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5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought November 10, 2017

ONE: Cedar Valley Brags

We have a lot to brag about in our Cedar Valley. We see it every day, and we love it when others recognize us. Here is a link to the web page where we collect those bragging points. But we don’t find them all. If you find a brag, we should be sharing with our talented workforce, business, and influencer targets, send it to us. We’ll add them to the list.

Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber website, Brags & Rankings

TWO: Computer Science in K-12 by 2019

This year, the Iowa legislature mandated the Iowa Department of Education complete a plan to offer instruction by July 1, 2019in the fundamentals of computer science in elementary schools, exploratory computer science in middle school, and at least one high-quality computer science course in high schools. The report linked below was issued November 1. Do you have comments on this? Let me know by email so I can collect your views, add mine, and send it along to the Iowa Department of Education and Governor’s Special Assistant for Education.

Computer Science Education Work Group, State of Iowa Department of Education, November 1, 2017

THREE: Eldorado Resorts

One of our newest Cedar Valley corporate names is Eldorado Resorts, Inc. (ERI). Eldorado purchased the Isle Hotel Waterloo along with other Isle of Capri assets this year. I’m still learning about the company, and its vision for the industry and the Waterloo property, specifically. Here’s a link to their October investor presentation.

Investor Presentation October 2017, Eldorado Resorts

FOUR: Iowa Taxes

The closer the calendar gets to January, the more we’ll read and hear about the priorities of associations and legislators about priorities for the 2018 session. Tax reform in many forms will be discussed, whether or not any (useful) action is taken. The Tax Foundation, a national think tank researches taxes of all classes at the federal and state level. One of the interesting takeaways is that their State Business Tax System Ranking places Iowa’s overall tax system as 40th in the nation, and our business tax system as 49th in the US. That isn’t good. Below is a link to their recommendations for Iowa. Follow the link below for details.

Iowa Tax Reform Options: Building a Tax System for the 21st Century, Tax Foundation, May 5, 2016

FIVE: International Trade in Solar Panels

The rules of the road for international trade and commerce is at the forefront – NAFTA, Brexit, and all that. But international trade impacts us at a granular level: the Cedar Valley exports a lot of ag commodities as well as equipment from tractors to winches, and we import components, ingredients, and more. But the rules of trade aren’t straightforward. Here’s an article that shows how complex, if not plainly goofy, the rules of trade get contorted. And there are a couple of links within the item that are good reads, too. (There’s advertising at the end that will allow you to sign up for the newsletter if you wish.)

Tariffs on Your Roof, Patrick Watson, Connecting the Dots(Mauldin Economics), November 7, 2017

 

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Fuel for Thought What's Steve Dust Reading this Week? October 30, 2017

 

One: The Next Industrial Revolution

Joe Kaeser knows manufacturing: he has a high perch from which to view the industrial landscape at Siemens. This is a lengthy, but thought-provoking interview with the Siemens CEO.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser on the Next Industrial Revolution, Daniel Gross, strategy+business, February 9, 2016

Two: Dalio on the Two Economies

Honestly, I didn’t really know much about Ray Dalio/Bridgewater until he recently hit the tour circuit for his new book, Principles. I’m about one-third through that book – it’s really good — but recently came across this article he posted on LinkedIn, dealing with what Dalio sees, as many do, with two economies.

Our Biggest Economic, Social and Political Issue The Two Economies: The Top 40% and the Bottom 60%, Ray Dalio, LinkedIn, October 23, 2017

Three: Impact of a Federal Tax Rate Reduction

There’s a lot of rhetoric being thrown – well, shouted — about the proposal to drop the corporate tax rate. When the noise gets too goofy, dive into the data. How many people would get hired or how much of the savings goes to employees? Savings from lower tax payments go to the bottom line, where it is redistributed to investment in productivity – technology, training, and facilities as needed; and shareholders, and employees.

Here’s a short but technical observation that plays off another by Greg Mankiw, with a link to that content in the article linked below.

It’s All About the Rectangles, Steve Landsburg, The Big Questions, October 22, 2017

Four: Nebraska State Budget Woes

Iowa budget issues, attributed in large part to the farm slump, are shared by our neighbors. Here’s a story on Nebraska’s work to identify both the scope of the problem and the priorities needed to adjust spending. Thanks to Jim McKernan for passing this along.

Tough decisions on horizon, senator says, after $195 million drop in projected Nebraska tax revenue, Martha Stoddard, World-Herald Bureau, October 28, 2017

Five: It’s the Halloween Edition

Here’s insight and career advice to a witch who doesn’t want to be a witch anymore. Courtesy of The Muse blog.

Ask a Witch: What Do I Do if Brewing Potions Doesn’t Excite Me Anymore? Jenni Maier, Break Room, The Muse

“5 on Friday” is a two-way street: please send me recommendations on books, reports, articles, blogs, videos, or anything you’re reading or watching that impacts business and the economy.

 

Succession Planning Workshop is Nov. 9

RSVP by Nov 2 to Learn to Transition Leadership, Ownership of Business

Speakers will answer questions such as:

  • Who will take over when I leave?
  • What does business transition look like?
  • How do I plan for succession?

CEDAR VALLEY OF IOWA, October 10, 2017 – Learn the process of identifying and developing new leaders of your business to replace yourself or other leaders who retire leave at an Advance Iowa Succession Planning Workshop on November 9 in Waterloo.

The workshop will be from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. on November 9 at Waterloo Center for the Arts, Rotary Room, 225 Commercial Street, Waterloo. It is an event of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

The workshop is designed for owners and partners of small- to medium-size companies who are considering retirement or selling their business within the next five to 10 years.

The idea is to get them to start thinking of an exit strategy, said Lisa Skubal, Vice President for Economic Development, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The transition doesn’t only affect owners and senior leadership, it also affects employees.

Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development, headshot

Lisa Skubal

“It takes years to be able to plan out what that succession plan is,” Skubal said. “We want those businesses to continue to grow and thrive where they are in the Cedar Valley.”

Because almost every seat was filled in at a similar April workshop, the Alliance & Chamber scheduled this second session.

“We introduce those opportunities and give them the resources so they start having those conversations,” Skubal said.

Speakers will answer questions such as

  • Who will take over when I leave?
  • What does business transition look like?
  • How do I plan for succession?

Speakers are Paul Kinghorn, Director of the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa, and Dan Beenken, Program Director and Lead Consultant for Advance Iowa.

Register for the workshop by November 2 online at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com, by emailing info@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

About Advance Iowa

Advance Iowa is the State of Iowa’s comprehensive consulting program designed to work with mid-sized companies to enhance their growth. It is often lonely at the top for business owners, we are here to be a third party sounding board and trusted advisor. Advance Iowa assists firms in overcoming their obstacles and helps to identify new opportunities. Advance Iowa is a program at the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa. Learn more at www.advanceiowa.com or call 319-273-4322.

About Paul Kinghorn

Paul Kinghorn, Advance Iowa, headshopt

Paul Kinghorn, Advance Iowa

Paul Kinghorn is the Director of the Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa. Kinghorn has held ownership and key management positions within public and private organizations including a variety of startups and early stage business ventures. He has experienced the complexities inherent in commercializing technology and innovation and in bringing improvement into organizations and has over 20 years’ experience consulting with businesses of various sizes in all aspects of their operations. Paul has an interest and passion in the areas of ideation, startup development, strategy, leadership development and process efficiency particularly as each pertains to enhancing sustainability and maximizing shareholder value. Kinghorn received his bachelor’s degree from Franklin University and MBA from Ohio University.

About Dan Beenken

Dan Beenken, Advance Iowa, Headshot

Dan Beenken, Advance Iowa

Dan Beenken serves as the Program Director and Lead Consultant for Advance Iowa. Prior to his current roles, his experience was in the asset management, venture capital and investment banking industries, most recently in business development and product management for RBC Dain Rauscher. Beenken has extensive experience working with early-stage firms on capital formation and exit strategies. He has also served as a business consultant at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial management from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.

Alliance & Chamber Hosts Business After Hours November 9 at Renovated Community Bank & Trust

RSVP by Nov. 1

WATERLOO, IOWA (October 26, 2017) – Investors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber can tour the recently renovated Community Bank & Trust building in downtown Waterloo during Business After Hours on November 9.

The event will be 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on November 9 at Community Bank & Trust, 422 Commercial Street, Waterloo.

Business After Hours is an opportunity for investors to network and experience various business locations throughout the Cedar Valley. Attendees learn special information and insight about the sponsoring business while socializing and enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Each event attracts more than 125 investors.

There is no cost to attend the event. Investors may RSVP by November 1 by contacting Bette Wubbena at bwubbena@cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 319-232-1156.

Premier Sponsor is Community Bank & Trust. Gold Sponsors are CenturyLink and KWWL.

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

image Fuel for thought graphic What's Steve Dust Reading this Week? October 20, 2017

John Deere Waterloo TV ad

John Deere has begun showing a terrific 30-second ad on TV in the Cedar Valley area. You have to watch it. Send it along to your colleagues and friends.

Building the best large tractors :30 TV spot

And here’s a nearly eight-minute version

Building the best large tractors

When Should The Firm Adopt Additive Manufacturing

The University of Northern Iowa’s amazing Additive Manufacturing Center and Design Lab in our TechWorks Tech 1 building continues to expand in size, industrial production scale equipment, and Iowa clients served. We know that additive manufacturing in the industrial setting will be an important growth sector for the Cedar Valley, in terms of our firms’ investment in the technology, as well as the opportunity to recruit the makers of the equipment. I am trying to learn more about how the firm makes that investment decision, as well as be better informed about the technology. Here’s a good article with a process and opinion on how the evaluation should be structured.

Courtesy of Supply Chain Management Review.

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Additive Manufacturing? André Kieviet and Suraj M. Alexander, Supply Chain Management Review, October 16, 2017

Zappos Hsieh on Business Organization

Zappos’ top guy has been famous for risks and successes in e-commerce and flaming failures. Still, he has more than1,500 employees in one of the attention-grabbing e-commerce firms. And he’s a damned good organizational thinker. Here’s an interview he did with the McKinsey firm to make sense out of his “holocracy” approach to organizational management. It is a good, and thought-provoking read.

Safe enough to try: An interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, McKinsey Quarterly, October 2017

China Strategy

This week, China commenced a session of its National Congress of the Communist Party. This Congress is held every five years. George Friedman, one of the best, objective observers of global geo-political/economic issues, republished a report with his analysis of the “grand strategy” employed by China. This nation that has seen extraordinary economic activity and growth, according to Friedman, may be operating in a different strategic framework than we might think.

In China, a Strategy Born of Weakness, Geopolitical Futures, October 18, 2017

Surviving the Merger

We haven’t merged again, but many of your firms are acquiring new operations or creating strategic partnerships of various kinds. No matter how small, these moves require thoughtful communications to all involved to ease anxieties about the post-agreement workplace. This is a good Harvard Business Review article on the topic that would be a good tool for individuals engaged in your growth program.

Surviving M&A: How to thrive amid the turmoil, Harvard Business Review, by Mitchell Lee Marks, Philip Mirvis, and Ron Ashkenas, March-April 2017

Diversity & Inclusion Partnership Offers Seventh Annual Summit for Business Professionals

CEDAR VALLEY OF IOWA  — Business owners, managers, and human resource professionals from organizations of all sizes are invited to attend the 2017 Economic Inclusion Summit. Previously called the Diversity & Inclusion Summit, the event is designed to strengthen the Cedar Valley economic region by providing tools and information for businesses to implement effective inclusive practices.

The Summit will be held on October 20 in Tama Hall at Hawkeye Community College, 1501 E. Orange Road, Waterloo, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Continental breakfast and networking are set for 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The program begins at 8:45 a.m.

This is the seventh year the Diversity & Inclusion Partnership of the Alliance & Chamber is presenting the educational event, previously called the Diversity & Inclusion Summit.

Agenda

Attendees are provided a concentrated and focused experience with multiple presentations. This year’s keynote presentation is an interactive theater experience that addresses workforce and cultural difference in the workplace.

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Networking

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome

Steve Dust, President/CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Dr. Linda Allen, President, Hawkeye Community College

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Presentations

Cedar Valley Data and Demographics, Danny Laudick, Program Consultant, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Non-Traditional Methods for Finding and Keeping Talent in the Cedar Valley,  Kyle Roed, Sr. Human Resource Manager, Omega Cabinetry/MasterBrand Cabinets

Question and Answer following both presentations

9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Break

10:00 a.m. -11:45 a.m. Breaking Ice Presentation 

Introduction of Breaking Ice – Sharina Sallis, Community Relations Specialist, CUNA Mutual Group

Breaking Ice Pillsbury House Theatre Performance

Question and Answer

11:45 a.m. – Noon Introducing: Inclusion Toolkit Online Resource
Jean Trainor, Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Partnership

2018 Awards Nominations

During the Summit, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will announce the call for nominations and application process for the Diversity & Inclusion Awards to be presented at the 2018 Annual Celebration, March 27, 2018 at the Waterloo Convention Center, Waterloo. These awards recognize for outstanding contribution by a business or organization for leadership in creating and strengthening an environment of diversity and inclusion in the workplace culture, business practices and in the community.

To Register

There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited; register online at cedarvalleyalliance.com. Continuing education credits for human resources professionals are available for Summit attendees.

Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa are the Premier Sponsors for The Summit. Hawkeye Community College is the Location Sponsor. Cedar Valley Society of Human Resource Managers (CVSHRM) is providing the continental breakfast.

Other sponsors include Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, Courier Communications, Hy-Vee Food Stores, KWWL, Omega Cabinetry/MasterBrand Cabinets, and the University of Northern Iowa.

About the Diversity & Inclusion Partnership

The Diversity & Inclusion Partnership is a workforce initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The purpose of the Partnership is to strengthen the Cedar Valley economy by collaborating with businesses to promote inclusion and make sure all residents have the opportunity to benefit from a thriving Cedar Valley economy. The Partnership is led by a taskforce of volunteers dedicated to promoting the business case and positive impact of diversity and inclusive practices in the Cedar Valley workforce. More information can be found at cedarvalleyalliance.com, by contacting Lisa Rivera Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development at lskubal@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

One: Yes, the Cedar Valley Was Considered for Apple’s New Data Center

So, I was walking through the office early Thursday afternoon, and Director of Communications Dorothy de Souza Guedes asks, “What’s your big item to accomplish the rest of the day?” “Getting over the depression of hearing the Governor and Tim Cook announce the Apple data center in [deleted] Des Moines,” was my immediate response.

The Cedar Valley was a strong competitor when this was a 300- to 500-acre project. When Apple discovered it could have a 2,000-acre site with similar features, the competition was, practically speaking, over.

The Apple project has spurred Vice President of Economic Development Lisa Skubal and our Economic Development team to work with our regional partners to discover and work to control two mega-sized sites — one with rail and one without. Why two? The data center mega site has much different requirements than, say, a Toyota plant.

These mega sites are not anomalies. Requests are returning to the market after a fairly long absence of demand with a few exceptions – mostly auto assembly plants throughout the United States and Mexico.

The link is to the article discussing the project and the embedded video reviews the incentive package offered.

Apple’s billion-dollar data center ‘puts Iowa on world stage’

Two: VGM Group Took My Blues Away

At the end of the day Thursday, August 24, my blues were chased away by an Alliance & Chamber’s ribbon cutting.

An open house and ribbon cutting celebrated the newest expansion of the VGM Group’s campus at Ansborough and US 20.  Wow! Thank you, Jim Walsh, Mike Mallaro, and team for delivering such a stunning new office building to the Cedar Valley market.

Designed to give new amenities to the growing VGM team that now numbers 760 in the Cedar Valley, the building is a $20 million investment that brought the complex to over 190,000 square feet.

Celebrating the opening of this amazing office with a ribbon cutting ceremony, I laughed through Jim Walsh’s “welcome and thank you” remarks. Talking with the VGM team and their VIP guests — many Alliance & Chamber investors — reminded me how grateful we should be for the loyal, growing, investing, employers we have in the Cedar Valley. Thank you, again, VGM.

VGM shows off latest addition at Waterloo complex

Three: Editorial on Job Skills to Fill the Gap

If you are an employer, you know the employability and job-specific skills gap is real.  If you’re not a hiring manager or owner, believe us, the issue is real.

It’s troubling when research expresses that vocational training is too specific and stymies older workers from progressing in or to a new career ladder. There are times when we must say “get over it.”

We cannot afford to have a valuable contributor leave the workforce just because they prefer not to be retrained. The incentives that permit that preference need to lead back into lifelong learning and retraining. That’s particularly painful for boomers who love what they’ve done for 30 years. We as a society can’t let these valuable workers slip out of the workforce: the incentive must be to keep learning and keep working through the reasonable career span.

And I almost refuse to give credence to the idea presented in the article below about young men with less than a bachelor’s degree working fewer hours each year because of video games. I know the data is real, but good grief.

This is an editorial of The Courier, which is absolutely on point with the issues of job skills to fill the gap. Thank you, Roy, Nancy, and The Courier team for a very good piece on a critical issue.

Learning job skills is no game

Four: Critical Few Behaviors and Organizational Culture

We’re all looking for ways to make our workplace a place where people are productive for the firm and our clients. There are a lot of people writing and saying stuff about culture. Strategy+Business is a good business journal and accompanying blog with solid content on a broad range of topics.

This short article helps employers and leaders identify keystone behaviors that will contribute to achieving our strategic and operational objectives. It is worth the time to read to get a start prioritizing culture-building activities in terms of implementation and impact.

Getting to the Critical Few Behaviors That Can Drive Cultural Change

Five: The Robot Apocalypse

Investment Advisor Kevin Wilson makes the case I have advanced since 1981: automation is an improvement in our careers and businesses, not a revolutionary challenge to our intellect. Yes, of course, we can conjure a Jetson’s and HAL-lific artificial intelligence tragedy. But let’s back up to where we are in advancing technology, how we’re using it, and how it can leverage our scarce American human capital. Instead, think about how we quickly ramp up from here. That’s what this lengthy, chart-rich SeekingAlpha.com article does.

Much Ado about Nothing: The Robot Apocalypse Is Actually an Economic Renaissance In Disguise

What are you reading that would help me do my job for you? Email me at SDust@CedarValleyAlliance.com.

Waterloo’s Crystal Distribution Approved for IEDA Award

CEDAR VALLEY OF IOWA (August 18, 2017) — The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today approved a tax credit award for Crystal Distribution Services, Inc. The company qualified for sales tax rebate on construction materials for a $5.5 million expansion project of its Waterloo facility.

IEDA application assistance was provided through the Alliance & Chamber’s business retention and expansion (BRE) services which focus on keeping and growing businesses in the Greater Cedar Valley. These services are provided to any business in the region, including investors in the Alliance & Chamber.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber economic development team of Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development, and Cassie Evers, Business Services Coordinator, collaborated with the City of Waterloo and IEDA to assist Crystal Distribution owner Tom Poe with the application process. Their goal was to ensure that the company’s project qualified and was approved this month by IEDA to allow time for construction to begin this year.

On Monday, Waterloo City Council unanimously approved development incentives for Crystal Distribution’s expansion and agreed to serve as a sponsor for the IEDA application.

Today, the IEDA board today awarded this project tax benefits under its High Quality Jobs (HQJ) program which provides qualifying businesses assistance to offset some of the costs incurred to locate, expand, or modernize an Iowa facility. In addition to the capital investment, Crystal Distribution’s project will create one additional job at a qualifying wage of $17.29 per hour.

According to the company’s website, Crystal Distribution provides temperature-controlled warehouse and repackaging services to food processing companies around the world. The company began operation in the Cedar Valley more than 100 years ago by cutting ice from the local river and distributing it around the country. Crystal Distribution is a current investor in the Alliance & Chamber.

Read August 28, 2017, IEDA news release here: Economic Development Board approves awards to support over $48 million in capital investment in Iowa

Read August 15, 2017, The Courier article here: Incentives for Crystal approved

 

 

What a Day!

By Steve Dust, President/CEO Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

You have probably seen that commercial for an insurance company where, after a great day for a young woman receiving a new car and an equally dismal day for a man whose car tires have been stolen, both exclaim, “What a day!”

That’s how I felt on Tuesday, July 11 as spent four hours traveling to and from Des Moines to attend a three-hour meeting.

Usually, I wouldn’t attend a meeting outside the Cedar Valley on the day of an Alliance & Chamber board meeting, never mind our annual meeting. But I broke that rule for the Future Ready Iowa Alliance board meeting because it meets so infrequently, its planning work is nearing the end, and important implementation actions soon follow.

“What a day!” I repeated to myself the entire trip. Initially, I focused on missing hours of prep time for the Alliance & Chamber annual meeting. Then the people I encountered completely turned my day around.

  • Ben Allen, former University of Northern Iowa president and current interim Iowa State University president, was the first person I encountered. It was good to see an old friend and champion of the Cedar Valley. That was worth the trip, I thought.
  • Mike Ralston, President of Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and I walked in together. We always have a lot to compare notes on, but he emphasized that a recent ABI social media post attracted the largest number of views, interactions, and reposts his organization had experienced. The post featured the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presenting U.S. Rep Rod Blum with its Spirit of Enterprise Award; the Alliance & Chamber co-hosted the event at the TDS Automation/Doerfer plant in Waverly.
  • Hawkeye Community College President Linda Allen is one of eight on the board from various Cedar Valley sectors. As we were getting yet another cup of coffee, she talked to me about another potential partnership between Hawkeye and a local major employer, implemented at TechWorks Campus. She is pumped about the opportunity. (Now, all we need is money).
  • As the program began, Georgia Van Gundy, CEO of Iowa Business Council, gave a shout out to the Cedar Valley’s aggressive programming to retain, recruit, and prepare talent to fuel economic growth. Unexpected and appreciated. (IBC’s members are Iowa’s largest 20+/- employers, the three regent universities, and bankers’ association.)
  • While walking back to my table from the coffee urn, President Liang Chee Wee of Northeast Iowa Community College got up from his table to greet me with his characteristic smile. He told me, “I’m a fan of all you’re doing in the Cedar Valley!” That’s all of you: I just happened to be in the spot to catch the compliment.
  • It was good to see Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham simply because of health challenges she has been managing – with her typical “I’m not getting beat” approach, of course. But then she highly complimented the work of the Alliance & Chamber Economic Development team working on a particular project. I thanked her for taking extraordinary steps to ensure the opportunity to win.
  • Governor Kim Reynolds’ Deputy Chief of Staff Tim Albrecht is a recent graduate of ABI’s Leadership Iowa, the same class for which Leader Valley‘s Melissa Reade was a co-director. Tim thanked me for the time given Melissa to fulfill that role. She said, “Without Melissa there, it would not have been the amazing experience we had.” That is quite a compliment.
  • During the meeting, I sat with UNI Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Wohlpart. He has a goal to ensure the Future Ready Iowa initiatives to increase the percentage of Iowan’s with post-high school educational/career prep credentials are effectively implemented in the Cedar Valley economic area. Jim frequently moved our small-group discussion toward the need for local strategies to implement the statewide framework. His enthusiasm is contagious. I’m glad to have such a motivated leader making a difference for the workforce and employers of the Cedar Valley.

By the end of the meeting, I was saying, “What a day!” but for an entirely different reason than during my morning drive.

I had been reminded that the Cedar Valley generally, and our Alliance & Chamber especially, have many talented people effectively and proactively implementing meaningful projects to make our region even greater – and that effort recognized statewide.

Letter of Support for Convention Center, Hotel Agreement

In a letter to Mayor Quentin Hart and Waterloo Council Members, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust outlines several reasons why the city should approve an agreement with developer Leslie Hospitality Company. “This agreement is beneficial to the city’s taxpayers, and should be seen as enabling a significant benefit to the Cedar Valley economy and your city’s image,” Dust writes.

Waterloo City Council members approved selling the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center to Leslie Hospitality Company on July 17.

Read Dust’s letter of support.

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees