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IDED Quick News

The news report for customers, partners and friends of the

Iowa Department of Economic Development.

December 23, 2002


Economic Development Top Stories

Business Development Division News

Community Development Division News

Calendar of Events

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Economic Development Top Stories

Mike Blouin has been nominated by Governor Tom Vilsack to take the reins as director of the IDED. Blouin has worked for major economic development organizations in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. He has also served in the United States Congress and the Iowa Legislature. Blouin is scheduled to take charge on January 16.

Iowa will be promoted at both the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho on December 31, and at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida on January 2. At the Humanitarian Bowl, where the Iowa State Cyclones will be playing, IDED has secured two 30-second commercials to run on the stadium screens featuring Governor Vilsack inviting people to live, work and play in Iowa. At the Orange Bowl, where the University of Iowa Hawkeyes will be playing, fans will see a full-page advertisement on the back cover of the official program and two 30-second commercials on the stadium screens during the game. Both incorporate the message that "Iowa is a Smart Place to Live, Work and Play." An e-mail has also be sent to people in the Human Resource Recruitment Consortium database currently living in Florida, giving two lucky winners the opportunity to win a set of tickets. IDED has also signed on as a co-sponsor of a Hawkeye special section of the Des Moines Register. This run of 35,000 publications will be distributed on-site at the hotels and the Orange Bowl events.

Iowa unemployment for November was 3.9%, down from a revised figure of 4.1% for October (was originally 4.0%). This compares to 3.7% in November 2001. Iowa continues to be substantially below national rates, which increased to 6.0% in November from 5.7% in October.

Iowa was one of the top three website links chosen by visitors to the on-line Economic Development Directory at this fall. Other popular links were Arizona and Mississippi. The Iowa link had 59 referrals in September, 76 in October and 50 in November.

Businesses from across Iowa were honored at the first "Century Business of Iowa Recognition" event on December 9, at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. The Century Business of Iowa Program was created by the IDED this year to recognize the importance of long-term Iowa businesses to the Iowa economy. Nominated businesses that began operation in or before 1902 received a commemorative plaque and photo during a special ceremony. More than 350 people attended and 183 businesses were honored.


Business Development Division News

Iowa Quality Beef Supply Cooperative, which is upgrading and re-opening the processing plant in Tama at a cost of $32 million, was awarded a $500,000 forgivable loan from the federally funded Economic Development Set-Aside program by the IDED. The funds are for the purchase of equipment to create 342 jobs for people from low and moderate-income households.

A $75,000 loan from the CEBA venture component was awarded to Engineered Welding, Inc., a start-up company in Anamosa that does robotic welding as an outsource for large manufacturers, including Deere and Caterpillar. The company is creating 20 jobs at an average starting wage of $9.35 per hour. Engineered Welding's $235,000 business launch puts the company and advanced manufacturing equipment into 10,000-sq. ft. of leased production space in Anamosa.

Burlington and Red Oak are getting CEBA investments in their recruiting packages for new manufacturing plants from the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development board. Burlington will receive a $480,000 investment to compete with Kansas and Illinois for the Alfagomma America, Inc. project. It will create 120 jobs at an average starting wage of $12.51 per hour. Johnson Controls Battery Group is looking at Red Oak, Iowa and Oconee, South Carolina as possible sites for a $21 million advanced manufacturing facility. The IDED board approved a $445,000 investment to assist Red Oak in recruiting the battery parts plant. The CEBA funds are tied to the creation of 75 jobs at an average starting wage of $13.61 per hour.

CEBA investments were approved for $75,000 toward the expansion of P.A. Braunger Food Service in Sioux City, creating 19 jobs, and $100,000 toward a new distribution center for American Tire Distributors Inc. in Des Moines.

The IDED board certified Enterprise Zones for Adair County (Stuart); Floyd County (Charles City); Kossuth County (Lakota); Montgomery County (Red Oak); and Union County (Creston). The communities will use the Enterprise Zones to offer tax benefits to attract new housing and business investments.

The Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) 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 following companies were approved for funds during the month of November: Connect-A-Dock, Adair, for a trade show in The Netherlands; Construction Products Inc., Des Moines, for a trade show in the Philippines; and Cartegraph Systems, Dubuque, for a trade show in Canada.

A holiday mailing coordinated by the Human Resource Recruitment Consortium in association with the Regents Universities, Independent Colleges and Universities and Community Colleges was sent to 215,000 Iowa Alumni who graduated 1975-present and are living outside the state of Iowa. The mailing included a letter from the college/university president and a brochure. The brochure features an invitation to return from Governor Vilsack, highlights the benefits of working and living in Iowa, and offers testimonials from people who have made the move. The past two mailings have generated over 10,000 responses from people who wanted to receive ongoing information from Iowa.

Seven Iowa companies participated with IDED in The Americas Food and Beverage show in Miami on Dec. 4-6, 2002. The target markets for this show are the Caribbean and Latin American countries. Buyers attended from South America and the Caribbean area and companies had one-on-one meetings with the buyers of their choice during the show.

A Taste of Iowa is working on a seminar for small food businesses and entrepreneurs to provide an overview of resources available to start and develop their enterprises. Plans include an introduction of the services available through the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an overview of the "From Recipe to Reality" seminar as the first phase of the Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program offered by the University. This event is scheduled to take place in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 22, 2003. For more information, please contact Gail Kotval at 515.242.4731 or via e-mail at

A Taste of Iowa will host an 800 sq.-ft pavilion with seven Iowa companies at the Upper Midwestern Restaurant, Hospitality and Lodging Show February 23 - 25, 2003, in Minneapolis. For more information, please contact Gail Kotval at 515.242.4731 or via e-mail at

IDED's Peggy Kerr traveled to Toronto for the Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo and Canadian Public Works Expo, which have been combined for the first time this year. She is assisting Iowa companies and exhibitors, including Brown Bear Corp., Corning; CarteGraph Systems, Dubuque; Lundell Enterprise Inc., Cherokee and Musco Corp., Oskaloosa, in addition to Deere and Vermeer Mfg.

Waste Age magazine featured the Iowa Waste Exchange (IWE) in its November issue. Waste Age magazine goes to 43,100 disposal firms, managers, engineers and research personnel. Coverage included a photo of IWE specialist Perry Nelson at the Siouxland Recycling Center. The article noted that the IWE has diverted more than 720,000 tons of waste from landfills and saved Iowa businesses $20 million in disposal costs. IDED and Recycle Iowa involvement were cited in the article, which stated "Operating the exchange out of the state's economic development office lends legitimacy to the program for businesses wary of environmental initiatives."

IDED is finalizing its plans for the BIO 2003 Conference to be held in Washington D.C. June 22-25. Iowa will sponsor the closing reception at the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum. Additional components of Iowa's presence at this conference will include participation in the career fair, and expanded presence in both the trade show and the workshop sessions. For more information contact Kay Snyder at 515-242-4710 or


Community Development Division News

Main Street Iowa reached a milestone in private sector investments this month. Main Street communities have logged over $350 million dollars in private sector investment since the program began in 1986. This is significant in that it took 7 years (until 1993) to reach $50 million and less than 10 more years to surpass $350 million. There has been a net gain of 2,255 businesses employing 6,438 people full time in Main Street Iowa downtowns. For more information, contact Thom Guzman at 515.242.4733.

Hundreds of people joined state, community and business leaders at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines to celebrate and launch the much-anticipated start of construction on the Iowa Events Center, A Vision Iowa project. Wells Fargo Arena, Hy-Vee Hall and a renovated Veterans Memorial Auditorium form the Iowa Events Center. This signature facility will be a state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue for sports, concerts, entertainment, trade shows, conventions and much more. The $217 million facility will total more than one million square feet. Hy-Vee Hall is scheduled to open in Fall 2004, and a Spring 2005 opening is expected for Wells Fargo Arena.

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.

The Travel Federation of Iowa will host its annual Legislative Showcase on Tuesday, January 28 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Communities and attractions from throughout the state will have booths featuring their tourism opportunities.

A screening of the movie "Rain" filmed in State Center in 2001 will be shown in Marshalltown on January 25. Tickets are $5 and are available through the Iowa Film Office. For more information, contact Nancy Landess at 515.242.4702.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service will sponsor an on-air "volunteer-a-thon" in collaboration with Iowa Public Television, to be held on January 12, 2003, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. The program will be asking Iowans to pledge volunteer time. For more information contact Tina Dunphy, 515-242-5467.

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service issued a Request for Proposals for AmeriCorps program funding for 2003/2004. Applications will be due in January. Visit for more information. For more information, contact Rose Wazny at 515.242.4822.

Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service Team Leader Dennis Guffey retired recently after 31 years of service to the state. Questions about the ICVS should be directed to Rose Wazny at 515.242.4822.

Sixteen IDED staff members toured several sites in Adair and Guthrie Counties on December 10th. Several success stories were highlighted. Similar events in other Iowa regions are being planned.

Community Development Fund awards were granted to Denison, $5000 for commercial development; and to the Software and Information Technology Association of Iowa, $15,000 to develop a venture capital pool for the software industry in Iowa.


Calendar of Events

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