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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
While it doesn't always get the accolades and attention it deserves, Business Retention and Expansion is a fundamental element of every economic development program.

  • Local companies are the key element of a community's infrastructure that establishes the economic climate for the area. If local companies are doing well, so is the community and vice versa.
  • New project locations tend to get more media and attract more public attention, but existing companies within a community are responsible for 80% of all new job growth.
  • Understanding local industries and the economic forces that impact them, gives us valuable insight into what needs to be done to maintain and grow a local economy.
For this reason, the Professional Developers of Iowa has chosen to raise the awareness of BRE initiatives in our state and recognize communities who have successfully implemented programs focused on existing businesses.

Sponsors of the Awards are Smart Solutions Group and Blane/Canada Synchronist Suite. Congratulations to this year's winners:

BRE Overall Program:
Warren County Economic Development Corporation

Single Project:
City of Sioux City Economic Development - Sabre Industries Inc. Expansion
Mount Pleasant Area Development Commission - Nypro Kánaak Iowa Expansion
Mitchell County Economic Development - Grain Millers, Inc. Expansion


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 IADG Energy Bank Revolving Loan Fund Program

Iowa Area Development Group is pleased to announce the newly created IADG Energy Bank Revolving Loan Fund program. This exciting new program has been created to finance renewable energy projects, energy efficiency improvements and energy management and implementation plans for business and industry.

"We are very excited about this program," stated Rand Fisher, president of Iowa Area Development Group. "It allows us to provide an ongoing source of low interest financing for the implementation of cost effective projects that will save energy and money, improve facilities and processes, and enhance job creation and profitability."

More Information >>

 New Business Court Website Launched

The new Business Court website was recently launched on the Judicial Branch website.

Find a form for parties to submit qualifying legal disputes to the jurisdiction of the Iowa Business Court. The "Joint Consent for Case Assignment to the Business Court Pilot Project" form is available on the Business Court website.

The Business Court will begin to accept cases on May 1, 2013.

Visit the New Business Court Web Site >>



See the latest issue of PDI Policy Perspectives >>



 Congratulations to two of PDI's Member Communities:
Tech Giants Put Iowa in National Spotlight
From the Business Record Daily PM, April 23, 2013 - News Briefs

On the heels of Facebook Inc.'s announcement to build a data center in Altoona, Google Inc. today announced plans to increase the size of its data center expansion in Council Bluffs, investing an additional $400 million in the facility, The Gazette reported. Facebook's announcement, meanwhile, has caught the attention of national news sources. A number have written stories on Facebook's decision to build a data center in Iowa, including Bloomberg Businessweek, VentureBeat, PC Magazine, Wired and TechCrunch. Many of the articles note the attraction of Iowa as a place to build a data center, citing reasons such as the lack of natural disasters and the potential to power the center with wind and solar energy.

 Industrial Directory Reports Iowa Continues to Gain Manufacturing Jobs in 2012
The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2013

For the second year in a row, industrial employment in Iowa posted a gain according to the 2013 Iowa Manufacturers Register(R) , an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Iowa gained 2,487 manufacturing jobs from January 2012 to January 2013 or about one percent.

Manufacturers' News reports Iowa is now home to 5,421 manufacturers employing 264,440 workers.

"Iowa's manufacturing sector continues to improve," says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "The state's low business costs, logistics, and abundant natural resources continue to be a draw for new business."


 Trade Trip to China 'Extremely Productive,' Branstad Says
Future partnerships, investments likely, but no announcements so far

Rod Boshart, The Gazette, April 17, 2013

Gov. Terry Branstad said Wednesday he has wrapped up "an extremely productive" four-day trade mission to China.

Speaking with Iowa reporters by telephone, the governor said the whirlwind visit has produced a lot of prospects for additional business between Iowa and the Asian superpower that likely will lead to future partnerships and investments, "but we're not ready to make an announcement at this time." The itinerary took the Iowa delegation to the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Baoding City and Shijiazhuang.


 Community College Partnership Aims to Help Manufacturers Assess Workforce
By Kyle Oppenhuizen, Business Record Daily PM, April 25, 2013

Iowa community colleges and Iowa City-based ACT Inc. announced an initiative Thursday to help Iowa's advanced manufacturing businesses gauge the skills of their current workers as well as potential employees.

Under the initiative, manufacturers will be able to give their employees the ACT National Career Ready Certificate (NCRC) test to measure their "soft skills," such as reading, finding information and problem solving, at no cost.


 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 >>




 New Members:

Matt Frandsen, Vice President of Business Development, The Weitz Corporation, Des Moines, IA

 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
More Information >>



 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
In-Kind: Waverly Chamber of Commerce

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

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
Peoples Company

Spring Only
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
Iowa Utility Association

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

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