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Tag Archives: growth

Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference Scheduled for February 5

The Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference is scheduled for February 5 in Waterloo.  The conference will be held from 8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Tama Hall on Hawkeye Community College’s campus.  The conference is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.

Individuals who work in manufacturing will find this conference informative as they network with other decision makers, discuss the global marketplace, review employment trends and statistics, question the panelists, and tour Hawkeye’s vitual technology labs.

The keynote speaker is Tom Kammer, manufacturing consultant at the Center for Business & Industry at South Central College in Minnesota.  Kammer specializes in helping organizations with Process Improvement. He is a nationally certified trainer with implementation experience with more than 200 companies.

The conference is co-sponsored by Hawkeye Community College Business and Community Education and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber.  Those interested in attending should call 319-296-4223 to register or online at www.hawkeyecollege.edu/go/manufacturing.



Inc. Magazine Unveils 32st Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 500 Next Generation Wireless Ranks No. 4659 on the 2013 Inc. 500


NEW YORK, DECEMBER 6Inc. magazine today ranked Next Generation Wireless NO. 4659 on its 32st annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Microsoft, Zappos, Intuit, Jamba Juice, Zipcar, Clif Bar, Vizio, Oracle, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 500|5000.

“It’s an honor to be on this list once again this year. This is the 6th year we have been on this list and it’s quite an achievement. Very few companies have ever done this” says Bill Bradford.

The 2013 Inc. 500, unveiled in the September issue of Inc. is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. To make the cut, companies had to have achieved a staggering minimum of 770% in sales growth. The Inc. 500’ s aggregate revenue is $15.7 billion, with a median three-year growth of 1,431 percent. The companies on this year’s Inc. 500 employ more than 48,000 people and generated over 40,000 jobs in the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 500|5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/500.

“Now, more than ever, we depend on Inc. 500/5000 companies to spur innovation, provide jobs, and drive the economy forward.  Growth companies, not large corporations, are where the action is,” says Inc. magazine Editor Eric Schurenberg.

CONTACT:   Next Generation Wireless, 319-266-5070, Sadie Foertsch (sadiefoertsch@ngwtoday.com)

Hawkeye Community College to Showcase Expanded Services for Veterans New Center to Honor Veterans Will Be Unveiled on Veterans Day – November 11

WATERLOO—On Veterans Day, Hawkeye Community College will unveil and showcase its new “Military and Veterans Resource Center” as part of its commitment to veterans and military personnel.  Hawkeye has been in the forefront addressing the military students’ needs for many years.  This includes hosting career fairs and resource events, providing faculty and staff training on veteran’s issues in the classroom, creating a task force, and hosting the Cedar Rapids Vet Center Mobile Unit on campus.

The college has greatly expanded resources and services for veterans and military students, as well as their spouses and dependents.  Services offered by the college include career counseling, orientation, and student health/mental health services.  A full-time veteran’s coordinator, Robin Knight, has been designated to assist military and student veterans returning from service to transition to a college lifestyle.  Knight’s position ensures each student has the services necessary to achieve their academic goals.

On Monday, November 11, beginning at 1:00 p.m. interested individuals can preview the new Military and Veterans Resource Center, which is located in the Brock Student Center until 4:00 p.m.  In addition, a Veteran’s ceremony will take place from 12:15 – 12:45 p.m., in Tama Hall, during which time there will be a presentation to the family of Phil Thomas in honor of his military service.  Thomas was a Waterloo veteran and served in the U.S. Navy.  He passed away in March of this year and was a member and chaplain of American Legion Post 138.  All events are open to the public.

This year Hawkeye made the coveted “Military Friendly Schools” list for the fourth year in a row.  The 2014 Military Friendly Schools® list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

The common bond of those on the list is their shared priority of providing educational services and training to students with military experience.  Tens of billions of dollars in education benefits are available for veterans and in some cases, their dependents.  The percentage of veterans who use their military benefits to attend college has increased dramatically in the past years.  The past year, Hawkeye served 354 students, which represents a growth of more than 25 percent over the last couple of years.

For additional information, contact Robin Knight at 319-296-2320, ext. 1212.



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.



Business Grant Competition Deadline Extended to Friday

Cedar Valley of Iowa – The Cedar Valley Dream Big Grow Here has extended its entry deadline to this Friday, October 4th at 5 pm.  Small business owners and entrepreneurs simply go online and complete a short application to be in the running for a chance to win a $5,000 business grant.  This year’s winner will then go on to pitch for an additional $10,000 grand prize at EntreFest! to be held in the spring of next year.

The Alliance & Chamber is pleased by the  number of quality applicants it has already received and hopes that extending the deadline will give more start-ups time to apply.

Lead sponsor for Dream Big Grow Here is the Iowa Bankers Association.  Other key sponsors are a mix of private and public sector agencies, including the University of Northern Iowa MyEntre.Net, Iowa Farm Bureau / Renew Rural Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, VentureNet, Delta Dental of Iowa, and the Technology Association of Iowa.

For more information on the Cedar Valley Dream Big Grow Here and to enter the contest, go to www.DreamBigGrowHere.com.  For complete rules or for more information about this regional contest contact Taylor King at (319) 232-1156.  To learn more about how your community can get involved in this exciting initiative, contact UNI Dream Big Grow Here Lead Rob Williams at rob.williams@uni.edu or by phone at 319-273-4333.

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.



National Small Business Week June 16-22


Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight through National Small Business Week the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Small business owners can participate in online-only panel discussions on hot topics like social media and business financing starting daily at 4pm ET. All events, in-person and online, will be streamed live on www.sba.gov/smallbusinessweek . Also visit this site for a full schedule of events and additional information.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber salutes our small business investors and our partnering organization including Main Street Waterloo,  Cedar Falls Community Main Street and many neighborhood and business districts who help create and maintain a business friendly environment. The Cedar Valley economy was built by small business owners and entrepreneurs. They are equally vital  today and essential to building  our future.

The importance of supporting small business is illustrated in this infographic.

Please mark your calendars for our Small Business Expo in partnership with UNI’s Small Business Development Center,  November 7, 2013.


KWWL Building to Undergo Major Renovation

Remodeling project points facility toward the future with a nod to the past

6 June 2013 – KWWL today announced plans to renovate the historic KWWL building in downtown Waterloo. The building, located at 500 East 4th Street, has been the home of KWWL since 1958. The announcement stems from an exhaustive review conducted by the company over the past year to assess the facilities and the feasibility of renovation or relocation to another site. It was determined that the present and future needs of the company could be satisfied in the current location.

The station and building are owned by Quincy Newspapers, Inc., a private, family-owned company that operates 12 television stations, two radio stations and two newspapers. Quincy acquired KWWL in 2006.

This decision will launch an extensive, multi-million dollar two-phased rehabilitation and modernization program. The building is a four-story structure comprising 55,000 square feet and is considered an historic landmark of downtown Waterloo.

Phase One plans will include restoration of the building’s exterior, including the first-floor glass façade. Concurrently, the existing facilities of the television station will be brought up to contemporary broadcasting requirements. These plans call for first- and second-floor interior renovation. Phase Two of the project will involve renovation of the building’s third and fourth floor. The exact details of the Phase Two renovation are still in the planning stage.

The building, originally called the Overland Hanson Building, was built in 1914 and was a car dealership noted for its four floors of automobiles and service. The building still contains the oversized freight elevator used for transporting automobiles from floor to floor. Later, the building was known as the Insurance Building before becoming the KWWL Building in 1958.

Quincy is seeking federal and state historic designation for the property along with local support from the city of Waterloo. The company will begin the project upon successful completion of the historic tax credit application.

“KWWL is a Waterloo institution and the decision to remain in our building and in the city of Waterloo is important for the city and for us,” said KWWL Vice President and General Manager Jim McKernan. “KWWL covers a 21-county area encompassing

Contact: Jim McKernan , V.P. General Manager,  Phone: 319-291-1200.


Advanced Manufacturing Hub Step Closer with State Funding

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is one step closer to becoming the physical location of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub for the region and state thanks to legislation adopted this week.  Nearly $4 million was included in Iowa Economic Development Authority appropriations for the project.

The IEDA’s Iowa Invocation Council, which will administer the funds, has been working closely with the Cedar Valley TechWorks and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber to establish the Campus as the designated site for the Hub.

The bulk of the funds will construct improvements in the Tech 1 building on the Campus. A portion of the funds will be used for the University of Northern Iowa to purchase a 3-dimensional (3D) printer to fabricate on-demand molds for cast components  to support  advanced manufacturing , in collaboration with TechWorks.

“With this funding, we can make the capital and infrastructure improvements to the Tech 1 building needed to attract more technology and bio-products related industrial operations and partners to the campus. The investment in building improvements and equipment will prepare space for new businesses and educational programs, and bring tremendous momentum and excitement to the Campus as these projects move forward alongside the previously announced anchor projects,” states Cary Darrah, General Manager of the Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus. “ We are grateful to the entire Cedar Valley legislative delegation for its bi-partisan advocacy for this funding, especially Senator Bill Dotzler who really went to bat for the Cedar Valley and the TechWorks Campus. His work for this and other economic development issues this year is recognized by legislators from both sides of the isle.”

Jerry Thiel, Director of UNI’s Metal Casting Center is also optimistic about the impact of the collaboration on the industry statewide, “The capabilities of having technology like this will undoubtedly increase the overall competitiveness of Iowa manufacturers by allowing them to deliver products to the market at an unprecedented rate.”

Randy Pilkington, Executive Director, UNI Business and Community Services adds,
“This is a substantial investment in advanced manufacturing not just for the Cedar Valley, but for the entire state of Iowa. It also shows UNI’s commitment to advanced manufacturing statewide.”

What this means to the Cedar Valley

“The Cedar Valley is known as Iowa’s center of Advanced Manufacturing,” states Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “With the high concentration of manufacturing in our economic area, and the manufacturing technology -related resources of UNI and our higher education partners, the Cedar Valley is the prime location to establish the state’s hub of leading edge applied manufacturing technologies. As businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the Midwest access our equipment and facilities to improve and produce innovative products, we take another step in innovation led economic development in the Cedar Valley economy, and toward fulfilling the original vision for the Campus. We’re proud to be known as the Advanced Manufacturing Hub,” concludes Dust.

The Governor is expected to sign the bill into law before the end of June.

The Cedar Valley TechWorks is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing and biotechnology research, development and education center, and business and manufacturing cluster. The campus is located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa adjacent to the John Deere operations. The Cedar Valley TechWorks is owned and managed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.





“CFU now offers  1-Gig service to every home and every business in the city making Cedar Falls Iowa’s first  ‘Gigabit City.’ There are fewer than 50, 1-Gig cities in the nation. Of those that claim 1-Gig service, most only deliver it to a small area of the city or a certain class of customer. CFU offers true, city wide, 1-Gig to everyone.

The Cedar Valley is well on its way to becoming Gigabit Valley! With CFU’s product in place, undoubtedly 1-Gig will soon be offered by providers in Waterloo and other Cedar Valley cities. The Cedar Valley is the place for tech led industry, business and services to grow bigger and stronger. We have the fiber to prove it!”  – Steve Dust, CEO Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

More information can be found at www.CFU.net

The following is CFU’s May 28th announcement

CFU launches state’s fastest internet service


CEDAR FALLS, IA Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) launches internet service at 1 gigabit per second (GBPS) today, making Cedar Falls the first and only Iowa community on the nation’s short list of gigabit cities.

CFU’s gigabit service is available now at any Cedar Falls business or home. The service is delivered through CFU’s city-wide fiber optic network, completed earlier this year. About 400 rural Cedar Falls properties also have access to the service.

“We can turn up a customer’s gigabit service on the same day they ask for it, if not the same hour,” said CFU General Manager Jim Krieg. “The facilities are already in place, so we can activate the service remotely from our network operations center.”

Cedar Falls Community Services Manager Robert Seymour says the “gigabit city” label will put Cedar Falls on the map for a broader list of business prospects.

“This is a great tool for promoting Cedar Falls as a place to locate or expand a business,” says Seymour. “It’s an important part of the complete infrastructure package we bring to the table, and it means we can compete with the best broadband communities anywhere in the country.”


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CFU’s high-speed internet service dates back to 1996, years before similar service became available in most of Iowa. “Back then, a 10 megabit connection easily met the needs of a high-demand business user,” Krieg recalls. “The service we’re launching today is 100 times as fast.”

“One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is the transformation of broadband access from an innovation back in the ‘90s, to a convenience that people want, to an essential service for businesses and families,” Krieg said. “Today customers are looking for more than speed. They demand the highest reliability for their broadband connections, just as they do for electric or water or gas service.”

To meet that need, CFU designed its city-wide network and external internet connections with diverse fiber paths and back-up capacity. “Our network is set up to maintain service to customers even when something breaks,” says Network Manager Rob Houlihan. “Say there’s a fiber cut between here and Chicago that takes one of our upstream providers out of service. Our other transport paths and bandwidth sources handle the traffic, without disruption for the customers.”

Krieg notes that CFU serves more than 600 businesses and 11,000 home internet customers today, and most will not immediately upgrade to gigabit service. “With this launch, we’re upgrading our top business tier customers from 200 MBPS to gigabit service at the same price,” he said.

Bandwidth demand from CFU’s internet customers has grown rapidly, and more than doubled in 2012. “Experience shows that when we deliver more bandwidth, customers find innovative ways to use it,” Krieg says. “We expect demand for gigabit service to start small, but grow fast.”

CFU continues to offer a range of home and business internet plans, starting at $30/month. Speeds and pricing for all of CFU’s broadband services are online at www.cfu.net/internet.


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Cedar Falls Utilities provides broadband communications, electricity, water and natural gas services to homes and businesses in Cedar Falls, Iowa, population 39,000. The Utilities are owned by the City of Cedar Falls and operated for public benefit under the governance of a citizen Board of Trustees. The Municipal Communications Utility was formed in 1994 by a citizen referendum, and launched internet and television services in January, 1996.


Media resources: Visit CFU’s online newsroom for video news release, broadcast quality video clips, still images, logos and sidebar copy.

About CFU

Cedar Falls Utilities provides internet, electricity, water, natural gas and cable television services to homes and businesses in Cedar Falls, Iowa, population 39,000. Electric and broadband services are also provided to an 85-square-mile area of rural Cedar Falls. The rural service area is located mostly in Black Hawk County, Iowa, with limited overlap to adjacent Grundy and Butler Counties.

Internet and video services are provided through the Municipal Communications Utility, founded by citizen referendum in 1994. In 1996 the Utility was among nation’s first providers of high speed internet service. In 2013, CFU completed a three-year network upgrade, bringing a fiber optic connection to every Cedar Falls home and business.

CFU’s combination of reliable and economical broadband, electricity, natural gas and water services gives growing and relocating companies a single source for essential services that are immediately available and ready for business.

CFU’s business units are the Cedar Falls Municipal Communications, Electric, Gas and Water Utilities. All four entities are owned by the City of Cedar Falls and operated for public benefit under the governance of a citizen Board of Trustees

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