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.

March 29, 2003


Economic Development Top Stories

  • Smart Conference Highlights
  • Golden Crisp Expanding in Sioux Center
  • Mid Central Plastics Expands in West Des Moines
  • Textron Consolidating in Decorah
  • Priority Envelope to Build in Nevada
  • IDED Issues Advertising, PR RFP's

Business Development News

  • Enterprise Zones Approved in Winnebago, Worth Counties
  • HRRC At Women's Basketball Tournament
  • HRRC Creates Multicultural Committee
  • IDED to Host Reception for Meat Buyers in Japan
  • New Ag Export Opportunities in Cuba
  • Iowa Companies Exhibit at VIV Asia
  • Fourteen Companies Receive Export Trade Assistance
  • IDED Staff Attends Symposium on Bio-Tech Exports to Japan
  • A Taste of Iowaź Advisory Committee Renewed
  • Bed and Breakfast Guild Welcomes A Taste of Iowaź
  • A Taste of Iowaź Hosts Pavilion at Twin Cities Restaurant Show

Community Development News

  • Regional Business Development Workshop Registration Brochures On-Line
  • Main Street Technical Assistance Visits Underway
  • Main Street Awards Scheduled
  • CDBG Grants Awarded
  • 2003 Housing Fund Awards Announced
  • New Transportation Map Available
  • PlanIt Iowa Showcase In Minneapolis
  • Iowa Tourism Unity Day Planned
  • Governors Conference on Volunteer Service April 15-16

Economic Development Top Stories

The Annual SMART Conference sponsored by the The Iowa Utility Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development is scheduled for May 1, 2003, in Des Moines at the Polk County Convention Complex. This year's conference theme will be "The Changing Face of Economic Development." Conference highlights will include : Consumer trends from Peter Yesawich; VISION IOWA's Michael Gartner; Site selection and relocation consultant Jack Allston; Generation X management retention strategist Rebecca Ryan; Governor Thomas J. Vilsack (Invited); Iowa's energy outlook; Biotechnology basics you should know; and Iowa's venture capital environment. Register on-line at: or find out more at: or email at

Golden Crisp Premium Foods, a division of Patrick Cudahy, Inc., is expanding in Iowa and will receive a $500,000 loan from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA). The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) Board approved partnering with Sioux County to help Golden Crisp Premium Foods move into the vacant Quik-To-Fix food processing facility in Sioux Center. The Golden Crisp Premium Food facility start-up will create 136 jobs to manufacture precooked bacon products. The $12.2 million project would remodel the existing facility for two precooked bacon production lines and complementing bacon-processing equipment. Long term plans call for the addition of three more production lines as demand continues to grow.

A state investment of $300,000 in the sale of West Des Moines' Morton Custom Plastics to a new owner was approved recently by the IDED Board. The funds come from CEBA and will go into the buyer's plan to expand the operation creating seven new jobs while retaining 95 existing jobs. The average starting wage for the retained and created jobs is $19.08 per hour. The business would continue as Mid Central Plastics, producing custom molded plastic parts for vehicle manufacturers such as Deere, Winnebago, and Polaris.

Textron Fastening Systems announced it is consolidating production at the former Camcar plant in Decorah, moving equipment there and hiring 150 persons by the end of the year to produce fasteners. Last month, the IDED board approved a $490,000 CEBA investment to participate in Decorah's recruiting proposal for the project, which retains 106 other jobs at the plant. Textron is consolidating production from out-of-state to Decorah and investing about $5.2 million to remodel facilities and install machinery and equipment.

Priority Envelope, Inc. of Minneapolis is moving forward with construction of a 40,000-sq. ft. plant on a 6.5-acre site in Nevada's West Industrial Park. The IDED Board partnered with the city of Nevada, the Nevada Economic Development Council and Alliant Energy on the recruiting package, which includes a $129,000 CEBA investment. Nevada was chosen over sites in Wisconsin for the $3.4 million project. The company will be hiring 43 employees at an average starting wage of $14.50 per hour in the years ahead.

IDED is seeking contractors for the planning and execution of its advertising and public relations program for the Business Development Division, as well as the advertising/publications and media relations programs for the Tourism Office. The Requests for Proposals (RFP) can be downloaded from Bidders may reply to any or all components of each request. In addition, IDED reserves the right to award portions of the contract to various providers. Please note, the Business Development Division and the Tourism Office are issuing separate requests and will require separate responses. All responses are due by 4 p.m. on April 16, 2003. Finalists will be notified by May 2, 2003 with final presentations taking place the week of May 19, 2003.

Business Development News

The IDED Board recently approved Enterprise Zones for Winnebago and Worth Counties. A 4.2-acre area of undeveloped land in Forest City was certified as the first Enterprise Zone in Winnebago County, which became eligible for the program last year. Forest City will use the incentives of the program to promote a new housing development. Worth County received Enterprise Zone certification for 234 acres north of Highway 9 and west of Hanlontown. The site is the future location of Iowa Ethanol, where a $60 million investment is planned in an ethanol production facility.

The Human Resource Recruitment Consortium (HRRC) continued its participation in the NAIA Women's Division II National Tournament on March 12-18 at the Sioux City Auditorium. It's the fourth year that the HRRC has sponsored this exciting event. Staff hosts the team lounge where member companies meet informally with the student-athletes to assist them in sending e-mail postcards from Iowa and provide job information. The recognition the HRRC receives is positive. The sponsorship included two 30-second Iowa spots aired during the nationally-televised Championship game and recognition during the opening banquet and ceremonies.

The HRRC is very excited at the creation of a Multicultural Committee. The committee, chaired by Sherrill Banks-Wiley of Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Iowa, has met three times and set the following goals: To identify and implement strategies that enhance the efforts of community and business members; to encourage the retention of workers, especially those of minority populations; and to identify and provide new avenues to market Iowa career opportunities to qualified workers of diverse backgrounds outside the state of Iowa. Three areas of focus include the development of a reception program to help new employees connect with Iowa and other professionals who are new to the company and/or state, development of resources to support community and company recruitment and retention materials, and continuing to identify targeted recruitment initiatives that will increase the pool of skilled workers of all backgrounds that are considering Iowa career opportunities.

IDED will host an Iowa reception as part of the Meat Trade Mission to Japan, April 5-13. Japan is the largest export market for Iowa meats, and Iowa sells more meat products to Japan than any other state--$383 million in 2002. This will mark 15 years of expanded meat trade in Japan since the beef market was liberalized in 1988. IDED is planning the Iowa reception for meat importers and government officials in Tokyo to celebrate this success. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge is leading the 14-member Iowa delegation. Three Iowa companies not presently exporting products to Japan--CK International, Wholesome Harvest and Proliant--are participating. The mission is being arranged by IDED and the Iowa Office in Japan. The Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Pork Producers Assn., Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Iowa State University are also involved.

Iowa could see from $7 to $8 million in new agricultural exports to Cuba from meeting with purchasing representatives of the Cuban government last month at the U.S. Cuba Business Conference. Iowa companies have bidding opportunities on cash contracts with Cuba for mayonnaise, fruit juices, dried distillers grain, soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil. The export opportunities were discovered when an Iowa delegation attended the U.S. Cuba Business Conference in Cancun, Mexico and Havana, Cuba. One of the participants, Bruce Spurlock, sales and marketing manager for Mrs. Clark's foods in Ankeny, said, "the trip has opened up opportunities for our company to sell mayonnaise and fruit juices to the Cubans. I was able to develop the contacts we need to proceed with the bid process."

Ten Iowa companies participated in an IDED-hosted pavilion at the VIV Asia 2003 agricultural trade show in Bangkok, Thailand, March 5 - 7. IDED representatives also arranged meetings at the U.S. Embassy where discussions were held with representatives of the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S.-Asian Environmental Partnership.

Fourteen companies were approved recently to receive Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) funds to participate in international trade shows or trade missions. A qualified company may receive up to $4,000 in financial assistance from the International Office of IDED for each pre-approved event. The latest companies to receive ETAP funds are Check-All Valve, West Des Moines; Bacon Veneer, Grundy Center; AG Parts, Humboldt; Medipharm, Des Moines; Warren Performance Pkg., Council Bluffs; Brown Bear Corp., Corning; Maxcare Intl., West Des Moines; Hawkeye Group, Mediapolis; Met-Coil Systems, Cedar Rapids; Sukup Mfg., Sheffield; Mrs. Clark's Foods, Ankeny; Royale Intl., Davenport; Brown Medical Ind., Spirit Lake; and Herdsman 2003, Prairie City.

IDED staff attended a Japan Export Trade Organization (JETRO) symposium in St. Louis, Missouri on Feb. 27-28 to observe the Kansai-Midwest Biotechnology Initiative (KAMBI) in action. The symposium is part of a larger initiative to move Japan and the Midwest life science communities' closer in terms of licensing, research, investment and knowledge of each other. The opportunity to host a forum in Iowa within the next few months is under review by IDED and has attracted support from the Iowa Biotechnology Association, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

A Taste of Iowaź has re-established an Advisory Committee for the program. Twelve people who represent different segments of the food industry serve on the committee, whose role is to provide strategic advice and guidance for the program; make recommendations for the development and implementation of the marketing plan; utilize the expertise and experience of individuals marketing in this industry; provide assistance in prioritizing marketing activities with respect to available resources; and develop relationships among different segments of the food industry.

The A Taste of Iowaź program and three member companies exhibited at the Iowa Bed and Breakfast Guild 2003 Conference in Amana on March 10, and offered food samples. The B&B Guild has 85 members from around Iowa always looking for products to serve their guests or sell in their gift shops.

A Taste of Iowaź hosted an 800-square foot pavilion at the Upper Midwestern Restaurant, Hospitality and Lodging Show in Minneapolis on February 23-25. The seven Iowa companies involved each came away with good leads and connected with at least 1,000 Minnesota end-users. Exhibiting Companies included Falk's Ice Cream; Bee Lor INC.; Whitaker Foods; American Family Farms; Swiss Valley Farms; and Log Chain Honey.

Community Development News

Marketing brochures for the series of six regional business development-related workshops have been distributed. The brochure is also available on the web at: The series will begin in April in Perry and conclude in March, 2004 in Pella.

The first of 29 on-site technical assistance visits to Main Street Iowa communities have been completed. Twenty-seven participating Main Street communities signed up to take advantage of this service. Each will benefit from a two-hour retail-related workshop, and five "one-on-one" business assistance visits to downtown business owners.

The 16th annual Main Street Awards are scheduled for May 9 at the Temple for the Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines. Over 400 people from Main Street Iowa's 33 participating communities are expected to attend. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Awards totaling more than $18.4 million for 65 Iowa communities were announced recently by IDED. The federally-funded grants were awarded for community facilities, services and infrastructure improvements. The CDBG program will leverage more than $41 million in local funds from Iowa's communities. IDED received 152 pre-applications for these funds, totaling more than $46.3 million in funding requests. For more information, contact Hank Manning at 515.242.4836.

Awards were made on March 5, 2003 for the 2003 Housing Fund. Applications were received from 141 potential projects, seeking $55.7 million. A total of 45 "conditional" awards were made, totaling $17.4 million. The funded projects include 14 rentals, seven homeownerships and 24 owner-occupied. A recipient workshop was held in Ames on March 19, 2003. For more information, contact Terry Vestal at 515.242.4850.

The 2003 Iowa Transportation Map is available. The Department of Transportation printed all 2003 maps in the large print version.

The Iowa Tourism Office and the Iowa Group Travel Association will host a "PlanIt Iowa" Showcase in Minneapolis on April 3. Representatives of more than 50 attractions and destinations will meet with tour operators and group leaders to suggest Iowa itineraries. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa will host Iowa Tourism Unity Day on April 25 at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines. The event includes the presentation of Tourism Leadership Awards and the announcement of 2004 cooperative advertising options. The Department of Transportation will provide an update on the new 511 travel system and Lisa Ford will give a presentation on customer service. The event is sponsored by Meredith Travel Group and Midwest Living. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

The annual Governor's Conference on Volunteer Service will be held April 15-16, 2003, at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. The one and one-half day conference will feature 20 workshops on various topics including volunteer recruitment, screening and management; fundraising and resource development for nonprofits; professional development; staff/volunteer relations; and conflict resolution. A special ceremony will be held on April 15 to present Iowa Community Betterment awards and induct the newest members of the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. For more information, contact Deb Madison-Levi at 515.242.4466.


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