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Tag Archives: Houston

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

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

One: Cedar Valley on INC 5000 List

This year, we celebrate the listing of BraceAbility from Cedar Falls coming in at number 753 on the strength of a 600 percent growth in this five-year old company. BraceAbility is operated by CEO Shaun Linderbaum, who came from another perennial INC 5000 honoree ClickStop, and COO Therese Stevens, who you may know as a partner in TargetClick Marketing, which became a part of another honoree, Mudd Advertising. My bet is that most have not heard of this fast growing Cedar Valley e-commerce firm that sells orthopedic braces. Take a look at www.braceability.com.

ClickStop, operated by owner/CEO Tim Guenther, made the list for the eighth time. Congrats to you, Tim, for making the list again. ClickStop was founded in 2005 and is south of the Cedar Valley metro area in Urbana just off Interstate 380. Tim has created a very cool workplace and also has several connections of interest in the Cedar Valley. As mentioned above, Shaun Linderbaum was CTO at ClickStop before joining the new BraceAbility. Also, Therese Stevens was an intern there.

Another move that will add to Tim’s chances of being on and perhaps higher in the 2018 INC 5000 is the recent acquisition of Clean Laundry Licensing started by Cedar Valley serial entrepreneur marketing guru Phil Akin. Phil joined ClickStop as CMO and his son, Ethan, is leading the growth of the laundry licensing unit. Take a look throughout www.ClickStop.com to get a glimpse of this successful firm 12 years after start up.

Takeaways: Tim knows talent. E-commerce has a bigger, growing impact on the Cedar Valley economy than you’d recognize. There’s a cluster of that knowledge base in our economic area which is adding to the economic base through that spillover impact that I keep talking about.

Inc. 5000 2017: The Full List: Our annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America, Inc.

Two: Hurricane Harvey’s Impact

There’s so much to say about Hurricane Harvey and its impact on the City of Houston and potential impact on the nation’s economy that I wrote an entire blog post on the topic, with multiple links to informative stories.

The Projected Economic Impact of Harvey, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, September 1, 2017

Three: Case and Kreske Foundations Project in Economic Inclusion

Thanks to iGus Marketing founder Denita Gadsen for directing me to this article. It describes exactly what the Alliance & Chamber says as a part of our economic inclusion work: any business and economy that embraces its diversity through inclusive action will be stronger. While much of our work has been focused on being more inclusive in our workforce, this concept also applies to scaling overall business growth.

That’s the focus of these articles. Read the Governing article first, then the HuffPo coverage.

Can We Build Inclusive, Innovative Local Economies? Governing, August 15, 2017

Four cities learn how to create inclusive communities, Huff Post, August 18, 2017

Four: Impact of Robots on Workforce Needs for Site Selection

Randy Thompson is senior director of a commercial real estate services group that does site selection for clients. He has some interesting and reasonable views about the role of automation and robots in the shift of distribution to fulfillment and customized manufacturing. Thompson ponders how the site selection process differ if business is driven by direct to consumer fulfillment rather than bulk from wholesale to retail stores. He wonders if manufacturing can reduce the reliance on large supply of humans. It’s all about location and brainpower.

How Technology Will Overcome Demographics, Area Development Online, Q2 2017

Five: Apple, Again. Anatomy of a good deal for Waukee

This excellent analysis of the Apple deal in Waukee, from an incentives perspective, is penned by a fellow some of you have met – John Stineman, Executive Director of the Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA). The Alliance & Chamber is part of ICA, which focuses on public policy to advance economic development in Iowa.

In this column, John does a good job breaking down the deal and its rationalization. He did this to counter the whiners who don’t understand what a win — even a heavily incentivized data center project — can be for a city government that can supply the energy, broadband, and other significant requirements.

On the other hand, as I mentioned last week, we were in the competition until site requirement jumped from 500 to over 1,000 acres. What these people are going to do with 2,000 acres is yet to be determined: it’s not likely to be covered in more data center space, but stranger things have happened.

Apple deal gets an ‘A’ for return on investment, The Des Moines Register, August 31, 2017

The Projected Economic Impact of Harvey

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

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

Harvey to Cause Several Months of Unsettled National Economic Data

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

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

Business Conditions in Houston

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

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

Rebuilding Houston

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

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

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

How to Help

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

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

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

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

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

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