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By Jason Hutcheson, PDI President

Jason Hutcheson
PDI President

The Legislative Season Awaits!

Although 2014 is coming to an end, the Iowa Legislature will soon be called into session. It appears as though leadership in both chambers will largely stay unchanged, yet there are several new members of both the house and senate.

PDI's legislative committee, under the leadership of Wayne Pantini, Kiley Miller, and Brian Crowe along with the lobbying team at Campbell/Patterson, have been hard at work formulating your legislative agenda for the upcoming season. While Iowa has enjoyed many economic development successes in recent years, we can not afford to rest on our laurels. There is still much to be done.

I will spotlight a couple of those items for you:

Transportation Infrastructure Among PDI's legislative priorities is a long-term financial solution for Iowa's transportation network. As practitioners, I don't have to tell you about the significance of integrated transportation networks. Our system is not just a section of road, rail, river, or runway here and there. The ability to move freight from Point A to Point B across an entire corridor is what matters to corporate real estate decision-makers. The State of Iowa, as well as our cities and counties, have been deferring maintenance on our roads and bridges for far too long. The bill for that deferred maintenance will eventually come due, and now is the time raise the appropriate revenue for the long-term.

Workforce and Housing Companies need workers, and those workers need a place to live. These two items go hand-in-hand, and PDI members should get acquainted with the Workforce Housing Tax Credit and the continual efforts to align workforce delivery services to the needs of industry. The legislature should continue to seek input from practitioners as they tweak and modify these programs.

PDI Members Need to Engage Legislators represent a wide variety of career tracks and philosophies on economic policy. Their individual specialties span multiple interests. No one can be an expert on every topic, but PDI members ARE experts when it comes to economic development. It is OUR job to link the attraction of jobs and capital investment to policy measures. Much of the general public only understands the basics of economic development, and therefore, legislators often rely on PDI members for insight into important issues. You have a DUTY to know your legislator by name, become familiar with PDI's legislative priorities, and familiarize yourself with the issues to provide timely input. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Craig Patterson ( or any of the legislative co-chairs.

Be sure to mark your calendars for PDI's Grow Iowa Day on February 4th



 IEDA, Iowa Energy Office, Funding Opportunity Announcement

IEDA, Iowa Energy Office, has released a funding opportunity and is seeking proposals that address the current priorities of the office or represent an innovative idea that addresses an important and timely energy challenge. The current Energy Office priorities include:

  • Energy management and energy efficiency projects in commercial, multi-family, and/or industrial sectors.
  • Resources to promote energy improvements in the transportation sector (as scored by the ACEEE scorecard, available on the IowaGrants Funding Opportunity).
  • Efforts that will lessen the impacts of propane shortages in the state.
  • Collaborative projects developed through the federal E3 (Economy, Energy, and Environment) program.
  • Projects aimed to improve the energy management and/or energy efficiency of wastewater treatment facilities.

The funding opportunity information and proposal guidelines can be found at, funding opportunity #100450.

IEDA will consider proposals submitted by any individual or organization. This includes governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and private entities. Please forward to other entities that may be interested in applying.

The deadline to apply is February 2, 2015.

Funding Opportunity #100450 all for Proposals and Guidelines >>

 Study offers suggestions to bolster Iowa economy
By Perry Beeman, Senior Staff Writer, Business Record Daily PM, December 18, 2014

Iowa's economy is struggling more than it should and the state needs to simplify its tax code, find cash for roadway projects and establish incentives to lure workers to Iowa, the Battelle Memorial Institute found in an 18-month study released today.

The governor-appointed Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress commissioned Battelle to update a decade-old look at Iowa's approach to economic development. This time, Battelle found a state with a dozen promising industry clusters and solid growth, but lagging pay, worker shortages and a complex and pricey corporate tax system.





 PDI 2015 Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Iowa State Capitol Rotunda, Des Moines, IA

Join us for the 2015 Grow Iowa Day at the Iowa State Capitol on February 4, 2015. As you know, Grow Iowa Day is PDI's best opportunity to demonstrate to legislators the strength and breadth of our membership organization. Legislators respond to their constituents which is why it is so important that our members attend in mass and dialogue with them. We realize this important event requires an investment of your time and financial resources, but our history with the Grow Iowa Day has demonstrated a tremendous return on investment with our legislators. During these economic recovery times, it is critical that we communicate to legislators that we stand ready to grow Iowa's economy, but need their help in maintaining a business friendly atmosphere.

We appreciated your support last year. Exhibit spaces are available and the application form is attached or online at We are adding an additional element to the 2014 agenda through a planned, systematic unveil of PDI's legislative agenda plus participation in ‘sister' organizations legislative events - all culminating in Grow Iowa Day in the Capitol rotunda.

You may want to consider being an Annual Sponsor or a Triple Event Sponsor next year. You can receive benefits for all PDI events or choose any three out of four events that PDI has slated for 2015 including Grow Iowa Day. More information on sponsorships is available at

If you want more information, contact PDI Headquarters at


 Cultivation Corridor Begins to Sprout
Backers launch specific plans to establish ag biosciences hub.
By Perry Beeman, Business Record, December 12, 2014

The Cultivation Corridor messaging has been planted in Central Iowa, and now backers have a to-do list to help it grow. The corridor, officially named in April, is supposed to be Iowa's answer to North Carolina's Research Triangle or California's Silicon Valley. Backers have raised money, hired Executive Director Brent Willett, launched an elaborate website, started appearing at major conferences, and assembled a board that features leaders from the fields of agriculture, higher education, power generation, manufacturing and communication.


 Wellsburg Wind Farm Gets Set to Go Online
By Jim Offner, Cedar Valley Business Monthly Online, November 2, 2014

Turbines soon will be humming on one of MidAmerican Energy Co.'s first Cedar Valley wind farms.

A 60-turbine wind farm that will generate 140.8 megawatts is going up in Wellsburg, a town of 750 people in Grundy County. It's part of the utility's Wind VIII Project, which also includes four other new wind farms, in Marshall, Webster, Madison and O'Brien counties.

It's part of a plan MidAmerican Energy unveiled in May 2013 to invest as much as $1.9 billion to expand its wind portfolio by the end of 2015.


 AML, ISA Are Iowa Tourism Champions

The Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission awarded 11 Champion Awards to local individuals or businesses, as well as three Visitor Choice Awards to local organizations, earlier this week at the Annual Celebration at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

Individuals and organizations were recognized for their commitment to the community through partnerships with Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau/Des Moines Area Sports Commission staff, clients and partners from July 2013 to June 2014. These locals were celebrated for championing tourism.

More Information >>

 Byers to Lead Chamber Alliance Executive Committee
Business Record Daily PM, December 3, 2014

The Iowa Chamber Alliance has selected Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, as its 2015 chairman. Also named were Dee Baird, president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, vice chair; and treasurer Tara Barney, president and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. Also on the committee will be Jason Hutcheson, president and CEO of the Greater Burlington Partnership, and Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce. Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, is immediate past chairman.

 ICAD Group's Workplace Culture Initiative Wins Economic Development Award
TEAM Centered Workplace Concept Gaining More Members

The Mid-America Economic Development Council presented its annual Economic Development awards at the 2014 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum, held December 7-9 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, and the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group Received First Place in the Business Retention and Expansion Category for their entry "Making Iowa City and Iowa's Creative Corridor a Hub for Workplace Culture."

Mark Nolte, ICAD Group's President, said this initiative stems from data collected through its annual existing industry survey. "As we came out of the recession, we started to see a greater divide among area companies struggling for workers, losing workforce, and those who had unfavorable opinions on local workforce, versus companies that were seeing year-over-year growth," said Nolte. "In fact, we noticed that companies that were showing high value and low risk scores were also receiving accolades as some of the "fastest growing" and "best places to work" in our region, so workplace culture became a priority."

More Information >>

 Honey Creek Resort, Relieved from Debt, Makes Small Profit
State considering new management structure

By Erin Jordan, The Gazette, December 10, 2014

The Mid-America Economic Development Council presented its annual Economic Development awards at the 2014 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum, held December 7-9 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, and the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group Received First Place in the Business Retention and Expansion Category for their entry "Making Iowa City and Iowa's Creative Corridor a Hub for Workplace Culture."

Iowa's only state-owned resort made a small profit last year, as the state paid off debt for the facility.

Honey Creek Resort, near Moravia, brought in nearly $6.1 million in the year that ended June 30, spending $5.93, for an operating income of $163,930 for the year, according to an audit released Wednesday by the State Auditor's Office.





 Did You Know?
Snippets from 2014 Member Survey

Nearly 70% of members have been involved in Economic Development for 8 years or longer.

 Clayberg Receives CEcD Designation from the IEDC

Nate Clayberg, Director of Business Retention and Expansion with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Clayberg is the third member of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Economic Development team to receive the CEcD distinction, joining CEO Steve Dust and Vice President of Economic Development Lisa Skubal.

More Information >>

 New Members

Brandy Ripley, Development Director, City of Pocahontas, Pocahontas, IA
Todd Valline, Executive Director, Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Harlan, IA

 Job Postings:

City of Norwalk Planning and Economic Development Director, Norwalk

More Information >>




 Revolving Loan Fund Workshops
January 12, 2015
Southwest Performing Arts Center/Southern Prairie YMCA, Creston, IA
More Information & Registration >>

 Revolving Loan Fund Workshops
January 14, 2015
Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation, Algona, IA
More Information & Registration >>

 Revolving Loan Fund Workshops
January 14, 2015
YMCA, Postville, IA
More Information & Registration >>

 Heartland Economic Development Course, Inc.
April 19-23, 2015
Adam's Pointe Conference Center, Blue Springs, MO
More Information & Registration >>
Scholarship Information >>

 PDI 2015 Spring Event
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Location/Time/Topic TBD

 SMART Conference
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, Des Moines, IA
Renaissance Savery Hotel — Sleeping Room (TBD)
$65 economic developers / $50 for volunteer leaders / $75 on-site registration

 PDI's Fall Conference
September 23-25, 2015
Historic Park Inn, Holiday Inn Express
Mason City, IA

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




 Heartland Economic Development Course, Inc.

April 19-23, 2015
Adam's Pointe Conference Center, Blue Springs, MO

"Heartland greatly increased my knowledge of economic development and ignited several ideas I want to pursue for my community!" - Heartland Graduate 2014

More Information & Registration >>

Scholarship Information >>

HEDC Class

2014 CLASS: Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota

Whether you are from a rural or urban area, chamber, City, EDO or planning department, Heartland will benefit you and your organization.

The Heartland Economic Development Course (HEDC) offers you intensive training in the basic concepts, information, methods, and strategies of local economic development. A diverse and experienced faculty, composed of both practitioners and topical experts, provide just the right blend of practice and theory.

Looking to kick-start your professional development? Graduation from Heartland fulfills one of the education prerequisites for those who wish to take examinations for the Certified Economic Development (CEcD) designation.

The HEDC is accredited by the International Economic Development Council, which accredits a number of Basic Economic Development Courses (BEDC) that provide the foundation for entry-level economic development practitioners, allied professionals, community leaders and volunteers. The HEDC and other basic courses serve as the equivalent to IEDC's Introduction to Economic Development Course for those interested in the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) Certification through IEDC.

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