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By Jason Hutcheson, PDI President

Jason Hutcheson
PDI President

PDI's Grow Iowa Day - Be There!

When it comes to politics, it is often said that if you are not sitting AT the table, you are likely to be ON the table! While PDI is not anticipating major defensive plays this upcoming legislative season, TIF is always an issue that can rear its ugly head at any point in time. In addition, we have a number of offensive plays which have a great chance of gaining traction in the coming months. Movement on the key issues of tax policy and infrastructure funding will not occur by some random act of goodwill, however. Real progress will only occur with a well-executed strategy by PDI and its allies.

For these reasons, it is vital that PDI members stay engaged- especially from now until spring.

One of your best opportunities to do so is by attending the annual Grow Iowa Day at the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines on February 4th. Your organization and/or your region can secure a booth to showcase your area for a mere $200. Beyond that, there is no cost to attend- it is included as a member benefit to you. The Rotunda is a great place to interact with legislators and their staff members, and it gives everyone in the building a great reason to talk about economic development strategy and policy.

Your legislative co-chairs are working hard on the logistics of the day and the lobbying team at Campbell/Patterson is sure to help the day be successful.

To achieve maximum success, we need a good representation from our 300+ membership base. Remember- there are 150 legislators covering every corner of this state. Whether you represent a large community or a small one, we need you there. Whether you are directly engaged in local economic development or provide support services to the industry, we need you there.

It is clear that you are passionate about what you do. Come share that passion with our lawmakers. On February 4th, be at the table- not on it!


 Analysis: Open Enrollment Can Hurt Iowa's Smallest and Largest Schools
Student moves lead to shift of money, add to budget pressures
Andrew Phillips, The Gazette, December 31, 2014

Iowa's smallest and largest school districts have lost students to open enrollment for more than the past decade, a pattern that has compounded existing budgetary strains for some districts and is likely to continue, one state analyst said.

Iowa's open enrollment law, which took effect in 1989, allows parents to move their children to a school outside the district in which they reside. The student's home district then sends the receiving district that student's tuition dollars — an amount of $6,121 for the 2014-2015 school year.


 Durham Promises to Stay Another Year as Iowa Economic Development Head
Won’t commit to serving in post beyond 2015
By Erin Murphy, Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau, December 16, 2014

Debi Durham, the top economic development official in Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration, has promised only to stay for the next year as director of the state’s economic development board.

Durham told the Lee/Gazette Des Moines Bureau that she has not pledged to stay on as director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the next four years, but said she will remain at the post for the next year.


 IEDA awards $9 million to Greater Des Moines projects
in $51 million handout of federal funds

By Kent Darr, Senior Staff Writer, Business Record Daily AM, January 9, 2015

The 2015 Book of Lists was revealed last night at an unveiling party hosted by Wells Fargo & Co. at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.

Published annually in January, the Business Record's Book of Lists is the definitive resource guide for business professionals in the Central Iowa area.




 PDI Needs Your Help

We have committed to provide displays/personnel to two of our 'sister' organizations events and need some PDI members to help out with staffing.

Transportation Day is Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm at the Iowa State Capital. We don't have a lot of details at this time, but could use help particularly with the PDI exhibit in the rotunda from lunchtime until 3:00 pm.

The Travel Federation of Iowa Showcase is Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. PDI has an exhibit booth and this is a great reception that many legislators will attend. We need help from about 4:00 to 8:00 pm and would work out two-hour shifts.

If you can help at either of these events, please contact PDI Executive Director, Lynn Harkin at or (515) 334-1067. Thank you!

 Professional Developers of Iowa — Look to Us — For solutions

Have you been looking for clear, concise messages when it comes to working with local, state or federal elected officials — or the media with regard to economic development issues? Your PDI Legislative Leaders have developed talking points for your use. We encourage you to use this document to show that PDI is the place to come for answers — leadership — results. Check it out at

SAMPLE: We are dedicated professionals with a personal stake in Iowa's future. We know the local economic development scene better than anyone. And we're also focused on the big picture. We're involved every day in promoting growth that's right for Iowa communities. We have the creativity, technical know-how and determination to produce practical solutions to economic development challenges. PDI is a partner you can count on when you're looking for solutions.

Review the Talking Points Here >>

 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


 Expanded Mill Operation Near Parkersburg to Provide New Feed Options
By Jim Offner, Cedar Valley Business Monthly Online, December 22, 2014

A new feed mill is taking shape near Parkersburg, which will mean bigger production volumes for clients and perhaps a 40 percent increase in its employee roster, its manager says.

Sinclair Elevator Inc., which operates a couple of miles east of town, is building a 170-foot-tall structure that will virtually double the production capacity of its current facility on the property, from about 400,000 tons to 800,000 tons of feed annually, said Jim Lubbers, plant manager.


 Creative Corridor Receives $50,000 Grant from IEDA
Originally Published in the Tipton Newsletter January 2015

Director Debi Durham of the Iowa Economic Development Authority recently awarded the Creative Corridor Alliance $50,000 for economic development initiatives in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. The Alliance, made up of economic development representatives from Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties, as well as Kirkwood Community College and local utility partners, will use these funds to bolster planned programming in regional branding, existing industry and workforce development.

Funding will be used to support programming that improves the communication of the distinctiveness of Iowa’s Creative Corridor and the strengths of the regional brand. Additionally, funding will be allocated to workforce attraction, recruitment and retention programs, including military and veteran workforce programs as well as existing industry initiatives designed to improve workplace culture.

These projects are part of larger regional marketing and workforce development plans currently underway. The award is being made to Kirkwood Community College who will administer the funding and documentation. The contract will begin on January 1, 2015.

 Bachelor Mania Could Beef up Iowa's Image
Originally Published in CBJ Morning Rush, January 5, 2015

With (hunky) Iowa farmer Chris Soules set to meet viewers tonight as the next subject of ABC's "The Bachelor," PR and business development professionals are hoping for an influx of interest in the state, the Des Moines Register reports. Filming took place in both Mr. Soules' hometown of Arlington, as well as in up-and-coming areas of Dubuque and Des Moines - some nice publicity for a state desperately trying to shed its "flyover state" reputation and kick-start its sluggish population growth. Now let's just hope the contestants make for some riveting television.



 Did You Know?
Snippets from 2014 Member Survey...

83% of PDI members experienced a salary increase in 2014.




 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

 International Training on Importing, Filing an EEI, and Exporting
May 19 & 20, 2015
Iowa Farm Bureau Auditorium
West Des Moines, IA
More Information & 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

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