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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
It's a small industry, economic development. At least that's how it can feel to the hundreds PDI members who, perhaps along with a small staff and city colleague or two, are the only ones administering professional economic development services in their communities day in and day out. It can be a lonely business some days, as the next industry colleague- the person or persons who really get the complications, the pressures, what's really happening in your world- is sometimes a city or a town away.

Then an event like the SMART Conference happens, like it did earlier this month, and we realize how big and how cohesive our industry really is in our state. We are reminded that despite how limited our organizational budgets, our staffing levels or our perceived collegial relationships specific to economic development, our communities and our state are teeming with partners and colleagues and collaborators. SMART's roster of attendees was incredibly instructive on how many entities and individuals are invested in the success of our state's economic developers. Representatives from the utilities, IEDA, SBA, IWD, USDA, private business sector, local government, councils of government, regent universities, the governor himself- that's a small sampling of the folks who were in the room and, correspondingly, who are invested in our success.

An experience like SMART reinforces the fact that economic development is something to everyone, all the time. It's why every elected official alive runs on a platform of economic development, why you're stopped [accosted?] at the grocery store on Saturday morning by a citizen with an idea ['so, can we get, like, Twitter here, then?' (thanks Altoona)], why your board seats are prized in your community, why social conversations can pivot toward your job performance out of nowhere [I thought we were talking about football?], why when your office has a job opening you get range of applicants from fast food workers to college professors [‘allow me to discuss my unique interpretation of spatial development strategy and its cognitive applications with you'] for the same job. Our industry is small and huge, all at the same time, and it's incumbent on practitioners like us to decide whether to take a sleeping bag or a party tent approach. And who wouldn't choose a party over sleeping on the ground?


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 MidAmerican Energy Announces Major Wind Expansion
Business Record, Wednesday, May 08, 2013

MidAmerican Energy Co. on Wednesday announced plans to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation in the state within the next two years, consisting of up to 656 new wind turbines by the end of 2015. With the expansion, approximately 40 percent of the company's electricity production will be generated by wind.

The wind expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years, MidAmerican officials said.

In a press conference, Gov. Terry Branstad said the nearly $2 billion project "has broad implications for Iowa's energy future." The state is not providing any economic development incentives or tax credits for the project, he said.


 President Declares Disaster for Iowa
FEMA, May 6, 2013

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Iowa to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm during the period of April 9-11, 2013.

The President's action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of buildings and equipment damaged by the severe winter storm in Dickinson, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.



See the latest issue of PDI Policy Perspectives >>



 Iowa's Creative Corridor Announces Contract with Site Location Partnership
Partnership Broadens Regional Marketing Efforts and Trade Show Participation

(Iowa's Creative Corridor) — The Iowa City Area Development Group and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance have entered into an agreement for targeted industry attraction services with Site Location Partnership (SLP), a Dallas-based corporate site selection and economic development consulting firm.

More Information >>

 Notice of Funding Availability: Rail Revolving and Grant Program

The Rail Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) Program provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa. The deadline for applications is June 17th. Please see the attached document for more information and how to apply. Feel free to pass this document on to others you think may be interested.

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:

Community & Economic Development Director, City of Waukee, Waukee
Executive Director of Economic Development, Madison County Development Group, Winterset
Economic Development Director, City of Dubuque, Dubuque
Washington Neighborhood / Economic Development Coordinator, City of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA
More Information >>



 MAEDC Best Practices Conference

May 15-17, 2013
Holiday Day Inn City Centre
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 >>

 The 2013 HousingIowa Conference

September 4-5, 2013
Marriott in Coralville, IA

 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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