by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
One: Cedar Valley on INC 5000 List
This year, we celebrate the listing of BraceAbility from Cedar Falls coming in at number 753 on the strength of a 600 percent growth in this five-year old company. BraceAbility is operated by CEO Shaun Linderbaum, who came from another perennial INC 5000 honoree ClickStop, and COO Therese Stevens, who you may know as a partner in TargetClick Marketing, which became a part of another honoree, Mudd Advertising. My bet is that most have not heard of this fast growing Cedar Valley e-commerce firm that sells orthopedic braces. Take a look at www.braceability.com.
ClickStop, operated by owner/CEO Tim Guenther, made the list for the eighth time. Congrats to you, Tim, for making the list again. ClickStop was founded in 2005 and is south of the Cedar Valley metro area in Urbana just off Interstate 380. Tim has created a very cool workplace and also has several connections of interest in the Cedar Valley. As mentioned above, Shaun Linderbaum was CTO at ClickStop before joining the new BraceAbility. Also, Therese Stevens was an intern there.
Another move that will add to Tim’s chances of being on and perhaps higher in the 2018 INC 5000 is the recent acquisition of Clean Laundry Licensing started by Cedar Valley serial entrepreneur marketing guru Phil Akin. Phil joined ClickStop as CMO and his son, Ethan, is leading the growth of the laundry licensing unit. Take a look throughout www.ClickStop.com to get a glimpse of this successful firm 12 years after start up.
Takeaways: Tim knows talent. E-commerce has a bigger, growing impact on the Cedar Valley economy than you’d recognize. There’s a cluster of that knowledge base in our economic area which is adding to the economic base through that spillover impact that I keep talking about.
Two: Hurricane Harvey’s Impact
There’s so much to say about Hurricane Harvey and its impact on the City of Houston and potential impact on the nation’s economy that I wrote an entire blog post on the topic, with multiple links to informative stories.
The Projected Economic Impact of Harvey, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, September 1, 2017
Three: Case and Kreske Foundations Project in Economic Inclusion
Thanks to iGus Marketing founder Denita Gadsen for directing me to this article. It describes exactly what the Alliance & Chamber says as a part of our economic inclusion work: any business and economy that embraces its diversity through inclusive action will be stronger. While much of our work has been focused on being more inclusive in our workforce, this concept also applies to scaling overall business growth.
That’s the focus of these articles. Read the Governing article first, then the HuffPo coverage.
Can We Build Inclusive, Innovative Local Economies? Governing, August 15, 2017
Four cities learn how to create inclusive communities, Huff Post, August 18, 2017
Four: Impact of Robots on Workforce Needs for Site Selection
Randy Thompson is senior director of a commercial real estate services group that does site selection for clients. He has some interesting and reasonable views about the role of automation and robots in the shift of distribution to fulfillment and customized manufacturing. Thompson ponders how the site selection process differ if business is driven by direct to consumer fulfillment rather than bulk from wholesale to retail stores. He wonders if manufacturing can reduce the reliance on large supply of humans. It’s all about location and brainpower.
How Technology Will Overcome Demographics, Area Development Online, Q2 2017
Five: Apple, Again. Anatomy of a good deal for Waukee
This excellent analysis of the Apple deal in Waukee, from an incentives perspective, is penned by a fellow some of you have met – John Stineman, Executive Director of the Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA). The Alliance & Chamber is part of ICA, which focuses on public policy to advance economic development in Iowa.
In this column, John does a good job breaking down the deal and its rationalization. He did this to counter the whiners who don’t understand what a win — even a heavily incentivized data center project — can be for a city government that can supply the energy, broadband, and other significant requirements.
On the other hand, as I mentioned last week, we were in the competition until site requirement jumped from 500 to over 1,000 acres. What these people are going to do with 2,000 acres is yet to be determined: it’s not likely to be covered in more data center space, but stranger things have happened.
Apple deal gets an ‘A’ for return on investment, The Des Moines Register, August 31, 2017