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PDI 40 Years

By Stacie LoVan, PDI President

Stacie LoVan
PDI President
It is a great honor for me to serve in the role of PDI President this year. PDI thrived under Brent Willett's leadership in 2013. Your board of directors and I are committed to continuing this momentum. The PDI Board met earlier this month to review our successes and plan for 2014 and beyond. Jim Gossett facilitated our planning session and did an excellent job keeping us focused and stretching our vision beyond the here and now. Thank you, Jim!

PDI is a well-run organization with committed professionals leading our efforts in every aspect. In 2014, we plan to build upon the solid foundation previous leaders have established for us.

At the board retreat, the discussion always circled back to how to deliver more value to our members. We discussed ways to engage you, our members, in more effective ways that will help you professionally as well as in your day-to-day endeavors. We discussed potential resources that PDI can develop and make available to our members. Items such as a statewide media list, an electronic FAQ section on our website that answers the general questions about economic development topics, and enhancing our communication during the legislative session even further though social media channels. These are just a few of the items mentioned but demonstrate the desire to provide our members with easy access to the information you need.

We are open to your ideas on how PDI can be a greater resource to you as an economic development professional in Iowa. I stated at our annual meeting that the more you put into an organization, the more you will get out of it. So I encourage you to connect with us. A simple telephone call or email to Lynn Harkin or me is an easy first step.

My contact info is Stacie LoVan, (515) 286-4971

Stacie LoVan
President, Professional Developers of Iowa



 Partnership, Opportunity and Outreach

Theresa Wahlert
IWD Director
"Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) has had a longtime standing membership with the Professional Developers of Iowa due to the commitment of both groups to promote business through economic development and workforce development across the state. Through the Laborshed Studies and now the Skilled Iowa Initiative, we are able to showcase the unique and innovative strategies that Iowa has in place. IWD is dedicated to continuing our partnership with PDI through the expansion of tools and programs that further connect Iowa's employers and communities with a highly skilled workforce.

Throughout the twelve years that IWD has had staff represented as members of the Professional Developers of Iowa, we have partnered on many educational sessions through board representation and conferences. PDI gives IWD the opportunity and platform to reach out to economic development professionals across our state to discuss the needs of business and identify workforce needs or gaps."

- Theresa Wahlert, Director, Iowa Workforce Development

 Up Against All Odds

"PDI for many years has served as Iowa economic developers' drink of water. Up against all odds, economic developers thirst for answers for how to increase the economic competitiveness of Iowa communities. Through networking opportunities, expanding professional capacity of members, and non-partisan advocacy of public policy concerns, economic developers have been transformed from project managers and technicians into leaders and change agents for community, regional, and statewide wealth creation."

-Jason White, Warren County Economic Development Corporation, President 2010



 Telling The Story Critical to Preserving TIF
By Brent Willett & Dan Culhane

In 2012, the Iowa Legislature adopted new tax increment financing reporting standards for Iowa cities and counties following weeks of intense debate about the future of the tool. The legislation has created significant new documentation requirements for local governments which have taken effect this year. The Professional Developers of Iowa and the Iowa Chamber Alliance both supported the new reporting requirements not because we believe local government disclosure relative to TIF was previously inadequate, but because in order to preserve this critical tool for economic development in our communities, we believe shining more light on the administration of TIF will only further strengthen the value narrative we seek to advance at every opportunity with policy-makers.

More Information >>

 Transportation Funding Concepts

For several years, there has been ongoing discussion regarding the transportation funding challenges that exist in Iowa. In an effort to broaden that discussion, Governor Branstad directed the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to review all transportation funding options and propose some ideas. We have completed our initial review and developed some initial transportation funding concepts. These concepts are not a final recommendation and are not part of our legislative proposals; however, we feel it is important to present these for review and feedback..

More Information >>

 Does Your Hazard Mitigation Plan Really Take into Consideration The Short and Long Term Economic Development Impacts of A Disaster?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards. In other words, actions that help to ensure the impacts of a natural hazard, such as a flood, are reduced. Hazard mitigation planning is the process that State, Tribal, and local governments use to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters, and to develop long-term strategies for protecting people, property, and their community from future hazard events.

More Information >>

 Rural Iowa Independent Telephone Association and Iowa Telecommunications Association Will Unify in January 2014

David Byers, board president for the Rural Iowa Independent Telephone Association (RIITA) and Roxanne White, board chair for Iowa Telecommunications Association (ITA), announced today that their respective association memberships voted to unity. As of January 1, the unified association will operate as Iowa Communications Alliance and will serve as the single professional association for independent telephone and wired broadband companies in Iowa. The unification of ITA and RIITA provides the opportunity to strengthen telecommunications policy efforts with a combined voice to better represent technology in rural areas and synergy for increased organization effectiveness in serving the new association's members.

More Information >>

 Iowa LinkedUp Forum Rescheduled for December 12 —
Let's help shape the future of economic growth and telecommunications in Iowa

A couple months ago, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced a new initiative, "Connect Every Iowan," which focuses on the legislative recommendations needed to expand broadband to all Iowans. The initiative will help develop a long-term plan to position Iowa as the most connected state in the Midwest.

Increasingly, the significance of broadband availability as a key driver in our cities and all over Iowa is becoming known. It's important that the telecommunications industry and the economic development industry work together to help shape the future of Iowa. Together, we can help achieve that goal of making sure all Iowans are connected.

More Information >>

 Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Improve Rural Housing
Recipients Include Public Agencies, Private Non-profit Organizations, Tribes, and Owners of Rental and Cooperative Housing

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today selected recipients in 45 states, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for grants to make critical repairs and improve housing conditions for low- and very-low-income rural residents. Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O'Brien announced the recipients today on Secretary Vilsack's behalf.

"Providing safe, reliable housing to rural residents is key to maintaining stable communities and creating jobs," Vilsack said. "USDA has developed strategic partnerships with Tribes, community organizations and non-profit groups to improve the living conditions for thousands of rural residents."

More Information >>




 PDI Members: Send Us Your Stories!

Economic developers, we need your stories for our newsletter. Send us your press releases about successes, awards, recognition, best practices, new programs, etc. Send your articles and press releases to Lynn Harkin at Your peers can learn from you!

 Brent Willett Passes the CEcD Exam

Brent Willett
PDI President
IEDC's Certified Economic Developers (CEcDs) are acknowledged around the world as having achieved the pinnacle of excellence in the economic development field. The Certified Economic Developers (CEcD) is the leading industry designation and gives developers the opportunity to develop core competencies across the breadth of topics necessary to being a well-rounded and successful economic developer. They include: Business Retention and Expansion; Strategic Planning; Marketing/Attraction; Technology-led Economic Development; Real Estate Development and Reuse; Economic Development Finance / Credit Analysis; Workforce Development; Neighborhood Development Strategies; Management Economic Development Organizations; Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies. Certification shows the individual has the experience, skills, and knowledge of a great economic developer. The pass rate for 2012 exam was 37% with 123 candidates sitting for the exam, resulting in 46 new CEcDs.

Brent Willett with the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation, Mason City Iowa recently earned his designation. Congratulations Brent!



 New Members

Nicolle DeRocher, City Clerk/Finance Officer, City of Akron Economic Development, Akron
Heather Hull, Business Recruitment Specialist, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Cedar Rapids

 Job Postings:

Project Manager, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Des Moines
Executive Director, Fairfield Economic Development Association, Fairfield
Director of Business Services, The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Waterloo
Director, Regional Business Center and Entrepreneurial Outreach, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Program Coordinator III, ISU Extension & Outreach, Ames

More Information >>




 Iowa Student Internship Program: A Resource for Small to Mid-Sized Companies

Internships are an essential part of the college experience. Not only do they help students gain real-world experience and get acclimated to a professional environment, but they also demonstrate to potential employers that the intern is capable of adding value to their organization.

More Information >>

 Free Webinars on AAC

The Iowa Insurance Division is continuing to host a series of free webinars to educate the public on changes in health insurance as a part of the Affordable Care Act. The webinars are being held throughout November and December. Please use this as an opportunity to learn about upcoming changes in what employers are responsible for, and what different tax benefits employers may be able to receive.

The business webinars cover topics which include:

  1. Individual Mandate and Individual Tax Credits
  2. Small Business Healthcare Tax Credits
  3. The Large Employer Mandate, and how to determine if it applies to you.
The Insurance Division is also continually receiving requests for additional topics. If you have questions about changes under healthcare reform please let us know.

Starting next week the Insurance Division is switching the webinar software to adobe connect. Both audio and visual will be broadcasted through the computer's webinar software. To get the link for the event please visit our webinar registration page. Once you have registered you will receive an email with the link for the webinar.

You may also want to check out the Insurance Division's Affordable Care Act event calendar. The Insurance Division lists events to help people understand their healthcare options, and what they need to know for 2014. If you have any events you would like to have listed please send me an email.




 Iowa Global Entrepreneurship Week
November 18-24, 2013
Around Iowa
More Information >>

 Iowa's EB-5/CMB Regional Centers
December 5, 2013
The Des Moines Club
Des Moines, Iowa
More Information >>

 2013 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum
December 8-10, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
Registration & Information >>

 Land Investment Expo
January 24, 2014
Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel
West Des Moines, Iowa
Registration & Information >>

 SMART Conference
May 1, 2014
Iowa Event Center
Des Moines, Iowa
Details to come.

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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