex," said Peter J. Sandore, President and CEO of Sabre Industries, Inc. "With increased demand in both the utility and wireless industries, this new facility provides the Company with the manufacturing capacity needed to better serve our customers. In addition, the site provides ample room for future growth."

Sabre Industries has been manufacturing tower structures in Sioux City for nearly 36 years. The Company has grown from a small tower manufacturer to the leading provider of steel structures for the wireless communications industry, and the third largest provider of transmission structures for the utility industry. Future demand in both industries created the need for the company to expand and upgrade their manufacturing operations.

"Sabre is the perfect company to be the first to locate in the new Southbridge Business Park," said Mayor Bob Scott. "Their presence brings significant investment, demonstrates their commitment to growing our local economy, and is creating new jobs and career paths for younger employees." 2

Already having manufacturing facilities in Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, the Company looked at several locations across the country. Sioux City and the state of Iowa offered the best solution. In addition to providing ample room for expansion, Sioux City has a sizable, highly-skilled and technically sophisticated workforce. With the new facility requiring nearly 200 new positions, this was an important ingredient in the overall decision on location.

"We are pleased to be able to keep our Iowa operations in Sioux City," commented Brian Newberg, Executive Vice President of Sabre Steel Products. "This new site provides us with what we need in terms of capacity and workforce, and offers our Sioux City employees increased opportunities."

About Sabre

In business since 1977, Sabre Industries, Inc. ("Sabre") is a leading producer of utility structures, communication towers, shelters and building systems, and tower accessories. In addition Sabre provides a full range of services including hot-dip galvanizing, turnkey construction, site development, interior integration, and field maintenance. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Alvarado, Texas; Sioux City, Iowa; Ellwood City, Pennsylvania; and Bossier City, Louisiana. For further information on Sabre and its various divisions, please visit our web site at: www.SabreIndustries.com

Written by PDI
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ICAD Group Supporting Needle Analytics' Cartography Contest

Working with Raygun and JPEC to Create New Iowa Maps

The Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group is supporting a grassroots effort lead by Iowa City startup Needle Analytics to create new state maps that capture and graphically represent the local perception of the state. Submissions will be accepted through June 1 and the top three designs will be printed on posters and sold at Raygun in Iowa City.

“We wanted to get behind this effort to further explore and capture how our community and state views its strengths and assets,” said Mark Nolte, ICAD Group President. “Building local pride can only help strengthen the fiber of our area, which is reflected in our workforce, entrepreneurs and existing industry.”

Local business owners, Riley Gardam and Jacob Langenfeld, started Needle Analytics last May, shortly after their creation of The Bloom Index. The Bloom Index was a map that quantified Stephen Bloom’s blunt representation of Iowa in an article in The Atlantic. Since that creation, these two University of Iowa graduates have built a company that relays relevant and complex data in ways that are easy to process and understand, including maps.

According to Gardam, the idea for the event stems from their belief that cartography is an artistic undertaking. “We began playing with the idea of what kinds of meaning these Iowa places have for locals and how that might look in a map,” said Gardam. “This contest celebrates our first anniversary as well as our belief in mapping as an art form.”

Gardam says her team and Raygun representatives will select six semi-finalists who will each receive a $50 honorarium. From there, the top three entries will be printed on posters and sold in the Iowa City Raygun store Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6.

“The top three designers will receive half of the profits from the poster sales,” added Gardam. “We look forward to recognizing their work as part of our one year celebration.”

A reception to celebrate the winning designs, as well as Needle Analytics' first anniversary, will be held at the Iowa City Raygun store, 103 East College Street, on Friday, July 5 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with refreshments provided.

Details regarding the rules and submission requirements can be found at the website, needleanalytics.net/contentcontest.htm. Event sponsors include Raygun, the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), and the Iowa City Area Development Group.

For More Information:

Needle Analytics, (515) 249-2545 or info@needleanalytics.net


Written by PDI
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Basic Business Succession

One in four of business owners plan to transfer or sell their business within the next five years. This is according to a 2010/2011 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Fifty-five percent of these owners indicated that they plan to transfer this business to family member(s). These statistics, probably accurate if not understated for Iowa, mean that Iowa communities are in for a great deal of change in the coming years.  Is your community prepared for this change?

Successful transitions don’t “just happen”. Under the best circumstances business owners are clear about what they want, have good advisors and the transition goes smoothly. Given that only ten per cent of family businesses make it to the third generation it is usually not this simple. Instead the owners and their family get stuck on the “soft side” or “human” issues. These issues include treating children fairly versus equally, evaluating and compensating adult children, utilizing key employees effectively and the ability of generation one to truly let go. Two other questions at the core of every transition process are “how do we maintain family harmony” and “how does generation one ensure their financial security without hindering generation two’s ability to operate the business”?   

To help business owners successfully navigate through transitions we have developed a comprehensive process. Knowledge of this process, and how it relates to key transition issues, may help you work more effectively with the transitioning businesses in your community.

Our first step in the process is to meet with generation one to discover their values, goals, concerns and fears. We repeat this interview process with children and their spouses; we have learned the hard way that spouses sometimes wield enormous influence on the outcome. Depending on the size of the business we may also interview key employees.

We then ask each individual to complete an online assessment which helps us evaluate communication and decision making styles, areas of current stress and other pertinent information that might not surface in the interviews.

Finally, we review key documents to make sure that the documents are up to date and reflect the family’s wishes. It is rare that they do reflect the family’s wishes.

The Phase 1 Diagnostic process identified above clarifies goals, contrasts these goals with existing reality and identifies the gaps that need to be bridged. Phase two then implements the work necessary to actually bridge these gaps. Usually other advisors have work to do in this phase which could include developing legal documents, assessing life insurance needs or valuing the business.  

Addressing the “soft-side” issues helps clients become more willing to start a transition process and also increases the likelihood of success.  By helping your business owners understand what successful transitions require you can play a key role in creating more “legacy businesses” and therefore increasing business retention within your community. 

Written by Lars Peterson

Presidential Post - February 15, 2013

Grow Iowa Day is PDI's best opportunity to demonstrate to legislators the strength and breadth of our membership organization. Legislators respond to their constituents which is why it is so important that our members attend in mass and dialogue with them. We realize this important event requires an investment of your time and financial resources, but our history with the Grow Iowa Day has demonstrated a tremendous return on investment with our legislators. ...

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Written by Brent Willett
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