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IDED Quick News

The news report for customers, partners and friends of the

Iowa Department of Economic Development.

September 2, 2003


Economic Development Top Stories

Business Development News

Community Development News

Calendar of Events

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Economic Development Top Stories

The Iowa Values Fund Board today approved a $9 million incentive package to assure the continuing expansion in Iowa of life sciences innovator Trans Ova Genetics. The Sioux Center company is pursuing a multi-phase growth plan. Multiple projects would create 315 jobs at average annual salaries of more than $45,000 per year. Trans Ova will lead investment of $37.7 million in new Iowa facilities in a few years. The projects include a human serum albumin production center, a bioterrorism prevention center, a bio-protein production center, an animal cloning laboratory, an animal technology center, a biobusiness incubator, a Ph.D. research center and a private college research and leadership center.

The Iowa Values Fund Board approved a $1 million investment in the package being assembled by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the city of Des Moines to recruit GCommerce to Iowa. GCommerce, which develops cost-effective products that allow businesses to share information and collaborate in real-time, is considering relocation of its corporate headquarters from Valley Cottage, New York to Iowa, New Jersey, Chicago or Las Vegas. Growth plans for the company would create 157 jobs over the next four years. The average annual pay is $56,274.

The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) Board recently approved a $75,000 state CEBA investment to help convince the Trans-Lux Corporation, a manufacturer of scoreboards and electronic message centers, to relocate production from Utah to Iowa if a suitable building can be found. The project would create 25 and retain 88 jobs at an average wage of $15.67 per hour. Trans-Lux Corporation acquired Fairtron Corporation of Des Moines in 1997. Fairtron had been manufacturing scoreboards in Iowa since 1934.

Cass, Clinton, and Hardin Counties recently received approval for new Enterprise Zones from the IDED Board. Clinton County received certification of a 363-acre industrial park as the first Enterprise Zone in the city of DeWitt. A 148-acre industrial park near Eldora was certified as an Enterprise Zone for Hardin County. Cass County received approval of 2 acres in the city of Atlantic as an Enterprise Zone to be used for residential housing development. Under Iowa's Enterprise Zone program, state and local tax benefits may be extended to investments that create quality job opportunities or develop housing in approved areas.

The Vision Iowa board recently voted to award grants to projects in Cass and Clayton Counties. The state's investment will come from the Community Attraction and Tourism Program (CAT), which is the part of Vision Iowa that provides assistance to smaller projects:

A regional Community Development Conference will be held on September 4, 2003, at the Red Fox Inn in Waverly. The theme of the conference is "Small Towns on the Road to Success". Community volunteers and local officials will talk about their successful projects in housing development, community marketing, and developing community amenities and services. Registration is $35 in advance. Contact Sandy Scholl at Black Hawk County Extension at 319-234-6811, or email for registration information.

The fourth annual Iowa Venture Capital Conference will be held on Tuesday, October 7, in Des Moines at the Polk County Convention Complex. The conference will be presented by IDED, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers and Equity Dynamics. Go to: or Contact Kanan Kappelman,

or 515-242-4892 for more information.



Business Development News

IDED Director Mike Blouin met with 13 companies during a five-day trip to Germany and Ireland in late July. Several of the firms have facilities in Iowa. The meetings were held to discuss future plans, new programs from the State of Iowa and the potential for additional investment and collaboration. Three firms indicated that expansion opportunities are a potential during the next twelve months.

Governor Tom Vilsack hosted an existing industry appreciation luncheon for businesses with Iowa investments at the Metropolitan Club in Minneapolis on August 26th. Nearly 50 executives gathered to hear updates on Iowa, including information about the Iowa Values Fund.

The Human Resource Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) will host an alumni reception in Chicago on Thursday, September 25th. Attendance is expected to exceed 700. Governor Tom Vilsack will host the event. The alumni receptions allow former Iowans to see the exciting opportunities available in Iowa today.

IDED will coordinate a Sell Iowa Trip to Chicago, September 24 to 26. IDED staff, along with 10 community and utility economic developers will meet companies with operations in Iowa and those looking at expansion in the Midwest. On Friday, September 26, the IDED will host executives of companies with Iowa investments and potential clients at a Chicago Cubs game. Governor Tom Vilsack will be present to address the attendees and provide information on the business opportunities in Iowa.

The Iowa Century Business Recognition Program will be held on Monday, December 8, at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines. The IDED is joining with Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) to sponsor the event. Nomination papers for 2003 have been sent out to civic and business leaders as well as the Iowa Newspaper Association to ensure all businesses identified as contributing to Iowa's economy since 1903 or before will have an opportunity to be included. An evening reception will recognize Iowa companies that continue to be the foundation of our state's economy.

The Japan External Trade Organization's (JETRO) Chicago office will conduct a Midwest - Japan Biotechnology Summit on September 10 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The summit will feature leading executives from most sectors of the Japanese and Midwestern biotechnology industries. The culminating event will be a Bio Mission to Osaka, Japan the week of October 18 to 25. Many Iowa biotechnology company executives have committed to attending both the Chicago Summit and the Bio Mission to Osaka. The summit is being co-organized by the IDED.

The US Army Corps of Engineers stated at the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) meeting that they would be holding public meetings, beginning in October, to lay out their plans and the associated costs for the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. They estimate it will take 30 years to complete the projects. The original locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi were completed in ten years.

Community Development

The Downtown Resource Center team participated in a tour of Main Street Challenge Grant funded projects with Senator Tom Harkin recently. They visited Sigourney, State Center, Story City, Cedar Falls and Elkader. Sen. Harkin's staff indicated that Main Street is once again in the Senator's budget proposal for FY 2004.

Fee-based downtown assessment visits have been conducted in Northwood, Nashua, Waukee, Sheldon and Alta. Interest continues to grow for this service. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Planning is underway for the next Main Street Iowa application workshop. The workshop is scheduled for October 23. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

The IDED received 106 pre-applications for the water/sewer fund with a total request of $31.2 million. Approximately $15 to $18 million will be available for funding. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

The IDED is proposing to submit an application to Prairie Meadows for $1 million for the RACI program. Applications are due on August 15, 2003. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

The Iowa Tourism Conference is scheduled for October 20 to 22. It will be held at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. Nominations for tourism awards are now being accepted and will be presented during the conference. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

The Housing Fund and Iowa Finance Authority's (IFA) Tax Credit application workshops will both be held on September 10 via ICN. For more information, contact Terry Vestal at 515.242.4850.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS) is facing reduction in funding for AmeriCorps programs for the 2003-2004 program year. However, three of our nationally competing programs were fully funded at the request level. All Formula-funded programs will be operating a reduced rate with the additional possibility of losing 2 or 3 current programs. For more information, visit or contact Tina Dunphy at 515.242.4567.

America's Promise has invited the ICVS to send a team to Alexandria, Virginia in September for a two-day training and brainstorming session on how to successfully launch a statewide Communities of Promise initiative. The ICVS has been working on this initiative for several years and will send a delegation that includes representatives from the Governor's Office, ICVS, local communities and the private sector. America's Promise will pay all travel costs for the Iowa team For more information, visit or contact Tina Dunphy at 515.242.4567.

Calendar of Events

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