This is a periodic newsletter for customers, partners, friends and staff of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. It contains brief news items and links for gathering more information. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter please refer to the "unsubscribe" information at the end of the newsletter, or reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Please also reply with any comments or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.

IDED Quick News

The news report for customers, partners and friends of the

Iowa Department of Economic Development.

July 1, 2003


Economic Development Top Stories

  • Northeast Iowa Economic Development Conference to be Held in September
  • Lexstar HQ to Mason City
  • Musco Builds Training Center in Oskaloosa
  • Otter Creek Ethanol Receives NJIP Benefits in Osceola County
  • Continental Western Group Expands in Urbandale
  • New EZ's Approved in Mitchell, O'Brien and Shelby Counties


Business Development News

  • Iowa at Bio 2003
  • HRRC Sponsors Bio Career Fair
  • "Sell Iowa" Trip to Twin cities
  • Brownfield Redevelopment Seminars Held
  • Casey's Stores Feature A Taste of Iowa®
  • Iowa Grocers to Sponsor A Taste of Iowa® Showcase at Conference
  • A Taste of Iowa® at New York Fancy Food Show
  • Five Companies Receive ETAP Assistance

Community Development News

  • Downtown Resource Staff at National Town Meeting
  • Small Business Development Workshop Held
  • National Historic Trust to Visit Iowa Main Street Projects
  • CDBG Pre-application Workshops Held
  • Applications for RACI Grants Under Review
  • Federal Highway Administration Awards to Two Iowa Roadways
  • Landess Nominated for Top Award
  • Movie Underway in Centerville
  • Volunteer Staff Follow Up on Event Pledges
  • Community Development Fund (CDF) Projects Announced

Calendar of Events

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Economic Development Top Stories

The Northeast Iowa Community Development Conference will be held in Waverly at the Red Fox Inn on September 4. "Small Towns on the Road to Success" will be the conference theme. The meeting will bring together community leaders, volunteers, professional developers, rural leaders and elected officials from the northeast Iowa area. Attendees will share their experiences and pick up new ideas for community and rural development. Registration fee is $35 before August 25 and $45 after. For more information contact Sandy Scholl, ISU Extension-Black Hawk County, 319-234-6811, or e-mail at:

Lexstar Technologies plans to locate its corporate headquarters and Center of Excellence for electrical products in Mason City with the help of an $80,000 investment from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA). Lexstar will retain 24 jobs and create 21 new jobs at average starting wage of $21.68 per hour. Lexstar Technologies was formed from the merger a year ago of JBro Batteries and Alexander Technologies. The merged entity has facilities in Illinois, Texas, the United Kingdom and Mexico, as well as in Mason City. The redefined Mason City operation will be comprised of administration, corporate sales and engineering, small volume manufacturing and purchasing for the company's global operations.

Musco Sports Lighting has been approved for tax benefits to build a fiber optic telecommunications network and training center for its worldwide business headquartered in Oskaloosa. The IDED Board approved the project for New Jobs and Income Program (NJIP), assistance. Musco's Oskaloosa project will create 21 jobs at a median starting wage of $16.38 per hour, as well as 16 additional job opportunities. The total capital investment is $9.6 million.

Otter Creek Ethanol, LLC, has received approval from the IDED Board for NJIP tax benefits. New ethanol production in Osceola County will create 26 jobs at a median starting wage of $12 per hour that qualify for NJIP as well as 14 additional jobs.

Continental Western group's $14 million expansion in Urbandale was approved recently for tax benefits from Iowa's NJIP. In exchange, Continental Western intends to create 50 to 60 jobs at a median starting wage of $17.50 per hour.

Mitchell, O'Brien and Shelby counties will be using new Enterprise Zones to promote housing and business development after action by the IDED Board, which approved the new zones. As its first Enterprise Zone, O'Brien County has chosen a 79-acre area in the city of Hartley, which includes an available beef processing plant. Shelby County is using a 27-acre area that is part of the Harlan municipal airport as an Enterprise Zone to develop a business park. Mitchell County is designating new Enterprise Zones comprising 72 acres in Osage and a new Enterprise Zone covering 94 acres in St. Ansgar. Both communities are seeking residential housing development.

Business Development News

The IDED will be hosting "Hong Kong Plus - Your Global Platform for Expanding Your Business Opportunities in Greater China" on Wednesday, July 23 at the IDED Office, 200 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA. The event is being held in cooperation with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). The breakfast briefing will feature HKTDC's Chicago Director, Mr.. Richard Tam and will give Iowa companies the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the Hong Kong market and to meet with representatives who can assist them with their business transactions. Contact Kanan Kappelman at 515.242.4892,

"Trade Pacts of the Americas - Your Competitive Advantage," a seminar hosted by the IDED, will be held on July 10, 2003, at the University Park Holiday Inn in West Des Moines. The Americas are a vital part of Iowa business with vast trade opportunities and competitive markets. Learn about the dynamics of this region and its impact in today's global climate. Topics will include current and pending trade agreements in the Americas and how these inter-related agreements affect your business decisions. Special guests will include an official from the United States Trade Representative office, the Under-secretary of Industry and International Promotion with the State of Mexico, and experts in related areas of doing business in the Americas. Download the registration form today or contact Kanan Kappelman at (515) 242-4892,

Iowa had a high profile as a major sponsor of the BIO 2003 annual conference June 22-26 in Washington, D.C. BIO is the largest gathering of biotechnology professionals in the world. Iowa had 31 sponsors and sent a delegation of 75 representatives. Iowa's presence in the exhibit hall tripled from four booths last year to 12 this year. Dr. Friedhelm Brinkhaus from Kemin and Dr. Diane Birt from Iowa State University spoke on "The Future of Our Foods" panel. The IDED also sponsored the closing BIO reception held at the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum.

The Human Resources Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) was a major sponsor of the career fair which is part of BIO 2003 in Washington, D.C. Partner companies such as Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a DuPont Company and Integrated DNA Technologies participated in the HRRC booth. Other career recruiting took place on Thursday, June 26 during an Iowa Alumni and Friends Reception held at Washington's historic and majestic Union Station.

Three teams of Iowa community and utility developers made a "Sell Iowa" trip to the Twin Cities at the end of May. The teams made calls on businesses including headquarters of companies with production facilities in Iowa. The Iowa delegation was pleased to hear that expansion and growth are again on agendas of companies. The delegation was also pleased by the continuing high level of business interest in the Iowa Values Fund.

The IDED's business assistance team sponsored a pair of one-day brownfield redevelopment workshops. The free workshops were held May 28 in Cedar Rapids and May 29 in Perry. Over 75 city, county, economic development, and business leaders attended the workshops which featured presentations from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Iowa communities and the city of Springfield, Missouri. Springfield was a Phoenix Award winner for outstanding brownfield redevelopment efforts. The IDED will continue to partner with IDNR on the establishment of a revolving loan fund for brownfield redevelopment, a state brownfield inventory and assessments, and community revitalization efforts.

A Taste of Iowa® will participate in the "Farms, Food and the Future" Conference being held Thursday, August 28, at the Scheman Center on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. This one-day conference is for producers, processors and anyone wanting an inside look at adding value to Iowa's commodities. The meeting will feature topics including: challenges and opportunities in value added agriculture; capital management; marketing resources; business development; niche marketing and real world experiences. For further program information contact Pat Paustian with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5321. For questions regarding registration contact Terrie Hunter at (515) 294-5961. The Farms Food and the Future Conference is sponsored by: The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, The Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, The A Taste of Iowa® Program and Iowa State University Extension.

Casey's General Stores, Inc. joined the A Taste of Iowa® program during June to inform their customers that Casey's supports Iowa's economy by purchasing, selling and serving Iowa food products. Casey's posted A Taste of Iowa® point-of-sale materials in their 318 Iowa stores.

The Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) has offered to sponsor A Taste of Iowa® Showcase as part of their 2003 Conference, July 7-9 at Okoboji. This is a first-time event. The objectives are to showcase small to mid-size companies who need to gain exposure and expand their sales in the Iowa retail market.

A Taste of Iowa® sponsored a seven-booth Iowa pavilion for the Summer Fancy Food Show of the National Association of Specialty Food Traders (NASFT) at Jacob Javits Center in New York City, June 29 - July 1. Four companies exhibited. This is the premier marketplace for the specialty food business, where tens of thousands of buyers see, taste and sample more than 60,000 fine specialty food products. A trade mission to this event is also scheduled. Ten representatives from Iowa food companies are expected to attend.

Five companies were awarded Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) marketing funds last month. The ETAP program provides financial assistance to Iowa companies participating in international trade shows or trade missions. A qualified company may receive up to $4,000 in financial assistance for each pre-approved event. The latest recipients are Burke Corp., Nevada; Maxcare Intl, West Des Moines; Cycle Country Access, Milford; Iowa Quality Ag Guild, Columbus Junction; and Innovative Growers, Mason City.

Community Development News

IDED Downtown Resource Center staff presented at the National Town Meeting on Main Street in Cincinnati. This is the annual training conference. Approximately 45 people from 25 Iowa communities attended the conference.

The second in a series of "Downtown - the SMART Place for Business" small business development workshops was held on June 17. Approximately 80 people from across the state attended.

Representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be visiting Iowa to see firsthand the projects funded through our innovative Main Street Loan program, a joint program with the Iowa Finance Authority and the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB.) The FHLB in Des Moines has asked Main Street Iowa to make a presentation to HUD and USDA representatives about the successful use of the HUD grant we received this past year.

The Iowa Downtown Summit will be held August 26 and 27, 2003 in Grinnell. The theme is "Downtown - the SMART Place for Business". For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) pre-application workshop for 2004 funds for water/sewer fund and community facilities and services fund was held on June 4. Pre-applications are due on August 1 and August 27 respectively. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

A review of the 45 applications requesting Racing Association of Central Iowa (RACI) funds recently began. There were 45 applications requesting a total of $600,000. There is approximately $165,000 available for awards. IDED applications for next year's RACI funds are due in August. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

The Federal Highway Administration recently awarded $795,906 to Iowa's two National Scenic Byway organizations to continue the development and interpretation of these routes. The Loess Hills Scenic Byway received $583,504 for a corridor management plan, comprehensive land use plan, and development of interpretation sites. The Iowa Great River Road received $211,402 for their corridor management plan and facilities improvements along the route in Guttenberg.

Nancy Landess is one of three state tourism directors nominated for the State Tourism Director of the Year Award. The other nominees are Dean Reeder of Utah and Joe David Rice of Arkansas. The state tourism directors select one of their peers for national recognition based on improvement of the state's travel and tourism profile. The award will be presented in August.

The movie "Iowa" was recently filmed in Centerville. Matt Farnsworth is the director of the film and also co-stars with Diane Foster. Rosanna Arquette and John Savage will also appear in the film. Several local residents have extra roles in the film.

Iowa Volunteer Commission staff and volunteers are working on follow-up to the very successful Volunteer Iowa! event which took place on January 12, 2003. We are trying to determine the progress callers are making on the commitment of volunteer service hours they pledged during the event. Over 400,000 hours of volunteer service was pledged during the event. For more information, visit or contact Rose Wazny at 515.242.4822.

The following Community Development Fund (CDF) awards were made recently:

  • City of Sumner - Upper Story Redevelopment - $30,000
  • City of Denison - Film Scholarship Fund - $4,000
  • City of Fairfield - Venture Capital Conference - $1,500

For more information, contact Cali Beals at 515.242.4723.

Calendar of Events

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