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IDED Quick News

The news report for customers, partners and friends of the
Iowa Department of Economic Development.
May 29, 2003

Economic Development Top Stories

Business Development News

Community Development News

Calendar of Events

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Economic Development Top Stories

The Northwest Iowa Economic Development Conference will be held on Friday, June 13 at the Siebens Forum at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. The meeting will convene at 8:30 am and end by noon. This meeting is being hosted by the legislators in Northwest Iowa with the facilities donated by Buena Vista University.

The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) board recently certified 28 Enterprise Zones in five counties, including large areas of the communities of Creston and Pomeroy and an available manufacturing plant near Pocahontas. Calhoun, Mitchell, Fayette, Pocahontas, and Union Counties are moving ahead with the new designations to offer tax incentives for housing and industrial development. Enterprise Zones are reviewed and certified by the IDED. The IDED also helps in drafting administrative and information materials and providing technical assistance, marketing support and training to communities using the development tool. 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. State tax benefits may include investment tax credits and refunds of sales taxes on construction services.

Barnstead International was awarded a state investment recently to move operations from New Jersey and Arkansas to its life science equipment manufacturing facility in Dubuque. The IDED board recently approved a $60,000 award to Barnstead from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA). The move will add 20 jobs in Dubuque at an average starting wage of $16.59 per hour. The nearly half-million dollar project will relocate the Ever Ready Thermometer Company (ERTCO) in West Patterson, New Jersey and a subsidiary in Quitman, Arkansas to Iowa. Barnstead bought ERTCO in 2001. Barnstead International has an 180,000-sq. ft. plant in Dubuque with 366 employees where it manufactures laboratory equipment such as incubators, reagent distributors, sterilizers and other life sciences research equipment.

The Jeld-Wen window division recently received a $300,000 investment to assist in moving into a larger building in Grinnell. The IDED board authorized the funds as a half loan, half forgivable loan from CEBA. Although it could have expanded in another Midwest location, Jeld-Wen windows decided to expand into a 250,000-sq. ft. building, which is next to the company's present location in Grinnell. The decision retains 187 jobs in Grinnell that have an average starting wage of $11.93 per hour. Jeld-Wen manufactures and supplies vinyl windows and patio doors to Menards stores throughout the Midwest from its Grinnell facility.

Business Development News

Procter & Gamble's new $18 million distribution center in West Branch, operated by Worley Distribution Services, Inc. of Cedar Rapids, began shipping products nationally on March 24. About 300 persons are working at the 520,000-sq. ft. facility. The center was recruited with incentives from Iowa's New Jobs and Income Program. Personal care products distributed to stores nationally from West Branch include Crest, Scope, Pantene, Zest and Olay. Half of the products come from P&G's Iowa City plant and half from other U.S. production locations.

Business is growing faster than expected for the Alpla plastic molding plant in Iowa City. The plant produces bottles for Procter & Gamble products. The Austrian firm has decided to more than double the 58,000-sq. ft. Iowa City plant that it opened last December. The plant received location assistance from IDED.

The first BIO Mid-America Venture Forum in Chicago was held April 3-4. IDED partnered with the Ames Economic Development Commission and the Iowa Biotechnology Association to help sponsor the event. Sponsors also included biotechnology organizations in seven other Midwest states and the Biotechnology Industry Association. The event offered visibility for two of Iowa's leading bioeconomy companies. Phytodyne, Inc. and NewLink Genetics, both located in the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames, were selected to present their business plans at the investor gathering.

In conjunction with World Trade Month, the IDED's International Office visited Iowa communities in May to discuss the resources and assistance available to Iowa businesses involved in or interested in exporting. Roundtable discussions served as an excellent forum to discuss current international exporting issues and to meet with the state of Iowa's international office staff and representatives. More than 40 Iowa companies and 12 economic development representatives attended the events.

Three Iowa companies are accompanying IDED staff to the Alimentaria Food and Beverage Show in Mexico City, June 3-6. Mexico is Iowa's third largest export customer and has the largest economy in Latin America. Attending Alimentaria will be representatives of Mrs. Clark's Foods, Wells Dairy and Burke Corp. Also attending is Pedro Alverez, the chairman and chief executive officer of Cuba's import agency. Mr. Alverez will be meeting with the Iowa companies at the show.

Experienced exporters seeking market expansion were recruited for an IDED-organized and promoted Baltics and Russian Trade Mission to Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Finland, June 3-12. Market growth and an increased ease of doing business may result from the possible entry of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia into the European Union by 2004. Finland is an open economy with about 40 percent of its GDP as a result of trade.

The IDED and A Taste of Iowaź sponsored an Iowa pavilion at the NASFT Spring Fancy Food Show held in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), May 4 - 6 at McCormick Place, Chicago. Five Iowa companies exhibited, and more than 10 other Iowa food companies attended the trade show to scout the specialty food industry and the Chicago regional market.

A Taste of Iowaź TV commercials will be running from June 2 - 22 on KCCI TV 8 in Des Moines and on KCRG TV 9 in Cedar Rapids. The 30-second commercials in these two markets will give the program exposure in 54 counties. A Taste of Iowaź partners will also be interviewed on Saturday Morning Live on June 7 on KCRG TV 9.

The second meeting of the Advisory committee of A Taste of Iowaź has been scheduled for June 5 at the IDED offices in Des Moines. Invitations have been sent to manufacturers who could benefit from being part of the marketing effort.

The Multicultural Committee of the Human Resource Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) is compiling and distributing a monthly calendar to members that highlights diversity-related events around the state of Iowa. Each month the committee chooses a specific event to showcase with the goal of educating HRRC members and encouraging members to attend the event. May's featured event was the Asian Heritage Festival at Grays Lake in Des Moines, coordinated by the Iowa Asian Alliance.

Governor Tom Vilsack spoke at the State of Iowa Scholars Ceremony on May 6 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. HRRC staff also spoke with students and their families about the benefits of staying in Iowa. The ceremony is an annual event that brings together the top 15 percent of graduating high school seniors from schools throughout the State. Each student had a chance to have a photo taken with the Governor.

The IDED business assistance team recently attended training on wind energy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important business development opportunity for Iowa with significant projects announced recently to serve utilities such as MidAmerican and Alliant. The team will use the training to provide enhanced support to businesses and communities on renewable energy incentives and applicable regulations.

Weyerhauser Company has launched a recycling awareness campaign in Iowa. Weyerhauser is showcasing findings from the IDED report, "Recycle Iowa Office 2001 Economic Impacts of Recycling in Iowa." The public relations campaign highlights the more than 11,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in total industrial output directly created by Iowa's recycling industry.

The 2003 SMART Economic Development Conference held May 1 at the Polk County Convention Center complex in Des Moines drew more than 600 professionals and volunteers from Iowa's economic development community. The conference was jointly sponsored by the IDED and the Iowa Utility Association. Top presenters included Vision Iowa's Michael Gartner, travel trends guru Peter Yesawich, and Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack. A full day of success stories and inspiration supported the theme "The Changing Face of Economic Development."

Community Development News

The Models for Success workshop series continues with presentations. For more information, please visit

The 16th annual Main Street Awards ceremony was held May 9, at the Temple for the Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines. Approximately 400 people from Main Street Iowa's 33 participating communities attended.

Fee based on-site assessment visits are scheduled for Sheldon, Waukee, Alta and Spirit lake. The downtown center is receiving a number of requests for this service. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Congressman Jim Leach invited Downtown Resource Center staff to testify in front of a House sub-committee on the success of Iowa's Main Street program and the need for developing tools to address affordable housing issues in Main Street communities under 30,000 in population. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

The Main Street Loan program, the first of its kind in the country, is drawing national attention. Representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be visiting Iowa to see firsthand the projects funded and to learn about the program which is a partnership with Iowa Finance Authority and the Federal Home Loan Bank. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Pre-application meetings for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program water/sewer and community facilities and services fund are to be held on June 4 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. over the Iowa Communications Network (ICN). For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

The Tourism Unity Day activities on April 25 drew more than 260 attendees. The Tourism Leadership Award was presented to Tom Kuhlman, Executive Director of the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce. The Tourism Volunteer Award went to Winnie Thompson from Dubuque. Herman Richter from The Three Sons in Milford received the GEMmy Award from the Midwest Travel Writers Association for the outstanding travel experience provided at their store. Shawna Lode of the IDED received the Fred Burns Award from the Midwest Travel Writers Association for her help and assistance to travel writers.

The 2004 Tourism Cooperative Advertising options were announced at Tourism Unity Day. A variety of opportunities are included with prices ranging from $225 to $4,980. The advertising partnership options include the Iowa Travel Guide, Midwest Living, The Iowan, Home & Away, Midwest Meetings, USA Weekend, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, The Des Moines Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Tribune and the web site for travel saving coupons.

National Tourism Week was May 10-18. The Iowa Tourism Office partnered with Best Western Hotels of Iowa for a drawing at the Iowa Welcome Centers for $100 gift cards that can be used at Best Western Hotels. The Tourism Office also partnered with the Travel Industry Association of America to provide bookmarks to everyone stopping at Iowa Welcome Centers during National Tourism Week. Several media interviews were done to promote tourism activities in May. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

A movie titled 'Iowa' began filming in Centerville on May 20. The Director for the movie is Matt Farnsworth who spent summers with his grandparents in the Centerville area. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

The Celebration of Youth Service Day was May 1. A celebration was held at Drake University. For more information, visit contact Rose Wazny at 515.242.4822.

Community Development Fund (CDF) projects were announced recently:
For more information, contact Cali Beals at 515.242.4723.

Calendar of Events

For up-to-date IDED Calendar of Events listings Click Here:


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