Click here to view this email in your browser.


By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
Brent Willett
PDI President
On February 01, I had an opportunity to represent PDI on a ‘Partners Panel’ at the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives annual conference. The panel included IEDA Director Debi Durham, IEDA Tourism Director Shawna Lode, Gubernatorial Special Assistant for Education Linda Fandel, Iowa Chamber Alliance Executive Director John Stineman and Iowa Blue Zone Director Mary Lawyer. With a table that diverse, topics of discussion were many, but I was struck by how consistent virtually each participant’s message and, subsequently, the substance of each audience member’s line of questioning, was.


Certainly, the calendar would suggest that advocacy is on the collective minds of community and economic development groups across the state, but that morning the tenor was more pronounced than your typical in-session get-your-message-out pleas. It was more urgent, more defined and more pragmatic. I think it’s because we are all sensing the same thing: real economic growth is happening across this state, but much more is within our grasp and a big part of making that reach has to do with what our statewide leaders choose to do on a number of issues that PDI and our partner organizations are advocating for. They include a balanced approach to commercial property tax reform to improve our competitiveness, healthy economic development direct financial assistance funding to permit the closing of more deals for more jobs, raising the tax credits cap to make room for the project growth to come and pushing for an education reform package which truly impacts and improves the workforce preparedness of Iowa’s students.

If all we did at this association was legislative advocacy, this message would be over and you could get on with the newsletter and your day, but it isn’t [sorry]. We educate, which is why if you haven’t already, complete your registration right now for the February 26 PDI Workforce Summit, which will bring together numerous workforce service providers and resources for a daylong discussion and education session on the #1 issue for economic development in Iowa. Spend the night the 26th and plan to attend Grow Iowa Day on the 27th, which will see tons of PDI members take to the Capitol rotunda for [pizza and] conversation with our legislators. This is one of PDI’s highest-profile events; if you’ve not been before, is truly is an event not to miss.

Oh, and pay your member dues, will you?


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 New Application for Financial Assistance

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has revised the Iowa Project Application. The IEDA asks all statewide development partners to delete previous electronic versions of the Application form and to download and use only the most current version. The new version is now live and is available by accessing the IEDA website at, then through typing applications into the search function. You may also type the following link into your browser:

 Wrestling and RAGBRAI Site Selection and Prospect Events

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is moving ahead with two new site selection and prospect events that will showcase Iowa through a unique perspective. The NCAA Wrestling event will be held in Des Moines in March, and RAGBRAI will be held statewide in July. Invitations have gone out to site selectors, but statewide economic development partners are welcome to provide additional invitation suggestions based on projects in your area. If you have prospects and site selectors who may be interested in these events, please contact Kathy Anderson at or 515.725.3149.


Governor Branstad launched last November as the place where business begins in Iowa for entrepreneurs and small business. IASourceLink is a digital resource clearinghouse for all of the state’s information and network of providers serving start up and small businesses seeking to expand. For the past two months IASourceLink has received over 5,000 web hits! Make sure your economic development organization and community is included in IASourceLink’s clearinghouse of services by contacting or 515.725.3193.

 Iowa Economic Development Authority to Contract EB-5 Program through CMB

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has contracted with CMB Regional Centers to manage and operate the recently redesigned Iowa EB-5 Program. The EB-5 Program is an immigrant Visa category, authorized by Congress in 1990, targeted at qualified foreigners seeking to obtain lawful permanent residency by investing in a business that will benefit the US economy and create or save at least 10 full-time US jobs. Under this program, administered by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the Iowa EB-5 Regional Center will work with CMB to identify and coordinate these efforts.

The Iowa Regional Center obtained its designation by submitting a detailed application to USCIS. Formerly these efforts in Iowa were very limited to Dutch dairy farms. A new and more strategic approach to the Iowa Regional EB-5 Program will offer more opportunities for investors and for companies interested in Iowa locations.

CMB is well-known for its management of EB-5 projects across the United States. Leadership at CMB and the new Iowa Regional EB-5 Center will present about this effort at the 2013 Smart Conference, to be held May 2 in Des Moines. This will be a great opportunity to hear more about the program, to discover what types of projects benefit most from EB-5 investments and to learn the ideal times to interact with the Iowa EB-5 Center on potential project funding.

If you would like to meet with CMB representatives about the Iowa EB-5 efforts before that time, work with Andrea Steinkamp at the Iowa Economic Development Authority at or 515.725.3019.

 Mark Your Calendar!

"The Partners, the Profession and the Process" workshop for those new to economic development or new to Iowa is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Farm Bureau Office, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa. This is the popular workshop that is a great teaser for the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s "Getting To Know IEDA" session scheduled for March 26 at the IEDA offices, 200 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines Iowa from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Plan to arrive by 8:45 a.m. Parking is free in the guest lot at Farm Bureau. An interactive day is planned. You will meet with PDI veterans that will lead discussions, make introductions, and answer questions. The session will conclude by 12:00 noon with a box lunch to go to send you on your way to the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s offices in Des Moines. Log onto and click on the Calendar of Events to register. There is NO COST to attend. Deadline to register is March 21.



 Cap on Tax Credits

One of the IEDA’s major legislative initiatives this session will be raising the $125 million cap on tax credit programs to $185 million to insure job creation efforts in Iowa do not get turned off by an elimination of available tools. PDI was a critical player when the cap was first installed in convincing the Legislature to allow the Authority to spill over the cap into the following year. However, using this technique is not a long-term solution that distills confidence in the Administration’s economic development efforts with businesses. As such, the cap needs to be raised BEFORE it is reached.

PDI members were alerted to the scheduling of IEDA Director Debi Durham to give testimony on January 29 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. The Committee meeting was widely anticipated to be a forum to question the need to raise the cap and to question the use of tax credit programs on some recent IEDA projects. As such, PDI Legislative Committee and Board members were alerted about the meeting and asked to contact their legislators to show support for Director Durham’s usage of tax credit and support for tax credit programs in general. On the day before the meeting, PDI lobbyists were notified that Director Durham would instead be asked to testify before the Senate Ways and Means Committee at a later date. We appreciate all of you that took the time to contact their Senators!

While the Senate Ways and Means committee testimony did not take place, it definitely demonstrated the importance of PDI members being out there talking with their legislators about the necessity of incentives, a healthy and funded IEDA, TIF, and all the other tools on which you rely to be successful. In fact, in a separate meeting on January 29, coincidentally the same date, a meeting was held with the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee in which Durham presented her budget request. The budget discussion was largely pushed to the background as legislators asked questions instead about tax credit programs. We have our work cut out for us in educating legislators about the ins and outs of economic development. There are 12 new Senators and 26 new House members that are hungry for information about economic development — Be their resource!

Read More on Cap on Tax Credits >>

 PDI Grow Iowa Day

PDI Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
(Exhibitors set up at 9:30 a.m.)
State Capitol, Des Moines, IA

Grow Iowa Day is fast approaching and you won't want to miss the chance to promote your organization with a booth in the rotunda or by chatting with your legislators on the PDI legislative issues. You can register today for the February 1st event at the Captiol. Let's make this our biggest and best effort to date for PDI members to promote Iowa's economic growth and influence with our legislators!

More Information >>



 Convergent Growth Continues with ByrneAllen Merger

Convergent Nonprofit Solutions today announced it is merging with ByrneAllen Corporation. Established in 1995, ByrneAllen specialized in managing fundraising capital campaigns for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Convergent is a market leader in the chamber and economic development arenas, but the firm also works with historic theaters, andimal shelters, YMCAs, affordable housing, museums, hospice and healthcare organizations, colleges, and oterh nonprofits. Both companies are national in scope.

More Information >>

 Congratulations 40 Under 40

These 40 local business leaders under the age of 40 have demonstrated impressive career achievements and unparalleled community involvement. They join a list of more than 560 past Business Record Forty Under 40 honorees. Congratulations to our own, Curtis Brown with the City of Ankeny.


 Clean Line Energy in Des Moines

Northwest Iowa Development hosted their annual meeting this week. Hans Detweiler from Clean Line Energy spoke about the transmission line proposed for the area. There is a news piece on the local radio station.

Learn More >>

 Federal ‘Transportation Cliff’ Threatens Iowa Road Funding
By JAMES LYNCH, Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau, WCF Courier, January 23, 2013

Forget potholes, it’s the looming "transportation cliff" in federal highway funding makes a state motor fuel tax increase inevitable, according to key player in that debate said Wednesday.

"That was a real eye-opener. Pretty sobering,” House Transportation Committee Chairman Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said about projections of a 77 percent decline in federal highway funding in 2015.


 Developers Unveil $150M Plan for East Moline Riverfront
By Jennifer DeWitt, Quad City Times, January 31, 2013

Nearly eight years after the last Case New Holland combine rolled off the production line in East Moline, a well-known Chicago developer has assembled a team of world-class architects to design a mixed-use development for the prime riverfront property.

The $150 million project, known as Fountainhead Quad-Cities, is being developed by J. Paul Beitler and his Beitler Real Estate Services LLC.


 Iowa City Named Blue Zone
City makes cut as demonstration site

By Mitchell Schmidt, Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 30, 2013

After more than a year of community effort, Iowa City has been named a Blue Zones city.

Iowa City was announced Tuesday at a news conference in Des Moines as one of six communities to be the latest additions to the Blue Zones Project.

Nancy Quellhorst, president and CEO of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, said the designation as an Iowa demonstration site is a long time coming.




With the unveil of PDI's new website
vendors now have a prominent place
on the home page to advertise!

Check out the rates for the PDI newsletter and/or website at:


February 26, 2013 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
FFA Enrichment Center - DMACC Ankeny Campus

Held in association with Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Area Development Group & MidAmerican Energy.

This event is held the day before PDI’s Grow Iowa Day on February 27, 2013 at the Iowa State Capitol. Plan to attend both!

Registration & Information >>

 Job Postings:

President and Chief Executive Officer, GMMCI, Muscatine, IA
Director Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) Clinton, IA
President & CEO, Clinton (Iowa) Regional Development Corporation, Clinton, IA

More Information >>



 Business Retention & Expansion Awards 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.

More Information >>



 University of Oklahoma EDI Economic Development Marketing and Attraction Course

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

 PDI Workforce Summit

February 26, 2013
FFA Enrichment Center - DMACC Ankeny Campus
Ankeny, IA

 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 >>

 PPP Course - The Partners, the Profession and the Process

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
5400 University Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa
To attend:

 Getting to Know The Authority

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
1:00-4:00 p.m.
Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309 [TENTATIVE]
-Registration information available in mid-January

 Heartland Economic Development Course

April 21-25, 2013
Blue Springs, MO
PDI Scholarships are available thru 3/31/13 at - (800) 782-9520
Registration & Information >>

 PDI Spring Event

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

 2013 C2ER Annual Conference & LMI Training Institute Annual Forum

May 20-25, 2013 Nashville, TN Full agenda coming in January More information >>

 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

 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

Twitter      Facebook      LinkedIn


Published by WinM@il