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   President's Message   Development Update   Legislative Update   Statewide Pride   Education   Who's Who   Events May 5, 2016

President's Message

By Wayne Pantini, PDI President

Wayne Pantini
PDI President

What an outstanding crowd at the PDI Spring Event and Iowa Economic SMART Conference! This is one of those events that provides a great return on investment of our PDI Membership. The educational and networking opportunities will stay with the professional for many years to come. Membership in our organization is a two-way street. The return on investment is directly related to the contribution that each member provides to the organization. Whether you are new to the profession or a seasoned veteran, there are plenty of opportunities to share your perspectives and experiences with others in the association. This shared knowledge makes us stronger as a profession.

Here are our membership categories:

Regular Member - an individual professionally employed in an economic development related position, either full time or part time, in the state of Iowa. Membership dues are paid by the employer or organization they represent. In the case of transfer of membership, the membership stays with the organization.

Individual Regular Member - an individual professionally employed in an economic development related position, either full time or part time in the state of Iowa, Membership dues are personally paid by the member. In the case of transfer of membership, the membership goes with the individual.

Associate Member - an individual interested in economic development, or part of a volunteer economic development organization, but not professionally employed in economic development activity in Iowa.

Student - an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in an economic development related field of study ad interested in pursuing economic development as a profession.

For more information go to Join PDI.

Wayne J. Pantini

 PDI Spring Event a Huge Success

125 Economic developers from around the state of Iowa gathered at the DMACC Center for Career & Professional Development in Des Moines Iowa last week to hear from PDI's Lobbyist on recent legislative updates; learn from an ISU Extension panel on immigration and how to integrate workers; enjoy a presentation on sharing your economic development story and working with the media; and experience the stories of several successful business models that broke the mold on innovation.

Panel on Welcoming & Integrating a New Workforce, introduced by USDA Director Bill Menner.

Panel on Strategies for Grown — Successful Business Models, moderated by Sandy Ehrig.

Kiley Miller presents on Telling Your Community Story.

 PDI Members enjoy a reception at the Governor's Mansion, Terrace Hill.




Economic Development Organizations Receive Awards
for Business Retention and Expansion Efforts

The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) honored economic development organizations from the Cedar Valley, Lee County, the Quad Cities, and Fort Dodge during the SMART Economic Development Conference held in Des Moines on April 28.

The PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards Program recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional economic development initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies. Receiving awards for their support of BRE in 2016 were:

BRE Overall Program:
Lee County Economic Development Group
Best of the Cedar Valley

Single Project:
Quad Cities Chamber/Quad Cities First -Kraft Heinz Foods Company
Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance - Riverside Facility

"Supporting Iowa's existing industry is a key priority for PDI's membership," stated Wayne Pantini, PDI President. "The BRE Awards are intended to increase the focus on fostering Iowa business growth by economic development organizations and spotlight BRE programs and projects that have made a significant impact on Iowa communities."

We will spotlight two of the recipients in this issue...

The Overall BRE Program Award Winners:
This award recognizes a community or region that has implemented a successful BRE initiative for their area. Criteria used to select the winner were: the success of communicating the program, improvements to the business climate, and measurable results and outcomes. Consideration was also given to the number of annual visits, quality of the data collected, and how the data was used. We have two award winners in this category:

• The first award goes to: BEST of the Cedar Valley for their program.

From July 2014 to June 2015, the Best of Cedar Valley conducted 67 interviews with regional companies. A majority of the companies surveyed identified their primary markets as national, with another 18% reporting that their primary markets were international. The organization utilized the Synchronist system to capture vital data and worked with the University of Northern Iowa's Institute for Decision Making and Strategic Marketing Services to further analyze the results to develop an action plan to support the growth and retention of the businesses that operate in Cedar Valley.

A key data point that IDM/SMS helped the Cedar Valley Partnership identify were the high value/high growth companies which had growing or emerging products in their respective markets. It would be important to maintain quality relationships with these companies for potential growth in the future. Another key goal of the effort was to not just collect the information and present it to the public and organizational leaders. The point was to have an action plan to support the growth and retention of the businesses that operate in the Cedar Valley. Two areas of work in the plan will surround workforce attraction and market diversification particularly for supply chain companies tied closely with agricultural machinery OEMs in Cedar Valley.

The success of this BRE program highlights the benefits of economic development collaboration between the following organizations: Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, Buchanan County Economic Development, Waverly Economic Development, Butler County Development, New Hampton Economic Development and Grundy Development Alliance.

• The Second Overall BRE Award Winner is: Lee County Economic Development Group.

In 2014, Lee County EDG laid out a new vision for the organization and conducted a successful capital campaign that included interviews with 60 local businesses and stakeholders. Synchronist BRE interviews were then conducted with industries representing Lee County's top 20 employees which comprise 94% of the manufacturing employees in the county. Data from these interviews determined that the number one BRE issue facing local industries was workforce. One Synchronist workforce quote was "If we can't grow here, we need to question if this is the right location for our existing facility".

With this insight, Lee County EDG joined with many local partners including manufacturers, the community college, local high schools, other economic development organizations, ISU Extension, labor unions, government entities, and local newspapers to develop a program of action for workforce initiatives called Grow Lee. Initially, Grow Lee started with 10 specific workforce initiatives and has now morphed into a broader concept to tackle workforce-related challenges including housing, quality of life and community pride. Groups are talking, collaborating and realizing the power that exists when many voices become one and speak toward a common goal.

 Photos from The BRE Awards Program

Accepting the award for Lee County is Steve Bisenius, Executive Director; Dennis Fraise, COO; Dana Millard, Marketing & Communications Director; Lee County Economic Development Group along with Governor Terry Branstad and Joe Raso, Blane/Canada.

Pictured with the BEST of Cedar Valley: Nate Clayberg, CEcD Greater Cedar Valley Alliance; Tammy Robinson, Executive Director New Hampton Economic Development (Cedar Valley Regional Partnership Chair); George Lake, Executive Director Buchanan County Economic Development Commission; Connie Tolan, Economic Development Specialist Waverly Economic Development; Jeff Kolb, Executive Director Butler County Development Corp./ Grundy County Development Alliance Megan Gleason, Assistant Director, Hampton Economic Development





 Policy Perspectives

Read Policy Perspectives Newsletter >>






 Governor Branstad Just Signed One of The Most Consequential Pieces of Economic Development Legislation in Our State in Years.
By Brent Willett, CEcD, Executive Director, Cultivation Corridor

The Biorenewable Chemical Tax Credit Program bill has become one of the first economic development programs aimed specifically at the emerging biochemical industry to be codified into law anywhere in the world. It authorizes up to $10 million annually in tax credits for ten years to support the growth of the biorenewable chemical industry in Iowa. The program, to be administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, creates an eligible credit of $0.05/pound for production of qualifying renewable chemicals in a given year.

State revenue officials estimate that thanks to this new tool, within ten years, six new companies will produce 600 million pounds of renewable chemicals supported by $30 million in tax credits, and that 25 existing companies supported by $62.5 million in tax credits will produce eligible renewable chemicals totaling more than 1.25 billion pounds.


 Survey: More Than 100,000 Iowans Will Retire in the Next Five Years
Openings will be in health care, sales, and other fields.

By Alex Boisjolie, The Gazette, April 18, 2016

More than 100,000 workers will retire in the next five years, leaving the state to beg even more for workers, according to a recently released survey. According to a survey of the Iowa Business Council, an organization of larger employers, and released at the Home Base Iowa Partner Summit at Camp Dodge, in Johnston, on April 7, Iowa has some 35,000 job vacancies and more than 72,000 workers over age 64.





 OUEDI 2016 Course Offerings


May 1-5, 2016 in San Antonio, TX
November 13-17, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, FL


Strategic Planning: May 16- July 10
Entrepreneurship: July 18 - September 11
Marketing: September 19 - November 13
Business Retention & Expansion: November 21 - January 15, 2017

More Information >>




 Getting To Know Your Members — Spotlight Article

The PDI PR/Communications Committee invites you to share information about your organization in our monthly spotlights. You can use this information to connect with other PDI members who have the same issues you might be facing or can contact them regarding something new they are doing. We want to hear from YOU too! It should include information on: Name; Geography (area served; location in state); Funding make-up; Budget size; Staffing (how many & their titles); Board make-up; Priority Areas; Metrics (ie: Jobs Created and Retained; Capital Investment; Businesses started; Capital raised; Housing starts etc.); News & Accomplishments; PDI Contact & Email/phone. Send photos too! Please meet our next PDI member in the following spotlight:


Organization: Iowa Western Community College (Computer Information Technology Department [The Port])
Geography: Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Harrison, Cass, Shelby, Page, and Montgomery Counties
Funding: Public
Budget: Not Available
Staffing: Two full-time and two part-time
Board: Not applicable
Priority Areas: Provide business services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Identify internship opportunities for students in the Computer Information Technology Department
Metrics: Number of students placed in credit internship positions and the number of Enter IT projects completed

 New Members

Trudy Johannsen, MidAmerican Energy Company, Council Bluffs, IA

 Scholarship Recipient

Drew Kamp, Ames Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Commission, OU-EDI

 Job Postings:

Chief Economic Development Officer, Quad Cities Chamber, Quad Cities
Mills County Economic Development Executive Director, Glenwood
Project Manager, Greater Dallas County Development Alliance, West Des Moines

More Information >>


 Become a PDI Sponsor or Advertiser!

Consider becoming a PDI Sponsor or Advertiser! There are many opportunities to help sponsor PDI and our events for 2016. Participate in it all! PDI's Grow Iowa Day, Spring Event, Educational Events and the Fall Conference — join as a member — advertise in the newsletter and/or website — this kit covers everything. See the benefits of being a partner with PDI.

Click to Learn More >>


 Mark Your Calendars for Future Events/Conferences:

IEDC Celebrates Economic Development Week
May 8-14, 2016
Share the news using #YearofEconDev
More Information & Celebration Guide >>

2016 Best Practices Conference
May 18-20, 2016
Crown Plaza Downtown
Columbus, OH
More Information & Registration >>

"The Partners, the Profession and the Process" Workshop
July 12, 2016
Farm Bureau Board Room
West Des Moines, IA
More Information >>

PDI 2016 Fall Conference
September 28-30, 2016
Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites
Fort Dodge, IA

17th Annual Synchronist Users Forum
October 3-4, 2016
Chicago, IL
More Information >>

University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute
November 13-17, 2016
Fort Lauderdale, FL

PDI 2016 Spring Conference
September 27-29, 2017
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Cedar Rapids Convention Complex
Cedar Rapids, IA

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


PDI Thanks the 2016 Sponsors




Alliant Energy


Renew Rural Iowa


Triple Event Sponsors
Diligent Development
(Peoples Company)
ITC Midwest
Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corp.

Conference Supporting Sponsor
Iowa Workforce Development

Conference Supporting Sponsors - Fall only
Black Hills Energy

Conference Exhibit Sponsors - Fall only
Convergent Fundraising Solutions
Greater Burlington Partnership
JEO Consulting Group Inc.

BRE Award
Smart Solutions Group

Contributing Sponsors - Spring & Fall
Central Iowa Power Cooperative
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Union County Development Association
Fall only
Access Energy Cooperative
Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative
Spring only
Iowa Utility Association

Trap Shoot Sponsor
Interstates Companies

Local Host Sponsors
Calhoun County REC
Calhoun County Economic Development Corp
City of Fort Dodge
Corn Belt Power
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Mid Iowa Growth Partners
Midland Power Cooperative
Prairie Energy Cooperative
Woodruff Construction, LLC


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