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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
Whether you prioritize what conferences to attend based on dynamic content, high-powered speakers, networking opportunities or the proportion of capital to lowercase letters in the event name, the SMART Conference ought to be at or near the top of your list every year. This year’s event, happening May 02 in Des Moines, includes Governor Terry Branstad, Director Debi Durham, keynote speaker Bill Rancic [who has somehow simultaneously managed a successful business career and E! stardom], networking opportunities and workshops on topics including Site Certification, Rural Population Dynamics, EB-5 Visas, and more. This is the conference for you the economic development professional to attend, sure, but it is also one to invite your board and community leadership to join you for a day dedicated to economic development in Iowa.

And SMART is bookended on both ends by two awesome PDI events. Wednesday, May 01 is the PDI Resource Fair, which features a speed dating-esque format for attendees to learn about resources and service offerings from almost fifteen partners in economic development in Iowa, from investor-owned utilities to IDOT to regent universities to HUD. The day after SMART on May 03 will be the half-day PDI event 'Working with Federal Legislators'. No, that title is not a joke. Quite the contrary; an excellent assortment of experts in the field of federal legislative advocacy will participate in a series of panel discussions and we will also hear from Becky Greenwald of the SBA Office of Advocacy.

Who has time to register for three different events? Me neither. Get registered for all three in one shot right
here. See you in a couple of weeks.


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 NCAA Wrestling Site Selection Event

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and MidAmerican Energy hosted site selection professionals and business prospects from across the country during the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships held recently in Des Moines. Guests were able to watch top-notch wrestling from excellent seats, were able to meet and take photos with wrestling greats including Dan Gable, Ed Banach and Steven Neal, and learned more about Iowa's business climate.


The IEDA showcased Iowa and its tech and start-up culture at SXSW in Austin, TX. SXSW is NOT your typical trade show. SXSW is an incubator of cutting-edge technologies featuring compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, networking events hosted by industry leaders and so much more. SXSW garners national media attention from almost every media outlet and is a compelling mix of new tech startups and the who's who in interactive, film and music industries.

IEDA hosted its early-evening reception during SXSW Interactive on Monday, March 11, through which the following efforts were achieved:

  • Iowa hosted 60-75 attendees at its reception
  • Iowa strengthened its growing social media presence, particularly with this audience.
  • Iowa reached a wide number of contacts within tech and starts-up culture, especially targeting those with Iowa connections, and
  • Iowa marketed the state an emerging place for start-ups, reaching a broader audience of the 30,000 SXSW general attendees
 Iowa Projects Win CiCi Awards

According to Trade & Industry Development, the leading magazine dedicated to an audience of corporate site selectors in vertical industry segments, three Iowa projects recently won the publication's 8th Annual Corporate Investment & Community Impact or CiCi Awards. The CiCi Awards are unique in that in addition to commemorating the largest capital investments for development or expansion announced within a designated year, they equally recognize projects for the positive impact they will have on a community, regardless of the amount of money invested by the corporation. Among the criteria considered for CiCi recognition in the Community Impact division are the number of jobs created and/or retained, area unemployment figures, average income level of the region, area plant closings or decline in industry segments, and the creation of new industry segments with employment opportunities, among others. To arrive at the selection of the 8th Annual CiCi Award recipients, Trade & Industry Development editors considered several hundred announcements of corporate economic development made during 2012. Iowa's award-winning projects include:

CF Industries Holdings, Inc., Woodbury County, Iowa
Iowa Fertilizer Company, Lee County, Iowa
Polaris Industries, Spirit Lake and Milford, Iowa

To read more about the CICi awards, visit Trade & Industry Development's CiCi Awards Page.

 Site Selection and Certification Workshop at Smart Conference

Ed McCallum and Kimberly Williams with McCallum Sweeney Consulting will present "Site Certification Updates" workshops at the 2013 SMART Conference. McCallum, a senior principal in McCallum Sweeney Consulting, has over 25 years of experience in the site selection industry. Williams, a senior consultant with McCallum Sweeney, specializes in the area of site evaluation, economic development strategic planning, geographic information systems (GIS) analysis, and demographics and labor analysis. This session will serve as the 2013 program roll out new certification applications. Any communities or developers considering certification on sites that are 250 or larger will want to attend this workshop. Ed and Kimberly will be presenting a "Site Selectors 101" workshop in an afternoon session to address any question communities may have on the site selection process and


The next data pull from the Synchronist system will take place on Friday, May 17. The Synchronist data is pulled annually in aggregate to be used for the 2013 Iowa Competitive ScoreCard. Data quality remains very critical with a goal of a data quality indicator of at least 80% of your record information. If you need assistance, please contact any member of the BEST of Iowa management team listed below:

Alliant Energy-IPL, Scott Snider, 641.437.5225,
Black Hills Corp., Mike Fastenau, 515.343.3012,
Iowa Area Development Group, Bruce Hansen, 515.223.4817,
Iowa Economic Development Authority, Chris Cataldo, 515.725.3157,
MidAmerican Energy Company, Deb Calvert, 515.281.2595,

 TAB Program at Kansas State University

Do you have a brownfield in your community? Brownfields are defined as sites where redevelopment and reuse interest has been hindered by known, or suspected, environmental issues. Many times brownfields could be redeveloped without any significant environmental costs or challenges, but without answers to these questions, these sites remain obstacles to redevelopment.

The Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program, sponsored by the US Environment Protection Agency, and in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, helps guide local governments through the brownfield redevelopment process, using custom-tailored teams of experts, to address site-specific needs. The US EPA recently selected Kansas State University as the TAB provider for the state of Iowa, and TAB can provide, free, site-specific support to your community, especially if you don't have the time and resources to do things like planning for re-use of sites (to include charettes and economic feasibility analyses), inventorying potential brownfield sites, identifying/addressing environmental issues, writing competitive grant proposals and finding other financial resources, issuing/reviewing RFPs for environmental consultants, and document reviews, etc.. Our core expertise is in planning and environmental due diligence, and we involve other experts as-needed. We partner with other universities and resources in the local areas we work as much as possible.

More Information >>

 Selling Iowa

Selling Iowa, State leaders partnering with communities beckoning business and industry into Iowa. A conversation with Partnership for Economic Progress Director Debi Durham and Greater Des Moines Partnership's David Maas... and a reporters' roundtable update on politics and legislation at the Iowa Statehouse. It's all on this edition of Iowa Press.

Listen Here >>



Check out the latest news in Policy Perspectives >>



 Nate Clayberg Graduates from OU EDI

Nate Clayberg
Nate Clayberg, Executive Director for Buchanan County Economic Development, recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute on March 14, 2013 at the OU/EDI spring session held in Norman, Oklahoma.

OU/EDI is an intensive week long, three-tier program, which provides a broad spectrum of advanced education for the economic development professional. OU/EDI Dean LaDene Bowen said, "As the premier organization dedicated to training economic development professionals, I am very pleased with this year's graduates. They represent some of the finest economic development practitioners in the U.S. working to support their local communities. My congratulations to them." More Information >>

 ISU CIRAS Assists Iowa Manufacturer

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach produced a video describing the assistance CIRAS provided to Hagie Manufacturing. Check it out - along with other video stories - on their web site.

More Information >>

 Save the Date!

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

Hear from Marsia Gunter, one of two founders of Carnahan, Smith & Gunter, Inc., who has over 23 years experience as an Ontological Coach emphasizing Leadership, Ownership and Business Growth. Her primary work includes strategic futuring and visioning, business development long and short term planning, leadership and ownership development for all members of the team.

Participate in an Economic Development Bar Camp and pick the topics to discuss with your fellow members that mean the most to you and your position.

Learn how to nurture your relationships with federal legislators and focus your message for the Washington DC audience.

Experience what a Blue Zone community is all about with special menu selections, interactive options for activities and networking to develop the whole person.

You won't want to miss it! Registration materials available in late June.

Check out our video >>




 Job Postings:

Washington Neighborhood / Economic Development Coordinator, City of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA
Executive Director, WeLead (West Liberty Economic Area Development), Program Coordinator II, West Liberty, IA
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

More Information >>

 New Members:

Evan Blakely, Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County, Denison, Iowa
Barbara Snitker, Cedar Rapids Metro Alliance, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Steven VanSteenkuyse, City of Mason City, Mason City, Iowa
Tim Whipple, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Des Moines, Iowa
Greg Willging, Northeast Iowa Community College, Dubuque, Iowa
Daniel Mann, Quad Cities First, Davenport, Iowa
Wendy Mihm-Herald, Northeast Iowa Community College, Calmer, Iowa


Abby Kisling, Tipton Economic Development Corporation, Tipton, Iowa - Heartland ED Course
Evan Blakely, Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County, Denison, Iowa - Heartland ED Course
Shelise Parsley, Cedar County Economic Development Commission – Heartland ED Course



 2013 Midwest CDI Scholarships Now Available

The Midwest Community Development Institute (CDI) announces that scholarship applications are now being accepted to participate in the 2013 Midwest CDI from August 5-8 in Moline, Illinois.

A scholarship enables you to build your skills and credentials as a community and economic developer at a very affordable cost. Don't miss out on this opportunity! Apply early for full consideration, as the number of scholarships is limited. We especially encourage applications from communities/counties that send two or more participants to CDI.

The application process only takes a few minutes.

Apply here >>



 Connect Iowa's Iowa Broadband Summit: Empowering Communities

April 9, 2013
Iowa State Historical Society
Des Moines, IA
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

April 22 - June 17, 2013
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
Holiday Day Inn City Centre
Sioux Falls, SD
More Information >>
Registration >>

 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
Iowa LinkedUp/ITC Venture
North Iowa Corridor Development Corp.

Conference Exhibit Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Black Hills Energy
Center for Industrial Research & Service - ISU
Convergent Fundraising Solutions
Iowa State University CIRAS
Peoples Company

Spring Only
Iowa Utility Association
Viebicher Associates Inc.
The Iowa Regional Center

Fall Only
Iowa Small Business Development Centers
JEO Consulting Group Inc.

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Central Iowa Power Cooperative

Contributing Sponsors — Spring Only
Great Des Moines Partnership

Contributing Sponsors — Fall Only
Access Energy Cooperative
East Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative
Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative
Midland Power Cooperative

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