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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
Brent Willett
PDI President
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 profession statewide had the opportunity to showcase the economic development projects and priorities happening in their communities and to network with dozens of legislators and staff members. Thank you to all those who attended, participated, exhibited and supported this important event. I also hope you continue to contact your legislators about the issues of importance to the profession.

Seven PDI leaders were able to spend 30 minutes with Governor Branstad during Grow Iowa Day and had the opportunity to discuss the priorities of the association as well as the governor's priorities and how they can, do and should work together. A number of PDI members were also in attendance at the Senate Ways and Means Committee meeting on February 26 at which Director Durham was testifying. PDI counts on member involvement, particularly this time of year and we appreciate support and activities.

Teresa Wahlert
IWD Director
Finally, I want to thank everyone involved with Professional Developers of Iowa Workforce Summit, held in association with Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Area Development Group, Iowa Workforce Development & MidAmerican Energy on February 26, just ahead of Grow Iowa Day. Again, a snow storm provided for an eventful travel experience, but 50 people gained valuable information on information and programming underway seeking to address Iowa's workforce challenges and where economic developers locate resources specific to their community. Among much else, the Summit provided information on Iowa Workforce Development's Skilled Iowa program and how communities can utilize the program to become a Skilled Iowa Community, and Iowa community colleges discussed the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (I-AM) and how they are working to address the middle-skills gap faced by Iowa manufacturers. Thanks also goes to our sponsors and speakers who made the effort to be with us on that snowy day.


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa

Amy Kuhlers & Sheila Newman with
the Burlington Chamber visit with
Rep. John Landon R-Ankeny
Kiley Miller visits with Rep. Tom Sands
R-Columbus Junction, Chairman of the
House Ways and Means Committee

Brent Willett visits with UNI-IDM
Sandy Ehrig and Clark Smith visit with
Rep. David Deyoe, R-Nevada

 Nominations Due March 15 for BRE Awards

Please consider a nomination for the PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the contribution of BRE to the success of local and regional economic development initiatives. The award will be presented by the Governor on Thursday, May 2 during the SMART Conference.

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 >>

 Register for PDI's Spring Event

This educational and networking opportunity, held at the Renaissance Savery Hotel on Wednesday, May 1, will enhance the SMART Conference agenda, offering efficiency for attendees of both events. Economic development professionals will learn first-hand about changes in state programming from leadership at the Iowa Economic Development Authority, as well as the PDI legislative wrap-up. Participants will have the opportunity to choose the resources they need to learn in an interactive format. PDI is recruiting experts from our IIC, IWD, SBDC, DNR, DOT, universities, community colleges, utilities, and other resource providers for the timed resource table sessions. The afternoon will conclude with a networking reception for further discussions with resource providers and participants. Friday will focus on federal legislation – the How To's. You won't want to miss this three day event! You can register for all three days on PDI's website.

More Information >>


 Staff Changes at The IEDA

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is announcing a few staff changes that will be taking place through the upcoming weeks:

Craig Block, COO and head of the Business Development group has accepted the appointment position of Associate Probate Judge for Polk County. Over the last two years, Craig Block has been instrumental in creating an entirely new structure, getting the right team and legislative tools necessary to achieve the Governor's bold jobs and wealth creation agenda. We've been extremely fortunate to have Craig at the helm as a bright problem solver and an extremely hard worker with a genuine concern for those affected by decisions and policies. Craig's last day will be March 7. We wish Craig, his honor, the best in his new endeavor.

Rita Grimm will join IEDA, taking Craig's position as Chief Operating Officer effective March 1. Rita is a private practice attorney who most recently has been providing mediation services specific to workers' compensation, personal injury and employment claims. She has been and continues to be very active with economic development organizations, serving on the boards of the Siouxland Initiative, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and Iowa Workforce Development. We are very excited to welcome Rita to the IEDA team!

 New Interstate Business Attraction and Retention Specialist Joins Economic Alliance
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, February 15

The Economic Alliance is pleased to announce Brian Crowe is joining the team as its new Interstate Business Attraction and Retention Specialist.

Crowe is a business development manager with the Iowa Economic Development Authority. His first day at the Economic Alliance is slated for April 2.

In his new role, Crowe will be a member of the Services Team and will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with prospective and existing stakeholders. He will work closely with the economic development strategist, Dennis Jordan. This work will include representing the Economic Alliance at economic development trade shows, conferences, events, meetings and organizations; collaborating with regional partners on economic development-related goals and objectives and being responsible for investor outreach on economic-development related projects and opportunities and hosting prospective clients.




Check out the latest news in Policy Perspectives >>



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

Sabre Industries Ribbon Cutting
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 the 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

More Information >>

 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.

More Information >>

 A Note from the Iowa DNR

Emily Bainter with the Iowa DNR coordinates the annual Governor’s Iowa Environmental Excellence Awards. These awards are the premier environmental honors in Iowa, recognizing leadership and innovation in the protection of Iowa’s water, land and air.

If your organization has made a commitment to protect Iowa’s natural resources, I encourage you to consider applying for an award. In addition to the Overall Environmental Excellence Award, there are several project-specific categories that are recognized:

  • Air Quality
  • Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Waste Management
  • Water Quality
  • Environmental Education
For more information about the awards, and to download an application and instructions, go to Applications must be submitted by April 12, 2013.

 Finding Your "Match" with Social Media
By Katie Stocking in Social Media, Business Record's IowaBiz, February 26, 2013

I met my husband online (where ELSE would a digitally focused girl meet a guy!?). The lessons I learned from my (ahem...) 10 years of dating (all sorts) can also be applied to finding your "match" in social media for personal or business purposes.




The Professional Developers of Iowa is looking for partners to support the educational efforts of the Professional Developers of Iowa. PDI's seminars and conferences continue the tradition of providing quality training opportunities for Iowa's economic development professionals. Plus, this year, we have something new to offer — advertising on both the website and newsletter! Please consider becoming a sponsor in 2013 on behalf of your organization. Your investment will provide recognition, networking, access, and visibility of your organization to more than 320 of Iowa's economic development professionals.


 Welcome New Members

Kay Snyder, Iowa Area Development Group, West Des Moines, IA


Nate Clayberg, Buchanan County EDC, was granted a scholarship for attendance at OU EDI in March 2013.
Laura Olson, Allamakee County Economic Development, Waukon, IA was granted a scholarship for attendance at OU EDI in March 2013

 Job Postings:

Project Manager, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Des Moines, IA
Economic Development Director, Jackson County Economic Alliance, Maquoketa, IA
Director of Economic Development, Greater Burlington Partnership, Burlington, IA
President & CEO Clinton (Iowa) Regional Development Corporation, Clinton, IA

More Information >>



 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?

More Information >>



 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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
5400 University Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa
More Information & Registration >>

 Getting to Know The Authority

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
1:00-4:00 p.m.
Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
More Information & Registration >>

 Deadline for IEDC Excellence in Economic Development Award Entries

April 12, 2013
Entry Packets and More Information >>

 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 >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Entrepreneurial Development Course
More Information & Registration >>

 PDI Spring Event

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

 University of Oklahoma Business Retention and Expansion 2013 Course


 MAEDC Best Practices Conference

May 15-17, 2013 Sioux Falls, SD
More information >>

 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
More Information & Registration >>

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

 PDI Fall Conference

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

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

November 3-7, 2013
University Place Conference Center and Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma EDI Marketing Course
More Information & Registration >>

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


PDI Thanks the 2013 Sponsors



Alliant Energy

Renew Rural Iowa

Special thanks to our local sponsors in Cedar Valley:
City of Cedar Falls
Hawkeye Community College

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

Conference Benefactor Sponsor
North Iowa Corridor Development Corp.

Conference Exhibit Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Black Hills Energy
Iowa State University CIRAS
Peoples Company

Spring Only
Viebicher Associates Inc.
The Iowa Regional Center

Fall Only
Iowa Small Business Development Centers

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Central Iowa Power Cooperative

Contributing Sponsors — Spring Only
Great Des Moines Partnership

Contributing Sponsors — Fall Only
Access Energy Cooperative
Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative
Midland Power Cooperative
City of Cedar Falls


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