Waterloo, IA: (319) 232-1156 | Cedar Falls, IA: (319) 266-3593

Tag Archives: development

Career Opportunities in Economic Developement & Investor Developement with Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chambe

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has two positions available:

Job Title: Director of Investor Relations

Description: This person will be responsible for achieving revenue goals through the creation & execution of investor recruitment & retention programs. Bachelors degree with at least 3 years related experience preferred. Competitive salary with incentive structure and benefit package available.

Job Title: Director of Business Retention

Description: Seeking candidates to plan, develop and implement regional economic development initiatives for business retention and expansion. Bachelors degree required with at least 3 years related experience. The successful candidate will be part of a results driven, fast pace work and collaborative team.

Full descriptions are available at here and at  www.workthevalley.org

 

Zuidberg to Locate First U.S. Facility in the Cedar Valley of Iowa


Officials from Zuidberg, the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Economic Development Authority have jointly announced the location of Zuidberg North America, Inc. in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Zuidberg’s facility will be located in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park on Capital Way in an industrial operations building, that local developer, Brent Dahlstrom will construct this year.   Zuidberg NA starts with 10,000 square feet, to establish a warehouse and distribution facility to service the North American market (USA, Canada and Mexico).   Zuidberg NA, Inc. will distribute two product lines, Frontline Systems, and Transmissions which are manufactured by parent company Zuidberg Frontline Systems B.V. located in the Netherlands. Starting in 2015 a third product line, Tracks, will be added.

“Iowa and the Cedar Valley are very central within the USA, and have an excellent reputation for global manufacturing including a hardworking and reliable workforce,” said Rudolf de Jong, President, Zuidberg North America Inc.   “This fits with the Dutch and the Zuidberg mentality in particular,” de Jong stated.

“Also, we wish to be in the heartland of America’s agriculture and agricultural machinery industry.” de Jong added.

“Zuidberg appreciates the great and inspiring help the State of Iowa, the Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and local business leaders offered which helped to make the decision easier.” de Jong said.

Zuidberg was first introduced to the idea of an Iowa location after meeting representatives from IEDA’s European office at a 2011 trade show in Germany. After continued contact with Iowa officials, Zuidberg executives traveled to Iowa this past summer to visit several suitable locations for their North American project.

“Through our focus on recruiting supply chain companies to Iowa, we’ve been courting Zuidberg for a few years now,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). “We are so pleased this advanced manufacturing company ultimately chose Cedar Falls, Iowa to call home.”

Several Iowa communities and multiple states were considered during the process.  The Cedar Falls site was selected for its location and the ability of Zuidberg to work with the developer to design the building before construction began.

“It is significant that Zuidberg makes their first North American investment in the Cedar Valley.  This decision again affirms the Cedar Valley as a location to manufacture and serve global markets,  and we deliver a quality of life that persuades young professionals like Rudolf de Jong and his family to relocate here from the Netherlands,”   said Steven Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

“On behalf of our manufacturers and all businesses and institutions, the Alliance & Chamber welcomes Zuidberg to the Cedar Valley of Iowa and North America.” Dust added. The Cedar Valley must also recognize the hard work of Lisa Skubal, Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Economic Development and her project team that sold Zuidberg on a superior Cedar Valley location,” Dust concluded.

Zuidberg North America will take occupancy of the facility in June 2014 and be fully operational by July 1, 2014.   Zuidberg will be hiring in-house sales and technical positions this spring.

“The City of Cedar Falls is extremely pleased that Zuidberg North America, Inc. has selected Cedar Falls and the Cedar Valley as its home for the company’s first facility in North America.  We appreciate the efforts of all involved to make this project a reality including the IEDA, GCVAC, City staff, Cedar Falls Utilities, Brent Dahlstrom, and of course Rudolf de Jong.” said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews.

“We are glad to welcome Zuidberg as our newest member of the Cedar Falls Industrial Park and look forward to a successful long term partnership.” said Bob Seymour, Community Service Manager, City of Cedar Falls.

Zuidberg is a family owned and managed company based in Ens, The Netherlands, dedicated to serve the world-wide agricultural industry. Since 1982, farmers all over the globe rely on Zuidberg to make their businesses more efficient by making use of the Zuidberg front hitches and front PTO’s, transmissions or rubber track systems. Zuidberg‘s products are sold by importers in over 45 countries worldwide. The remarkable quality and performance of the Zuidberg products has as well been recognized by many OEM’s, more than 40 manufacturers of tractors and harvesting equipment around the globe make use of Zuidberg’s unique knowledge and experience. www.zuidberg.com

 

 

###

 

Kittrell announces the IAMC proposed location at the Cedar Valley TechWorks in Waterloo

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 Campus

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:

Tonja Richards

Director of Marketing and Communications
Iowa Innovation Corporation
tonja.richards@iowainnovationcoporation.com
(515)421-4038

For more information on the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference contact:

Pamela Wright, Business Development Manager

Hawkeye Community College

Pamela.wright@hawkeyecollege.edu
(319)296-2329 ext.3012

 

For information on the TechWorks Campus contact:

Steve Dust, CEO
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com
(319)232-1156

CEDAR FALLS ACHIEVES CERTIFIED BLUE ZONES COMMUNITY STATUS

City Successfully Implements Wide Range of Improvements to Achieve Higher Well-Being

Cedar Falls, Iowa – January 22, 2014 – Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) and Blue Zones, LLC, today announced that Cedar Falls, Iowa, has been named a certified Blue Zones Community®. Certification recognizes Cedar Falls’ successful implementation of the Blue Zones Project®, a first-of-its-kind population health program that focuses on making long-lasting upgrades to the living environment. It brings the world’s best practices in food policy, built environment, purpose and social networking to participating cities.

Community leaders, volunteers and organizations throughout Cedar Falls have been working to reach this milestone since May 2012, when the community was named one of the first Blue Zones Project demonstration sites in Iowa. As a result of their efforts, Cedar Falls can celebrate the following outcomes:

  • Completion of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge, Mayor’s Bridge, across Highway 58, connecting the industrial park, where approximately 7,000 people work, with the approximately 5,000 residents who live on the other side of the bridge.
  • Approximately $500,000 spent to expand sidewalks and trails, connecting more of the community than ever before. New sidewalks were completed along Angie Drive from 3rd Street to Crescent Drive, making it safer for students to walk to and from school.
  • Cedar Falls Community Schools earned a second Physical Education Program Grant valued at $1.3 million in part through its implementation of Blue Zones Project principles and other initiatives.
  • Local businesses increased their revenue by adopting Blue Zones Project principles. For example, the Hy-Vee College Square location noted an increase in sales of healthy items:
    • Healthy beverage sales associated with Blue Zones Project checkout lanes increased by 4,840 units, or 122%, in a three-month period.
    • Produce sales increased by 15.8%, with weekly sales of fruits and vegetables sold at the salad bar increasing up to 25%.
  • The University of Northern Iowa increased the number of water stations on campus from two to 45, with more than 350,000 water servings dispensed during the 2013 fall semester. Local employer John Deere PEC installed three new stations and has dispensed 86,000 servings.
  • Cedar Falls in collaboration with Waterloo saw more than 9,500 residents volunteer in 2013, an increase of 700 volunteers from 2012. The volunteers contributed more than 49,000 volunteer hours.

“Cedar Falls has enjoyed excellent economic performance in the last year, including a reduction in unemployment to less than 3 percent, the creation of more than 200 new jobs – many of them high tech, nearly $80 million in building permits and the sale price of single family housing up 8.6 percent. We feel strongly that this performance trend will only be enhanced by the continued Blue Zones Project work in Cedar Falls. A healthier community makes us a more attractive place to live and work,” said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews.

“Cedar Falls is the consummate example that an American city, given the right tools, can dramatically increase its own quality of life by taking an environmental approach to well-being improvement,” said Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner.

All community members are invited to celebrate the success, hear from leaders in the community, and recognize the hard work completed towards improved well-being in a Certification Celebration:

Thursday, January 30

4:30 p.m. – 6:00p.m. (Program at 5 p.m.)

Cedar Falls Community Center

528 Main St.

RSVP: BlueZonesProject.com/events

All day Thursday, Jan. 30: “Better with Blue Zones Project Day” – wear your Blue Zones Project t-shirt or anything blue to celebrate!

Cedar Falls achieved Blue Zones Community status after the city made well-being improvements across the community, reaching the following key milestones:

  • 50% of the top 20 identified worksites became designated Blue Zones Worksites®.
  • 25% of schools became designated Blue Zones Schools®.
  • 25% of restaurants became designated Blue Zones Restaurants®.
  • 25% of grocery stores became designated Blue Zones Grocery Stores®.
  • 20% of citizens committed to the Blue Zones Project and completed at least one well-being improvement action.
  • The community successfully completed the Blue Zones Community Policy® bundle.

 

“Cedar Falls has done a tremendous amount of work to transform their community and make living healthy a way of life,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark executive vice president. “This achievement is no small task.  Cedar Falls should be commended for leading and inspiring other Iowa communities to take care of their citizens now and into the future.”

The Blue Zones Project is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative, designed to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016. This status is measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® (WBI), the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark in collaboration with Healthways and Blue Zones, the Blue Zones Project initiative encourages all Iowa communities to change their built environments to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

While Cedar Falls has one of the highest WBI scores in the country, the community showed an increase in well-being from 2012 to 2013 of nearly one point. Each point in well-being improvement equates to a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood of hospital admission and emergency room visits.

For a community, the achievement of higher well-being for its citizens yields competitive advantage for economic development and job creation. For employers, it means greater productivity and better health in the workforce and dependent families, resulting in better business performance. For individuals, it simply means living well, longer.

“Clearly, Cedar Falls has demonstrated its dedication to improved well-being and is well deserving of Blue Zones Community certification,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and chief executive officer. “The policies and programs implemented in the community have already resulted in immediate, tangible benefits, and the Blue Zones Project will also lead to sustained, long-term well-being transformation for individuals as well as the broader Cedar Falls community.”

 

Fifteen Iowa communities are currently part of the Blue Zones Project and are positively influencing statewide WBI measurement outcomes to date. For more information please visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Blue Zones

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company’s work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive – both published by National Geographic books.  In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%.  Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach.  For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities.  We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.  Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 45 million people on four continents.  Learn more at www.healthways.com.

Learn more about us here:

www.bluezonesproject.com

www.healthways.com

 

Take the Pledge today at www.bluezonesproject.com

Transformational 7 Habits training offered by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, is offering 7 Habits Cedar Valley leadership training to their investor/member organizations and the Cedar Valley area. Two separate, 2- day sessions will be held, one session for Cedar Valley businesses and the other for nonprofit organizations.

7 Habits Cedar Valley  is based on the work of Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Incorporating the techniques taught at the 7 Habits Cedar Valley helps organizations achieve and sustain superior results by increasing the effectiveness of its individual employees. Participants gain hands-on experience, applying sound principles that yield greater productivity, improved communication, strengthened relationships, increased influence, and laser-like focus on critical priorities.  At the request of the Alliance & Chamber, the sessions will be lead by the talented and highly regarded Franklin Covey facilitator, Gary McGuey.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Business will take place on January 21-22, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Windridge, Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. The cost is $450 per person for Alliance & Chamber investors and $550 for others. A 10% discount is being offered to businesses who register by December 15, 2013.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Nonprofits will take place on January 23-24, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Allen College – Unity Point, Waterloo. The special nonprofit rate is $225 for Alliance & Chamber investors and Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association members. The cost for other nonprofits is $300.  No other discounts apply.

Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade of the Alliance & Chamber points out what a unique opportunity this is for the Cedar Valley as the training has not been offered  locally. She stresses the huge savings available to Cedar Valley employers planning on sending their employees to the sessions. The cost for similar sessions is typically is between $1,700 -$2,200 per person, plus travel expenses to the training location.

 

“The 7 Habits are transforming Cedar Valley schools and building our business leaders of tomorrow through The Leader in Me. We have the opportunity to create stronger leadership cultures by applying these same principles in the workplace today,” offers Melissa Reade.  She adds, “This training can have the same dramatic impact on organizations and move the needle for employers. We encourage every business and nonprofit to take advantage of this rare opportunity and tremendous value.”

Registration can be made through the end of December on the Alliance & Chamber website at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/7habitscedarvalley  or by calling 319-232-1156.

Sponsors include Advanced Systems, Allen College – Unity Point, CUNA Mutual Foundation, and Western Home Communities.

7 Habits Cedar Valley is brought to this area by the Leader Valley initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley is a conduit for business and education to collaborate and provide leadership and soft skill development opportunities, enhancing our workforce, and moving the Cedar Valley economy forward.

More information on 7 Habits Cedar Valley and other ways Leader Valley is impacting the Cedar Valley can be found on the Alliance & Chamber website or by contacting Program Director, Melissa Reade by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

###

Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

CEDAR FALLS, IA  The countdown is on for launching a project to expand classroom learning across town and across the globe for K-12 students at the Cedar Falls Community Schools.

Beginning in January, the schools’ digital learning initiative will put web-connected notebook computers in the hands of every high school student, opening up access to learning tools and experiences outside the classroom walls. For grades 3-6, one notebook will be available for every two students, and pre-K through grade 2 students will share iPads on a three-to-one basis. Notebooks will be distributed to all  junior high students at the beginning of the 2014 fall semester.

Plans to take digital learning tools to the next level as a “one-to-one” school have been in the works for about two years. Cedar Falls teachers, administrators, technical staff, school board members and parents have all been part of the planning effort through the District Technology Committee.

“Truly, the most important thing is that we aren’t doing this for the sake of having more technology in the classroom,” said Dr. Andy Pattee, Superintendent of Schools. “We are undertaking this very large initiative to help students learn and showcase their learning at greater levels, by providing much more access to tools for that than we’ve had in the past.”

“A lot of work by many, many people has been done over the past couple of years to be sure that we’re doing this the right way, focused on student learning and student achievement, with all the professional development behind it for our staff to insure that it’s implemented with fidelity in the classroom,” Pattee said.

At each school building, a team of teachers is offering peer training to help everyone get familiar with the new tools so they can be used effectively for better student outcomes.

The school’s technology staff have worked over the past three years to improve the district’s internal network and beef up wireless access points at every building to get ready for increased web traffic during the school day.

 

“Up to now, a lot of work has been done behind the scenes,” said district Information and Technology Services Supervisor Shane Paige. “In January we’ll start rolling out Chromebooks for every student at the high school, and within 10 months our integration will be complete at every building throughout the district.”

Paige explained that the Chromebook laptops the District is deploying are easily interchangeable between students. That’s because software applications and document storage are “in the cloud” and tied to the student’s unique user identity, rather than on the hardware.

A key piece of preparation is happening this week, as the Cedar Falls School District switches its primary internet connection to gigabit service from Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU).

“Early in the planning, we knew that if we were going to get the benefits of a cloud-based system, we had to have a rock-solid internet connection,” Paige said. “That’s really why we’re making the move to CFU, for the reliability and the local support that we can call on if we need it.”

The school system operates its wide area network over fiber optic cable that CFU installed several years ago at no cost to the district. The schools will maintain a back-up internet connection through the Iowa Communications Network, or ICN.

“Serving the schools in this way is a perfect example of why we upgraded our entire system to fiber-to-the-premises,” said CFU Network Manager Rob Houlihan. “It’s meant to be a community asset that supports innovation in business, in education and in local government in Cedar Falls.”

Earlier this year CFU completed a city-wide upgrade of its communications network, bringing a fiber optic connection to every home and business in Cedar Falls. In May, CFU added service plans at one gigabit per second to its full range of internet products for home and business users.

How will connecting students to the world change learning outcomes?

“Really the possibilities are endless when you focus on student learning and enable that with technology,” says Pattee. “The world is shrinking, and we all know that. Now, with technology we can open it up for collaboration that happens across town or across the world, and give students a broader range of classroom learning experiences that can happen instantaneously and seamlessly. That’s exciting for our teachers and our students.”

###

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks Director of Business Services

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks candidates passionate and skilled in helping businesses become more successful in the Cedar Valley economic area to become our Director of Business Services. This person will plan, develop and implement economic development initiatives for business retention & expansion; including create, lead and execute workforce development initiatives and events that promote job creation, and workforce recruitment & retention in basic industry sectors and related value-added industries. Also, this person will help businesses overcome barriers to expansion in the Cedar Valley, collect and report information regarding the plans, opportunities and barriers for growth of our wealth creating businesses and targeted institutions as well as deliver “economic gardening” services to growth-oriented basic businesses. They will also provide a critical feedback from business into programming and government relations.

Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree with specialization in economic and community development or business and at least 3 years of related experience; computer skills, including Microsoft Office; and social media knowledge. Knowledge of Synchronist and client management software helpful. Comprehensive knowledge of business development, factors affecting business and community vitality, as well as community and economic development required. Problem solving in ambiguous situations, ability to maintain confidentiality and a passion for the success of free enterprise are all required skills and talents for success in this role. The successful candidate is expected to be part of a fast pace work and collaborative team that is results driven. Competitive salary and benefit package included. Please send cover letter, resume and references to:

SSommerfelt@cedarvalleyalliance.com. Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, 10 West Fourth Street, Suite 310, Waterloo, IA 50701.

To see the full description and instructions click here.

TechWorks proponents forge ahead

September 30, 2013 12:00 pm Editorial – Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

###

Skilled Iowa Testing Month Set For October

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Hawkeye Community College and Iowa Workforce Development are partnering to host Skilled Iowa Testing Month for Cedar Valley employers.

Last November, Governor Terry Branstad visited Waterloo and designated the Cedar Valley as the first Skilled Iowa region in the state.  Since that time, the number of employers who have signed letters of commitment supporting the program has risen to over 520 across the region.  This means that over 29% of Cedar Valley employees are currently working in a Skilled Iowa firm.

After signing the Skilled Iowa commitment form, employers are eligible for an array of complimentary services including access to National Career Readiness Certification testing for their employees at no cost.  This exam, tests an individual’s skill levels in applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information.  Hawkeye Community College, a partner and supporter of the Skilled Iowa program, has contributed several of their locations as testing sites including the main, Independence, and Waverly campuses and the MLK and Cedar Falls centers.  Additionally, Skilled Iowa employers can send individuals to the Hawkeye Community College IowaWORKS Center on University Avenue or they can contact anyone on the IowaWORKS Business Services team to get access to a mobile lab to visit their facility.

As further incentive to take part in these services, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is encouraging our investors to test at least two individuals in the month of October, declaring it “Skilled Iowa Testing Month.”  This push, aimed at increasing the data available concerning the skills of our area workforce, will help local economic developers market our community and employers plan for future hiring needs.

“Skilled Iowa is another tool Cedar Valley businesses can utilize in their efforts to grow and sustain their workforce,” commented Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber, “Talent is a key factor in a business’ ability to grow and our role is to provide solutions to recruiting and retaining a talented workforce to meet their needs.  NCRC certifications, especially for our employers with Baby Boomer retirements and succession planned in the near future, can be a great resource for workforce development planning.”

An added benefit to the test takers is a chance to win a gift certificate, valued at $50, to any member-investor business of any Chamber in the Cedar Valley region for any individual who earns a “Platinum Certification” on their NCRC exam.

Employers and job seekers can contact the Hawkeye Community College IowaWORKS office for questions about the NCRC exam and the testing times available to earn an NCRC certificate by calling 319-291-2546.

###

 

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