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By Sandy Ehrig, PDI President

Sandy Ehrig
Sandy Ehrig
PDI President
Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) from the COMPANY perspective was presented this week with an audio conference format. If you want to see listen to the presentation please connect to the following link:

PDI thanks Brad Henschen and Georgia VanGundy with Principal Financial Group for their expertise in the area, Craig Block, IEDA for the legislative background and Roger Brown, Precision Pulley and Idler (PPI), Pella, Iowa for sharing their experience of going through the process.

Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) is committed to assisting its members with educational opportunities that impact their organizations. Please send your suggestions for educational topics to

Sandy Ehrig
President, Professional Developers of Iowa <


 Skilled Iowa Testing Available at Locations across the State

The Skilled Iowa Initiative highly recommends that all Iowa workers get the National Career Readiness Certificate. It is free to take at several testing centers across the state, including community colleges and all IowaWORKS Centers.

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) is an evidence-based credential that measures a worker's basic skills. Skill ratings are based upon scores in the areas of applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. These skills are necessary and applicable in all workplaces. By having proof of their skills, workers are able to showcase their abilities to potential employers and stand out from other job seekers. Employers benefit from the NCRC as well because they have proof of the applicant's skills and capabilities and are guaranteed to have a qualified worker.

The NCRC is applicable to all Iowans, no matter their skills or education level. Being certified is a valuable tool to all workers and employers in the state because it allows workers to find their strengths and weaknesses and allows employers to find the right employees for their business.

See List of Testing Sites in Iowa >>

 IEDA Update

Benefits Change to High Quality Jobs Program

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board will soon consider changes to the benefit requirements for businesses to be eligible for direct financial assistance and tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs Program. The proposed requirements have been modified to more accurately reflect current market conditions.

Benefits specialist firm, David Lind and Associates, conducted the Iowa Employer Benefits Study. The study is a compilation of benefit plans offered by over 950 Iowa employers and provides a comprehensive marketplace analysis of benefits. The results of this study were utilized to help the IEDA recommend a new policy to the board that both reflects “best practices” and the changes we’ve seen in the benefit trends.

More Information >>

 We Make It Possible

Last week, the Iowa Innovation Corporation was invited to a White House briefing about innovation.

This wasn't a random ask. It was a briefing that included all the i6 Challenge grant winners since 2010, which in itself is an exclusive club. In two years, there have been only 12 grants presented to organizations that accelerate technology commercialization, new venture formation, job creation, and economic growth across the United States. Our efforts, in partnership with the technologies coming from Iowa State University, have created a model that can be replicated not only statewide but nationally, which is the primary reason we were awarded the grant.

Ultimately, the i6 Challenge grant allowed the state to address one of the greatest challenges in economic development — technology transfer. There are many great ideas being developed at the state's universities but they generally have lacked a process to determine proof of concept, as well as proof of commercial relevance. Because of this, it has made it more difficult than necessary to pair these developing technologies with interested companies.

More Information >>



Dear PDI Members,

With Election Day around the corner, the Professional Developers of Iowa wanted to share some information with you before you get to the voting booth.

In 2011, Iowa went through a redistricting process. The redistricting plan was enacted on April 19, 2011, and is effective beginning with the elections in November. The redistricting plan is effective for the 2012 elections of the 113th U.S. Congress and 85th Iowa General Assembly.

New 2012 Election Districts: (click each link for district map)

PDI encourages you to engage with the candidates in your districts. Attend events, get to know them, invite them to your business and tell them about the role you serve in the community and the importance of groundwater in Iowa. It's important to establish these relationships prior to the election, so that after the election it's easier to reach out to and connect with your legislator.

If you would like to serve on the PDI Legislative Committee, and work directly with our Board and lobbyists, please contact Lynn Harkin, Executive Director, at

 IEDA FAQ on Iowa's Largest Economic Development Project to Date

You may have seen in the news recently that the IEDA assisted with local officials in landing Iowa's single largest economic development project to date, a $1.4 billion (with a "B") fertilizer plant that will locate in Lee County. In response to questions from legislators and the media, IEDA Director Durham and her team produced a Frequently Asked Questions document for your information. Feel free to look this over and be ready to talk to legislators in the months ahead about the importance of having the tools available to land projects like this one.

See IEDA's List of FAQ's >>


Iowa Bankers Association


 Iowa Tourism Growing
Business Record Daily AM, October 9, 2012, Ticker

Tourism provides jobs for 63,000 Iowans and generates more than $300 million in tax revenue for the state, according to a new report from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The U.S. Travel Association in Washington, D.C., reported these major economic indicators based on 2011 data:

  • Traveler spending in Iowa equaled $7.2 billion, a 10.3 percent increase from 2010.
  • Travel employment increased 2.2 percent from 2010.
  • Polk, Linn, Scott, Johnson and Black Hawk counties had the highest tourism spending in the state.
 Alliant Unveils Logistics of $750M Gas Plant
Public input meeting held in Marshalltown
By David Alexander, Staff Writer (, Times-Republican, October 5, 2012

Officials from Alliant Energy and the Iowa Utilities Board heard public input in regard to the $750 million natural gas plant Alliant plans to complete over the next five years.

If approved, the 600-megawatt plant would generate enough electricity for 500,000 homes as well as $1.7 million in property taxes for Marshall County.


 CIPCO Gets $40.1 Million USDA Loan Guarantee
Funds to be used for upgrades
By George C. Ford, The Gazette, October 3, 2012

A Cedar Rapids-based electric power cooperative is receiving a $40.1 million federal loan guarantee to improve rural transmission lines in its service territory.

Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) will use the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to build and upgrade 115 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. The project is expected to improve electric services to residents and businesses in 51 Iowa counties.


 Ripple Effect Receives Award

"Ripple Effect," a program funded by Iowa Network Services (INS) and implemented by Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) was recently awarded the 2012 Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Community Development Award presented by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA).

Established in 2007, the Ripple Effect program is designed for Independent Telecommunications Companies in Iowa to more fully participate in business and economic development initiatives in their service territories. The award recognizes outreach efforts of an NTCA member or individual employee that has made significant impact in their own community.

More Information >>



 PDI Fall Conference Photos

Speaker Liz Nead (2nd from right) poses with local hosts Lori Shields, Terry Bailey, Lori Holste and Bill Stazzoni

Thanks to all who attended the PDI 2012 Fall Conference in Council Bluffs, IA, held September 26-28, 2012.

We had a great Fall Conference - receiving good member input (evaluations will be completed the mid-Oct.) learning about the technology needs from the company and the local developer standpoint, how developers add economic value/marketing, how to develop sustainable innovation, and providing an update on the Authority and legislative issues. The sessions on workforce development, having the right financial resources, and starting an entrepreneurial development program were also very popular. We appreciate you and your commitment to PDI.

Thank you once again for your support of the Professional Developers of Iowa! Please mark your calendars for PDI's Spring Conference, May 2-4, 2012 at the Renaissance Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa (in conjunction with the SMART Conference.)

More Photos on Facebook! >>

 PDI Newly Elected Board Members

Patty Manuel
Patty Manuel, Director of Business Development & Communications for Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Anamosa is a 34 year employee of Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC). She is a member of the National Rural Economic Developers Association, the Professional Developers of Iowa, past president and a current board member of Jones County Economic Development, a board member for the Regional Workforce Investment Board, a member of the Prosperity Eastern Iowa regional economic development group, and IGNITE, a Jones County young professionals organization. Patty also works closely with the Iowa Area Development Group of which MVEC is a founding member. Patty manages the Cooperative's revolving loan fund and promotes business development within the Cooperative's four county service area in east central Iowa. She began working in the economic development field in 2002 when she graduated from the Heartland Economic Development Course.

Greg Theis
Greg Theis joined MidAmerican Energy as a Business and Community Development Manager in 1997. He has a B.A. in Business from St Ambrose University. Greg received the designation of Certified Economic Development Finance Professional from the International Economic Development Council in 2000. Greg is responsible for working directly with new and existing businesses as they evaluate growth and expansion opportunities within MidAmerican Energy's service territory. He is a member of the Professional Developers of Iowa and CoreNet Global.

 Job Postings:

Executive Director, Business & Community Education, Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo
Group President, Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City

More on Job Opportunities >>

 PDI Salary & Benefits Survey Results Available
How does your organization's budget compare to that of similar sized groups?
How much do organization's your size spend on marketing? On salaries?
What fringe benefits do your peers receive?
How many developers have an employment contract?
These and many more answers are available from the results of the 2012 PDI Membership Survey.
You must login as a member first!

 PDI Member-to-Member Program Unveiled at Conference

The Professional Developers of Iowa is enhancing our organization's Member-to-Member Program. We wish to have a strong Member-to-Member program as a valuable resource to help connect members with other members who have experience in a number of areas of expertise. Our goal is to make the Member-to-Member process as user-friendly as possible and help build bridges among our members.

How does it work?
We have developed an easy way for members to become "Resource Coaches" and voluntarily select areas of expertise so new and/or veteran members can seek coaching and guidance in a number of aspects of their jobs. Click on the registration form below, fill out some basic background information to make the best match possible, then select as many areas of expertise involved in the economic development profession as fit. These areas of expertise will then be included on your individual PDI profile. We strongly feel as an organization that our state can only grow stronger if we work together.

How do I find a Member-to-Member Resource Coach?
When logged into the member section of, click on the area of economic development expertise you are in search of. Your search results will show a list of people (Resource Coaches) who have indicated that they are experienced in that field. Click on the coach's name to find contact and background information. Contact the coach and let them know what kind of help you are looking for.



 Light Up West Des Moines for the Future

City of West Des Moines & Iowa Network Services
October 17, 2012 at 10:00 am
West Des Moines City Hall
More Information >>

 Entrepreneur Engagement Framework

October 18, 2012
The GRRETA Project Presents Thursday Webinar Series
Registration & Information >>

 Webinar: Shale Gas Revolution-Energy for America's Future?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Presented by Trevor Smith of Gas Technology Institute
Hosted by Dean Whittaker of Whittaker Associates, Inc.
Register here

 Pathways & Resources for Entrepreneurs

October 25, 2012
The GRRETA Project Presents Thursday Webinar Series
Registration & Information >>

 1 Entrepreneur Coaching

November 1, 2012
The GRRETA Project Presents Thursday Webinar Series
Registration & Information >>

 University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute

November 11-15, 2012
University Place Conference Center and Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana.
More Information & Registration >>

 PDI Grow Iowa Day at the Capitol 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Iowa State Capitol Complex, Des Moines, Iowa

 Heartland Economic Development Course

April 21-25, 2013
Blue Springs, MO
[PDI Scholarships are available thru 3/31/13] - (800) 782-9520

 PDI Spring Event

In conjunction with the SMART Conference
May 1-3, 2013
Renaissance Savery Hotel, Des Moines, IA

 PDI Fall Conference

September 25-27, 2013
Park Place Event Centre
Wingate by Wyndham and AmericInn Hotel
Cedar Falls, Iowa

 PDI Fall Conference

October 1-3, 2014
Honey Creek Resort State Park
Moravia, Iowa

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


PDI Thanks the 2012 Sponsors



Alliant Energy

Renew Rural Iowa
Council Bluffs Regional Economic Development Commission

Council Bluffs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Triple Event Sponsors
ITC Midwest
Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corp.
Iowa Economic Development Authority

Conference Supporting Sponsors
Black Hills Energy
Iowa Workforce Development

Conference Exhibit Sponsors - Fall & Spring
Ady Voltedge
Convergent Non Profit Fundraising
Iowa Business Growth
Iowa State University CIRAS
JEO Consulting Group Inc.
North Iowa Corridor Development Corp.
Peoples Company
Spring Only
Viebicher Associates Inc.

Fall Only
Iowa City Area Development Group Inc.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Iowa Small Business Development Centers
Iowa Telecommunications Association

BREI Award
Smart Solutions Group
& Blane Canada

Contributing Sponsors - Fall & Spring
Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative

Contributing Sponsors - Spring Only
Iowa Utility Association

Contributing Sponsors - Fall Only
Access Energy Cooperative
Buchanan County Economic Development
Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Midland Power Cooperative


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