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By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
A PDI Conference haiku:

Conference next month.
You are not too busy, no.
Don't make me call you.

I may have missed poetry day in English class [and completely flunked Acting], but seriously, the conference that has been designed for PDI members September 25-27 is perhaps the best we've ever seen. It's a conference with something for every economic developer and more choice and experience customization than we've ever had before. Just think:

  • Wednesday: Golf! Bikes! Trapshooting!*
  • Thursday: Personalized leadership roadmaps. Bar Camp. Roundtables. Certification.
  • Friday: Governor Branstad. Lt. Governor Reynolds. Director Durham. Legislative updates.
Don't believe me? Click here to check out this fantastic three-day agenda. And the conference programming is all taking place at the beautiful, better-than-we-deserve Park Place Event Centre in the Cedar Valley. Plus you're going to be a part of a welcoming event at the renowned Waterloo Center for the Arts, you're going to stay in a nice hotel, you're going to dine around in historic downtown Cedar Falls, and more.

In addition to all this programming, you're going to rub elbows with a couple hundred of your closest industry colleagues for a couple of days in a fun region and be hosted by one of the hardest-working conference committees I've been around and some of the most dedicated sponsors anywhere.

*You pick one. This should be the most obvious thing in the history of obvious.


Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa



 News from IEDA

IEDA just wrapped up its site selector event in conjunction with RAGBRAI in July. Site selectors from Dallas and Chicago rode with Governor Branstad and the IEDA team. Local economic development folks in the overnight communities of Council Bluffs, Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Oskaloosa, Fairfield and Fort Madison hosted the site selectors while introducing them to local business folks and elected officials. The RAGBRAI Site Selector event is just one of several events IEDA has orchestrated to reach out to the site selection community over the past two years.

BIO World Congress and IFT
The IEDA in partnership with Iowa community economic development leaders, educational institutions and industry associations, participated in several trade shows this summer, including BIO World Congress (June 16-19. Montreal) and IFT (July 13-16, Chicago). Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and IEDA Director Debi Durham attended the BIO show and had multiple opportunities to present to show attendees and meet with companies seeking potential investments in Iowa. Several Iowa companies exhibited with IEDA in the Iowa Pavilion at IFT. Companies/organizations include: Harvest Innovations, Sue Bee Honey and World Food Prize. VIP receptions for key prospects and existing industry representatives were hosted by the state of Iowa at both shows.

The IEDA is currently finalizing its trade show attendance calendar for 2014 and will be announcing partnering opportunities to economic development partners within the next couple of months. As always, the IEDA would like to take this opportunity to thank the many partners who support, participate and play an instrumental role in Iowa's success at trade shows and showing the world what a world-class player Iowa truly is!

IEDA Marketing Partnering Opportunities
IEDA Director Debi Durham is scheduled to speak at the Fall PDI Conference on Friday, September 27. Director Durham will be presenting on the updated Marketing Plan and will outline opportunities for partnering at key trade shows and other events.

IEDA International Events:

DTAP Program for Iowa Companies Expanding into International Markets
The International Office at the Iowa Economic Development Authority offers financial assistance to eligible Iowa small companies to help companies market their products and services to a global audience. The Domestic Trade Assistance Program (DTAP) may reimburse eligible Iowa companies for up to 75 percent of defined exhibiting expenditures in a qualifying international trade show held in the U.S., when exhibiting to explore and/or expand international markets. Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Applications should be received AT LEAST 30 days in advance of an event. To learn more, Iowa companies should visit to download the DTAP program fact sheets in the Resources box or contact the International office at 515.725.3000 or

Turkish American Business Forum
Thursday, October 3, 2013 – Des Moines: The IEDA's International Trade Office, in partnership with the Niagara Foundation, will host the Turkish-American Business Forum on October 3rd at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Des Moines from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Experts from Turkey will share market knowledge and provide valuable insights on doing business in Turkey. Specialists will draw on their understanding of business and legal practice and the economic and political climate.

The luncheon keynote address will be provided by Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad. Other featured guests include the Consul General of Turkey in Chicago Hon. Fatih Yildiz, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, IEDA director Debi Durham, Member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Turkey, Abdullah Yavas, and Hakan Tasci, Executive Director, TUSKON.

There will be a panel of companies discussing current opportunities and issues with doing business in Turkey along with Christopher Sackett of Brown Winick Law Firm, sharing the legal perspective for U.S. companies. Forum participants will also have an opportunity to schedule one-on-one business appointments with Turkish representatives following the conference.

For more information, contact Kathy Hill at or 515.725.3141. To register, visit

This program is being offered in collaboration with: Niagara Foundation of Iowa, The Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkiye (TUSKON), Turkish Consulate General in Chicago, Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and International Traders of Iowa.

EXPORT Seminar for Food Companies
Thursday, October 10, 2013 – Des Moines: Join Food Export-Midwest and the IEDA to learn why U.S. food suppliers should export and what it takes for a company to become export ready. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales here in the U.S. They have soared in recent years in response to consumers' growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. The seminar will provide an overview of the opportunities available around the globe and what's involved with learning to export. If interested in participating, contact Lisa Longman at 515.725.3139 or for more details

 Broadband Use in Rural Iowa Up 11 Percent Since 2011
From Business Record Daily PM, July 18

Use of high-speed Internet by rural Iowans has increased 11 percent over the past two years, and 57,000 people living in the countryside use broadband to work from home, according to a report today from Connect Iowa. According to the report, 36 percent of rural Iowa Internet users take online classes or conduct research for schoolwork, about 66 percent of adults subscribe to broadband service at home, 40 percent subscribe to mobile broadband service through a cellphone or a mobile device (compared with 53 percent of urban or suburban Iowans), and 31 percent do not subscribe to broadband because they do not feel such service at home is relevant or useful to them.

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa — Save the Dates!

In conjunction with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and local and regional Economic Development professionals, Iowa Business Growth Company is sponsoring a series of economic development conferences around the state this fall entitled “Economic Development Tools for Iowa”. The sessions will start with registration from 8:15-8:45 followed by a series of presentations on local, regional and statewide tools to assist in economic development efforts. Following a box lunch at noon, you are also invited to participate in a relaxed afternoon of fall golf in a best shot format ($50 golf registration).

The dates and locations are as follows:

  • Council Bluffs Bent Tree Golf Club Wednesday 9/11/13
  • Mason City Mason City Country Club Thursday 9/12/13
  • Des Moines The Legacy Golf Club (Norwalk) Monday 9/30/13
  • Riverside Riverside Casino & Golf Resort Wednesday 10/2/13
  • Spencer Spencer Golf & Country Club Thursday 10/3/13
More Information >>




See the latest issue of PDI Policy Perspectives >>

 PDI Membership,

The PDI Legislative Committee is seeking your input to begin establishing the 2014 Legislative Agenda. As you know, many of our priorities were accomplished this past legislative session so we are in need of your input to draft our priorities for this next year. Please take a moment to complete this short survey and feel free to add additional comments. On behalf of the PDI Legislative Committee we thank you for being engaged in the legislative process and help drive pro-business policy and development throughout the state.

2014 PDI Legislative Agenda Survey - To ensure we can get everything compiled in a timely manner prior to the Fall PDI Conference, we ask the you complete the survey by August 30th.

Wayne J. Pantini, Kathryn Kunert and Jason Hutcheson
2013 Co-Chairs, PDI Legislative Committee

Also, if you have a local legislative forum in your area between now and the end of the year, please let us know the date and time. If one of PDI's Legislative Chairs or Lobbyists is available, we can try to attend.

Thank you!




 ISU CIRAS Celebrates 50th Anniversary

CIRAS Signing
CIRAS Signing with the Governor
Congratulations to Iowa State University's Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) as it celebrates 50 years of service to Iowa business and industry. CIRAS offers resources to enhance the performance of industry through applied research, education, and technical assistance. CIRAS offers a broad menu of service including support in engineering and government contracting, management practices, productivity, quality and innovation.

In a proclamation signed on June 6, Governor Branstad urged companies and communities to partner with CIRAS to help Iowa prosper and grow. IADG was out in front on this, as IADG and CIRAS officially inked a partnership agreement in 2012 to join forces in providing a broad offering of assistance to Iowa businesses. Several companies are already utilizing the expertise and services they have gained working with IADG and CIRAS.

 GCVAC Realignment

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber has announced a realignment of existing staff to operate more efficiently as a combined economic development, redevelopment, and community development organization. The new structure groups team members by related functions allowing the organization to remain flexible.

Cary Darrah, Lisa Skubal, Sandi Sommerfelt, Sue Hansenr
More Information >>

 PDI Celebrates 40 Years!

Here's a look back at some of our History:
  • Started in 1973 with around 50 members
  • Original name was Iowa Professional Developers
  • Original membership limited to those doing 100% economic development; included primarily state development office, utilities, railroads, and full-time community developers.
  • In late 80's membership was broadened to include community colleges, extension service, workforce development, councils of governments, etc.
  • About the same time focus and mission was changed from industrial development to economic development.
  • In 1988 State Public Policy Group was hired to provide association management.
  • Association Management Ltd. took over in 2004
  • Re-incorporated in 1989 as Professional Developers of Iowa to achieve tax-exempt status.
  • The late 80's and 90's also saw the creation of many new county-based economic development groups.
  • The net effect of these changes was that membership grew rapidly with women members comprising an ever larger percentage of the total.
  • Conferences were included as a part of member benefit early on
    Conference were held twice yearly with the spring conference alternating between western and eastern Iowa and the fall annual meeting in central Iowa. Every conference had its own theme, with networking being common to all.




 Save The Date!

PIPAC 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 — Hosted by the Cedar Valley Regional Partnership

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.

Dine Around in Downtown Cedar Falls, visit the Waterloo Arts Center and network, network, network with your PDI colleagues. You won't want to miss it!

 Job Postings:

Senior Industry Manager, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Executive Director, Carroll Chamber of Commerce & Carroll Area Development Corp, Carroll
Executive Director, Hamilton County S.E.E.D., Hamilton County
Economic Development Director, City of Webster City, Webster City
Economic Development Director, Mahaska Community Development Group, Oskaloosa
Capital Investment Campaign and Marketing Director, Lee County Economic Development Group, Keokuk

More Information >>

 New Members:




 Iowa Lakes Corridor — Mark Lautman Presentations

Monday, August 19
- 9 am at King's Pointe Resort in Storm Lake, IA
- 12 pm at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer, IA
- 3 pm at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer, IA
- 5:30 pm at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer, IA
Tuesday, August 20
- 8 am at the SAMI Center in Spirit Lake, IA
- 11 am at the SAMI Center in Spirit Lake, IA
More Information >>

 Preserve Iowa Summit

August 22-24, 2013
Burlington, IA
More Information & Registration >>

 Community Efficient and Renewable Energy Workshop - FREE

August 27, 2013, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
American Legion
103 East Main Street
West Union, IA 52175
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

September 9 - November 4, 2013
More Information & Registration >>

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa

September 11, 2013
Bent Tree Golf Club
Council Bluffs

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa

September 12, 2013
Mason City Country Club
Mason City

 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
Registration Materials available in July; check out conference videos here >>

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa

September 30, 2013
The Legacy Golf Club

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa

October 2, 2013
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort

 Economic Development Tools for Iowa

October 3, 2013
Spencer Golf & Country Club

 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, 2014
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:
Black Hawk Economic Development, Inc.
Cedar Falls Utilities
Cedar Valley Regional Partnership
City of Cedar Falls
Farmers State Bank
Hawkeye Community College
Iowa Waste Reduction Center
Point Builders
Prairie Construction
& JEO Consulting Group Inc.
Strategic Marketing Services - UNI
Veridian Credit Union
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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