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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 November 3, 2017

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

Fuel for Thought What's Steve Dust Reading this Week? November 3, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

One: Cedar Valley in Top 100 Places to Start a Biz

The website How to Start an LLC has ranked U.S. metros where it’s easiest to start a business, according to their matrix. The criteria, plus the entire list, is available at this link.

Top Cities to Start a Business, How to Start an LLC, 2017

Two: Your Comment Needed — Future Ready Iowa

I recently linked the Future Ready Iowa Alliance board’s website in this space. The recommendations to achieve 70 percent of the Iowa workforce holding post-secondary credentials are listed there. Your comments are needed. Are the goals on the right track?

Comment on the page at this link: Future Ready Iowa Alliance Final Recommendations

Three: Iowa’s Leading Indicators

The Iowa Department of Revenue publishes a monthly report. Spoiler alert for September: Industrials are good, Ag, not so good.

Iowa Leading Indicators Index September 2017 Report, Iowa Department of Revenue, September 2017

Four: Which Cities Are Attracting Tech Talent?

We’re learning how to attract talented people, as well as businesses to the Cedar Valley. This is an article that features some attributes of (much larger) places where tech-specific talent is willing to go. It’s a slide show, see button at top of web site.

5 U.S. Cities Luring Tech Talent Away From Silicon Valley, Entrepreneur, October 31, 2017

Five: What is a Smart City?

And in the vein of “what does it take,” the talent equation fundamentally depends on quality of place. This is a long think piece by someone paid to think about how to connect a complex system – a city – to meaningful data and information. The role of data, ignored as a frill by many, is essential to the city’s ability to thrive as a service deliverer and keeper of place. For those who volunteer countless hours over many years to improve their cities, and those in city government in any way, this is a good article to crunch through.

The Search for a Theory of Cities, Colin Harrison, Meeting of the Minds, November 2, 2017

Live it Up! Nick Kostner of Kryton Manufactured Metals, Inc.

How does Nick Kostner #livethevalley?

photo of Nick and Megan Kostner wedding

Nick Kostner, Megan Vogt-Kostner

What Nick Kostner does as Supply Chain Manager for state-of-the-art manufacturer KRYTON Engineered Metals in Cedar Falls can change from one hour to the next. You might find Nick working at his desk, on the shop floor, or in a customer location. He loves being empowered to try new things. “I’ve been given a lot of freedom in my day-to-day job to research and create new strategies, procedures, and processes to improve operations throughout the entire company.” Nick helped create the role that he began during an internship that almost didn’t happen: about a year earlier he was unenrolled from the University of Northern Iowa due to poor academic achievement. Ouch. He presented a detailed plan, was granted readmission, and got his act together. In 2016, he graduated from UNI with a Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management. Newlyweds Nick and wife Megan live in Waverly: small enough to see people they know everywhere but with the conveniences of a larger metro. #liveitup

7 Habits Cedar Valley Two-Day Workshop Helps Businesses Achieve Results

Leadership Training Event is November 28-29 in Cedar Falls

WATERLOO, IOWA (October 27, 2017) – Principles and practices taught during the 7 Habits Cedar Valley two-day leadership workshop help businesses and organizations achieve and sustain superior results by increasing the effectiveness of individual employees.

7 Habits Cedar Valley will be held 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm. on November 28 and 29 at Cedar Falls Public Works, 2200 Technology Parkway, Cedar Falls. Lunch and snacks are provided both days.

Participants will gain hands-on experience, applying sound principles that yield higher productivity, improved communication, strengthened relationships, increased influence, and laser-like focus on critical priorities.

7 Habits Cedar Valley is sponsored by Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The workshop is based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Cost is $375 for one Alliance & Chamber investor or $1,875 for a table of six. Non-investors pay $450 for one participants or $2,700 for a table of six.

Reservation deadline is November 15. Reserve your seat online at cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 319-232-1156.

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.

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.

Cedar Valley Manufacturing Events Throughout October

Before Gov. Terry Branstad left Iowa to become the U.S. Ambassador to China, he and then Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds declared 2017 the Year of Manufacturing in Iowa. This initiative is focused on building a skilled workforce, promoting innovation and R&D, and improving the global competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers.

Manufacturing makes up the largest business sector of Iowa’s Gross Domestic Product. Not only are manufacturers critical to our state’s GDP, but these companies employ more than 200,000 Iowans. The Greater Cedar Valley is also driven by manufacturing: more people here work in the industry than in any other.

We’re excited for all that is happening in Iowa, and specifically the Greater Cedar Valley, to thank our manufacturers and educate the public on what our manufacturers do and what manufacturing careers look like. Throughout the month, we’ll be showcasing Cedar Valley manufacturers on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Facebook page.

Manufacturing Month in the Cedar Valley

You can also learn more about manufacturing by attending a manufacturing event.  Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month have been national initiatives since 2012, and throughout the month we’ll be showcasing Cedar Valley manufacturers and manufacturing events.

More than 160 events will be hosted throughout October in Iowa, from facility tours to presentations for students interested in manufacturing careers. As you can see in this graphic from Manufacturing Day, there’s an amazing distribution of events all throughout Iowa. Our state hosts quite a concentration in comparison to its neighbors.

Events in the Greater Cedar Valley Region include:

Various manufacturers around Buchanan County are opening their doors to the public for tours, including Bertch Cabinet Mfg, Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co., Pries Enterprises, Inc., East Iowa Plastics, Hager’s Coffee Roasting Company, and Circle 8 Cyclery.

The Alliance & Chamber is hosting this event. Parents are invited to tour Power Engineering & Manufacturing, the UNI Metal Casting Center, and the Cedar Valley Makerspace. Then, they’ll be able to network with resource providers including Elevate Iowa, Hawkeye Community College Admissions, and Hawkeye Cedar Valley Career Connections.

Other events celebrated Manufacturing Day last week:

  • October 2:  Rada
    • Rada gave Wapsie Valley High School students a tour.
  • October 6:  Sukup Manufacturing
    • Aplington-Parkersburg High School students toured Sukup Manufacturing.
  • October 6:  Geater Machining and Mfg Co
    • Jesup High School students toured Geater Machining & Manufacturing, Co

Cassie Evers Grimsman is Business Services Coordinator for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. To learn more about manufacturing events or available businesses services, call 319-232-1156. 

The Projected Economic Impact of Harvey

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

So, what happens to the U.S. economy when the fourth largest city in the nation — a major refining center — is shut down? There’s no way to tell yet, but here are some articles that help frame the estimates on how the United States may be impacted by this devastating natural event.

Harvey to Cause Several Months of Unsettled National Economic Data

Applications for unemployment insurance go up, and soaring fuel costs are two of the expected immediate economic impacts of Harvey.

These Are the Data Points That Will Show Harvey’s Economic Impact, Bloomberg, August 31, 2017

Business Conditions in Houston

Here’s an on-the-ground report of business conditions.

Harvey stalls Houston commerce, could cost $50 billion in damage and economic activity, Chron.com, August 29, 2017

Rebuilding Houston

This column by Chris Tomlinson lays the blame for much of the devastation on developers taking advantage of growing populations. Tomlinson also notes that Houston homeowners are dramatically underinsured – only 15 percent who live in a floodplain have flood insurance.

The columnist encourages the City of Houston to alter the form of reconstruction. At a time when people are seeing their belongings mired in mud and seeking a place to protect their families is not a time to debate economics. However, Houston has to come to grips with the balance between people rebuilding affordable, flood-protected homes and businesses and reactionary building requirements that push the investment critical to rebuilding.

Response to Harvey will determine economic impact, Houston Chronicle, August 29, 2017

How to Help

This piece lists some of the U.S. businesses that have stepped up to help with people, materials, and money. If you are affiliated with any of these companies, please consider adding to any funds that they have established to aid the recovery.

Companies are pitching in to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, CNBC.com, August 30, 2017

Did you know that your Cedar Valley colleague Joe Vich, in retirement, has become a go-to guy for the American Red Cross disaster recovery group? He volunteers weeks of his time to feed and shelter people who have been made homeless and resource-less due to disaster and also helps individuals in the Cedar Valley when personal disaster strikes. Pam Dowie is another selfless souls who pack a light bag and travel anyplace to help bring human support and essentials to those surviving and recovering. There are many other neighbors doing the same thing; I just happen to know Joe and Pam.

The people of Houston need your help. Here is a list of reputable places to help the recovery.

How You Can Help Victims of Harvey, The Weather Channel, August 29, 2017

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.

Five on Friday: Fuel for Thought

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

You’re changing the way you want to engage with your peers and neighbors, and we must shift with you. During the last week or so, I’ve focused on looking into the changing nature of the work the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber does for you. We have to reflect the conditions in your market and be cognizant of the influences on your business or institution and your customers. Your input on how we execute on these shifts is imperative.

One and Two good documents that summarize current thinking in our industry at the national level.

One: What’s Influencing the Future of Chambers

Horizon Initiative: Chambers 2025 — Eight Influences Shaping the Next Decade for Chambers of Commerce

This links to a summary document from the Spring 2015 issue of Chamber Executive magazine. For more detail, follow the included link to a website with more detail. Eight influences:

  • Belonging and Gathering
  • Communications and Technology
  • Scarcity and Abundance
  • Global Impacts
  • Population Shift
  • Political and Social Fragmentation
  • Resource Alignment
  • Catalytic Leadership

Two: What’s Influencing the Future of Economic Development

Looking Around the Corner: The Future of Economic Development

From the International Economic Development Council, this report examines the emergence of trends and how these can potentially change the economic development industry. Four themes:

  • Demographics
  • Climate change
  • Shifting global roles
  • Technology expansion

Three: Retaining Students is Imperative

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

The link above goes to a recent Vox article on a similar topic, regarding why people leave, stay in or return to hometowns of all sizes and the impact of leaving — or not– on the individual, not the town.

I included the article to encourage your consideration relative the strategies to first, retain students as they move through and emerge from Phase 1 higher education or training, and second, encourage former resident young professionals to return. We should recognize, strategically, that the influences and trends discussed in the article will have an impact on our results – and should impact thinking on both timing and description of benefits and opportunities for those coming back to the Cedar Valley.

Four: Millennials Want CEOs to Speak Publically on Social Issues

Millennials Really Want CEOs to Mount their Soap Boxes

The millennials want CEOs to speak up publicly, whether those business leaders like it or not.

There’s a lot to consider in what’s going on and being brought to our attention in the media right now. Here’s a recent article from Chief Executive on the expectations of one market and staff demographic segment for business leaders and owners to speak publicly on issues traditionally not addressed in business communications.

Five: Deere Third-Quarter Earnings

Deere Announces Third-Quarter Earnings of $642 Million

This is a link to the August 18 news release announcing Deere & Company’s third quarter results. Because the information is important to what’s happening in the Cedar Valley, I study these documents and various sources of third-party analysis to get a feel for the sales trends and expectations in the Agriculture and Turf part of the Equipment division.

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