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   President's Message   Development Update   Legislative Update   Statewide Pride   Education   Who's Who   Events May 7, 2018


Business Retention & Expansion Awards Presented at SMART Conference May 2

The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) honored economic development organizations from Ames, Ottumwa, Iowa Lakes Corridor, and West Central Iowa during the SMART Economic Development Conference held in Des Moines on May 2.

Sponsored by Blane, Canada Ltd. and Smart Solutions Group, 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.

"Supporting Iowa's existing industry is a key priority for PDI's membership," stated Carla Eysink, 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 recipients in each PDI Post May newsletter.

Receiving an award for Overall BRE Program — Community/County is Ames Economic Development Commission.

The Ames Economic Development Commission recognized a growing need for assistance with workforce development by business and industry. These concerns are valid; for the last two years Ames/Story County has had the lowest unemployment rate in the United States.

To address these needs the Ames Economic Development Commission took a multi-faceted workforce solutions program beginning in 2013 through today. Included in this effort was development of an interactive website and job board and the Story County Job Board, Summer internship Programming -"See yourself in Ames" averaging 134 interns at each event, sponsoring where leads are shared with their workforce solutions investors, becoming a Home Base Iowa county with over 120 Story County Businesses participating, working with Iowa Works to bring back career fairs to Story County and attending many other career fairs, co-marketing with Iowa State University Alumni Association reaching out to Alums, K-12 engagement and engaging students through interaction with 6 schools systems in Story County to facilitate real life project based learning and reaching out to new residents of Story County with our business community concierge services.

Most importantly results are tracked and they report progress toward the above goals monthly at the Ames Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Board meeting. The results are reported quarterly to the Story County Board of Supervisors. Year end results are included as part of our AEDC Annual Report.


Representing Ames are Dan Culhane, President & CEO; Ron Hallenbeck, Senior Vice President; Drew Kamp, Director of Business Retention/Expansion & Public Policy; City of Huxley Mayor Craig Henry; and Brenda Dryer, Director of Workforce Solutions; The Honorable Kim Reynolds, Governor, State of Iowa and The Honorable Adam Gregg, Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa.

The second award for Overall BRE Program went to Midwest Partnership EDC.

The Midwest Partnership EDC is an economic development corporation serving Adair, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie Counties in West Central Iowa. Midwest Partnership is the region's connection to a variety of business resources, and provides information and assistance with business retention, expansion, new development, small business and entrepreneurship. Midwest Partnership utilized the Synchronist Business Information System for their Business Connections Program visits. In the Summer of 2017, their team visited with 37 businesses throughout Adair, Audubon, Greene, and Guthrie Counties. The businesses were chosen based on recommendation by their utility partners, Iowa Area Development Group, and their own knowledge of businesses in our region.

Synchronist, as a whole, has been an effective program to use over the years in their BR&E efforts. It has allowed Midwest Partnership to surface issues to bring to local development groups, city councils, and boards of supervisors for discussion. It has also allowed them to take a look at the big picture to determine their program goals and offerings, as well as connect the dots with what's going on in their region. The Synchronist visits have also allowed them to have deep conversations with community leaders – schools, hospitals, manufacturers, and so on – about workforce issues. Because of the discussions, they have focused on finding ways to better connect our educators to our employers and helping foster collaboration. This past winter they connected one of our schools to employers in the region, which allowed for teachers to spend an in-service day touring local businesses. This spring they worked with that same school to host a career fair, inviting many of the employers they meet with during the Synchronist visits. This summer they will host a Teaching for the Workforce Conference in their region with educators from across the state visiting leading employers in their region. The Midwest Partnership will also help host the Employer-Educator Summit this fall, as part of the Western Iowa Advantage group. All of these school initiatives have been developed through conversations during our Synchronist visits. The Midwest Partnership believes that Synchronist is a valuable tool and will continue to utilize it in the years to come.

Midwest Partnership

Here to accept the award from Midwest Partnership EDC are: Sarah Gomez, Executive Director of Midwest Partnership; Norm Fandel, President of Midwest Partnership; Stacie Euken, Economic Development Coordinator for Midwest Partnership; The Honorable Kim Reynolds, Governor, State of Iowa and The Honorable Adam Gregg, Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa.

 PRESIDENT's MESSAGE: 2018 Best Practices Conference Huge Success (Part 1)


Carla Eysink
PDI President
Over 155 Economic developers from around the Mid America EDC region and state of Iowa gathered at the new Hilton Downtown Hotel in Des Moines Iowa on Tuesday, May 1 and Wednesday, May 3 to hear educational sessions including: The Age of the Multigenerational Workforce; Workforce Housing Panel; The Marketing Forum: Creative and Effective Strategies for Small and Large EDOs; Redevelopment Panel; Prepared Communities Win Initiative; and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Panel.

On Wednesday, May 2nd, attendees joined over 400 professionals and ED volunteers at Iowa's signature economic development event, the Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference, held at the Embassy Suites Des Moines Downtown.

Professional Developers of Iowa was so happy to host the Mid-America Economic Development Council and pleased to present a collaborative conference agenda with high impact sessions, networking opportunities and a unique ambiance that only downtown Des Moines can provide.

Carla Eysink
PDI President

Conference Room

PDI and MAEDC members filled the room at the Hilton Hotel Downtown for learning, networking and fun.


Kim Lear, Inlay Insights, Minneapolis, MN took a deep dive into each generation. By looking past stereotypes and digging into the data and demographics, attendees uncover what it takes to build the workforce of the future.


 Annual LOIS Update is in Progress

IDM is in the process of updating data on behalf of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to the LocationOne (LOIS) website. IDM provides updated data for the state of Iowa, each of the 99 counties, the MSAs in Iowa, as well as each of the IEDA Regional Marketing Groups. Hundreds of data points are updated, with final completion anticipated to be May 1.

There are some major changes to the LOIS website this year. ESRI profiles have been added that include population, income and education information. IDM is creating hundreds of PDF documents that include labor force data, detailed data on K-12 education, as well as colleges and community colleges and programs offered at the colleges. Other data provided includes health care, hospitals and crime statistics.

This information can be found by going to the IEDA website under Property and Community Search and clicking on the LOIS icon at the bottom of the page. Once you are on the LOIS site, you will find state, county, MSA and region data by selecting "Areas" to the right at the top of the page. In "Areas" you will find tabs on the left to view data at the jurisdiction level you are interested in. To find the extra data documents when you are viewing a specific jurisdiction, select "Files." View the county selection page here.

If you have questions about the data IDM provides for your county, MSA or IEDA Marketing Region, or how IDM can assist you with your LOIS data, please contact Cindy Angel, Research Manager, at

 Economic Development Board Board Approves Awards to Support over $50 million in Capital Investment in Iowa

Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to two companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 263 jobs, retention of 16 jobs and will result in over $50 million in new capital investment for the state. The state also approved innovation funding for seven startups. The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Akron, Ankeny, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Marion, Sioux City and Waterloo.
Registration Form >>

 $1.8 million Awarded to Iowa Communities for Remediation and Redevelopment Projects
Eighteen Communities Selected for Community Catalyst grants

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today announced that $1.8 million in Community Catalyst Building Remediation grants will be awarded to 18 Iowa communities for the remediation or redevelopment of underutilized buildings to stimulate economic growth in the community.

 Economic Development Board Approves Awards to Support More than $21 Million in Capital Investment in Iowa
Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to two companies for job creation and expansion projects. These awards will assist in the creation of 43 jobs and will result in more than $21 million in new capital investment for the state.

 April 2018 Newsletter Now Available
The new Iowa Targeted Small Business Newsletter is now available online - featuring information on the program, the new TSB portal website, members, events and more!
Read The Latest TSB Newsletter >>

 Iowa DOT RISE Survey
The Iowa Department of Transportation would like to welcome economic development agencies throughout Iowa to complete a short survey involving our Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant program. The RISE program promotes economic development in Iowa through establishment, construction and improvement of roads and streets. We are looking for feedback from both those that are familiar and are not familiar with the program. The survey will be open for participation until EOB Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
Find the Survey on the RISE Webpage Here >>




 Legislative Update

The Iowa General Assembly gaveled out for the year late Saturday, the 118th day of the scheduled 100-day session.

Backfill – Against the odds, a coalition PDI participated in all session, led by the cities and counties, was successful in closing out the 2018 session without ANY action to cut or phaseout the property tax backfill.

TIF – PDI was able to hold the line on TIF and prevent any damaging legislation from passing either chamber of the Legislature.

Tax Bill – The tax bill has ups and downs for everyone, including PDI. It does eliminate federal deductibility on both personal and corporate, something PDI has pushed for for many years (though the phase outs are not immediate). It has triggers on cuts to ensure they only occur if the revenue is there. The bill STUDIES all tax credits (bring it on!) and doesn't put phaseouts on any of the ones for which we have fought. On balance, I'd call this bill a win for PDI.

IEDA Budget – Mixed bag. The IEDA Admin budget was basically status quo (gained back the reduction that occurred as a result of the deapprops bills), but the High Quality Jobs program still comes in lower than where is was originally at the end of last session ($13.65 million; last year it was $15.9m)

A final Policy Perspectives will be available by the end of May.

Don't forget to check the PDI Bill Tracker at the link below: >>

 Legislative Perspectives

Click here for the April 15 edition of 2018 for Policy Perspectives
Read Policy Perspectives >>




 Listen-Learn-Lead Webinar Series

Take your business to the next level. BerganKDV, in partnership with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, presents: Listen-Learn-Lead, our thought-leadership webinar series developed to help hone your skills to improve your company's bottom line. From understanding how to successfully launch a business to how to prepare for the next generation of leaders, we have you covered. Join us for five, 45-minute webinars. Offered at no cost, you can conveniently join from your home or office! Each session will include the opportunity to ask pertinent questions specific to our content and your business.

Registration is now open for our first live event: Let's Get Down to Business. Register for one, but we recommend checking out all!
Explore Full List of Events >>

 Naig Names Kenney Deputy Secretary at Ag Department
Business Record, April 2, 2018

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig has named Julie Kenney as deputy secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, beginning today. "Julie has a passion for agriculture and will be a tremendous asset to the department," Naig said in a statement.

 $150,000 in CAT Grant Awarded to Rock Valley

The Enhance Iowa Board awarded a $150,000 Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant to an event center in Rock Valley. The Enhance Iowa Board approved the award at yesterday's meeting in Sheldon. The following projects were approved for grants awarded from the Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) Fund:

 Main Street Iowa Awards Celebration Honors Outstanding Achievements
Award Winning Projects, Entrepreneurs and Volunteers Honored

Main Street Iowa hosted the 32nd annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration on Friday, April 13, 2018, at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. The program honored the efforts of those who work day in and day out to revitalize Iowa's downtowns – the heart and soul of communities across the state. Main Street Iowa has annually presented awards honoring outstanding accomplishments, activities and people that are making a difference in Iowa's Main Street districts. Projects large and small are recognized and serve as outstanding examples representing historic commercial district revitalization.



 Mark Your Calendar

"The Partners, the Profession and the Process" workshop for those new to economic development or new to Iowa is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, 2018 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Farm Bureau Office, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa.

An interactive day is planned. You will meet with PDI veterans that will lead discussions, make introductions, and answer questions. The session will conclude by 12:00 noon. Go to PDI's Website to register. There is NO COST to attend. Deadline to register is July 6.

Questions? Contact Sandy Ehrig, Economic Development Administrator Renew Rural Iowa/ Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, or Lynn Harkin, PDI Executive Director,

 Did You Know?

PDI has a special provisional ‘membership' for those folks who want continuous membership in tough economic times whether employed or not. We hope that you value your membership and you continue to participate with our seminars, conferences, emails, and other networking and training opportunities.

During economic downturns, the PDI offers existing PDI members an opportunity to maintain their PDI membership if they lose their job with their organization through no fault of your own. The PDI Board of Directors approved a provisional "job loss" program that will allow an PDI member to continue his/her membership so that he/she can continue to receive emails, newsletters, and an opportunity to participate in events at membership rates. This new "job loss" program will allow for these individuals to maintain their network of colleagues and potentially develop their careers.

If your job has been affected or you need additional information, please contact Lynn Harkin, PDI Executive Director (, and notify PDI of your status. PDI is committed to assisting its members through tough economic times.

 Why I PDI

"As a consulting firm that focuses on Site Selection and Project Development services for clients in Iowa, or locating to Iowa, it is important to have information readily accessible. For me, gathering information is essential; I need to know, or have access to immediate information in a timely fashion. PDI offers information about upcoming events, or provides legislative updates that may have a direct impact to our client base. Having the membership directory of developers in Iowa is an excellent resource. It makes it so easy to look someone up to ask questions, consult, or even to discuss an issue they may have experienced to help provide direction. I PDI because the information is right at my fingertips. I would encourage you to utilize the information posted on the PDI website on a regular basis, it will help you stay connected to what's going on."

Robert G. Berens
Director of Business Development
ProSource Technologies, LLC

 New Members

John Rider, BNSF Railway Company, Kansas City, MO
Michelle Lewis, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Davenport, IA
Clint Sloss, JEO Consulting Group, Inc., Ankeny, IA
Dave Mitchell, City of Eldora, Eldora, IA
Whitney Baetnke, Montezuma Community Development, Montezuma, IA

 Job Postings:

Executive Director, Clinton Regional Development Corporation, Clinton, IA
Director, Business Development, Ames Economic Development Commission, Ames, IA

More Information on Jobs >>

 Former PDI Management Firm Leader Tom Slater Passed Away in March
William Petroski, Des Moines Register, March 19, 2018

Former state Sen. Tom Slater, who served eight years in the Iowa Legislature and founded the State Public Policy Group, died Saturday in Des Moines after a long battle with Crohn's disease. He was 72. Slater was a Templeton native who represented Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County in the Iowa Senate from the 1977 through 1984 sessions, chairing the State Government committee.
More Information on Jobs >>


The Professional Developers of Iowa is a vibrant organization dedicated to improving and expanding the economic base in Iowa. Accomplishing that mission requires dozens of strong partnerships and we are grateful for all the PDI members who lend their time/money for all the PDI events. Whether you have been a valued financial partner in the past or are new to the PDI family, please consider this opportunity to expose your organization to the 320+ economic development professionals that belong to PDI.

Participate in it all! PDI's Best Practices Conference (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.
2018 Marketing Kit >>




PPP Course - The Partners, the Profession and the Process
Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 9:00 – noon
Farm Bureau Board Room
5400 University Ave., West Des Moines, IA

Synchronist Users' Forum
September 12-14, 2018
Summit Executive Center
Chicago, IL
Registration & Information >>

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


PDI's Fall Conference
September 26-28, 2018
The Graduate (FKA The Sheraton)
Iowa City, IA

More information available June 2018

Iowa City


PDI Thanks the 2017 Sponsors







Triple Event Sponsors
Iowa Economic Development Authority
Iowa Workforce Development
ITC Midwest


Conference Exhibitor Sponsors
Via Rail Engineering

Spring Only
Convergent Fundraising Solutions
Kossuth & Palo Alto County Economic Development Corp.
Fall Only

Conference Contributing Sponsors – Spring & Fall
DMACC Business Resources
Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative
Midland Power Cooperative
Spring only
America’s SBDC – Iowa
Iowa Association of Business & Industry

BRE Awards-Spring Only
Blane Canada
Smart Solutions Group

Trap Sponsors – Fall only
Interstate Companies


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