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Tag Archives: Iowa Association of Business and Industry

What a Day!

By Steve Dust, President/CEO Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

You have probably seen that commercial for an insurance company where, after a great day for a young woman receiving a new car and an equally dismal day for a man whose car tires have been stolen, both exclaim, “What a day!”

That’s how I felt on Tuesday, July 11 as spent four hours traveling to and from Des Moines to attend a three-hour meeting.

Usually, I wouldn’t attend a meeting outside the Cedar Valley on the day of an Alliance & Chamber board meeting, never mind our annual meeting. But I broke that rule for the Future Ready Iowa Alliance board meeting because it meets so infrequently, its planning work is nearing the end, and important implementation actions soon follow.

“What a day!” I repeated to myself the entire trip. Initially, I focused on missing hours of prep time for the Alliance & Chamber annual meeting. Then the people I encountered completely turned my day around.

  • Ben Allen, former University of Northern Iowa president and current interim Iowa State University president, was the first person I encountered. It was good to see an old friend and champion of the Cedar Valley. That was worth the trip, I thought.
  • Mike Ralston, President of Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and I walked in together. We always have a lot to compare notes on, but he emphasized that a recent ABI social media post attracted the largest number of views, interactions, and reposts his organization had experienced. The post featured the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presenting U.S. Rep Rod Blum with its Spirit of Enterprise Award; the Alliance & Chamber co-hosted the event at the TDS Automation/Doerfer plant in Waverly.
  • Hawkeye Community College President Linda Allen is one of eight on the board from various Cedar Valley sectors. As we were getting yet another cup of coffee, she talked to me about another potential partnership between Hawkeye and a local major employer, implemented at TechWorks Campus. She is pumped about the opportunity. (Now, all we need is money).
  • As the program began, Georgia Van Gundy, CEO of Iowa Business Council, gave a shout out to the Cedar Valley’s aggressive programming to retain, recruit, and prepare talent to fuel economic growth. Unexpected and appreciated. (IBC’s members are Iowa’s largest 20+/- employers, the three regent universities, and bankers’ association.)
  • While walking back to my table from the coffee urn, President Liang Chee Wee of Northeast Iowa Community College got up from his table to greet me with his characteristic smile. He told me, “I’m a fan of all you’re doing in the Cedar Valley!” That’s all of you: I just happened to be in the spot to catch the compliment.
  • It was good to see Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham simply because of health challenges she has been managing – with her typical “I’m not getting beat” approach, of course. But then she highly complimented the work of the Alliance & Chamber Economic Development team working on a particular project. I thanked her for taking extraordinary steps to ensure the opportunity to win.
  • Governor Kim Reynolds’ Deputy Chief of Staff Tim Albrecht is a recent graduate of ABI’s Leadership Iowa, the same class for which Leader Valley‘s Melissa Reade was a co-director. Tim thanked me for the time given Melissa to fulfill that role. She said, “Without Melissa there, it would not have been the amazing experience we had.” That is quite a compliment.
  • During the meeting, I sat with UNI Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Wohlpart. He has a goal to ensure the Future Ready Iowa initiatives to increase the percentage of Iowan’s with post-high school educational/career prep credentials are effectively implemented in the Cedar Valley economic area. Jim frequently moved our small-group discussion toward the need for local strategies to implement the statewide framework. His enthusiasm is contagious. I’m glad to have such a motivated leader making a difference for the workforce and employers of the Cedar Valley.

By the end of the meeting, I was saying, “What a day!” but for an entirely different reason than during my morning drive.

I had been reminded that the Cedar Valley generally, and our Alliance & Chamber especially, have many talented people effectively and proactively implementing meaningful projects to make our region even greater – and that effort recognized statewide.

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

Election Day is nearly here!

You can have an impact for your business, and all of our business climate.  Your Alliance & Chamber want you to have the best resources available to put in the hands of your employees and colleagues about the candidates engaged in these races.

We work closely with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) on issues associated with business climate and economic development. Below, you’ll find links to resources via its IA Votes toolkit, to use with your teams now.

Nationally, employees say that they look to you, their employer, for information about issues that impact their jobs and workplace. They are ready to listen to you.

We all know that people really pay attention to the campaigns at the end – the last couple of weeks before Election Day. That’s right now!

Get the right tools to your employees so they can make up their minds with good information at hand, and then exercise their important American franchise and vote.

Below, you’ll find links to good information for you and your teams. At the bottom, a drafted email is included that can be used to introduce the tools to your groups.

The Alliance & Chamber Government Relations Team

Mike McCrary

Chair – Government Relations Committee

Steve Firman

Director – Government Relations

 

In two weeks, Iowans across the state will vote and decide which candidates will go to Washington, D.C. and Des Moines. The Iowa Prosperity Project (iavotes.com) provides tools and resources to help employee-voters become educated about the candidates in the upcoming election.

You can share the Find Your Candidates tool with your audience to help them learn more about the candidates in this year’s election.

Below is a drafted message to share with your audience. Don’t forget to like iavotes.com on Facebook and follow iavotes.com on Twitter for live election updates.

This is a unique election year, and enthusiasm about casting a ballot is lower than normal. It’s important to remind employees that even if they don’t want to vote for president, they should still participate and vote in down-ticket races. Those offices often have the most affect on our day-to-day lives.

Share the following materials in your workplaces: Voting Poster 1, Voting Poster 2.

For more information or additional resources, contact Nicole Crain at ncrain@iowaabi.org.

***Sample Message about Candidates***

Email Subject Line: Do you know who you’re voting for?

Dear [Employee, associate, member]:

This election year, Iowans will elect four members of Congress, one U.S. Senator, 25 state senators, 100 representatives and many more elected officials. Down ballot races are important. Do you know who you are voting for on Nov. 8?

Use the Find Your Candidates tool to learn more about the candidates on your ballot. Becoming an informed voter is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Visit the Find Your candidates tool on iavotes.com.

2. Enter your address and click “Find Your Candidates”.

3. Become familiar with your candidates and learn more about where they stand on the issues by visiting the iavotes.com state voting records.

Cedar Valley’s Reade to Co-Chair Leadership Iowa Program

 

Dr. Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director will co-chair the 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa program.

Dr. Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director will co-chair the 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa program.

Professionals from the Cedar Valley are taking their leadership skills to the next level through the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s (ABI) Foundation’s Leadership Iowa program.  For the last 34 years, ABI and the ABI Foundation have identified many of Iowa’s best leaders and helped to equip them with knowledge and tools to make a difference across the State.

 

Dr. Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, and a 2015-2016 graduate of Leadership Iowa, will serve a one-year term as the Leadership Iowa Program Co-chair. Her role will be to assist in setting the curriculum, lead planning and execution of the monthly class sessions through co-facilitation of the topic, speakers, and activities. Program co-chairs provide the link within a session and between sessions, so participants see the connectivity from month to month. She will also serve as a member of the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors.

“Melissa was selected based on her willingness and ability to coach, mentor and assist the next class of Iowa leaders. Her strengths and leadership style and her experience in facilitation and

coordination with diverse groups of learners will be an asset to this year’s class, “ says Kay Neumann-Thomas, Vice President, Programs, with the  Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation,  “She has a strong desire to invest in and develop others.”

Each year, 40 talented individuals are selected from a large applicant pool and are selected based on their individual merits, but also for the desire to achieve the best balance of candidates representing varied industries and different geographical areas. Four leaders were selected from Cedar Valley companies and organizations for the 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa class.  Participating Cedar Valley leaders include: Jim Atty of Waverly Health Center; Jeremy Kauten of The VGM Group; Justin Marchant of Upper Iowa University; and Sharina Sallis of CUNA Mutual.

Leadership Iowa participants will travel around the state once a month to learn from experts about government; agriculture and renewable energy; education; healthcare; advanced manufacturing and transportation. Reade stated, “It is a great opportunity to learn about and celebrate all of the impactful things taking place across the state in various industries. Leadership Iowa is truly a game-changing and eye-opening opportunity for the state’s leaders. I’m thrilled to walk alongside the 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa class.”

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is an active member of ABI. Information about leadership development opportunities in the Cedar Valley can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

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Cedar Valley Business Education Partnerships Focus of ABI Connecting Statewide Leaders Event

Emily Schettler, Communications Coordinator, Iowa Association of Business and Industry

Business and education leaders from around the state will gather at Wartburg College on December 10th, to discuss the importance and value of partnerships between Iowa’s business community and educational institutions.

The forum is part of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s (ABI) Connecting Statewide Leaders discussion, which brings together experts from across Iowa to discuss important issues and present ideas.

Learn about two existing business education partnerships, Elevate Advanced Manufacturing and Leader Valley, as well as STEM initiatives taking place around the state.

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing is an ABI initiative focused on teaching students, parents and educators about the valuable career opportunities available in advanced manufacturing in Iowa. Leader Valley, a program of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, prepares students for life by providing them important life skills.

Panelists for Thursday’s forum include Michele Farrell, Elevate Iowa program manager; Teri Trask, Orange Elementary Principal and a member Leader Valley’s Leader in Me task force; Tom Penaluna of CBE Companies and Leader Valley; and Adriana Johnson, who works on STEM initiatives for Rockwell Collins. Steve Dust, president and CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will moderate the event.

The forum will take place at 11 a.m. in the McCaskey Lyceum at the Saemann Student Center on Wartburg’s campus. It will be followed by a networking lunch in the Hagemann Castle Room at the Saemann Student Center. Both events are open to the public. Those who are interested in attending can register here.

Mark your calendar for our upcoming Connecting Statewide Leaders forums:
March 3: Discussion on business and industry in Dubuque
April 7: Discussion on public safety in Council Bluffs

Iowa Business Leaders to Meet with Policy Makers in Washington, DC

Iowa Association of  Business and Industry Leaders Embark on First Ever Washington, DC Trip

On Wednesday, September 18, Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber along with eleven other ABI leaders will depart Des Moines International Airport for a three day trip to Washington, D.C. During the visit, members will meet with Iowa’s Congressional delegation and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The packed agenda also includes briefings from U.S. Health and Human Services on health care reform, National Association of Manufacturers, BIPAC, and the Immigration Reform Council. During the meetings ABI members will hear the latest political and policy insight from our nation’s capital. ABI leaders also look forward to sharing their ideas on tax reform, health care, immigration and other issues with the Congressional delegation. Look for tweets and photos by following #ABIDC13 on twitter September 18-20. Upon return, expect a full report from ABI Public Policy staff.

Iowa Community Colleges Team Up To Improve Advanced Manufacturing Workforce


WATERLOO—A new campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing has been launched in Iowa.  Hawkeye Community College, along with the other Iowa community colleges, has teamed up to improve the state’s manufacturing workforce with the assistance of the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Consortium and Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).

The “Elevate Advanced Manufacturing” campaign will begin by addressing the current public perception of manufacturing and educating Iowans on the opportunities that exist within this industry.

“When you ask the average Iowan about advanced manufacturing, they think of an outdated image – a dirty, unsafe work environment,” says Mike Ralston, President of ABI. “That simply is not the case. Iowa has strong, innovative companies that make cutting-edge products and are well-regarded as leaders in their industry,” says Ralston.

Computer savvy employees, a highly skilled and compensated workforce, and innovative products are the reality of the term, “advanced manufacturing”.  This industry relies on skills and creativity to produce highly-specified and complex products.  The website, www.elevateiowa.com, has been launched to support this campaign with the use of video testimonials, self-assessment career guides, job search tools, and training information.

By 2018, there will be a shortage of 6,672 skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing sector*. These available positions offer attractive pay and benefits packages. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2011, the average manufacturing worker made $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits, while the average worker in other industries earned $60,168.

“Iowa’s 15 community colleges offer a broad range of training opportunities within advanced manufacturing,” says Stephanie Ferraro, Project Manager of the I-AM Consortium. “With funding from the U. S. Department of Labor, the I-AM Consortium is building capacity in programs across the state. Colleges are redesigning and developing industry-influenced curriculum, embedding industry credentials into educational pathways, and purchasing state-of-the-art equipment to replicate the technology-rich work environment found in Iowa’s manufacturing sector. Now is the ideal time for those considering careers in manufacturing to begin training at their local community college.”

Manufacturing contributes the largest share of Iowa’s gross domestic product (GDP) at an annual level of $27.6 billion, more than 18 percent of the state’s economy. As of March 2012, Iowa’s manufacturing firms supplied 215,600 jobs to Iowans, representing 14% of the state’s total employment – and that number is growing.

In order to make a lasting impact on the state of Iowa’s economy – industry, government, and education have combined efforts. Key players include ABI, the I-AM Consortium, a collaboration of all 15 Iowa community colleges, and various programs throughout the State of Iowa including the Governor’s STEM initiative, Iowa Workforce Development’s online Job Bank, and more. Each party has a common goal: to elevate the perception of advanced manufacturing and to arm Iowans with the skills they need to engage in Iowa’s workforce.

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing’s message and efforts are in action throughout the state, including:

  • The Elevate campaign website will feature video testimonials, a self-assessment for potential career pathways, career search tools (powered by Iowa Workforce Development), information on training opportunities (at Iowa’s 15 community colleges), and ways for industry to get involved. Visit: www.elevateiowa.com
  • Educational opportunities and curriculum integration with K-12 schools involving advanced manufacturing tours, speakers, and demonstrations.
  • Statewide media campaign using testimonials from skilled employees and manufacturers in Iowa.
  • Statewide events including exhibits at the Iowa State Fair with the American Welding Society booth, Iowa Speedway (Sept.7-8), Girls Scouts of Iowa Annual Conference, and more.

The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (I-AM) is an Iowa community college initiative to elevate advanced manufacturing, funded through a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program.  The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has been the voice of Iowa business since 1903, and its mission is to collectively provide value to business and industry on issues impacting Iowa employers. ABI is currently comprised of over 1,400 Iowa businesses of all types and sizes employing more than 300,000 Iowans.

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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