The Cedar Valley Investor Report gives a snap shot of the activities of the Alliance & Chamber, news from our investors, and informative articles selected for their relevance to economic growth in the Cedar Valley.
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce that Sue Beach has joined the Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations.
The Director of Investor Relations is responsible for investor recruitment and retention. Beach will work collaboratively with Bette Wubbena, Director of Investor Services.
“Sue has served as a volunteer on Alliance & Chamber committees and as an Ambassador for both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Waverly Chamber,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President of Community Development, “Her knowledge of our services and the return on investment available to investors will be a major benefit to our existing investors and to other businesses and institutions in the Cedar Valley economic area looking to give their operations a competitive advantage through the Alliance & Chamber.”
Beach has over 20 years of sales, marketing, fundraising, and management experience. Most recently, Beach led the Cedar Valley through the adoption and implementation of the Blue Zones Project of Waterloo and Cedar Falls as the Program Manager.
Beach is a graduate of North Iowa Area Community College and Hamilton College.
“Sue is a respected leader in the community with extensive expertise in building relationships and generating revenue, volunteer support and action,” says Alliance & Chamber CEO Steven Dust, “Her business and non-profit experience is a good match for this new role in the Alliance & Chamber. Our investors can expect the same kind of enthusiasm and energy to ensure they’re receiving maximum return on their Alliance & Chamber investments.”
Beach resides in Cedar Falls with her husband Sean and has an adult daughter Cheyenne. She will begin her duties with the Alliance & Chamber on May 12,2014.
The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com.
Cedar Valley of Iowa – On February 5, the Iowa Innovation Corporation will unveil the vision for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC). Two announcement / presentations will be made by Mark Kittrell, President, Iowa Innovation Corporation (IIC) on that day. The first will be at 9:00am during the 2014 Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference held in Tama Hall on the Hawkeye Community College campus. Later, Kittrell will make an official presentation in Des Moines as a part of the IIC Legislative reception at 5:00pm at the World Food Prize building.
Kittrell’s announcement is expected to include: the IAMC proposed location at the Cedar Valley TechWorks in Waterloo; the role and composition of the newly formed Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup ; a schedule of Advanced Manufacturing Focus Groups to be held in various locations; the resources to be offered to Iowa small & medium size manufacturers such as an industrial business incubator, acceleration services, modeling and simulation, industrial laboratories, state of the art production equipment, access to Iowa’s top industrial innovation work and talent from our universities and community colleges, and process improvement.
Kittrell will also discuss capital and operational funding necessary to continue development of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup
Co-chaired by Sarah McDonald Hasken, Vice President, A.Y. McDonald MFG. Co., and Glenn Baker, Director Global Manufacturing and Enterprise Services, John Deere, this core group of Iowa’s manufacturing sector, has been formed to set the direction for the IAMC.
The workgroup comprises leaders from all types of advanced manufacturing in the state of Iowa and also includes representatives of the regent universities, community colleges, state government, engineering, business associations and economic development leaders. David Takes, President of Doerfer; Mark Hanawalt, President/CEO of United Business Equipment; and Marvin Schumacher, President of Schumacher Elevator; Metal Casting Center Director Jerry Thiel; Linda Allen, President of Hawkeye Community College; and TechWorks representatives Cary Darrah, Wes James, and Steve Dust participate in the Workgroup from the Cedar Valley.
Advanced Manufacturing Focus Groups
The Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup will hold a series of industry focus group sessions around the state to discuss the issues faced and needs of small & medium size manufacturers. The focus group sessions will be held March through mid -April. Advanced Manufacturing Focus Group Sessions will be held in: Council Bluffs, Mason City, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Dubuque, Iowa Quad Cities, and Holstein. Earlier, a session was held in the Cedar Valley.
TechWorks is a 30-acre campus containing 20 acres of development sites and 300,000 square feet of space in two existing buildings undergoing renovation. In 2007, Deere & Company donated land and buildings to start this innovation-driven economic development project. This historic plant was the site of manufacturing and assembly of the earliest John Deere tractors. TechWorks Campus is a subsidiary of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.
TechWorks will partner with the Iowa Innovation Corporation to establish and house the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC) in the Tech I building on the TechWorks Campus.
For more information on the Iowa Innovation Council, the Iowa Innovation Corporation, the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center, or the Iowa Innovation Council Legislative Reception on Feb. 5th, contact:
Director of Marketing and Communications
Iowa Innovation Corporation
For more information on the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference contact:
Pamela Wright, Business Development Manager
Hawkeye Community College
For information on the TechWorks Campus contact:
Steve Dust, CEO
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
That’s why proponents of the Cedar Valley TechWorks should not lose heart.
TechWorks, the agri-industrial research complex being developed on portions of John Deere’s former Westfield Avenue facilities, is now 10 years in the making. It was jointly proposed in 2003 by then-University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob and Barry Shaffter, then general manager of Deere’s Waterloo operations.
Part of the project appears to have hit what proponents call a financial “speed bump.” An application for historic designation through the U.S. National Parks Service has been turned down. At stake is some $10 million in historic preservation tax credits toward the $50 million project.
Proponents are forging ahead.
Bryce Henderson, chief financial officer and chief operating officer with Davenport-based Financial District Properties, the project’s developer, said, “This decision was largely subjective, and we’re going back next week to present our case again,” he said last week.
Darn right. With all due respect to the Park Service, we don’t understand how preserving and enhancing a complex that was the industrial heart of Waterloo for most of the 20th century cannot have historic significance. We areapproaching the 100th anniversary of John Deere’s entry into Waterloo with the purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. in 1918, which was located on that very spot.
Henderson said the project will continue, and that there are backup financing plans. “You never go into a redevelopment project like this without a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and Plan D,” he said.
Developers have not given up on securing the historic designation for the Tech 2 building, which is scheduled to open in the winter of 2014 with a Radisson business-class hotel with a ground-floor restaurant, John Deere training facility, showroom and office space and a location for education programs of Hawkeye Community College.
“Part of our discussion was how to get started on the west end of the campus around the museum (Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, now under construction) and Tech 1 while we’re still putting all the pieces together for the Green project,” said Steve Dust, president and CEO of TechWorks. “It was important to understand that we continue to move ahead, even though this is a very important part of the project.”
We appreciate and applaud that undaunted approach. We would ask Park Service officials to consider the alternative. Longtime Cedar Valley residents have seen many industrial buildings fall victim to the wrecking ball, which subsequently resulted in aesthetic eyesores and environmental cleanup headaches.
The TechWorks project is a responsible, systematic re-use of a major industrial site in this city, preserving the site’s heritage with a look to future technologies. That’s a plan worth pursuing, and fighting for.
During the 2013 session, the Iowa Legislature stepped up with bipartisan support to approve funding for the creation of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC).
The IAMC is being established in partnership with the Iowa Innovation Corporation and Iowa Economic Development Authority. It will be a center of collaboration among those organizations listed above and many other “partners” and “users” such as many programs and centers within UNI and Hawkeye Community College, Wartburg’s manufacturing engineering program, ISU’s CIRAS/MEP, and others. It will be available to you and other Iowa manufacturers and product innovators to increase competitiveness and commercialization of new products.
“The realization of the IAMC moves the TechWorks Campus plan ahead, said TechWorks board Chair Tim Hurley. “ IAMC creates the center of thinking and action, physical and virtual, that has always been a part of our vision, he said. “ We could not have accomplished this without the leadership of Waterloo’s Sen. Bill Dotzler and enthusiastic bipartisan leadership of our Cedar Valley delegation and support throughout the legislature, IIC and IEDA for manufacturing’s leading role in Iowa’s economy. That it’s happening in TechWorks is our dream coming true,” Hurley concluded.
The IAMC is programmed to include such uses as these examples:
- Owned and operated by UNI’s Metal Casting Center, a large format 3D printer will be installed in the existing industrial lab space of the Tech 1 building on the TechWorks Campus. The large scale equipment, using polymer media, will be among the only of its kind in North America. The Metal Casting Center will provide access to this highly sophisticated equipment to manufacturing firms on a contract basis.
- The Alliance & Chamber and TechWorks are collaborating with UNI to make existing lab facilities available to Iowa firms on a fee-for-time or project basis.
- It is expected to install one and perhaps two 4 and 5 wall Computer Aided Virtual Reality Environment structures in the lab floor.
- Improve the Tech 1 building:
- Docks and overhead doors will be installed, along with required mechanical and electrical improvements.
- Space will be available for advanced manufacturing operations to lease, and
- Hawkeye Community College is establishing its green/sustainable construction methods program
Planning is underway for improvements, which will be underway later in 2013. Contact Steve Dust or Cary Darrah regarding IAMC programming.
Many Cedar Valley regional business and institutional leaders are involved in creating a Cedar Valley Tech Shop location. The Alliance & Chamber in partnership with Cedar Valley’s McElroy Trust, is collaborating with San Francisco-based TechShop to establish one of its nationally known, membership based industrial workshops here (look at www.techshop.ws).
The project includes a 15,000 to 17,000 square foot industrial workshop that provides an array of machinery and equipment to design and make just about anything anyone would want to try to make. The equipment includes everything from the CAD stations and small format 3D printer equipment, to hand tools, to highly sophisticated water jet cutting equipment, and applicable to the spectrum of materials, including cloth and fabrics. Importantly, it delivers a long menu of specific machine and “how to” training courses, on-site, to make anyone, a “maker.”
A key element of TechShop success is community engagement and outreach. The Cedar Valley presents an opportunity to engage students, and adults of all interests with a hands-on shop environment to learn about and do manufacturing. In the Cedar Valley, our “hook” is our deep heritage and sophistication in manufacturing in the economy and our emphasis on STEM education at all levels, including the STEM emphasis of UNI’s teacher education programming, and the Iowa STEM Initiative programming.
We are currently working with the for-profit firm to secure the facilities and required partnerships. Contact Steve Dust or Cary Darrah regarding Tech Shop.
“It helps a very talented professional team do our jobs more effectively and increase the competitive stance of the Cedar Valley in a global economy.” This is how Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber describes his motivation for announcing recent promotions within that economic and community development corporation.
The announcement describes a realignment of existing staff. No new hires were made, and no compensation adjustments were included in the process, Dust emphasizes. “We did this to operate more efficiently as a combined economic development, redevelopment, and community development organization, he says. Team members who do similar things are grouped by related functions, yet it allows us to remain flexible to very quickly attack any opportunity or issue in our economic area.”
In the new alignment, Dust is supported by four vice presidents, including Lisa Skubal, CEcD, who was named Vice President of Economic Development. Lisa oversees all business expansion and recruitment programs, marketing and project management, talent recruitment and retention, and business and economic information gathering. “Lisa enjoys a statewide reputation as one of the best in our field. Her professional growth has given her the skills to lead the team that helps wealth creating businesses and institutions locate and expand in the Cedar Valley of Iowa,” explained Dust.
Dust also named Cary Darrah as Vice President of Community Development. “Cary was brought into the Alliance & Chamber structure to manage the TechWorks Campus redevelopment, in large part because of the marvelous job she did in Cedar Falls Main Street organization, said Dust. “She has the Campus on a good trajectory with The Green @ TechWorks project getting underway in Tech II, and several good manufacturing technology-related opportunities exploring space commitments in Tech I. As I looked at the skills necessary to deal with our Competitiveness and Amenities work, which includes things like networking and events, local issues management, improving our infrastructure for business growth, and Leader Valley educational programs, it matched up nicely with Cary’s organizational skills and interests,” concluded Dust.
“In many regards, the Alliance & Chamber is a growing, entrepreneurial small business,” explains Dust. “We’re growth-oriented, and focused on doing what’s expected of us by our customers and clients, our investor-members, and this team faces the same kind of challenges our investor-members do in handling all the human resources, IT, facilities, and administrative tasks, and holding each other accountable for the wise use of our talents and resources. We take this very seriously, and to oversee the administrative components of the Alliance & Chamber, we have elevated Sandi Sommerfelt to Vice President of Operations. Sandi was in a similar VP role at another business, and she’s demonstrated that she can effectively lead and keep us well organized.”
At the same time, the CFO role held by Sue Hansen, CPA, becomes a part-time position. “Sue has worked very hard to bring us to an even higher level of management reporting and compliance with changing requirements. Sue will remain focused on our financial reporting and major HR issues, where she also has deep experience and knowledge, while having more time for family pursuits and personal interests.” said Dust.
“As we looked at the goals we expect to accomplish for the Cedar Valley business community and economic area this fiscal year (which began on July 1), and the number of complex and sometimes new challenges we’ll face, it became obvious to the senior team a realignment was necessary to get it all done effectively. It also permits me to spend more time on strategic business development, regional issues, and investor relationships. We’ll still be stretched, but this arrangement of duties and leadership will help relieve that challenge”, claimed Dust.
Dust concludes, “I think the most important thing to communicate to our investor-members, the business community in general, and all of the partners we rely on in accomplishing our work is that there is a team of highly talented, motivated and enthusiastic economic and community development professionals working every day in the Alliance & Chamber to increase wealth and economic vitality in the Cedar Valley economic area.”
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation whose investors include businesses, institutions, local governments and professionals dedicated to continuously improving the economic environment and quality of life in the Cedar Valley. The Alliance & Chamber works to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.
The Cedar Valley TechWorks is one step closer to becoming the physical location of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state thanks to legislation adopted this week. Nearly $4 million was included in Iowa Economic Development Authority appropriations for the project.
The IEDA’s Iowa Invocation Council, which will administer the funds, has been working closely with the Cedar Valley TechWorks and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to establish the Campus as the designated site for the Hub.
The bulk of the funds will construct improvements in the Tech 1 building on the Campus. A portion of the funds will be used for the University of Northern Iowa to purchase a 3-dimensional (3D) printer to fabricate on-demand molds for cast components to support advanced manufacturing , in collaboration with TechWorks.
“With this funding, we can make the capital and infrastructure improvements to the Tech 1 building needed to attract more technology and bio-products related industrial operations and partners to the campus. The investment in building improvements and equipment will prepare space for new businesses and educational programs, and bring tremendous momentum and excitement to the Campus as these projects move forward alongside the previously announced anchor projects,” states Cary Darrah, General Manager of the Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus. “ We are grateful to the entire Cedar Valley legislative delegation for its bi-partisan advocacy for this funding, especially Senator Bill Dotzler who really went to bat for the Cedar Valley and the TechWorks Campus. His work for this and other economic development issues this year is recognized by legislators from both sides of the isle.”
Jerry Thiel, Director of UNI’s Metal Casting Center is also optimistic about the impact of the collaboration on the industry statewide, “The capabilities of having technology like this will undoubtedly increase the overall competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers by allowing them to deliver products to the market at an unprecedented rate.”
Randy Pilkington, Executive Director, UNI Business and Community Services adds,
“This is a substantial investment in advanced manufacturing not just for the Cedar Valley, but for the entire state of Iowa. It also shows UNI’s commitment to advanced manufacturing statewide.”
What this means to the Cedar Valley
“The Cedar Valley is known as Iowa’s center of Advanced Manufacturing,” states Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “With the high concentration of manufacturing in our economic area, and the manufacturing technology -related resources of UNI and our higher education partners, the Cedar Valley is the prime location to establish the state’s hub of leading edge applied manufacturing technologies. As businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest access our equipment and facilities to improve and produce innovative products, we take another step in innovation led economic development in the Cedar Valley economy, and toward fulfilling the original vision for the Campus. We’re proud to be known as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub,” concludes Dust.
The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of June.
The Cedar Valley TechWorks is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing and biotechnology research, development and education center, and business and manufacturing cluster. The campus is located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa adjacent to the John Deere operations. The Cedar Valley TechWorks is owned and managed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.
Cedar Falls Community Main Street received the award for best Image Promotion for their 25th Anniversary Celebration at the 27th annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration, which was held on Friday, May 17th at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veteran’s Auditorium in downtown Des Moines. Melissa Barber and Cary Darrah, co-chairs of the 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the 25th Anniversary Planning Committee at the event, which was attended by approximately 400 individuals representing communities across the state. Competitive nominations were submitted for 105 projects; 26 were selected for awards and six received honorable mention.
Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) presented the honors. Main Street Volunteer of the Year awards were presented to 47 individuals or couples who were selected by their community for outstanding dedication and volunteer service benefiting the local Main Street program.
“I am proud to have been part of the effort to bring the Main Street program to Iowa in 1985 as an economic development tool,” stated Governor Branstad. “It is gratifying to see the successes Iowa communities have had because of our Main Street program. As a result of the hard work of countless local leaders, Iowa’s Main Street districts in communities large and small are flourishing.”
As one of the oldest Main Street programs in the state, Community Main Street is extremely proud of our history and the success with which Cedar Falls has been blessed. For 25 years, this organization has faced challenges, built partnerships and championed economic revitalization downtown.
To celebrate their 25th Anniversary, Community Main Street, along with a dedicated committee of volunteers, turned 2012 into an epic celebration that added three special anniversary events to an already-packed downtown schedule. The year kicked off in January with an 80’s Party on Main: Don’t Stop Believing, as a nod to the 1987 beginnings of Community Main Street. In June, a free, family-friendly outside music celebration called Getaway to Gateway was held as a thank-you to the community for ongoing support. In October, a 25th Anniversary Gala, featuring unique auction items and live music, was held as the grand finale to the year.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and commitment of the 25th Anniversary Planning Committee. Community Main Street would like to thank Melissa Barber, Cary Darrah, Kim Abbas, Janelle Darst, Jodi Landau, Karen Oltman, Mike Reyhons, Julie Shimek & Jamie Wilson for their dedication and support in planning this wonderful year-long celebration that has now received state-wide recognition as the Best Image Promotion of the Main Street Iowa Program during 2012.