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TechWorks Campus Announces the Launch of the Green@TechWorks


$40M hotel and training center construction set to begin with Tech2 building sale to developer.

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) – The TechWorks Campus, announces the sale of the Tech2 building to Financial District Properties (FDP) and the start of construction of the highly anticipated Green@TechWorks mixed-use project.

Tech2, an 88 year old former John Deere tractor manufacturing building, is the starting point of the Green@TechWorks re-development project. The 180,000 square foot, six-story building will house a 191-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel; third-party restaurant; John Deere Regional Training Center and conference center. The Green is a principal feature of the overall $74M TechWorks Campus river-front re-development.

“It is gratifying to see The Green @ TechWorks become reality. The project will provide our Campus tenants with tremendous amenities just steps from their operations,” said Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and President of the TechWorks Campus. “Combined with the industrial 3D printing and design center, labs and shop in Tech 1, and the fantastic new John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, the opportunities for the TechWorks building sites and the marina become clear. These new operations compliment the downtown Waterloo revitalization and anchors new Cedar Valley developments along the river from Waverly through Cedar Falls to Waterloo. This is a very exciting time in the Cedar Valley.”

Since The Green@TechWorks project was announced in 2012, FDP along with TechWorks has moved forward with steady determination, pursuing federal, state, and local re-development financing, and brokering agreements between the developer, the City of Waterloo, and others.

FDP Managing Principal Rodney Blackwell has significant experience with downtown real estate redevelopment and is recognized for successfully assembling complex financing structures for downtown projects. Earlier FDP projects include the Mississippi Plaza Center in downtown Davenport, IA, and the North American headquarters for KONE Corp. in Moline, IL. FDP is currently developing Machinery Row, a mixed use re-development area in downtown Racine, Wisconsin. FDP also owns the river-front building occupied primarily by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier at 100 East Fourth.

“Despite the inevitable bumps in the road and some unexpected big challenges; creativity, commitment, and a lot of patience tied all the pieces of the financing puzzle together,” says Blackwell. “We are eager to start construction and look forward to delivering a venue that will compliment the Campus and delight the community.”

Helping to finance the project is $12 million from the Waterloo Reinvestment District.

A portion of the TechWorks Campus has also become the first designated Iowa Reinvestment District (IRD). The District, established by The City of Waterloo will provide up to $12M in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues generated within the district for capital projects. $8M will be used to pay off bonds financing The Green@TechWorks. $3M will go to the development of the Tech1 building, with $1M boosting a proposed marina development.

The projected economic impact of the District is significant. Up to 562 new permanent jobs will be created to accommodate the anticipated 275,000 annual visitors to the Campus. Visitors are expected to generate $2.9M in annual food, retail and other sales generated on Campus or in the vicinity.

Construction set to begin on The Green@TechWorks.

Interior pre-construction will begin in March with mobilization expected in mid-April. The target opening date for the project is May 2017. The Davenport office of contractor Ryan Companies US, Inc. has been named to complete the project. Ryan Companies’ Greg Lundgren, Midwest President is senior Project Executive Officer.

An estimated 130 people will be employed during the one year construction period. FDP is committed to use local trades and subcontractors to the greatest extent possible. Only when faced with a skill, schedule, or major price constraint outside trades would be sought, according to developer Blackwell.

Amenities for the business class traveler.

Business travelers to the Campus will enjoy the amenities of the 191-room Courtyard hotel, the newest Marriott property in the market. The hotel will be operated by Hospitality Specialists Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hospitality Specialists Inc. has been operating hotels for over 30 years with properties in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Florida.

The John Deere Regional Training Center will be constructed on the 2nd floor to address a range of skills upgrades for John Deere employees across its operations.

Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. (CRO) of Dallas will expand its footprint to Iowa for the first time with a property in the Tech 2 building. CRO operates more than 91 full-service and 24 franchise restaurants in 17 states and globally. CRO manages brands ranging from the traditional steak house to Tex-Mex. The Green’s restaurant will be a new concept for CRO, consistent with Campus clienteles’ requirements.

$74.1 million TechWorks Campus mixed-use development offers unique opportunities.

The TechWorks Campus site and buildings, donated by John Deere to TechWorks in 2006 is located at the gateway to Downtown Waterloo at Highway 218 and West Commercial Street. The 30 acre TechWorks Campus is currently home to University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Additive Manufacturing Center and Design Lab, Hawkeye Community College Design Lab, the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub, John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, and Cedar Valley Makerspace. TechWorks Campus is just steps to the Cedar Valley Recreation Trails, entertainment & museum districts, and a variety of Riverloop District amenities.

Four sites are available on the campus for light industrial, research and development, and retail. 100,000 sf remains in the six-floor Tech 1 building for build-to-suit space ideal for light manufacturing and R&D tenants. Six laboratories are also available. Plans for a marina and a riverfront restaurant along the Cedar River are part of the overall $74.1 million Campus development plan.

“Identifying and attracting the right tenant and development is the next priority for TechWorks,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President and General Manager of TechWorks Campus. “My job now is to work with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber development team to help companies understand the tremendous value of locating on the TechWorks Campus. With access to University research and training, a wealth of resources, opportunities to make the right connections and create synergies, the amenities of The Green right outside their door, the Campus location shouldn’t be hard to sell.”

TechWorks Campus is a private non-profit corporation and subsidiary of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. More information can be found at www.techworkscampus.com or by contacting Steve Dust, President of TechWorks Campus by email sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com, Cary Darrah, Vice President and General Manager at cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or Wes James Facilities Manager at wjames@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling (319)232-1156.

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TechWorks Bird’s Eye – Looking West (12.2.14) 24×36

TechWorks Campus Year in Review

It has been a year of tremendous progress on the TechWorks Campus. Watch the progress happen in this brief video as construction progresses, tenants move in, and events take place in  Tech 1.

 

Then download the PDF that outlines all the highlights from 2015 and previews what is to come in 2016.

Annual AMC Engineering Conference Kicks Off at TechWorks

Cedar Valley of Iowa – The 2015 AMC Engineering Conference will be held May 5-7 at the Ramada Inn and Five Sullivan’s Convention Center in Waterloo. This is the 30th anniversary of the Annual AMC Engineering Conference which is an educational conference and tradeshow for agricultural and off-highway equipment design engineers.

AMC (formerly Agricultural Machinery Conference) is a forum for engineers, managers and other professionals in the field of agricultural equipment design to gather with the purpose of exchanging ideas, see the latest component technology, and learn new design practices, techniques and methods of importance to the industry.

Waterloo was selected because of its position in the heart of U.S. agriculture and agricultural machinery industry.

The event will include informational and technical sessions on the most important areas of equipment design and development and attendees will have the opportunity to listen in on any of nearly 50 presentations in fields as varied as engines, ergonomics and economics.

The Alliance & Chamber will co-sponsor a booth with TechWorks Campus and UNI Metal Castings Center at the Conference to showcase the cooperation between TechWorks and UNI’s Metal Casting Center’s expertise in Additive Manufacturing (3-D printing), and the resulting partnerships with industry, both within the state and beyond. TechWorks will also play host to the Conference opening ceremonies on Tuesday with a social hour, dinner & keynote presentation, and Campus tour.

“This is an excellent opportunity to show a key technology-based business audience firsthand the advanced technologies available and planned at TechWorks and share the vision for where it is headed with the startup of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub,” says Wes James, TechWorks Facilities Manager & Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center Operations Director, “They will leave with the message that the Cedar Valley is a great place to develop product ideas and processes.”

More information about the conference and registration can be found here: http://www.amc-online.org/About.html

To learn more about TechWorks Campus and additive manufacturing, contact Wes James at wjames@cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling 319-287-8149.

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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.

Three Reinvestment District Projects receive provisional funding approvals

The Iowa Reinvestment District Program is designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that will improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. The program provides for up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be “reinvested” within approved districts. Districts cannot exceed 25 acres in size and must be in an Enterprise Zone or Urban Renewal Area.

Iowa Reinvestment District plans must include tax revenues generated by “new retail establishments” and “new lessors”.  New retail establishments cannot exceed 50 percent of the total proposed capital investment. At least one of the new proposed projects within the district must reach a total capital investment of $10 million. And, the total amount of new tax revenues to be remitted to the municipality cannot exceed 35 percent of the total cost of all proposed projects in the district plan.

Three of the 10 applicants received a score in excess of 70 points (out of 100) and presented their projects to the Due Diligence Committee in May. The IEDA board today, upon the recommendation of the Due Diligence Committee, decided on provisional funding for the projects in the city of Des Moines, the city of Muscatine and the city of Waterloo.

The provisional funding decisions are designed to provide practical feedback for municipalities interested in creating a reinvestment district but are not final or binding. Following the provisional approval, final application materials fully meeting all of the program’s requirements are due prior to March 1, 2015. Applicants may amend any part of the pre-application to represent any change to the proposed projects within the district. The final application will be re-scored in the same manner as the pre-application, if changes are made. The board’s final funding decision may be different from the provisional funding decision based on the final application.

The city of Des Moines was provisionally approved for a maximum of $36,487,400 in funding for its proposed district in the city’s downtown. The Des Moines plan proposes a total capital investment of $178.5 million and includes building a convention headquarters hotel, investing in infrastructure and amenities to support new visitors, redeveloping important downtown sites, preserving significant architecture, improving walk-ability throughout downtown, and connecting important amenities such as the Iowa Events Center, Principal Riverwalk, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines and Cowles Commons, the East Village, Court Avenue and Western Gateway Park.

The Muscatine Reinvestment District received provisional funding approval of $10 million maximum for its $41.1 million capital investment. This district includes one major project, the Riverview Suites Development, consisting of three elements: the construction of a new hotel, the remodel of a vacant building into a conference and events center, and the construction of a parking ramp.

The city of Waterloo was provisionally approved for $12 million maximum for the TechWorks district, located at the west end of downtown and made up of land donated by Deere & Company. The district has a capital investment of $74.1 million and includes three projects. The first is a mixed-use development including a business-class hotel, industrial incubator, private sector lab and manufacturing maker-space and John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum.  The second project area includes commercial out-lots such as a restaurants and retailers that complement other project areas. The third project area includes a marina for boat storage, boat sales, fuel sales and a riverfront restaurant.

Full application materials for these three projects will be available within 10 days for public viewing at www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/CommunityDevelopment/ReinvestmentDistrict. Applications for subsequent Reinvestment Districts will be accepted from March 1-15, 2015.

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Download a spreadsheet of today’s awards:
http://iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/UserDocs/documents/IEDA/june14awards.pdf

Construction Begins on Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus

Cedar Valley of Iowa, (May 19, 2014) Construction is underway at the Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus. Modifications to the existing Tech I structure started on April 14, 2014 as part of the $2M construction project. This project focuses on basic interior renovations and preparation for additional projects on the first two floors. The project will bring both spaces to a ready state for future tenant improvements. The current project includes insulation, windows, basic utilities, lighting, and HVAC.   Tenants for the first and second floors have been identified, with negotiations ongoing.  The project is scheduled for completion fall 2014.  The Cedar Valley’s Cardinal Construction is the design-build general contractor. INVISION is their design partner.

“This project is significant in that it lays the groundwork for all future tenant spaces,” says Steve Dust, President/CEO of the Alliance & Chamber and President, TechWorks Campus. “It represents the diligent behind the scene efforts of the TechWorks board and staff, and is a visual sign of progress to the community.”

Cedar Valley TechWorks is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing and biotechnology research, development and education center, creating business and manufacturing cluster. The campus is located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa adjacent to the John Deere Westfield manufacturing operations. The campus includes two historic former Deere manufacturing buildings; Tech I and Tech II. The Tech I building includes: the University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center featuring the ExOne 3D printer  – the largest in North America; industrial manufacturing space; tech shop or ‘tinkers’ space; incubator; and classrooms. Tech II is the starting point of the larger Green@TechWorks development project which includes:  the John Deere Regional Training Center; an internationally recognized business class hotel; fine dining establishment; office and conference space. The John Deere Waterloo & Tractor Museum is also located on the campus and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. The campus includes parcels suitable for larger scale manufacturing facilities. TechWorks is the first technology park of its kind in the Iowa to combine world class business amenities within a Brownfield industrial redevelopment project. TechWorks has been designated as the site of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC) by the Iowa Innovation Corporation.

“The Cedar Valley has a rich history of value-added manufacturing and industrial innovation which makes TechWorks an ideal location for the statewide IAMC resource center,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President of Community Development and General Manager of Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus.

Cedar Valley TechWorks is a subsidiary of by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

For more information on the Cedar Valley TechWorks, contact Cary Darrah, General Manager of Cedar Valley TechWorks Campus by calling (319)232-1156 or email cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or Wes James, at wjames@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

 

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TechWorks Progress Steady

21 hours ago  •  By Jim Offner

WATERLOO | Mark Kittrell issued a challenge to attendees at the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference this week at Hawkeye Community College.

Kittrell, president of the Des Moines-based Iowa Innovation Corp., told an estimated 200 representatives from area manufacturers that the nascent Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center, which will operate at Cedar Valley TechWorks, will need their input on how to push industry forward in the state — and build it in the Cedar Valley.

The center is the focal point of the effort, he said, since it will bring together new technology, expertise and research on the 30-acre campus in downtown Waterloo.

Planners say the center will be open in the middle of this year.

The center will offer new services to manufacturers, including an industrial business incubator, acceleration services, modeling and simulation, industrial laboratories, production equipment and access to ideas and graduates from universities and community colleges as well as ways to improve manufacturing processes.

“I think it will serve as a place, and a group of people are going to help bring together a lot of resources across the state into one place, where people come and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a new manufacturing company. I’ve got a new product I need. I’d love to figure out how I can get this thing done,’” Kittrell said of the center’s relationship with the manufacturing community.

“That kind of question is being dealt with all the time. That’s the primary role. What impact will it have in the Cedar Valley?”

There are several similar initiatives taking shape across Iowa, but the center at TechWorks will play a particularly important role, Kittrell said.

“We’re built on this stuff,” he said. “The reason why a community like the Cedar Valley exists is to build things, I think, because of TechWorks, that sort of history, the legacy that’s here, the opportunity to really show we can move the needle ahead in this community by bringing more R&D and more manufacturing back to this area.

“If we can do that, we’ll be a national model,” Kittrell said. “We’ll be the kind of place where people will say we’re going to be doing more of that and look to us as innovator.”

Iowa Innovation Corp. and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber are working together to build the Advanced Manufacturing Center, said Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance and president of TechWorks.

“You’ve already seen pieces of it with UNI’s Metal Casting Center up and running, so you’re getting a hint of what we’re talking about,” Dust said.

Attendees at Wednesday’s conference got a tour of the Metal Casting Center and a demonstration of its new 3-D printer late in the afternoon.

The center will begin to take tangible shape at TechWorks shortly, Dust said.

“A part of that same appropriation were dollars to improve two floors of our Tech 1 building for that hub of advanced manufacturing, and that construction activity will begin in just within a few weeks within that building,” he said. “So, you’ll start to see physical changes happening to accommodate the growth of the center in the building.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup is led by Sarah McDonald Hasken, vice president of A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing Co., and Glenn Baker, director of global manufacturing and enterprise services at John Deere. It includes leaders from advanced manufacturing firms across Iowa and also includes representatives of the state universities, community colleges, state government, engineering, business associations and economic development leaders.

Among local participants in the work group are David Takes, president of Doerfer Cos.; Mark Hanawalt, president and CEO of United Business Equipment Inc.; Marvin Schumacher, president of Schumacher Elevator; Jerry Thiel, UNI Metal Casting Center director; Linda Allen, president of Hawkeye Community College; and TechWorks representatives Cary Darrah, Wes James and Dust.

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 and medium-size manufacturers. Focus group sessions are scheduled in March through mid-April across the state.

Kittrell said there’s a potential for 37,000 manufacturing jobs that bring wages of $50,000 or more.

“These are good jobs,” he said.

Kittrell challenged each attendee at Wednesday’s conference to ponder how the new center can help their companies.

“We ask them what would you like to see,” Kittrell said. “They say, ‘We’d like to look to this place as being the place where we can have a good gauge of what new technologies are coming out.’

“Second,” he said, “they said what new processes and materials will be important for us. Then, they had the three things that you’d expect to see: They’re looking for help with workforce. They’re helping very much with education and entrepreneurship kind of work. And they’re looking for guidance on how do they finance the kind of growth they’re working for.”

New center will oil Iowa’s manufacturing wheel

A new manufacturing center will open in the Cedar Valley next year and provide a space for everybody — from the largest manufacturers to the individual tinkerer — to build products.
Although some say the timeline for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center is a bit aggressive, project leaders say a mid-2014 debut will happen.
“I have been an entrepreneur long enough to know that timing is everything,” said Mark Kittrell, president of the Iowa Innovation Corp. “There is a national priority to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. We need to make things in the U.S. if we are going to grow.”
The facility in Waterloo will model itself after TechShop, which has opened a handful of open-access shops across the country.
The center’s stated goal is “to provide members with every conceivable tool and machine that they would need to build, hack, fix or create just about any kind of project.” These tools include 3-D printers, sewing machines, floor jacks and welding equipment. Members would pay a fee to use the tools.
The project is part of the state’s effort to expand advanced manufacturing and innovation, considered critical components to job and economic growth. Manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry, valued at $27.6 billion.
The project will set up shop in a building at Cedar Valley TechWorks, which is already expecting the arrival of a John Deere museum and an eco-friendly hotel.

12/20/2013 | Marco Santana | The Des Moines Register
Original story found at: http://tinyurl.com/q68nye6

Alliance & Chamber/TechWorks Campus Partners to Compete for Lightweight & Modern Metals Manufacturing & Innovation Institute (LM3I) Designation

The US Dept. of Defense has issued a RFP for the creation of an industry institute focused on discovery and commercialization of new lightweight modern metals, related products, and manufacturing processes. The goal is to deepen and strengthen the U S defense supply chain of modern lightweight metals products and production capabilities, while ensuring the same technologies and capabilities have commercial application for US industrial competitiveness.

The location of the Institute headquarters and center of manufacturing and acceleration operations in the Cedar Valley would attract the interest of those engaged in all aspects of metals design, use and production in the U.S. Iowa, and the Cedar Valley, will become a center of thought and action on development of the leading edge lightweight metals for a myriad of applications. It also cements a number of relationships with technical, business, and STEM centers and programs across Iowa and the Midwest that are beneficial to the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center development and operation, also located in the Cedar Valley.

Iowa Innovation Corporation (IIC) is leading a team that is competing for that designation. As I write this, the IIC team led by its President Jack Harris, is completing the Concept Paper.

To assemble the components of the concept paper, the IIC assembled a team representing metals and production technologies, corporate partners, Midwestern manufacturing extension programs, industrial technical centers, trade associations, and community college representatives from the Cedar Valley, Iowa and the US for a workshop in the Cedar Valley on July 30. If the Dept. of Defense selects the IIC proposal, the LM3I Institute, which would be national in scope, would be headquartered in the Cedar Valley at TechWorks Campus Tech 1 building, utilizing the assets of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC) and additional space.

Along with the “headquarters” of the Institute, the Cedar Valley would also be the location of the manufacturing innovation center of operations – where the manufacturing processes used with the new materials are refined and commercialized. The Institute would also utilize and support accelerator services for new manufacturing businesses emerging from the work of the Institute.

Contact Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust for additional information regarding the IAMC and LM3I initiatives.

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center Takes Shape:

During the 2013 session, the Iowa Legislature stepped up with bipartisan support to approve funding for the creation of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC).

The IAMC is being established in partnership with the Iowa Innovation Corporation and Iowa Economic Development Authority. It will be a center of collaboration among those organizations listed above and many other “partners” and “users” such as  many programs and centers within UNI and Hawkeye Community College, Wartburg’s manufacturing engineering program, ISU’s CIRAS/MEP, and others. It will be available to you and other Iowa manufacturers and product innovators to increase competitiveness and commercialization of new products.

“The realization of the IAMC moves the TechWorks Campus plan ahead, said TechWorks board Chair Tim Hurley. “ IAMC creates the center of thinking and action, physical and virtual, that has always been a part of our vision, he said. “ We could not have accomplished this without the leadership of Waterloo’s Sen. Bill Dotzler and enthusiastic bipartisan leadership of our Cedar Valley delegation and support throughout the legislature, IIC and IEDA for manufacturing’s leading role in Iowa’s economy. That it’s happening in TechWorks is our dream coming true,” Hurley concluded.

 

The IAMC is programmed to include such uses as these examples:

  • Owned and operated by UNI’s Metal Casting Center, a large format 3D printer will be installed in the existing industrial lab space of the Tech 1 building on the TechWorks Campus. The large scale equipment, using polymer media, will be among the only of its kind in North America. The Metal Casting Center will provide access to this highly sophisticated equipment to manufacturing firms on a contract basis.
  • The Alliance & Chamber and TechWorks are collaborating with UNI to make existing lab facilities available to Iowa firms on a fee-for-time or project basis.
  • It is expected to install one and perhaps two 4 and 5 wall Computer Aided Virtual Reality Environment structures in the lab floor.
  • Improve the Tech 1 building:
    • Docks and overhead doors will be installed, along with required mechanical and electrical improvements.
    • Space will be available for advanced manufacturing operations to lease, and
    • Hawkeye Community College is establishing its green/sustainable construction methods program

Planning is underway for improvements, which will be underway later in 2013. Contact Steve Dust or Cary Darrah regarding IAMC programming.

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