IDED Quick News

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Iowa Department of Economic Development.
February 28, 2003


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Economic Development Top Stories

A five-year expansion plan which would invest over $77 million in Dupont/Pioneer Hi-Bred International facilities in Iowa and add up to 118 higher paying jobs was approved for tax incentives by the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) Board. The proposal impacts Pioneer Hi-Bred facilities in Algona, Cherokee County, Dallas County, Johnston, Keokuk County, Renwick, Toledo, and Urbandale as well as the Dupont plant in Fort Madison. Pioneer is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dupont. Dupont/Pioneer's application for Iowa's New Jobs and Income Program (NJIP), which provides investment tax credits and sales tax refunds on construction services, lists the median starting wage for the jobs as $19.23 per hour. Governor Tom Vilsack said, "I am really pleased by the expression of confidence in Iowa as a business location that this new investment plan represents. Pioneer Hi-Bred's continuing success as the world's leading plant genetics company is leading us to a great future."

Firestone's agricultural tire division has announced plans to move ahead with construction of a $20 million global distribution center south of Ankeny. The IDED worked with the Greater Des Moines Partnership to put NJIP incentives in place for recruiting this project and additional Firestone expansions. Pannatoni Development Company of California will oversee the distribution center construction, which will create $12 million in business for contractors in central Iowa. Firestone will lease the 850,000-sq. ft. building after it's erected on a 70-acre site along Interstate 35 near Northeast 66th Avenue. About 45 people will work there and distribute tires to the United States, Canada and more than 70 countries worldwide.

Polaris Industries Inc. has begun construction of a 33,000-sq. ft. addition to its Iowa plant after Spirit Lake received IDED board approval of a $360,000 Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA) investment last November. The investment was part of an IDED partnership to recruit the expansion with the regional economic development group, Great Lakes Corridor of Opportunity. Polaris plans to begin operating in the new production space this summer and install $2 million in new equipment over the next year. Three new products have gone into production at the Iowa plant--a new All Terrain Vehicle, a custom cruiser Victory motorcycle, and a new personal watercraft model.

Ryan Companies recently announced completion of the regional Target distribution center in Cedar Falls. The new facility totals 1.3 million-sq. ft.-equivalent to 25 football fields-and is expected to open in March. Construction began in August 2001 and was completed on time and on budget. With more than 238 loading docks and 1,101 truck trailer slots to accommodate distribution needs, the distribution center expects to move 40 million boxes a year and serve 70-100 Target stores throughout the Midwest. The new facility will create an estimated 900 jobs in the Cedar Falls area over the next three years. IDED partnered with the Cedar Valley Economic Development Corp. to recruit the project and is investing $500,000 from the CEBA program. More than 6,500 applications for work at the facility were collected at a job fair conducted by Hawkeye Community College.

Business Development News

The Human Resource Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) participated in Careers 2003 Career Fair in Washington D.C. The job seekers for this career fair were candidates in the top 3 percent of their college graduation classes. Representatives from Pella Corporation, Principal Financial Group and HRRC collected resumes from attendees and will distribute them to member HRRC companies and communities for consideration.

HRRC will be connected with Iowa students at the ISSUE Engineering and Business and Liberal Arts and Sciences career fairs on Feb. 17 and 18. HRRC also participated in the Iowa Private College Career Consortium event. The goal of participation in these events is to connect with students, encourage them to search for careers in Iowa, and let them know if they do take a job outside of Iowa they can always return in the future for their career.

The HRRC was also a sponsor of the third ROTC Career Event held on February 20 at the STARC Armory in Johnston. This was an opportunity for Iowa students that are in the ROTC program to connect with Iowa employers and explore possible internship and career opportunities. Past student attendees have successfully gained full-time employment with employers they met at the ROTC career event.

The international manufacturing team assisted 18 Iowa companies at the International Home Builders show in Las Vegas, January 21-24. The show attracted over 92,000 visitors from 95 countries. During the show, the international manufacturing team was able to meet with and counsel the Iowa companies on exporting issues. Staff made them aware of IDED programs for Iowa companies to gain more market share in targeted regions of the world. The team also distributed information in the International Pavilion about the Iowa companies exhibiting at the show. The manufacturing team was able to market Iowa companies to 26 delegations of foreign buyers recruited by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The team also met with prospective foreign investors and brought back leads for business development project managers.

Three Iowa companies were awarded funds for export marketing from the Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) administered by IDED's International Office during the month of January to help them increase export sales. A qualified company may receive up to $4,000 in financial assistance for each pre-approved international trade show or trade mission. Roto Rooter Corp., West Des Moines, received funds to exhibit at an international trade fair in Germany; Wayne Engineering, Cedar Falls, received funds for a waste management fair in the United Kingdom and American Professional Quilting Systems, West Des Moines, received funds for a quilt exhibition in Canada.

A buyer's mission involving buyers from China and the Elk Breeders Association is being planned for late May. Jimmy Chu is organizing a group of seven Elk Velvet buyers and IDED is working with the Iowa Elk Breeders Association and the North American Elk Breeders Association to plan the visit. Funding has been requested from the Mid-America International Agri-Trade Council (MIATCO) to finance the trip.

Preliminary plans are under way to recruit Iowa companies to attend the Alimentaria Food and Beverage show in Mexico City on June 3-6. Pedro Alverez from Alimport, the government agency responsible for importing food into Cuba, will be in attendance. During the show, he plans to visit with the companies that were in Havana in September as well as meet with new companies.

IDED staff went on an exploratory pork trade mission to Vietnam and Thailand in February. Vietnam and Thailand are growing economies which hold potential for Iowa pork and pork variety meats. IDED staff worked with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Meat Export Federation to arrange the mission to Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand. Highlights include a pork seminar in Bangkok and market orientation meetings. The Iowa Pork Producers Association and two pork companies also participated.

Participating members of A Taste of Iowaź exhibited at the Iowa statehouse on February 19. Food company members and restaurants presented samples of their tasty products for the Iowa legislature and visitors at the statehouse to sample during the day. Twenty-two companies participated. The Terrace Hill Society also participated. The Terrace Hill chef prepared a dish from the Terrace Hill Cookbook for visitors to sample.

A Taste of Iowaź was invited to give a presentation about the program and provide sample products to the Associated Chefs' Federation of Greater Des Moines on January 27th. The Iowa Hospitality Association (IHA) hosted the winter chefs meeting at their headquarters in Urbandale. Five A Taste of Iowaź members attended and presented their products to chefs and the associate members who are distributor and broker representatives.

Community Development News

Dates and locations for the series of six regional business development related workshops have been set. Each workshop is designed to improve the competitiveness of Iowa's downtown small business owners. The series will begin in April in Perry and conclude in March, 2004 in Pella. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Dates and regions for on-site technical assistance visits to Main Street Iowa communities have been determined. Each of the 25 participating communities will benefit from a two-hour retail-related workshop, and five "one-on-one" business assistance visits to downtown business owners. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Planning for the 2002 Iowa Downtown Conference is well underway. The conference will be held in Grinnell. The theme for this year's conference is "Downtown...the SMART Place for Business." Nationally-recognized keynote and capstone presenters have been confirmed and include: Kennedy Smith, director of the National Main Street Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Rick Segel, Rick Segel & Associates; and Kent Burnes, Burnes Consulting.

Iowa Downtown Month is August, 2003. Marketing information will appear on the web by the end of February. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

The Infrastructure Team Awarded a Community Development Block Grant imminent threat grant to the City of South English. Drought conditions caused them to literally haul water from a nearby town. The $213,000 grant will enable them to connect to the City of North English's water supply. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

Community Development Fund awards were recently granted to: City of Sheldon, Sheldon Community Assessment, funded $ 1,250; City of Traer, Iowa Stored Energy Plant (ISEP),funded $50,000; City of Indianola, Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives Tuition Registration Scholarships, funded $3,680. For more information, contact Cali Beals at 515.242.4723.

The 2002 Iowa Welcome Center Survey is available. Some of the highlights include:

Leads will be sent to the tourism industry from appointments at the Bank Club Marketplace in Louisville, Kentucky and the American Bus Association Marketplace in Indianapolis, Indiana. Staff attended these meetings in early February.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service is pleased to announce the selection of Debra A. Madison-Levi as the new administrator for the Commission.

Calendar of Events

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