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Public is Invited to Help Create Great in Cedar Valley Schools

Fundraising Campaign Kicks Off to Fund The Leader in Me

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) – Leader Valley, a talent development initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is asking businesses, individuals and foundations to join in the efforts to equip every student in the Cedar Valley with tools for effectiveness in life and work.  The Create Great fundraising campaign seeks to raise $7 million for the expansion and sustainability of The Leader in Me throughout the Cedar Valley.

The Create Great Campaign will officially kick off at the Alliance & Chamber’s annual New Teachers Breakfast on Aug. 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., at Hilton Garden Inn, Cedar Falls.

“Our ultimate goal is for students to be prepared for career, college and citizenship,” says Dr. Linda Allen, president, Hawkeye Community College. “Our businesses here in the Cedar Valley will no doubt see a difference in these young people as they come to work for them. In order to become principled and effective adults, we must foster both character and competence early in the lives of our students.”

Over $1.8 million has already been raised toward the $3.5 million implementation portion of the overall goal. The aim of the Create Great campaign is to extend The Leader in Me’s impact from 21 Cedar Valley schools to 34. This will include PreK-12 public and private schools in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area. An equal goal of $3.5 million will be raised and placed in an endowment to ensure the sustainability of the initiative for future generations.              

Serving as campaign co-chairs are: Dr. Allen; Dr. Dale Monroe, Chief Administrator, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools; and Tom Penaluna, CEO, CBE Companies. Senator Charles Grassley is the Honorary Campaign Chair.                                               

The Leader in Me aims to fill the gap between traditional school curriculum, and the skills and knowledge employers need in effective employees and organizational leaders. By addressing characteristics and skills such as personal responsibility, accountability, work ethic, teamwork, goal setting, and organization skills, Leader Valley’s investment seeks to enhance the Cedar Valley talent pool and help local businesses become more competitive in the global marketplace.

The campaign kickoff program includes an emphasis on student leadership and empowerment with students serving in leadership roles as emcees, greeters and The Leader in Me booth hosts. Additionally, inspirational comments from business and education leaders will be presented. Current donors to Create Great will also be recognized.

“We are excited to kick off this important fundraising campaign to transform our schools by integrating leadership development and performance into all facets of school cultures in every PreK-12 school in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area,” said Penaluna. “We encourage business leaders and community members to attend our kickoff event and learn why Leader in Me is a critical element for a well-rounded education to develop the workforce our businesses need. If we wish to Create Great in our Cedar Valley schools, we all have a role.”

Tickets for the event are $40 in advance. Ticket price provides breakfast for one individual and a complimentary breakfast for one new teacher. Please register through the Alliance & Chamber website www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by contacting Johanna Kneedler at 319-232-1156 or jkneedler@cedarvalleyalliance.com.  Administrators and new teachers do not need to register, but should make arrangements with their respective districts.

The impact and results of The Leader in Me can be found on the Leader Valley website, www.leadervalley.org, along with videos, testimonials and donor information. The fundraising steering committee for Create Great is: Stacey Bentley, Joyce Coil, Bryan Earnest, Chris Fereday, Ben Jacobson, Bob Justis, Reid Koenig, Shanlee McNally, Dr. Victoria Robinson, Tara Thomas, Amy Wienands and Mike Young.

For more information on the Leader Valley initiative and The Leader in Me, contact Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by calling 319-232-1156 or by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com. You can also visit www.leadervalley.org.

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Read more by reporter Andrew Wind in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Business Education Series

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting three seminars for business professionals during the month of May. The Business Education Series is a local link to information on timely issues that influence the business bottom line. May seminars will focus on simple office changes that save money and improve the work environment, data security to mitigate exposure, and employee wellness. These seminars will give attendees instant access to “do it now” business growth tools.  Each program will feature experts and a question and answer period.

The May 13 session “Solutions That Improve Your Business Environment Inside & Out” will be presented by Pete Olsen, Energy Services Manager at Cedar Falls Utilities, Dan Channer, Partner at StruXture Architects. The focus will be on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation. Additionally, Ellen Woods, Director of Sales at Integrated Interior Solutions Group Kirk Gross Company, will address creating an environment and culture in which employees can thrive.

The May 20 session on “Data Security” will be presented by Chris Fereday, President of PDCM Insurance, and Dave Wyant, Account Manager of Sales at Networking Solutions. They will present information to help area business leaders understand how to navigate the complexity of privacy/cyber liability exposure and provide valuable insight about how to mitigate exposures.

On May 27 the topic will be “Business Sense of Wellness.” Liz DeJoode, Wellness Consultant at PDCM Insurance, will speak on their approach to help employers win the battles against increasing healthcare costs. Additionally, learn from UnityPoint/Allen Hospital, Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare on how they implement wellness programs on site.

Each seminar will take place at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo, IA, from 7:30-9:00 AM.  The cost is $25 per seminar for Alliance & Chamber investors and $45 per seminar for non-investors and includes breakfast. Please register one week in advance of each seminar by calling (319) 232-1156 or email bwubenna@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The premier sponsor is PDCM Insurance and the gold sponsors are Around the Corner Productions and First National Bank.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. The Business Education Series is one of many initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber designed to sustain and strengthen businesses and organizations in the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

 

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Community Leaders Team Up to Recruit Investors to Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Economic progress in the Cedar Valley is clearly visible. New development in our downtowns and business districts, industrial and technology parks, and residential construction bring daily improvements to the physical and economic landscape. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is the driving force behind this economic and community development. The mission of the Alliance & Chamber, to increase economic vitality and wealth, is fulfilled by its many initiatives and programs focused on attracting new business, growing existing business, and talent recruitment and retention. The Alliance & Chamber is the champion for issues that foster a positive business climate for local industry and small business throughout the Cedar Valley Region.

Recent notable Alliance & Chamber accomplishments include:

  • Cedar Valley TechWorks – Designated as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state, receiving $3.5 million for construction improvements, and purchase and installation of the largest 3D printer in North America, sponsored in part by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
  • Leader Valley – 14 Cedar Valley schools have implemented Leader in Me™, with 30 Leader in Me™ events engaging approximately 6,900 people to increase the “soft skills” of our future workforce and talent pool.
  • 26 opportunities delivered for business expansion, retention and recruitment, at an average of $9.46M in value.  502 jobs meet the $19/hr. goal.
  • 5 projects were completed this fiscal year representing $19 million in new capital investment.
  • 504 businesses received direct, hands-on involvement services to grow, solve problems and learn.
  • 4 Cedar Valley companies received in-depth business model enhancement services through the new Advance Cedar Valley small business acceleration program.
  • Interviewed 51 firms to gather in-depth business and economic conditions data.
  • 27 Talent Recruitment events engaging 73 businesses and over 4,000 people.

To ensure this momentum continues the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is asking every member of the business community to participate in the Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign. Fulfilling the Vision 2 is a $4.25 million plan for regional economic growth. Funding for business development and growth will be solicited in the Cedar Valley economic area from both the private and public sectors.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber (GCVAC), along with Campaign Chair John Steen, Senior Vice President, Lincoln Savings Bank lead the Fulfilling the Vision 2 campaign leadership team.

Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign Leadership Team

Phil Akin; Sue Armbrecht, MidWestOne Bank;  Dave Braton, Courier Communications; Steve Brewer, U.S. Bank; Chris Fereday, PDCM Insurance; Hugh Field, Beecher Law Firm;Wade Itzen, BankIowa; Josh Hurley, First National Bank; Reid Koenig, CUNA Mutual Group; Kathryn Kunert, MidAmerican Energy; Jim McKernan, KWWL Television, Inc.; Dave Quint, Advanced Systems, Inc.; Alan Shakespeare, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Dustin Whitehead, Lockard Companies.

The funds raised through the Fulfilling the Vision 2 Campaign will be reinvested in the Cedar Valley economy to further improve our competitiveness, increase talent development and recruitment, and expand the business base. Reaching the campaign goal will result in $67 million of additional personal earnings and $37 million in annual expenditures in the Cedar Valley.  A full description of campaign goals and six areas of focus can be found at www.FtV2.org.

For more information or to make an investment, please contact: Bette Wubbena, Director of Investment Recruitment by sending email to bwubbena@cedarvalleyalliance.com or to Steve Dust, CEO, at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, non-profit corporation representing and advocating for the interests of business, industry and institutions operating in the Cedar Valley. The Alliance & Chamber was created to coordinate the resources allocated to economic development in the Cedar Valley, and provide a platform for shared services wherever possible.

 

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Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Elects Leadership

The CEO of one of the largest locally owned firms was elected to lead the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber during its annual meeting held July 16 at the Park Place Event Center.

Tom Penaluna, CEO of The CBE Companies will chair the regional economic and community development organization through its 2014 fiscal year. Penaluna has been a board member of the Alliance & Chamber since 2008, and also was a board member of its predecessor organizations. He completed a term as chair of the affiliated Waterloo Industrial Development Association, and most recently served as vice chair of the Alliance & Chamber. Tom has asserted his leadership in the critical business – education transformation discussion by championing the Leader Valley and Leader in Me initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber. Penaluna also serves on the board of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress.

Other officers elected to leading the organization with Penaluna are: Vice Chair -Steve Tscherter, CEO, Lincoln Savings Bank; Treasurer-David Braton, Publisher, The Courier; and Past Chair, Kris Hansen, CEO, Western Home Communities. Steve Dust is president & CEO of the Alliance & Chamber.

The officers are joined by Rich Czarnecki, John Deere Global Director – Large Tractors; TechWorks Campus chair and former mayor Tim Hurley; and Chamber Council Chair Stacy Bentley, President – Community National Bank to form the Alliance & Chamber’s Executive Committee.

Kate Washut, partner, Far Reach, and Steen Hansen, CEO, Bossard North America were elected to the group which represents a broad spectrum of region-wide business, institutional, and local government interests. Sue Armbrecht, President – MidWestOne Bank Cedar Valley, and Chris Fereday, President – PDCM Insurance were re-elected to the board.

Washut and Hansen take the seats formerly occupied by retiring board members Dee Vandeventer, ME&V, and local attorney Hugh Field, partner in the Beecher Law Firm. “Dee and Hugh have been a part of the Alliance &Chamber leadership since its creation. The progress we’ve made in creating and delivering on the vision of a more vital, Cedar Valley economy is due in large part to the persistence and vision of business and civic leaders like Dee and Hugh,” said Dust.

Dust continues, ”Steen and Kate join others on our board who represent yet the next generation of leadership in our economy – businesses that located or started – but intending to grow – in the Cedar Valley of Iowa. They are the voices who need to chart the path for our economy moving forward,” concludes Dust.

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