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.

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. ...

Read more of this post & comment.

Written by Brent Willett
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National Expert in Tourism & Business Development to Present June 7

Roger Brooks, President and CEO of Destination Development International, will conduct an opportunity assessment of Pella, Knoxville, Pleasantville and the Red Rock Area in early June. Findings and suggestions from his visit will be presented at a workshop on Friday, June 7, 2013. The workshop will also include information on branding. Roger is one of North America’s most respected experts in the creation of a great destination for tourism and business. He has guided communities in branding, product development, marketing and revitalization.

Hundreds of thousands of people come into our county each year to visit, consider business investment, weigh career opportunities and find a place to retire. Roger will share his insights on opportunities that are being missed and gaps that hinder growth. To learn more about Destination Development International go to www.destinationdevelopment.com.

“Many of our tourism professionals who have seen the results Roger Brooks has brought to other communities have came together to make this opportunity assessment possible because they understand how critical this can be for our future,” explained Carla Eysink, MCDC Executive Director. “Understanding how to approach key opportunities is a critical factor in keeping this area’s economy growing. Roger’s approach is not a plan that sits on a shelf, but instead he provides small incremental achievable action steps from his analysis and expertise that different partners can take to dynamically focus on key opportunities.”

The workshop will begin with registration at 7 a.m. and the workshop from 7:30-11 a.m. on Friday, June 7 in Pella. Individuals with interests in community development, real estate, human resources, business, tourism, recreation, marketing and economic development are encouraged to attend. This workshop is presented by the Pella Convention & Visitors Bureau, Knoxville Raceway and Marion County Development Commission in partnership with local sponsors: Central College, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Community Foundation, Marion County Conservation Board, MidAmerican Energy, Pella Chamber of Commerce, City of Pleasantville, Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce, Pleasantville State Bank, Central Iowa Tourism Region, Molengracht-Royal Amsterdam Hotel, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum and the Red Rock Lake Association.

Registration information for the workshop will be available March 1. If you are interested in receiving registration information please contact the Marion County Development Commission at carla@redrockarea.com.

Written by PDI
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PDI Participates in Iowa Tourism Industry Showcase - What Iowa Has To Offer

Iowa tourism supporters hosted the 24th annual Tourism Showcase for Legislators at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.Mark Reinig with Senator Ken Rozenboom

More than 70 communities/organizations showcased their attractions, events and businesses to remind Iowa Legislators that attended about the abundance of “Things to Do” in our great state, and how important tourism is to the Iowa economy and employment.

Professional Developers of Iowa was among other community leaders who visited with Legislators to thank them for their past support of tourism development and promotion and to discuss the challenge of finding funds to promote Iowa.

Wayne Pantini with Representative Pat Drake"The Travel Federation of Iowa was pleased again to have the opportunity to showcase the importance and the impact the tourism industry has in the State of Iowa. Our theme "Tourism Works" truly reflects the fact that tourism is a legitimate industry even though there aren't bricks and mortar. TFI represents all segments of tourism within the state and we're here to continue working for what matters most to all of our partners," said Linda Bacon, President of Travel Federation of Iowa.

Tourism is Iowa’s eighth largest employer. In 2011, travelers in Iowa generated over $7.2 billion in revenue, 63,400 jobs, and a payroll of $1.12 billion at local businesses in communities throughout the state. These dollars in turn, generated $430.2 million in state and local tax receipts for Iowa. Put another way, if not for the tourism industry, each household would have to pay $324 in additional taxes to maintain the current level of state services.

Photo top right: Mark Reinig visits with Senator Ken Rozenboom

Photo bottom left: Wayne Pantini talks with Representative Jack Drake

Written by PDI
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