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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
Brent Willett
PDI President
2012 is winding down, and we are gearing up for the 2013 PDI year. There is still time to get involved and plan your role in your professional organization. Take a look at the committees on and let us know on which you'd like to serve this year, be it Education, Legislative, Membership, Communications or Conference. Contact executive Director Lynn Harkin at to secure your spot.

You will soon receive information on 2013 sponsorship package opportunities. Please consider how your organization may wish to participate and promote your work through a PDI sponsorship in the coming year.

Please mark your calendar for February 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and plan to participate in Grow Iowa Day at the Iowa State Capitol. It's our first major PDI event in the new year. We look forward to seeing many of you in the Capitol rotunda to help maintain and improve our influence with our legislators.

Thank you for all the work you are doing to grow your communities and our great state.

Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 IWD - Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.1 Percent

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 5.1 percent in October from 5.2 percent in September, and was also down from 5.8 percent one year ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent in October from 7.8 percent in September, but was one percentage point lower than the year ago rate of 8.9 percent.

“The Iowa job market looked a little stronger in October, as the state’s unemployment rate continued to drop and hiring strengthened across most industry sectors,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Nonfarm jobs advanced by 6,000 in October, the largest monthly gain since February.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 83,800 in October from 85,500 in September. The estimate was reported at 96,000 one year ago.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,555,800 in October from 1,552,100 in September, the first positive movement in the measure since April. Total employment stood at 1,566,700 one year ago.

More Information >>

 Visit the Iowa Innovation Corporation for Success Stories

The business of innovation has been happening around the state for a number of years. The Demonstration Fund, which was created by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, helps businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later stage private funding. The Innovation Corporation staff and board of directors have been instrumental in establishing and continuing this important vehicle for innovation. Since 2007, 113 companies have received more than $11.6 million in funds. Of those companies, 40% have received follow along capital.

Here are just a few examples of success stories at

 IEDA ITO Newsletter

The Iowa Economic Development Authority, International Trade Office’s International Update newsletter, November/ December issue, is now available at

 In-Person Public Hearings and Online Meetings Scheduled for the Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study.

The Iowa Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation, has scheduled public hearings for the Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS). Online, self-directed meetings will also be held.

The public is invited to attend the hearing at the following locations.

(Link no longer available.)

Iowa Bankers Association


 Take a look at PDI’s 2013 Legislative Agenda.

State Economic Development Resources — Iowa’s ability to work with local governments and developers to create jobs and increase wealth is directly related to the availability of resources for use by Iowa’s Economic Development Authority (The Authority). Wild fluctuations in state funding to support project completion assistance resources, which has occurred in recent years, is extremely destructive to the local and regional, job-creation professionals working with companies who are considering locating and creating jobs in Iowa. PDI supports fully funding Authority business incentives appropriations requests which are critical to Iowa’s ability to compete globally for job creation projects, as well as through increasing funding for this already lean department’s administrative needs. Additionally, PDI believes the Legislature and the Governor must review and raise the Authority’s limitation on tax credit program allocations. These programs support economic development projects that cost the State nothing unless the new jobs are created and revenues generated for which they are allocated.

Income Tax — Improve Iowa’s competitiveness by creating a simpler income tax structure for both corporate and personal income taxes. The Governor and the Legislature should also end federal deductibility and accomplish this without shifting the tax burden between brackets. Instead, corporate and personal income taxes should be uniformly adjusted downward.

Property taxes — Commercial and industrial property taxes in Iowa are not competitive. Simply cutting tax rates places a heavy burden on local governments. PDI urges the Governor and General Assembly to continue efforts from the past two years to find that critical balance between relieving tax rates on commercial and industrial taxpayers and ensuring cities and counties retain adequate resources to deliver services. From the standpoint of a developer working to promote Iowa, a rollback in the commercial and industrial taxable value is the most transparent mechanism. The Governor and Legislature could soften the blow to local governments through other revenue options, including a PDI-supported dedicated increase in the state gas tax (40-50% of which goes directly to cities and counties, of which then could be used to offset infrastructure needs currently being paid for through a city’s and county’s general fund).

Infrastructure — Ensure resources are invested and increased to support Iowa’s transportation infrastructure — rail, roads and recreational trails. PDI will support a dedicated gas tax increase in order to accomplish this. Incorporating this increase into commercial property tax reform would be a logical solution.

Tax Increment Financing — PDI supports TIF and opposes efforts to weaken this important and flexible local economic development tool. We specifically oppose any tax rollback changes on commercial or industrial properties without corresponding adjustments to base values of existing TIFs.

Worker training — Strengthen successful worker training and retraining programs like 260 E&F, and expand business sector and school collaborations to ensure Iowa’s businesses have the workers they need to grow and create high-paying jobs.

Sustaining Iowa Companies — Expand on last year’s passage of ESOP legislation by ensuring that resources are made available to market this option to Iowa businesses.

More Information >>



 Grassley, King Plead for Wind Energy Tax Credits to Continue
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer, Times-Republican, November 29,

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa are pleading with fellow members of the U.S. Congress to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit set to expire at the end of the year.

The two were part of a press conference Wednesday along with two other congressman from the Democratic Party. Grassley said the uncertainly of the PTC extension has led to layoffs in Iowa in the wind industry. He said the tax credit is creating jobs and electricity.


 Economist Evaluates Nation’s Economic Climate at Luncheon
By James Heggen, Staff Writer,, November 28, 2012

A Midwestern economist said the country faces both challenges and opportunities during a talk about the U.S. economy Tuesday in Ames.

Ernie Goss, MacAllister Chair and professor of economics at Creighton University and director of the Denver-based Goss Institute for Economic Research, spoke at the first “Economic Outlook Luncheon” at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus. The event was sponsored by the Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames Economic Development Commission.




 PDI Wants to Know

PDI wants to hear about all the great things happen with our members. We know all our members are very active and are great about sharing their success stories with their local media, whether it be projects, events or innovative ideas. PDI wants to know too so we can share this great stories. PDI would encourage all our members to add us to your local media press release list so we can include them in our PDI Post Newsletter. Please consider adding to your media list.

PDI also would encourage all our members to include the PDI logo and website link on their organization’s website. You can contact Lynn Harkin at PDI for logo and link information.

 Business Retention & Expansion Awards — Consider a Nomination for 2013

The PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the contribution of BRE to the success of local and regional economic development initiatives.

Purpose of Award: To increase the focus on BRE in economic development organizations by identifying programs and projects that have significant impact on Iowa communities.

Eligibility: All PDI members are eligible to receive the award. Eligible programs/projects are those in which the nominated entity plays a coordinating role or in which BRE activities play an integral role in the success of an economic development strategy. The programs/projects nominated may include those serving local or regional areas. Ongoing BRE programs or projects within the last 24 months are eligible.

Application Process: Applicants are requested to submit applications in electronic format (Word or PDF version). Submit nominations via email to or via mail to: BRE Awards, Professional Developers of Iowa, 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023-7068; Fax: (515) 251-8657.

Download 2013 BRE Award Application >>

 Job Postings:

Economic Development Coordinator, Cedar Rapids, IA
Director Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) Clinton, IA

More Information >>

 PDI Holiday Schedule

For your planning purposes, the PDI association offices will be closed for the holidays on:
Monday, December 24
Tuesday, December 25
Wednesday, December 26 for Christmas
Monday, December 31
Tuesday, January 1 for the New Year



 Smarter E-mail Subject Lines
By Randy Dean, MBA — The “Totally Obsessed” Time Management Technology Guy

(As featured in his September 2012 Timely Tips E-Newsletter — see information on how to subscribe below.)

One of the most common frustrations many of my readers and program attendees mention are poor e-mail subject lines. The most mentioned "pet peeves" are e-mail subjects that are too vague and/or give you a false sense of timeliness (for example — you have no idea there is something urgent burning inside of the e-mail due to the casual subject line.)

Here are a couple e-mail best practices that I recommend that may help your e-mails be read more quickly, acted on appropriately and timely, and appreciated more by the recipients:

More Information >>



 Mid-America Economic Development Council

2012 Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum
December 2-4, 2012
Intercontinental Hotel Chicago Downtown
More Information >>

 Expert Webinar: Economic Development & Apps

December 18, 10 – 11 AM CST
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Economic Development Marketing and Attraction Course

January 14, 2013 - March 11, 2013 - Online registration coming soon.

 PDI Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Iowa State Capitol Complex, Des Moines, Iowa

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

March 10-14, 2013
NCED Conference Center and Hotel
Norman, Oklahoma
More Information & Registration >>

 Heartland Economic Development Course

April 21-25, 2013
Blue Springs, MO
[PDI Scholarships are available thru 3/31/13] - (800) 782-9520

 PDI Spring Event

In conjunction with the SMART Conference
May 1-3, 2013
Renaissance Savery Hotel, Des Moines, IA

 University of Oklahoma EDI Entrepreneurship Course

June 10, 2013 - August 5, 2013 - Online registration coming soon

 University of Oklahoma EDI Strategic Planning Course
More Information & Registration >>

 PDI Fall Conference

September 25-27, 2013
Park Place Event Centre
Wingate by Wyndham and AmericInn Hotel
Cedar Falls, Iowa

 PDI Fall Conference

SEPETMBER 24-26, 2014 (new date)
Honey Creek Resort State Park
Moravia, Iowa

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

October 20-24, 2013
University Place Conference Center and Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Economic Development Marketing and Attraction Course

November 4, 2013 - January 13, 2014 - Online registration coming soon.

For more information, contact Lynn Harkin, PDI Headquarters at (515) 243-4585 or Email


PDI Thanks the 2012 Sponsors



Alliant Energy

Renew Rural Iowa
Council Bluffs Regional Economic Development Commission

Council Bluffs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Triple Event Sponsors
ITC Midwest
Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corp.
Iowa Economic Development Authority

Conference Supporting Sponsors
Black Hills Energy
Iowa Workforce Development

Conference Exhibit Sponsors - Fall & Spring
Ady Voltedge
Convergent Non Profit Fundraising
Iowa Business Growth
Iowa State University CIRAS
JEO Consulting Group Inc.
North Iowa Corridor Development Corp.
Peoples Company
Spring Only
Viebicher Associates Inc.

Fall Only
Iowa City Area Development Group Inc.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Iowa Small Business Development Centers
Iowa Telecommunications Association

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
& Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors - Fall & Spring
Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative

Contributing Sponsors - Spring Only
Iowa Utility Association

Contributing Sponsors - Fall Only
Access Energy Cooperative
Buchanan County Economic Development
Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Midland Power Cooperative


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