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

Tag Archives: economy

Steve Dust receives ABI’s Advocacy in Action Award

The Alliance & Chamber congratulates Steve Dust on being honored with the 2016 Advocacy in Action Award by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry is pleased to present its 2016 Advocacy in Action award to Steve Dust for his work to advance ABI’s public policy agenda. The award was presented during the Advanced Manufacturing Conference on Oct. 4.

Dust is the president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Dust has been a chief advocate and architect of the new Cedar Valley TechWorks campus, a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research and development, innovation, education, commercial and manufacturing center in downtown Waterloo.

The Advocacy in Action award was created in 2014 to recognize ABI members’ commitment to ABI advocacy efforts.

Dust serves on the ABI Board of Directors and has been a vocal advocate for Iowa business issues. He frequently meets with area legislators and members of Iowa’s congressional delegation about issues important to companies in the Cedar Valley. In addition to his leadership at the Alliance, he takes part in ABI’s public policy committee process, hosts ABI members at his facility, attends ABI’s biennial Washington D.C. fly-in and many other ABI public policy events. He is a platinum level contributor to ABI’s Iowa Industry PAC.

“Steve Dust is the epitome of an advocate,” ABI President Mike Ralston said. “He tirelessly represents the greater Cedar Valley, his investors and all Iowa businesses to make Iowa a better place to live and work. We are grateful for Steve’s leadership and appreciate his collaboration with ABI.”

Dust ABI award 2016

Cedar Valley Grows as Logistics Hub with Addition of Furniture Mart USA

Located in the upper Midwest United States, the Cedar Valley of Iowa is strategically positioned and globally connected through multimodal infrastructure for companies with logistics needs.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is proud to have supported the City of Cedar Falls in securing Furniture Mart USA of Sioux Falls, S.D., to build a 150,000-square-foot, $6 million warehouse on 18 acres of land west of the Target Distribution Center perishable foods warehouse at the corner of Venture Way and Production Drive in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park. A retail project is also anticipated. The two projects will employ an estimated 60 people.

The Alliance & Chamber supplied labor and workforce and other information requested by the company.

Read more in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

Cedar Falls Mayoral Candidate Forum Recap

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber held a Cedar Falls Mayoral Candidates Forum on Friday, October 23st at the Cedar Falls Tourism Visitors Center to give investor businesses the opportunity to understand each candidate’s position on issues that affect the economy including business climate, workforce, and quality of life.

Specific topics raised included: University Avenue, the downtown waste water treatment facility, the use of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) as an economic development tool, a part-time vs. full-time mayor, and more.

“The Alliance & Chamber serves as the one voice for business in the region. We advocate for the concerns of business at the local, state, and national level. We provide opportunities for education on issues, interaction with officials, and encourage our investors to participate in the process,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber.

All three candidates participated in the Cedar Falls Forum including: businessman Jim Brown, incumbent Mayor Jon Crews, and retired railroad management employee Dave Halterman.

Each of the mayoral candidates made a brief opening statement. Moderator Steve Firman, Director of Alliance & Chamber Government Relations, then directed questions from the audience to the candidates.

In his opening statement Jim Brown shared his three-point platform of business development, good communication, and strong leadership. He pointed to his success launching a technology startup and in talent recruitment for John Deere as valuable experience that will help him market the city to new business and talent. Brown noted that the University Avenue project will likely move forward as approved by the current council.

Jon Crews bases his campaign on ‘facts and real numbers.’ He points to reduced residential and industrial tax rates, and quality of life and amenities as hallmarks of his tenure as mayor. Crews believes the use of roundabouts on University Avenue will reduce accidents and save lives.

Dave Halterman was a critic of the University Avenue reconstruction plan and outlined seven ways he believes the project could be handled more efficiently. He sees University Avenue as the ‘present and future of tourism and business development in Cedar Falls.” He believes the opportunity to increase the tax base is ‘bleak.’

Brown did not comment on the issue of the downtown location of the waste water plant. Crews commended the water treatment department for their efforts to mitigate the odor issue and noted that new development has continued despite the location of the plant. Halterman criticized the way EPA requirements for run-off into sanitary sewers are being addressed.

Brown supports the use of TIF. He believes it puts the City in a position of strength when negotiating with prospective businesses. Crews cited the City’s successful use of TIF and believes it should not be restricted. Halterman pointed out that residents should benefit from development in lower taxes or increased services.

Crews would support a part-time mayor position if the people voted for it, but believes a balance between strong elected officials and professional staff is best. Brown sees no reason to reorganize the structure of Cedar Falls government and believes the council should decide if the position of mayor should be reduced to part-time . Halterman voiced opposition to  a city manager position saying that the people have no recourse from the ballot box. He believes the mayor is the ‘elected CEO’ of the community.

A forum participant asked the candidates how they would make decisions when their own convictions differ from the opinions of constituents.

“If I can see something that save lives, save injuries, and saves tax payers money, then I think the elected officials need to vote their conscience.” responded Crews, “If you do what you think is right and you can sleep at night then that is what you should do.”

Halterman believes leadership should concede to constituents. “Anything else,” he stated, “is arrogance.”

“There is a responsibility of a leader to lead, to communicate, to let folks know where you stand, “said Brown. “ But you also have to respect the process, which in our city is the council. The council is the power behind the process. The decision makers have to come to a consensus. Consensus means you don’t get what you want, but you are both moving the ball forward”

Listen to a recording of the forum here.

For more information on the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and their Government Relations activities, go to www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or contact Steve Dust at sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 319-232-1156.

ConAgra Foods Announces $50M Expansion

Cedar Valley of Iowa – The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the City of Waterloo, Iowa announce the $50M expansion of the ConAgra Foods plant located in the Waterloo MidPort Industrial Park, pending approval of state and local assistance.

Mayor Buck Clark welcomes the potential new investment and jobs at the MidPort site, thanking ConAgra’s staff and leadership, both at the Waterloo facility and corporate headquarters, for their decision to “Choose Waterloo.”

“The City of Waterloo is proud to continue our growing relationship with ConAgra Foods.  This expansion is great for Waterloo’s tax base and it adds new employment opportunities for the whole Cedar Valley area,” said Clark, “Furthermore, ConAgra continues to strengthen and diversify its Waterloo location by adding yet another product line.”

The project and impact:

ConAgra Foods makes consumer snacks marketed under the Snack Pack and Swiss Miss brand names at its Waterloo facility.

This proposed project will add DAVID snack seed production to its state-of-the-art manufacturing platform in Waterloo.

“Waterloo is a great fit for ConAgra Foods and our new snack seeds facility. Waterloo has an excellent workforce and the location will allow us to meet our current and future business needs,” said Mike Tracy, Sr. Vice President of Supply Chain for ConAgra Foods. “Selecting Waterloo, pending approval of state and local assistance, for this work was made possible through great partnerships between ConAgra Foods and local officials, and we look forward to having a continued presence in Waterloo.”

The proposed expansion project will include new construction of processing, packaging, warehouse, and administrative areas to accommodate the new product.  This expansion is expected to increase the plant production by 30 percent, adding approximately 99,000 square feet to the existing facility.   The new production line will create a highly automated, state of the art manufacturing platform designed to offer more flexibility in packaging options as business needs change.

Total employment is also expected to increase by about 55 positions. Hawkeye Community College will support the proposed ConAgra Foods expansion through the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program (260E), which provides a funding mechanism for training new employees. The value of the training incentive is estimated to be approximately $536,000.

“Firms like ConAgra Foods have many options when deciding where to make large capital investments. We are excited that ConAgra Foods again chose to invest in the economy, workforce, and business climate of the Cedar Valley of Iowa. It’s exciting to have yet another nationally recognized brand added to the Cedar Valley by a Fortune 500 company,” said Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO, Steve Dust. “Combining this major investment with the recent expansion of VGM and the location of Winnebago, the Cedar Valley economy continues to demonstrate its strength as a profitable, productive location to serve national and international markets.  I congratulate Mayor Clark, Noel Anderson and the Alliance & Chamber Economic Development team for this success for Waterloo and the Cedar Valley”, Dust concludes.

History

The MidPort site was originally chosen in 1997 by ConAgra Foods to build a state-of-the-art plant to produce pudding packs. The current project under consideration would be the third expansion at the MidPort plant, continuing to prove that the Cedar Valley is a prime location for quality companies with jobs like those at ConAgra Foods.

Moving Forward

ConAgra Foods officials have applied to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for state incentives, with action on the request expected at their board meeting on May 22 in Des Moines. The Waterloo City Council will consider necessary approvals during their May 26meeting.

Pending approval of incentives, ground-breaking for this project is expected to take place in mid-June. The new operation could begin production by late 2016.

For more information about this project or the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber contact Steve Dust by calling 319-232-1156 or by email to sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

 

The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The strong and growing Cedar Valley economy contains the right conditions for business and career success. Current economic growth and its demand for quality talent is benefiting manufacturing, business services, retail, housing, education, healthcare and other enterprises that contribute to the vitality of the region.

Strong Cedar Valley job market is creating opportunity and raising income.

According to Smart Solutions Group, employment in the Cedar Valley Region Labor Market grew by 7.4% from 2003 to 2013, slightly above the State of Iowa during the same period. As of November 1st, Iowajobs.org, the web-based job board of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), shows 1,504 positions currently available in the Cedar Valley. Many of these jobs are in the advanced manufacturing sector. Welders and CNC operators are among the many positions available in advanced manufacturing operations in the Cedar Valley.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber recently surveyed Cedar Valley employers regarding their immediate employment needs. “We’ve identified businesses in the Cedar Valley region with immediate openings,” reports Danny Laudick, Talent Solutions Coordinator with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “We are coordinating efforts to match available talent with these companies or with training in the fields where there is greatest demand.”
Connecting to training

The Alliance & Chamber collaborates with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Hawkeye Community College (HCC) and other agencies to connect talent with employment and training opportunities through career and resource fairs, data collection and sharing.  There is ongoing collaboration between employers and agencies to design programs to stay ahead of shifts in demand and provide rapid response to immediate workforce needs. The Alliance & Chamber identifies the specific employment needs in the Cedar Valley business community and acts as the voice of business. The Alliance & Chamber develops innovative solutions to solve talent issues. They use their network of partners and affiliate to bring others into the process.

In response to local demand, Hawkeye Community College now offers short term certifications for industrial maintenance and CNC machining programs. The CNC Machining Program prepares students for high demand, entry-level positions as a CNC machine operator or general machinist, one of the most demanded skills by area employers in the Cedar Valley. Both programs are designed to create a pipeline of available talent with new skills to fill these high demand jobs in a short amount of time.

The Department of Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of: Construction Management; Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Technology, Technology Education, and Technology Management. The UNI Metal Casting Center, offers students practical hands-on experience in concepts in additive manufacturing with modern well-equipped facilities and cutting edge technology. At the Additive Manufacturing Center, located at the Cedar Valley TechWorks, students operate a variety of 3D printers, including the ExOne, the largest of its kind in North America.  Students are producing products and part prototypes for manufacturing clients across state.  UNI students are ‘floor ready’ upon graduation having had real world experience working with private sector businesses on actual projects. The Center also provides manufacturers affordable access to research and development and rapid prototyping. The Department of Industrial Technology currently enrolls over 500 students annually.

K-12 Career Training

Cedar Valley school districts are making sure their students are prepare for success beyond graduation through a variety of initiatives and partnerships with the business community.

In the Waterloo Community School District, Career Academies give students the opportunity to choose an area of interest, such as construction, business and finance, marketing, engineering, healthcare, etc. Students then take a sequence of classes to prepare for the real world of work in that field. Waterloo also has an International Baccalaureate Program which is an intensive, two year academic program in the high schools that prepares students for success in higher education and for effective participation in global society. The program includes writing an extended essay (similar to a doctorate thesis, but at high school level), a focus on critical thinking as well as creativity, action, and service activities. Waterloo’s West High and East High are two of only three schools in Iowa to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts have embraced the Leader in Me initiative championed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The Leader in Me is based on Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The initiative teaches students 21st Century soft skills for success in college, career, and citizenship. Through authentic leadership opportunities and daily practice of the habits, participating schools are transforming their school cultures into proactive, leadership focused communities of learning and development.

Cedar Valley West’s School to Work program brings together students from four Cedar Valley school districts (Aplington-Parkersburg, Dike-New Hartford, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, and Grundy Center) to provide valuable career information and connections to area businesses. Businesses are asked to provide speakers, offer internship and job shadowing opportunities, give worksite tours and contribute financial support.

Through the School to Work program, students throughout the Cedar Valley are becoming more prepared for the local job market. Businesses are molding potential employees by creating hands-on ways for students to explore careers while still in high school. Business – education partnerships like these are helping to bridge the talent gap and produce individuals prepared for employers across sectors in the Cedar Valley.

Diverse Economic Base
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partners have placed diversifying the economic base as a top priority of business attraction . . . and it has paid off. The diversified economic base has created jobs and helped the region weather the last recession far better than most parts of the country earning the Cedar Valley the title “Recession Busting” by Area Development Magazine, a leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection.  The Cedar Valley is not reliant on one sector to maintain the health of the economy.

Since 1996, 76% of new jobs created in the Cedar Valley have not been tied to a single industry, specifically agricultural manufacturing. Likewise, 81% of the new capital investments in the Cedar Valley were equally diversified during the same time. This diverse industrial base provides increased opportunities for wealth creation and employment in the event of a downturn in one sector.

“Most new capital investment has come from companies who have expanded existing operations here or established new locations in a broad spectrum of industry sector. This is consistent with new construction and new jobs created,” notes Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development with the Alliance & Chamber.

Adding to the industry mix is the growing Information Technology (IT) sector. In the Cedar Valley, IT consists of local start-up web product and software companies, and is among the fastest growing sector in percentage of current workforce in the Cedar Valley market area. Enterprises also see internal IT operations increasing and contributing to the growing demand for highly skilled programmers, engineers, coders, and designers in the Cedar Valley.

Conversations with technology leaders in the Cedar Valley suggest that IT employers are increasing their employment by up to 50% or more over the next few years.  This makes availability of trained/educated individuals critical. The Alliance & Chamber, Kate Washut of Far Reach Inc., and Linda Allen of Hawkeye Community College (HCC) convened a discussion between Alliance & Chamber investors in the IT sector and HCC academic and career education teams. The group discussed courses, training, and programs available through Hawkeye, and the expectations of the employers. Dialogs like this, between business and education, are vital to better understand of specific skill demand in order to offer training programs that are most relevant to industry needs.

 

“The strong job market is creating opportunities for individuals to take advantage of an increase in training opportunities and raising personal income,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “We see growing demand across industry sectors. IT related fields, advanced manufacturing, higher education, healthcare, logistics, and business service markets make up the employment landscape of the Cedar Valley.  The competitive wage scales being offered go much further here than in most areas of the country thanks to our low cost of living.”

The cost of living in the Cedar Valley is 8.1% lower than the national average according to third quarter 2014 Cost of Living Index prepared by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Utility costs are an even greater value, at 10.4% below the national average – a key factor for companies looking to locate or expand their operations.

While the cost of living is low, prosperity is on the rise in Cedar Valley. According to the new US Cluster Mapping website launched by Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Cedar Valley Region is one of a handful of regions with growth in prosperity from 1998 -2012. Our economic region ranks 7th among 170 economic regions in the country for prosperity growth. The scorecard is based on three categories of data: performance (the economic activities of the region), business environment, and demographics & geography. The Cedar Valley is also in the top 20 regions for growth in annual personal wages at 3.49%.  This outpaces the national average of 3.16% during the same period.

Low cost of living and strong personal wages may contribute to an increase in spending. In September of 2014, the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers were released showing considerable growth in the Cedar Valley. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (GDP) grew to $8.7 billion from 2012-2013. This is up 5.6% from the previous year, according to data released in September from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas increased 1.7% during the same period. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area had the second highest percentage increase in GDP compared to other Iowa metros.

These gauges of economic health demonstrate the strength and continued growth of an already stable Cedar Valley economy and instill confidence both in consumers and business leaders. Recent announcements of business expansions reflect confidence and optimism in the region.

Business Confidence and Private Investment

Cedar Valley businesses across the region are making investments in their companies. Increasing exports, and hiring talented, productive people demonstrates their confidence in the strength of the Cedar Valley economy.

CBE Companies, with international locations, chooses to keep their corporate headquarters here in the Cedar Valley where their success started over 80 years ago. “We continue to tap into a rich talent pool in our own backyard to fill a variety of positions and levels – from contact center associates to fraud service representatives to IT, Analytics, Finance, Marketing and HR professionals,” says Mary Phillips, Chief Human Resources Officer for CBE Companies.

Based on a variety of regional data, CBE has determined that the Cedar Valley has the talent resources available to expand their staff considerably.  “We use information from both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Workforce Development when considering expansion.  We evaluated unemployment rates, education levels, Spanish speaking population, underemployment, average wages, and average ages.”  Over the last year, CBE has had two major surges in hiring making them one of the top ten major employers in the Cedar Valley.

Mark Hanawalt is the CEO of United Equipment Accessories, Inc. (UEA) in Waverly, Iowa and the current chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). He often shares with peers from around the state that the Cedar Valley is a great place to do business. “They know about the Cedar Valley and never disagree,” notes Hanawalt. UEA has found that being part of a regional economy driven by advanced manufacturing has contributed to their growth. “Because of the presence of very large manufacturers in the area, we can utilize a common vendor base with tremendous capabilities without having to go outside the area.”

UEA invests in training and development opportunities that contribute to the personal and professional growth of their employees.  UEA provides training for new hires, development opportunities with specifically designed skills enhancement training, job cross-training, as well as a Tuition Assistance Program for employees. Highly technical positions, such as CNC programmers, machinists, engineers and IT professionals regularly participate in training opportunities relating to technology advancements and developments, job knowledge enhancement, computer software and system developments and updates.

“United Equipment Accessories, Inc. has been a Cedar Valley manufacturer for over 60 years.  Even as we have grown substantially over the years, we have never felt the need to expand outside this area,” says Hanawalt. “Our pool of labor talent is very high.  Employees are well educated, trained, and motivated to be productive employees.”

Start-up Momentum

While long standing businesses continue to expand, the start-up community in the Cedar Valley is picking up momentum at a rapid pace. ‘Serial’ entrepreneurs and young visionaries are gathering in coffee shops, bars, and meeting rooms around the Cedar Valley to share ideas and connect with resources in hopes of launching the next big thing. Start-Up Drinks, Start-Up Weekend, BarCamp, One Million Cups, Cedar Valley Opencoffee, and Cedar Valley Makers are a few of the organized efforts to support a young and energetic start-up community.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber, believes that “the prosperity of the Cedar Valley still depends on fostering, growing, and attracting entrepreneurship in all types of businesses. We want to encourage more people to build on our history of successful entrepreneurship, and the Alliance & Chamber supports efforts to enhance the strong, growing start-up scene throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.”

The Cedar Valley is thriving

With an abundance of good paying jobs and access to higher education, the Cedar Valley offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals to grow their careers. Businesses are thriving and making significant investments in the region by expanding their operations through building projects, new processes, equipment, technology, and talent. The lower cost of living, excellent school districts, and overall safety make it a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

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 or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Area produces second highest percentage increase GDP gain in Iowa

CEDAR VALLEY OF IOWA (Sept. 2014) The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area gross domestic product (GDP) of $8.7 billion from 2012-2013. This is up 5.6% from the previous year, according to data released last week from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas increased 1.7% during the same period.

The Metro Area had the second highest percentage increase compared to other Iowa metros.  The largest percentage GDP increases by industry were: Information (7.5%); Real Estate, Rental, Leasing (11.9%); and Finance, Insurance (10.3%).  Manufacturing and Retail grew 3.3% and 3.7% respectively.

“These numbers support what our businesses have been saying all along: the Cedar Valley is strong and growing,” comments Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “These gains reflect the confidence of Cedar Valley businesses across the valley who are making investments in their companies, increasing exports, and hiring talented, productive people.”

Other IA metros GDP growth from 2012-2013:

Ames: 5.4%

Cedar Rapids: 3.1%

Des Moines: 4.5%

Dubuque: 1.3%

Iowa City: 4.4%

Quad Cities: 2.8%

Sioux City: 7.3% (25.2% construction led growth by industry sector)

Omaha/Council Bluffs: 3.9%

The complete data can be found here.

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 or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

 

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Cedar Valley Investor Report

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.

Cedar Valley Investor Report

GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER NOW ACCCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR ANNUAL AWARDS

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber announces nominations will be accepted now through the end of January 2014 for a variety of business awards to be presented during the 2014 Annual Celebration on Thursday, March 27th  at the Park Place Event Centre.

Do you know of an individual who should be recognized for their contributions in creating a strong business climate and enhancing the quality of life in the Cedar Valley by continued service and leadership?  Has a business or organization, made an outstanding contribution to the Cedar Valley and its citizens on a continued basis or with a specific project?  You are encouraged to nominate them for recognition of their contributions.

“The strength of the Cedar Valley is a result of visionary, innovative leadership – individuals, businesses and organizations who are investing capital, creating jobs and making things happen in the workplace and the community.  It’s important to tell their stories and recognize them for their contributions,” says Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust.

Nominations are being accepted through January 31st  for the following awards:

Business of the Year Award
Harold Brock Innovation Award
John Deere Treating Capital Well Award
Fulfilling the Vision of One Award
Cedar Valley Partner Award

Past award winners from the 2013 event include  H.D. “Ike” Leighty, Reid Koenig, Steve Tscherter, Mudd Advertising, GMT Corporation, John Deere Waterloo Works and Build Our Ballpark.

Descriptions of the awards and nomination forms are available at the Alliance & Chamber offices or online at www. cedarvalleyalliance.com/programsandevents .  For additional information, please contact Bette Wubbena  at bwubbena@cedarvalleyalliance.com or 232-1156.

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The Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to say “Yes” on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

The Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber encourage the voters of Black Hawk County communities to renew  the one-cent Local Option Sales Tax on the ballot on Tuesday, November 5th.

 

Since 1991, the communities of Black Hawk County, with voter approval, have collected a one percent sales and service tax on qualified purchases. Waterloo and Cedar Falls have consistently used the revenues from this sales tax for the construction and repair of streets. Both cities have again pledged to use the revenues in a similar manner if the tax is reauthorized. Other cities have also used the revenues for key attributes, while others have reduced property tax burdens.

 

The sales tax has produced notable results. For instance, in Cedar Falls and Waterloo alone, since the tax program’s implementation, hundreds of miles of streets have been reconstructed, overlaid, or seal-coated; and many railroad crossings have been replaced.

 

The sales tax is imposed by local governments on goods and services sold within Black Hawk County. Out-of-county purchases generate an estimated 35% of the tax revenue.

 

The Alliance & Chamber encourages government at all levels to monitor operations continuously to discover ways to reduce property tax, sales and service tax, and other fees that are ostensibly taxes imposed on business and residents. However, we recognize that the revenues from this sales and service tax are used for key infrastructure for economic growth and a satisfactory quality of life, and there are established oversight committees established to review the proposed uses of the tax revenue.

 

Therefore, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber endorses the renewal of the one-cent Local Option Sales and Service Tax in Black Hawk County. The Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to say “Yes” on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Approved by the Board of Directors, during its regular meeting on October 1, 2013.

___________________________

Steven J. Dust

CEO

 

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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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