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IDED Quick News

The news report for customers, partners and friends of the

Iowa Department of Economic Development.


January 24, 2003


Economic Development Top Stories

·         Governor Highlights Economic Development

·         Blouin Takes IDED Helm

·         Chiodo Named IDED Legislative Liaison

·         Clarke American Completes Ankeny Construction

·         Existing Homeless Programs Receive HUD Funds

Business Development News

·         CEBA Award to Nevada for Envelope Plant

·         Bridgestone/Firestone Receives NJIP Award

·         Enterprise Zones Declared in Adair and Floyd Counties

·         Venture Network Features Six Presentations

·         A Taste of Iowa® Hosts Des Moines Metro Market Meeting

·         A Taste of Iowa® Hosts Small Food Business Seminar

·         HRRC at Regents Career Fair

·         HRRC Alum Mailing Underway

·         Spring Break in Iowa 2003 Underway

·         HRRC Visits Hispanic Engineer Conference

·         HRRC to Display at Black Engineers Fair

Community Development News

·         Volunteer-a-thon Smashing Success

·         2003 Travel Guide Released

·         Travel Coupons Available On-line

·         Selection Decisions Made for Two Main Street Projects

·         Main Street Loan Program Productive

·         Infrastructure Team Reviewing CDBG Applications

·         Housing Fund Applications Being Reviewed

·         The Travel Federation of Iowa to Host Legislative Showcase

·         Iowa Represented at Bank Travel Marketplace in Louisville

·         “Rain” Movie Tickets Available

·         Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service Legislative Breakfast Reception

·         The Governor's Conference on Volunteer Service April 15-16

Calendar of Events

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Economic Development Top Stories

Governor Tom Vilsack highlighted economic development in his condition of the state address. Among the proposals he made was a $500 million “Iowa Values Fund” which would provide economic development funding both regionally and state-wide. The proposal has received praise from many quarters including the Association of Business and Industry. The Governor also set the goals of increasing the number of bio-tech companies in Iowa, doubling the number of college-experienced Iowa workers and increasing output of renewable fuels and alternative energy.

Governor Tom Vilsack and Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson have named Michael T. Blouin Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED). The decision reflects the administration’s intent to make higher paying jobs and business start-ups a major focus heading into the legislative session. “Beyond his outstanding experience and leadership in working to create jobs and spur economic growth, Mike Blouin has earned the trust of community leaders across the state,“ Governor Vilsack said. “From his work in the Statehouse, at the U.S. Capitol and on Main Street, he knows that Iowa’s success depends upon our ability to take bold steps to get our state’s economy moving.” Lt. Governor Pederson said, “In his new role, Mike Blouin will work to expand economic opportunity to all corners of Iowa, from rural areas, to small towns, and to regional commercial centers.“ Blouin became IDED Director on Thursday, January 16.

IDED Director Michael T. Blouin has announced the appointment of Frank Chiodo as Legislative Liaison for the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Chiodo was recently elected to his fourth term in the Iowa House from District 62, an area in Des Moines’ south side. This session he was to be the Democratic minority whip, making him the second highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. The past three years he has also served as ranking member of the Commerce Committee.


Eleven existing projects for homeless Iowans have been approved for funding totaling $2.5 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD.) However, HUD had denied the grant requests because Iowa’s application was missing pages when it arrived in Washington, D.C. The original application on file in the HUD regional office in Omaha, NE, was complete. Four proposed new Iowa projects will not receive funding this year, according to HUD. IDED will continue to pursue funding for these new projects, which total $1.9 million.


Clarke American Checks, Inc. recently completed construction on a $12.5 million state-of-the-art check printing facility in Ankeny.  The company is bringing 89 new jobs to Central Iowa. “The Clarke American project is a model for the way economic development should work around the State.  It’s the perfect example of how local, regional and state cooperation can benefit the entire area,” said IDED Director Mike Blouin. The City of Ankeny successfully applied to the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) for funds from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA) to assist in the recruitment of the company. Ankeny Mayor Merle Johnson presented the check for $274,500 to plant manager Scott Finses. The CEBA funds are half loan and half forgivable loan at zero percent over five years.


Business Development News


The DED Board recently approved a $129,000 investment (one-third loan/two-thirds forgivable loan) from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA) to Nevada to help recruit a  Minnesota envelope printing company to Iowa. The IDED board approved the funds for the creation of 43 jobs at an average starting wage of $14.50 per hour. Nevada is competing with another out-of-state location for an expansion facility of Priority Envelopes of Minneapolis. If Nevada gets the expansion plant, the company would invest $3.4 million and would move into a new 40,000-sq. ft. building, which is expandable to 90,000 sq. ft. 


A possible $20 million global distribution center that Bridgestone/Firestone is considering for Polk County has been approved for the New Jobs and Income Program (NJIP). The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) board approved the application for incentives. The application requests only local property tax exemptions in years 6-10 if 50 jobs are created within the first 5 years and the investment is made.  The company is not requesting state tax credits or construction sales tax refunds that could also be available under the NJIP program.


Adair and Floyd Counties recently received approval of new Enterprise Zones from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) board to spur industrial and housing development. Adair County received certification of a 10-acre area in Adair Industrial Park #1 as an Enterprise Zone. Floyd County received certification of 3.5 acres of undeveloped land in the community of Floyd for the city's first Enterprise Zone, which will be used for new housing development. Under Iowa's Enterprise Zone program, state and local tax benefits may be extended to investments that develop housing in approved areas or create quality job opportunities.


The Venture Network of Iowa Forum originated from the IDED on January 9th. Robert G. Riley, Jr., President & CEO of Feed Energy Company, was the keynote speaker. Six companies gave five-minute presentations--U.S. Transportation Logistics, Davenport; Ambient Telecom, Inc., Sioux City; Three D Industries, LLC, Winterset;, Inc., Webster City; Pheno Imaging, Inc., Broomfield, CO; and Sciengistics, LLC, Des Moines.


A Taste of Iowa® recently hosted an informational meeting at IDED on The Metro Market project planned for Des Moines.  The concept is for an indoor farmers’ market for Iowa producers who are looking to sell their products throughout the year.  IDED introduced this new “store front” concept to A Taste of Iowa members and encouraged them to consider ways to participate.


A Taste of Iowa® is hosting the Business Assistance for Small Food Businesses and Entrepreneurs Seminar on Wednesday, January 22, 2003, in Des Moines.  The seminar will provide an overview of resources available to start and develop a food business.  The agenda includes: an introduction of the services available through the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska Lincoln; overview of the “From Recipe to Reality” seminar as the first phase of the Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program; food safety and inspection; custom packaging and manufacturing; and IDED financial assistance programs.  IDED will also present information on a scholarship program available for company representatives to attend the “From Recipe to Reality” seminar. 


The Human Resources Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) promoted Iowa career opportunities at the Regents Universities Career Fair at the Polk County Convention Center on January 8. Employers gave personal assistance to students and professionals looking for work and collected the resumes of qualified candidates to network with Iowa employers not in attendance. Students from Iowa independent colleges also were invited to attend the career fair.


The fourth annual HRRC alumnus mailing is underway.  The newly updated alumni brochure is being mailed to the 200,000 plus alumni of Iowa's public and private colleges and universities who graduated in the years 1975 to present. Just as in years past, a letter is included from each college inviting alumni to consider returning to Iowa. Alumni can also self-select to receive additional information about working, living and playing in Iowa.


The Spring Break in Iowa program 2003, which gives students an opportunity to spend their break at an Iowa company, is on track. Agreeing to host students the week of March 17-21 so far are HON Industries, Integer, MidAmerican Energy, Pella Corporation, Principal Financial Group, Rockwell Collins and Wells Fargo Financial. The HRRC staff recently sent an invitational e-mail with details about the program to the career placement professionals, professors and students at the universities and colleges throughout the state. Resumes are arriving from students who want to participate in the program.


HRRC presented at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference and Career Fair in New Orleans recently. HRRC member representatives from Pella Corporation and MidAmerican Energy presented the excellent career opportunities in engineering to this diverse audience.


The National Society of Black Engineers Career Fair is scheduled for March 20-March 21, 2003, in Anaheim, California. The HRRC will have a booth at the career fair. Thousands of underrepresented professionals with experience in various engineering disciplines, physical sciences and information technology attend this career fair every year.


Community Development News


The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and Iowa Public Television collaborated over several months to hold Iowa's first ever "volunteer-a-thon."  The event, called Volunteer Iowa!, aired on IPTV stations across the state. Viewers were encouraged to call in and make a commitment of volunteer service hours for 2003.  By the close of the program, Iowans pledged 419,523 hours of service which is valued at $6,733,344. This is a "smashing" success and a testament to the spirit of volunteerism in Iowa.


The Iowa Tourism Office has released the 2003 edition of the Iowa Travel Guide, the organization’s prize-winning annual publication. The trip-planning book’s cover colorfully illustrates the diversity of activities and attractions in Iowa, giving special feature to the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, which will be commemorated around the country this year. The Iowa Travel Guide provides information about the state’s communities, attractions, lodging facilities, recreation areas and much more over 176 pages divided into 10 travel regions. In addition to the travel guide the Tourism Office released the 2003 Iowa Calendar of Events in January. The Iowa Travel Guide and Iowa Calendar of Events are available free of charge by calling 800-345-IOWA or by visiting  Complimentary copies are also available at any of the state’s 21 welcome centers.


Travel savings coupons are now available on the tourism web site at Attractions, hotels, restaurants, events and other tourism facilities can offer a value for travelers. The coupons may be printed off before the traveler leaves home.


Selection decisions were made for two HUD funded Main Street projects. The first was environmental review services for Main Street Challenge Grant recipients. Simmering-Cory has been selected to do the work for $15,500. The contract is being drafted.  Also, Burnes Consulting was selected to conduct a series of six regional retail-related workshops. Johnson & Segel Partnership was selected to perform twenty-five on-site retail retail-related workshops and 125 "one-on-one" business assistance visits for downtown Main Street business owners.


The Main Street Loan Program, a joint program with the Iowa Finance Authority and the Federal Home Loan Bank had a very productive first year.  Seven applications were received. To date, five have been approved totaling $961,780. These low interest loans are part of the funding to rehabilitate 10 upper floor apartments and thousands of square feet of additional office space in 6 downtown buildings in 5 different Main Street communities. The Downtown Resource Center has design approval of every project before IFA will proceed with loan approval. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.


Infrastructure Team staff members are currently reviewing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) water/sewer and community facilities and services applications. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836..


A total of 108 Housing Fund applications were received in December. Fourteen applications are seeking funds for home ownership programs, 85 are seeking funds for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation programs, and 9 others are seeking funds for rental projects or programs. The tentative award date for these is March 5, 2003. For more information, contact Terry Vestal at 515.242.4850.


The Travel Federation of Iowa will host their annual Legislative Showcase on Tuesday, January 28, 2003, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. The event will be held in the Cattle Barn on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Over 60 communities and attractions will feature their tourism opportunities and visit with their legislators.


Iowa will be represented at the Bank Travel Marketplace in Louisville, Kentucky, January 30 - February 1, 2003 and at the American Bus Association Marketplace on February 1 - 6 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Group tour operators will receive information about tourism itineraries in Iowa and leads from the show will be provided to the tourism industry.


The movie “Rain”, which was filmed in State Center and Cambridge, will be shown in Marshalltown on February 3 and 4, 2003. Tickets are available through the Iowa Film Office. Call 515-242-4726 or FAX at 515-242-4809.


Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service (ICVS) Legislative Breakfast Reception will be February 18, 2003, at 7:30 a.m. in the State Capitol building.  ICVS commissioners and staff will be on hand to talk with legislators about ICVS programs and activities.  Several AmeriCorps program representatives will also attend to showcase the activities Iowa's AmeriCorps members are involved in.  More information is available by contacting Kelly Thompson at 515.242.4866.


The Governor's Conference on Volunteer Service, will be held April 15-16 at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott.  John Bridgeland, Director of USA Freedom Corps and special assistant to President Bush, has been invited to be a plenary speaker.  Confirmed plenary speakers are Greg Alan Williams and Rudy Simms (Director of Iowa's branch of the National Conference for Community and Justice).  More information is available by contacting Jody Benz at 515.242.4764.



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