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PDI 40 Years

By Stacie LoVan, PDI President

Stacie LoVan
PDI President
Spring is just around the corner! Maybe if we say it enough, the every-other-day snow events will taper off and we will see an extended number of days with double-digit temperatures...

The arrival of Spring also means that PDI’s Spring Event will be here before we know it. This year, PDI will be offering a 1/2 day educational event on May 2, the Friday following the SMART Conference. The focus of the Friday morning conference will be on “Rewriting the Rural Narrative: Developing Your Plan to Attract and Retain Newcomers.” In addition, we will hear from Iowa’s STEM Council about the role economic developers play in this important initiative. Of course, an evening of networking will also be in order on Thursday following the SMART Conference. Registration for the event will open this week.

On the Legislative front, Grow Iowa Day was a success once again this year with a large number of legislators making their way through the rotunda and talking with economic developers. Thanks to everyone who braved the weather to help us promote economic development and the importance of maintaining a positive business climate in Iowa. Remember, the legislative funnel date is February 21. By Friday, any bill not dealing with taxes or spending will have to emerge from committee in order to remain alive for the session. You can check the status of bills of interest to PDI members on Bill Tracker. Thank you to Amy Campbell and Craig Patterson, PDI’s Lobbyists, for keeping us informed on important issue

Stacie LoVan
President, Professional Developers of Iowa


 PDI as The Voice of Economic Development

"1995 — That seems like so long ago! It was a time of changing how we do business as an agency. These changes started before I took office and continued well afterwards. The agency’s professionalism has grown and the outcomes of those changes are obvious today. It is very rewarding to see a volunteer agency gain such respect with the Iowa Legislature and that our united voices are heard. The talents that are now leading the charge are energized and full of hope for the future of the agency. PDI is stronger today than ever before, this is thanks to many leaders (past, present and future) willing to volunteer their time for a passion we all have... Economic Development!"

-Linda Jackson-Wunsch, Greater Dallas County Development Alliance, PDI President 1995

"Iowans have a well-deserved reputation for doing things right. That certainly was the case in the early seventies when industrial and economic developers from all over Iowa determined the need for an organization to enhance professionalism. Seasoned Bob Dorothy, Phil Brunk, Dick Weeks, Hal Swesey, Keith Peterson, Dick Powell, George Wimmer, Dean Chandler, Biff Byrum et al...were historically quick to step up and help new people succeed. A professional developers' organization was the next logical step.

I'm proud to be a charter member of PDI. I know it's the best in the Midwest because at one time or another, I've belonged or participated with the counterparts in the surrounding states of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and Minnesota. Respect for PDI has become enormous. The PDI membership has truly become a valuable resource, utilized often by Iowa's lawmakers and the Governor, helping shape the future of Iowa."

-Harley Thornton, PDI Charter Member

 Linda Jackson Wunsch Talks about PDI's 40th Anniversary


 PDI 40th Anniversary Booklet Now Available!

In memory of 40 years of success, collaboration and devotion to economic development PDI created a booklet to celebrate the pioneers of PDI, important contributions to economic development and past presidents that have helped shape the organization. The booklet captures special moments in PDI's history that showcase the transformation of the organization and the contributions made by devoted members and partners.

View PDI's 40th Anniversary Booklet >>


 Iowa City Projected to Lead State in GMP Growth
IC MSA also Among Top US Cities for Job Opportunities

According to a recent study, Iowa City was ranked at the top among Iowa metros for projected gross metropolitan product (GMP) in 2014, measuring the economic output of a region. For Iowa City, GMP growth in 2014 is projected to be 2.4%. This data was released by the United States Conference of Mayors in their “US Metro Economies” study, featuring research from IHS Global Insight.

Kokomo, Indiana, led all metros with 4.7% projected GMP growth. In Iowa, Des Moines, Ames and Sioux City were ranked just below Iowa City. Waterloo/Cedar Falls was projected at 1.7% and Cedar Rapids at 1.2%.

More Information >>

 Plans Approved for Estimated $2.8 Million MCC Renovation
By Andrew Potter, Times-Republican, February 6, 2014

Plans have been approved for an estimated $2.8 million renovation of the health occupations and advanced manufacturing labs at Marshalltown Community College.

The Iowa Valley Community College District Board approved preliminary plans following a public hearing during its meeting Wednesday. The project is now let out for construction bids, which will be received March 4 and possibly awarded March 12.


 Newton One of Three Cities Selected to Join Main Street Iowa Program
Business Record PM, February 7, 2014

Newton is one of three Iowa cities selected yesterday to join the Main Street Iowa program, the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced. Newton, Avoca and Guthrie Center were selected Thursday. The program helps revitalize downtown districts in smaller communities. During the first three years of the program, each community receives about 40 days of on-site training and technical assistance from Main Street Iowa, National Main Street Center staff and private consultants, as well as 30 days of training for volunteers and local staff. There are now 52 Main Street communities in the state.

 Alcoa Celebrates $300M Automotive Expansion
By Jennifer DeWitt, Quad City Times, February 12, 2014

Alcoa Inc. celebrated the completion of a $300 million expansion Wednesday that will drive the next chapter of growth for the company's Davenport Works as it works to meet the automobile industry's increasing appetite for aluminum.

With Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad holding the ceremonial scissors, dozens of Alcoa employees and others crowded together behind a yellow ribbon that stretched the lengthy span between Alcoa's two new production lines for the official ribbon-cutting. "Isn't it amazing what $300 million can do," Branstad said to the laughter of the crowd.


 Sioux City Plant Set to Make Towers for Transmission Line
By Dave Dreeszen, Sioux City, February 12, 2014

A Sioux City factory is expected to manufacture towers for a high-voltage transmission line that will start in Northwest Iowa.

A news conference has been scheduled for Monday to announce details of a contract between Sabre Tubular Structures and Clean Line Energy Partners, the developer of the $2 billion Rock Island transmission line. According to a media advisory released Wednesday, the two firms will "create opportunities for manufacturing jobs and help Iowa maintain its leadership in the wind energy industry."




 Job Postings:

Executive Director, Osceola County Economic Development Commission, Osceola
City Administrator, City of West Union, West Union
Executive Director, Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation, Ottumwa
Economic Development Coordinator, Robins Economic Development (REDI), Robins

More Information >>



 SAVE THE DATE for PDI’s Spring Event!
May 1-2, 2014, Renaissance Hotel Savery, Des Moines, Iowa
Registration Open by the End of February

This educational and networking opportunity, held at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel on Friday, May 2, will enhance the SMART Conference agenda, offering efficiency for attendees of both events. Economic development professionals will learn first-hand from Neil Linscheid, Educator, Community Economics — Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota Extension who will delve further into: Rewriting the Rural Narrative: Developing your plan to attract and retain newcomers.

The morning presentation will also include an update on STEM and a legislative update. You won’t want to miss this two day event! You can register for all both days on PDI’s website starting February 28. Hotel reservations at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel (800) 514-4706 or by WEBLINK...

Book your group rate: Professional Developers of Iowa >>

PDI’s room rate is $125/night.


 Iowa Developers: Have You Registered for Heartland?

"Can't imagine doing my job without having taken this course!" -2013 Heartland Graduate

Early Registration Deadline Approaching!

Heartland Economic Development Course offers economic developers, chamber of commerce professionals, public administrators, planners and community leaders FIVE days of intensive training in the basic concepts, information, methods and strategies of local economic development. Heartland fulfills one of the education prerequisites for those who wish to take examinations for Certified Economic Development (CEcD) designation.

"My head is exploding with new ideas!" -2013 Heartland Graduate

Click to Register for Heartland >>

 BRE Program Award Applications Due April 1

Every economic development professional knows that business retention and expansion (BRE) is a fundamental component of any economic development program. To promote successful BRE programming, PDI, along with our sponsors Smart Solutions Group and eSynchronist, will once again recognize local communities and organizations that are successfully implementing BRE programs. All PDI Members are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Four awards will be given to outstanding communities during the SMART Conference on Thursday, May 1, 2014. The awards will recognize communities that stand out above the rest with successful initiatives. There are two award categories:

  1. The Overall BRE Program Award will recognize communities/counties or regions that have established a successful, continuous BRE program in their area.
  2. The Single Project (Issue) Success Award will recognize a community that successfully mobilized to retain and/or expand an existing business.
This is a chance to be recognized in front of your peers and celebrate the victories in your community. Please submit your application by April 1, 2014.


 Supply Chain Forum
February 26, 2014
8:30 AM — 1:00 PM
University of Northern Iowa Commons Bldg
Cedar Falls, Iowa
More Information >>

 Women Mean Business Summit
February 27, 2014
8:00 AM — 6:00 PM
Sheraton West Des Moines
West Des Moines, IA
Visit >>

 OU/EDI Strategic Planning Course
March 17 — May 11, 2014
More Information >>

 2014 Statewide STEM Conference
March 28, 2014
Des Moines, IA More Information & Registration >>

 Heartland Economic Development Course
April 6-10, 2014
Adams Pointe Conference Center
Blue Springs, Missouri
More Information >>

 C2ER Training Sessions: The Fundamentals of Impact Analysis
April 16 & 17, 2014
Arlington, VA
More Information & Registration >>

 Iowa SMART Conference
May 1, 2014
Iowa Event Center
Des Moines, Iowa
More Information >>

 EntreFEST 2014
May 14-16, 2014
Iowa City, IA
More Information >>

 OU/EDI Entrepreneurship Course
May 19 — July 13, 2014
More Information >>

 OU/EDI Marketing & Attraction Course
July 21 — September 14, 2014
More Information >>

 OU/EDI Business Retention & Expansion Course
September 22 — November 16, 2014
More Information >>

For more information, contact Lynn Harkin, PDI Headquarters at (515) 243-4585 or Email


PDI Thanks the 2014 Sponsors



Alliant Energy

Renew Rural Iowa

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

Conference Exhibit Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Center for Industrial Research & Service - ISU
Convergent Fundraising Solutions
Diligent Development

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Midland Power Cooperative

Spring only
Iowa Utility Association

Fall only
Greater Burlington Partnership

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