Click here to view this email in your browser.


PDI 40 Years

By Brent Willett, PDI President

Brent Willett
PDI President
PDI is the new 40 2013 marks PDI's 40th year of delivering advocacy, professional development, education and the emphatic furtherance of the economic development profession in Iowa. I am honored to serve as association president during this milestone year and do so knowing it is only as the result of four decades of consistently effective, bold and innovative leadership by PDI board leaders before me. Today PDI stands as a visible, effective and sought-after voice for economic development in Iowa. That's thanks to the leaders of years ago who first bound together just as our profession was taking shape in the 1970's and immediately began to aggressively grow membership and programming to address the needs of a growing industry. This led to enough organizational growth and vision to provide for the provision of contract services for executive staff and legislative lobbying, which has led to more growth and more statewide influence. It is from this platform that the latest generation of PDI leaders strides from as it makes investments in technology to create new capabilities, builds coalitions to augment the association's political potency and establishes new programmatic partnerships to improve member experience.

Every one of us, from the first-year member in 2013 to those who have been with the association from its beginnings, has a slew of those inside the industry to thank and continue to rely upon for professional growth, and the PDI member experience opens up an incredible network of those folks to us. Early in my career thanks to PDI I was able to hook up and grow relationships which have been critical to me personally and professionally with real pros to look up to like Dan Culhane [Ames], Dennis Hinkel [Burlington, retired], LaDene Bowen [IDM], Joel Akason [formerly Marshalltown; now dead to us in Minneapolis], Jeff Rossate [IEDA/Cedar Rapids/consultant], Michael Gould [IEDA], Bruce Nuzum [IADG] and Jason White [Warren County]. And as my time in the profession and as a PDI member grows, I continue to see at every member opportunity more industry colleagues to admire, learn from and hopefully give something back to.

It's an incredible thing when a small, voluntary association of individuals transforms itself by only the will of its member leaders into a statewide force for something as fundamental to every Iowan as job and wealth creation in our communities. That's what the folks who came before us at PDI managed to do. While leaders of some industry associations are facing enormous relevance and budgetary challenges in the face of a rapidly changing member and economic dynamics, we face a different challenge- to meet the exceptionally high standards set before us by a generation of great PDI leaders and ensure that 40 more years of growth and positive change occurs. Thank goodness my term ends in a few months.

See you at conference,

Brent Willett
President, Professional Developers of Iowa



 A Look Back in History…

As PDI prepares to celebrate their 40th anniversary it seems fitting to look back in history at why the organization was formed, who were its incorporators and what the initial objectives of the organization were. The Professional Developers of Iowa, Inc. was initially formed as a business league for the primary purpose of improving the overall business climate in the State of Iowa. The original incorporators consisted of three individuals from across the state all focused on fostering economic development in the State of Iowa. The original incorporators include Don Chaplain, Craig Hamilton and Gary Owens and the initial Board of Directors was comprised of nine individuals. The objectives of the organization included: fostering cooperation among industrial and economic development professionals, encouraging state-wide awareness of the opportunities and problems within the State of Iowa, providing a forum for assembly and collective expression and to provide timely educational opportunities to enhance professional knowledge.

More Information >><


 Rural Telecommunications Offers Robust Broadband for Economic Development

We forget how dependent we are on broadband Internet service. Health care, job applications, education and agriculture are just a few of the critical services through which we really upon the Internet. In today's economy, you are as reliant on your provider connecting you to the Internet as you are a switch powering the lights.

In light of this, it's important for Iowans to stick together to ensure broadband service remains available to all of us. That's why a new effort has evolved called Iowa LinkedUp.

Learn More at >>

 What Impact Does the Telecommunications Industry Have on Your Economic Growth Efforts?

Technology is becoming increasingly important as we strive toward economic growth in Iowa. From agriculture and healthcare to education and retail, the dependency on technology for daily operations is a necessity.

Our communities are dependent on access to broadband and as advocates and the key drivers of economic growth in our cities and Iowa, we need to understand the critical role that telecommunications has, what is available to our communities and what the future looks like for telecommunications in Iowa.

Iowa LinkedUp advocates for the telecommunications industry much like the Professional Developers of Iowa advocates for the economic development industry. Both offer a large pool of resources and knowledge among members. More Information >>

 Iowa View: Skilled Iowa Initiative Benefits Workforce
By Teresa Wahlert, August 15, 2013

The first year of Gov. Branstad's Skilled Iowa initiative has been a great success. Significant strides have been made to help address Iowa's middle skills job gap by upskilling Iowans and ensuring that job seekers and students have the tools needed for the careers of tomorrow.

Middle-skilled workers fill a vast majority of employment openings across the state. The recent Des Moines Register article ("Workers, Skills Still a Mismatch," July 31) misunderstood key components presented in the 2013 middle skills job report. The report is available here.

The business community in Iowa is speaking loudly that there is a standard of skill proficiency that they seek in our existing and future labor force.

More Information >>

 Branstad Administration's Balanced Approach to Economic Development is Yielding Results
By Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority

I am perplexed that a recent guest editorial would criticize Governor Branstad for so actively promoting Iowa as an attractive place to invest. Last time I checked, that's a critical responsibility of anyone holding the job title "Governor."

In fact, Iowans elected Governor Branstad to bring jobs to our state and to raise the incomes of Iowa families — something he has worked tirelessly to make happen by implementing a comprehensive approach to economic growth that balances the recruitment of out-of-state businesses, the expansion of traditional Iowa businesses, and the creation of new companies through innovation and entrepreneurship. The Governor has a plan for economic growth, and it is showing great results.

More >>

 Business Record: Governors Association Identifies Top Trends in Economic Development
From The Iowa Innovation Corporation Catalyst

A report released by the National Governors Association yesterday looks at key initiatives the nation's governors have launched to spur economic growth and provide high-paying jobs.

The "Top Trends in State Economic Development" identifies six important trends that have emerged in the past two years:

  • States have strengthened their relationships with regions within the state in fostering economic development.
  • States have emphasized job creation from within their own borders with monetary initiatives to help companies grow.
  • A number of states have strengthened their support for advanced manufacturing.
  • State governments are creating partnerships with industry groups to help meet demands for talent.
  • States are partnering with universities to bridge the gap between research and commercialization.
  • States are working with high-potential small and medium-sized companies within specific industry clusters to increase exports.




 Complete the 2014 Legislative Agenda Survey by September 3

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 September 3.

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.




 Midwest Partnership Selected for Regional Entrepreneurship Project

MWP has become one of the first regions to be selected for the EDA University Center Regional Entrepreneurship Project. A grant was awarded to UNI's Business and Community Services Department to focus on developing a support system for entrepreneurship development in our region over a 5 year period. The effort will focus on education, planning and customized technical assistance to build capacity in the region for entrepreneurial development.

These efforts will be led by two programs within UNI's Business and Community Services division: UNI Institute for Decision Making (IDM) and MyEntre.Net. IDM will combine their effective model for economic development planning with the business development expertise of MyEntre.Net staff providing a complete approach to fostering entrepreneurial development in the region. This project will help provide MWP and our regional stakeholders to act in unison to support entrepreneurship development.

More Information >>




 Public Disclosure & Economic Development:
An Emerging Issue Audio Conference Held August 20, 2013 — Recording Available

This educational opportunity presented by Richard Koontz, Director of the Larned A. Waterman Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center regarding how local/regional EDCs are in perhaps the most vulnerable position of all private non-profits as it relates to laws governing public document disclosure/transparency. It is imperative today's economic developer understand the law and how to properly respond to disclosure requests. The high level of confidentiality essential to economic development must be balanced by the intense interest in the goings-on of the local/regional EDC by the citizenry in many areas- this has created a demand that you better understand the implications of the acceptance of public funding, the people you seat on your board and the way you structure your organization to ensure you are in compliance.

More Information >>

 Professional Developers of Iowa Fall Conference Focuses on Leadership — Personalized Results Designed for Individuals Attending Conference

Thank you in advance for your participation in the 2013 Fall Conference. In the spirit of "Building an Economic Developer" we are inviting you to participate in two online Leadership Development audits. Upon registration you will receive eylectronic instructions and link to the two audits.

Here is a brief description of both:

More Information >>



 Job Postings:

Community Development Director, The City of Sheldon, Sheldon
Executive Director - Red Oak Chamber & Industry Assoc, The Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association, Red Oak
Senior Industry Manager, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Executive Director - Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Area Development Corporation, Carroll
Executive Director, Hamilton County S.E.E.D., Hamilton County
Economic Development Director - Mahaska Community Development Group, Oskaloosa

More Information >>

 New Members:

Sarah Bey, Finance Manager, UNI Regional Business Center, Cedar Falls
Renae Billings, City of Sioux City Economic Development,Sioux City
Sheena Danzer, City Inspector/Zoning Admin., City of Windsor Heights, Windsor Heights
Joanne Follon, Workforce Initiative Coordinator & Office Mgr., Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, Spencer
Patrick Luensmann, Business Analyst UNI Regional Business Center, Cedar Falls
Rosanne Nees, Carroll Area Development Corporation, Carroll
Derek Lord, Community Development Director, City of Ankeny, Ankeny
Jodie Smith, Chamber Specialist, Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association, Red Oak
Kelly M. Swenson, Business & Community Development Manager, MidAmerican Energy Company, Des Moines
Sarah Thompson, Executive Director, Hamilton County S.E.E.D., Webster City
Tammy Wheeler, Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone, Moulton
Sam Wagner, Director Business Retention, The Siouxland Initiative, Sioux City
David Heier, Economic Development Director, Jackson County Economic Development, Maquoketa


Josh Heggen, City of Norwalk, IA for OU-EDI, Indianapolis, Nov. 3-7, 2013
Sheena Danzer, City of Windsor Heights, Windsor Heights, IA for OU-EDI, Indianapolis, Nov. 3-7, 2013

 Heartland Education Remembers…

Jenny Overhue passed away Monday morning after a year-long battle with cancer. Jenny was part of the NPPD Economic Development Team and NEDA for 15 years. She is survived by her husband Dave and two daughters, Kristen and Hadlie. Condolences can be sent to 3172 Mimick Lane, Columbus, NE 68601.

Jenny was a wonderful friend and colleague to many of us and will be greatly missed. Those who attended Heartland Basic Economic Development Course during her tenure as a faculty member will remember her for her alter ego "Janet Schuyler" and her web site critiques.

A memorial scholarship fund has been established in recognition of Jenny's contributions to economic development, particularly her time as a frequent presenter of the five-state Heartland Economic Development Course. Memorials may be directed to the University of Northern Iowa Foundation at 1223 W. 22nd Street, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0219. Proceeds received for the Jenny Overhue Memorial Scholarship fund will be used to support a Heartland Economic Development Course scholarship.




 The 2013 HousingIowa Conference

September 4-5, 2013
Marriott in Coralville, IA

 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 >>

 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 >>

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

Twitter      Facebook      LinkedIn


Published by WinM@il