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PDI 40 Years


By Stacie LoVan, PDI President

Stacie LoVan
PDI President
It was great to see everyone at the SMART Conference and PDI Spring Event! What a great two days with many positive messages and take-aways that we can use across all Iowa regions!

Both days started with updates from our state leaders. During the SMART Conference, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor provided great updates on successes Iowa has seen recently and Debi Durham shared IEDA initiatives and how far Iowa has come in reaching our economic growth goals. At the PDI event, Representative David Jacoby shared what is being done in Iowa to promote STEM education.

It was refreshing to hear Neil Linscheid with the University of Minnesota Extension talk about the positive trends happening in rural America, rather than the doom and gloom typically associated with the changing rural demographics. People moving to rural areas are in their prime earning years: This is Brain Gain! How are you going to take this new perspective and use it in your community to change the story?

Congratulations to the BRE award winners! There are some truly amazing accomplishments coming out of business retention and expansion programs across Iowa. If you were unable to attend the breakout session on BRE Best Practices at the SMART Conference, you should take some time to visit with one of the award recipients about their program.

Thank you to our annual and conference sponsors who provide the support, expertise and guidance we need to offer these types of events and other PDI services. I would also like to thank Smart Solutions Group and Blane-Canada Synchronist Suite for their leadership in business retention and expansion efforts across the nation and for their sponsorship of PDI's BRE Awards.

 The winners of the Overall Program Awards were:

Ames EDC
Ames Economic Development Commission who used Synchronist information to develop a three-pronged workforce development initiative. Accepting the award is Ron Hallenbeck, Executive Vice President.

Greater Dubuque
Greater Dubuque Development Corporation who stepped in to help local businesses with communications issues following a construction accident. Representing GDDC are Dan McDonald - Vice President of Existing Business and Mark Seckman - Vice President of National Marketing

Quad Cities
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce who used their Business Connections program to provide assistance to 416 requests last year and to identify an expansion opportunity for Alcoa, leading to the area's largest business expansion in the past 10 years. Sharing in the award are Paul Rumler, Executive Vice President and Chief Economic Development Officer; Tom Flaherty, Vice President, Regional Business Development; Julie Forsythe, Project Manager, Innovation and Sharon Moore, Economic Development Assistant

 This year's Single Project awards went to:

Iowa Lakes Corridor
Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation who used their relationship with Polaris Industries to assist with an expansion of the company and occupy 560,000 square feet of recently vacated space. On behalf of the Corridor were Kathy Evert, President & CEO; Brian Dalziel, Senior Vice President; and Joanne Follon, Economic Development Coordinator

Midwest Partnership Scranton
Midwest Partnership Economic Development Corporation who through Synchronist visits identified an expansion opportunity by Scranton Manufacturing and assisted with eliminating the barriers that were preventing the company's growth. Present were MPEDC Board President Warren Varley; Sarah Gomez, Economic Development Coordinator, and Chad Schreck, Executive Director


 Drew Conrad Talks about PDI's 40th Anniversary


View Drew Conrad's Interview >>


 State of Iowa Seeks Feedback

The State of Iowa, through the Iowa Economic Development Agency (IEDA) and the Iowa Finance Authority (FA), is undertaking the development of the 2015-2019 HUD Consolidated Plan. Part of the Consolidated Plan process involves outreach to citizens, municipal leaders, officials, and key stakeholders to request input on housing and community development needs and conditions and to provide input in HUD-funded activities for the next five years. Additionally, IEDA is seeking feedback on proposed changes to its method of distribution for CDBG for the upcoming Consolidated Plan cycle.

Click to View Survey >>

 Certified Sites Announced

On April 28, Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds announced the first four industrial sites to achieve certification through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) certified site program. These four sites are located in the communities of Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Van Meter and Dexter. In an effort to address the lack of project-ready industrial sites in the state, the IEDA rolled out the Iowa Certified Site Program in May 2012. This is an independent, third-party certification program that uses the nationally recognized site selection firm of McCallum Sweeney Consulting (MSC) as the sole certifying agent. The Iowa Certified Site Program is designed to consider a combination of national site location standards as well as Iowa's natural assets and industry needs of the state's targeted sectors. Three subsequent application rounds have been opened since the program was established and 15 additional sites are currently working their way through various phases of the program. The next round of applications will be accepted in July. For more information on the Certified Sites Program, contact Chris Cataldo, IEDA Program Manager at (515) 725-3157 or

Information on Iowa Certified Site Program >>

 Reinvestment Districts Being Reviewed

The Iowa Reinvestment District Program was designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that will improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. The program provides for up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be "reinvested" within approved districts. Districts cannot exceed 25 acres in size, and must be in an Enterprise Zone or Urban Renewal Area. Iowa Reinvestment District plans must include tax revenues generated by "new retail establishments" and "new lessors". New retail establishments cannot exceed 50 percent of the total proposed capital investment. At least one of the new proposed projects within the district must reach a total capital investment of $10 million. And, the total amount of new tax revenues to be remitted to the municipality cannot exceed 35 percent of the total cost of all proposed projects in the district plan.

More Information >>

 Four Iowa Sites Deemed 'Shovel Ready' for Development
By Matthew Patane,, April 28, 2014

Four sites in Iowa have been deemed ready for development after receiving official certification that they are shovel ready.

At a press conference today, Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced that sites in Fort Dodge, Van Meter, Dexter and Iowa Falls are the first to be certified under the authority's site certification program.


 Notice of Funding Availability:
Railroad Revolving and Grant Program

The Railroad 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 program is funded through appropriations from the state legislature and repayments from loans for rail development projects funded in the past. For state fiscal year 2015, the program has an expected minimum of $4,000,000 available for eligible projects.

More Information >>

 Flooding in Iowa

Professionals in your industry may, at times, deal with issues related to floodplain management or the National Flood Insurance Program. We wanted to make you aware of a newly created Flooding in Iowa video educational series.

In a collaborative effort with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has created Flooding in Iowa, a series of 21 web-based videos and related materials designed to educate the public about floodplains, flood risks and basic floodplain management principles.

More Information >>



 Policy News

Please see the most recent edition of Policy Perspectives.

Read Policy Perspectives >>


 RAIL.ONE Opens $22M Plant in Clinton
By Jennifer DeWitt, Quad City Times, April 29, 2014

German manufacturer RAIL.ONE Group celebrated its entrance into the U.S. market Tuesday with the opening of a $22 million concrete rail tie plant in Clinton's Lincolnway Railport.

RAIL.ONE chief executive officer Jochen Riepl said the plant is the global company's newest and "one of the most modern production facilities in the concrete tie industry."


 Home Base Iowa Act Passes

Over the course of the next five years, the U.S. Armed Services will downsize by at least 350,000 troops — many of whom have been living overseas for several years. With this tremendous influx of military professionals entering the job market, Governor Branstad and General Orr saw an opportunity to honor our country's veterans while simultaneously bridging Iowa's skills gaps. This opportunity later became the Home Base Iowa initiative. Home Base Iowa is a non-profit, private-public partnership that aims to recruit veterans and active duty service members for private-sector job opportunities in Iowa. As veterans seek civilian careers, Home Base Iowa will provide the tools they need to succeed. Home Base Iowa will be used to recruit our nation's best and brightest to Iowa, providing Iowa employers with qualified workers who already possess highly sought after skills — leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, and time management, just to name a few.

More Information >>



 New Members

Connie Talan, Business Retention & Expansion Specialist, Waverly Area Economic Development, Waverly
Bill Demuth, Director of Economic Development, City of Webster City, Webster City
Bradley E. Johnson VP/GM, Knutson Construction Services, Iowa City
Chad Heiman, Marion Economic Development Company - MEDCO, Marion
Starlyn Isaacson, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs
Sharon Stroh, Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation, Angola
David Gleiser, Director - Rural Economic Development, Woodbury County Rural Econ Dev, Sioux City
Corey Clark, Director of Business Development, Point Builders, LLC, Cedar Falls
Andrew Jensen, Mahaska County Development Group, Oskaloosa
Philip E. Jordan, Tippie Business Liaison, University of Iowa , Iowa City
Chloe Wallace, Executive Director, Sac Economic & Tourism Development, Sac City

 Job Postings:

Vice President, National Business Attraction, The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Davenport
Community Development Director, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Fort Dodge
Executive Director, Fayette County Economic Development, West Union
President & CEO Iowa Lakes Corridor, Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, NW Iowa
Director of Economic Development, Buchanan County Economic Development, Independence
Economic Development Specialist, City of Urbandale, Urbandale
Director, International Business Development, Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, Omaha
President & CEO, North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation Mason City, Mason City

More Information >>



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

 PDI's The Partners, The Profession, The Process
July 15, 2014 - 9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Farm Bureau Offices, West Des Moines, IA
Register with

 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 >>

 PDI Fall Conference
September 24-26, 2014
Honey Creek Resort, Moravia, IA
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 Supporting Sponsors
Black Hills Energy (Fall only)

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

Fall Only
JEO Consulting Group Inc.
Iowa Small Business Development Centers
North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation
Spring Only
UNI-Small Business Development Center

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors — Fall & Spring
Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)
Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Midland Power Cooperative
Spring only
Iowa Utility Association
Fall only
Access Energy
Greater Burlington Partnership
Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative

Host Community Sponsors
Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative
Indian Hills Community College
Lucas County Development Corporation
Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative
Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, Inc.
The Opportunity Squared

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