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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
Let's talk about a new tool for the toolbox.

Last week, PDI registered its support for HSB 234, otherwise known as the Iowa Reinvestment Act [IRA]. The bill, led by the Iowa Chamber Alliance, provides for a program under which municipalities may establish Iowa Reinvestment districts, apply to the state [via IEDA] for approval of the proposed projects and be rebated a portion of the state sales taxes and state hotel excise tax if applicable. The rebated revenues are then used to directly finance or pay down debt on a portion of the total cost of the approved reinvestment projects inside the district.

Sound familiar? This important proposal puts into statute a practice which has been subject of one-off legislative debate and action on a handful of projects throughout the state in recent years. Newton officials received permission via special legislative action to refund a portion of state sales taxes to help make the Newton Raceway a reality some years ago and just last year, officials in Dyersville successfully pitched essentially the same thing in the so-called "Field of Dreams Bill". The IRA gets the legislature away from taking up requests of this practice on a project-by-project basis and creates an accountable, transparent and procedurally sound process for communities across the state to traverse with clearly-defined expectations and requirements.

It's been a while since we talked about proactive economic development policy in our state. While there is still an enormous amount of defense to be played on issues including incentives funding and tax credits, it is nice to run an offensive set once and a while with your teammates. Speaking of teammates, groups already joining in support of the bill include Master Builders of Iowa, Heavy Highway Contractors Association, Laborers International, MidAmerican Energy and the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council.

I encourage you to read the bill and consider its potential impact on the projects under consideration in your community and region. After you do that, schedule coffee with your legislator. You can take it from there.


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


See the latest issue of PDI Policy Perspectives >>



 Interstate Communications Honored with Annual IMPACT Award by Iowa Network Services

Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) presented the annual Ripple Effect IMPACT award to Interstate Communications in Truro, Iowa. The IMPACT award was presented to Interstate at the Iowa Network Services' 2013 annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, March 19 in West Des Moines. The company was honored and recognized for leadership in community and economic development projects they helped in Warren County. Ed Buchanan, Interstate board member, Mike Weis, CEO, and Pat McGowan, Vice President, Operations were present to receive the IMPACT award. "Interstate and INS are strong partners in the promotion of community and business development," said Sue Cosner, Vice President of Community Initiatives, IADG. Cosner added "Each year Ripple Effect recognizes and honors an independent telecommunications company that has demonstrated creative and collaborative engagement in community and business development. We are so pleased that Interstate is this year's IMPACT recipient."

More Information >>

Kathryn Kunert
 Kunert Confirmed for the Electrical Examining Board

In a 50-0 vote in the Iowa Senate, Kathryn Kunert was confirmed for the Iowa Department of Public Safety's Electrical Examining Board. Kathryn is Vice President, Business & Community Development for MidAmerican Energy. She currently serves as PDI's Legislative Co-Chair and is a past president. Congratulations Kathryn!

 J.O.B.S Internship Program Promotes Youth Retention and Workforce Recruitment

The Jobs and Opportunities for Businesses and Students (JOBS) Internship Program aims to retain youth and cultivate the next generation workforce for Humboldt County. The Humboldt County Development Association, in partnership with the Humboldt Community School District, created the program for high school seniors to not only explore their career pathways but to expose them to the many job opportunities in Humboldt County. "Participating in the program helps the students solidify their future career goals while showcasing the many jobs available in our community. I don't think the students are aware of the many career possibilities offered in Humboldt and our mission is to ensure they understand they don't have to live in a major metropolitan area to have the career they want" said Director Reinholdt.

The partnership between HCDA and HCSD is vital as High School Principal Lori Westhoff is instrumental to the student's success. Westhoff arranges the students schedules to allow for participation, assists the students in applying and maintains contact with the students throughout the program.

HCDA Director Reinholdt administers the program but also facilitates with the business community to place the students based upon their career interests. "The program works because of the dedication from the school, the businesses and the community. This program will have lasting effects on Humboldt County for years to come" noted Reinholdt.

 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:

Director of Sustainable Innovation, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, Dubuque
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 >>



 On-Line Course: University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute - Entrepreneurial Development

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
More Information & Registration >>

 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 >>

 On-Line Course: University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute - Business Retention & Expansion

Summer 2013 - TBA
More Information & Registration >>

 On-Line Course: University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute Strategic Planning
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 Hosted by Cedar Valley
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (On-Site)

November 3-7, 2013
Crowne Plaza Hotel - Downtown Union Station Indianapolis, Indiana
More Information & Registration >>

 On-Line Course: University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute Marketing Course

November 4, 2013 - January 13, 2014
More Information & Registration >>

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (On-Site)

May 4-8, 2013
Hotel: TBA
Dallas, Texas
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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