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By Jason Hutcheson, PDI President

Jason Hutcheson
PDI President

With little doubt, your BRE program probably consumes a good majority on your time on a weekly basis. Between scheduling your Synchronist visits, conducting the calls, logging the results, and completing follow-up, it is perhaps the most underappreciated category of work local economic developers do.

That's why PDI, in conjunction with the SMART Conference, has created the Business Retention and Expansion Awards Program. Your organization could be recognized by Governor Branstad for outstanding work with Iowa's existing companies.

Nominations are due April 1, and the complete details as well as a list of past winners can be viewed at Remember, you can only receive recognition if you are nominated, so get your paperwork in today!

Final Reminder — Grow Iowa Day is approaching quickly, and I hope you have February 4th on your calendar. Booths to showcase your community, company, or organization are still available.

Get all the details here >>

We will see you soon.


 GOP Makes U-turn on Net Neutrality By Kate Tummarello, Politico, January 15, 2015

Republicans in Congress are doing a 180 on net neutrality as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to issue new rules within weeks.

For years, GOP lawmakers have adamantly opposed any rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally, calling them unnecessary and an example of Washington overreach.


 Truckers Gain From Diesel's Drop After Gasoline Plunge: Freight
By Lynn Doan, Bloomberg, January 16, 2015

Chris Bortz has seen the cost of gasoline for his car drop by almost half since June. The price of diesel used by his construction business has lagged behind.

That's about to change as sliding farm demand after the U.S. harvest and milder weather brings diesel, nearly identical to heating oil, more in line with gasoline. Government forecasts show the fuel dropping to $2.73 a gallon by June. The average retail price slipped below $3 this week for the first time in four years.


 2014 Foreclosure Filings Hit Lowest Level Since 2006, RealtyTrac Says
By Erin Carlyle, Forbes Staff, Forbes, January 15, 2015

Foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were down 18% in 2014 compared to the prior year, according to a report released today by Irvine, Calif.-based real estate data firm RealtyTrac. The 1.12 million properties with filings during 2014 represent a 61% drop from 2010, when foreclosure filings peaked at 2.87 million.




 Transportation Day 2015 Set for January 28

Advocates for increased transportation infrastructure revenue will again hold Transportation Day in 2015. On January 28, participants from across the state will gather for a morning briefing before heading to the State Capitol to talk with Legislators about addressing the need to increase income for state, county, and city transportation projects.

More Information on Iowa's Infrastructure >>

More Information on Transportation Day >>

 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


 ScoutPro of Iowa Honored as Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year
By Cyndie Sirekis, AFBF, and Brynn Boyer, GSEI, Iowa Farm Bureau, January 13, 2015

The American Farm Bureau Federation together with Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative's StartupHoyas has announced the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year as part of the first-ever Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The winner was announced at AFBF's 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show. Four finalists competed for the award by pitching their business ideas to a team of judges before a live audience.

ScoutPro of Lone Tree, Iowa, team lead Michael Koenig, was named Entrepreneur of the Year from a field of four finalists and received a total of $30,000 in prize money to implement his business idea, which is software to assist farmers with crop maintenance.


 Iowa SBA Hires New District Director
Business Record, January 13, 2015

Jayne Armstrong has been named the new Small Business Administration Iowa district director, replacing former director Joe Folsom, who retired last year. Armstrong joined the Iowa district office from the SBA's office of field operations in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as the district director for the Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia offices, and as a regional advocate in the SBA's office of advocacy. In her new job, she will manage the Des Moines district office and the Cedar Rapids branch office. Armstrong began her duties yesterday.




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

Nearly 29% of members get education reimbursement as a benefit of their job in economic development.

 What Do You Know (Or What Do You Want to Know)?

At the PDI Board strategic planning session in November, Board members discussed ways that the more seasoned members of our profession could share our hard earned wisdom with those new to economic development. To this end, the PR/Communications Committee is planning to add a new section to the PDI Post and we need your help. If you are one of our long-tenured economic developers, we would love to have you share your wisdom in the Post. If you are a new member, what topics would you like to learn more about? Please e-mail us your thoughts and ideas at or We hope to hear from you soon so that we can start the new article in the next issue of the Post.

 12 EASY Ways to Get Involved in Your Professional Association — PDI Needs Your Help

  1. Volunteer for a committee. Don't think you have the time/availability? Then consider just an hour to two saying you'd help at PDI event (staffing at registration, be the photographer, put out signage, etc.)
  2. Contribute to PDI's publications. Write a newsletter article about how a success story in your community or your work with elected leaders or that you've found a time saving technology.
  3. Write on PDI's blog — start a discussion on how something you have a question about; acknowledge a new program or new staffer in your region; share a new funding source.
  4. Place an ad in PDI's newsletter or on the website — get your message about services your provide to the state's economic development professionals.
  5. Sponsor a PDI event — network with ED folks and spotlight your organization at one of PDI's premier events or put your company logo on one of the a la carte items.
  6. Promote PDI — download PDI’s logo from the website and put it in your Email signature or on your website telling your constituency that you are a proud member of PDI.
  7. Share educational events — is your organization or region putting on a seminar, webinar or educational session? Put it out in PDI's newsletter and on the website calendar of events.
  8. Send us your press releases so we can spotlight your successes — add us to your distribution list at Add to your press releases that you are a proud member of PDI too!
  9. Host a legislative roundtable or coffee with your local legislators — Discuss PDI and local development priorities with them (although make sure they understand which are local priorities, and which are PDI priorities). Feel free to give them information from the PDI website and any local information you feel is important.
  10. Renew YOUR membership & encourage one of your colleagues to join PDI — PDI is an important voice in economic development and in growing Iowa — thanks for your support!
  11. Request the PDI pop-up banners & materials for your organizational events, annual meeting and such to show the importance of PDI's commitment to economic development. Contact Lynn at to reserve.
  12. Attend PDI Events — What better way to learn, network and get your money's worth than to meet with your fellow economic development professionals and have some fun too!

 New Members

Rita C. Grimm, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Des Moines
Nicolas Hockenberry, Jackson County Economic Alliance, Maquoketa
Tina Hoffman, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Des Moines
Tricia Janes, Iowa Small Business Development Center, Des Moines
Mike Lukan, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Cedar Rapids
Lisa Shimkat, Iowa Small Business Development Center, Des Moines

 Scholarship Recipient

David Miller, Rock Valley Economic Development, Rock Valley IA — Heartland ED Course
Beth Waddle, Adams Community Economic Development Corp., Corning, IA — Heartland ED Course

 Job Postings:

Wright County Economic Development Director, Clarion, IA

More Information >>




 Mainstreet Iowa Application Workshop
Monday, March 23 / 1 - 5 p.m.
Cliff's Place
417 Main Street
Manning, Iowa
More Information & Registration >>

 Mainstreet Iowa Application Workshop
Wednesday, March 25 / 1 - 5 p.m.
Appanoose Rapids Brewing Company
332 East Main Street
Ottumwa, Iowa
More Information & Registration >>

 Mainstreet Iowa Application Workshop
Thursday, March 26 / 1 - 5 p.m.
Cedar Falls Public Library (2nd floor meeting room)
524 Main Street
Cedar Falls, Iowa
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
1:00-7:00 pm
Farm Bureau Headquarters, West Des Moines, IA

 SMART Conference
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, Des Moines, IA
Renaissance Savery Hotel — Sleeping Room (TBD)

 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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