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Tag Archives: Iowa Innovation Corporation

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.






Top Leaders Attend Cedar Valley Legislative Event

The Alliance & Chamber Government Relations Committee hosted the 2014 Cedar Valley Legislative Reception on Tuesday, February 11th in Des Moines. The reception offers investors the unique opportunity  to speak with policy makers face to face in a casual environment.

In spite of the House being in debate until almost 6:15 pm and other competing functions,  those in attendance from the Cedar Valley were among some of the most important players at the State House: the Governor; the Lt. Governor; Debi Durham and her right hand man, Tim Whipple from the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (who said this was his #1 priority event for the evening); the Senators from Black Hawk, Bill Dotzler  and Jeff Danielson, who was the first to arrive and one of the last to leave; Senate President Pam Jochum; and House Assistant Majority Leader Walt Rogers. In all, 10 Senators and four Representatives were in attendance.   President Mark Kittrell and Communications & Marketing Director, Tonja Richards represented the Iowa Innovation Corporation with whom we are working on the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Mark Kittrell Joins the Iowa Innovation Corporation


Des Moines, Iowa (Oct. 7, 2013) – The Iowa Innovation Corporation Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Cedar Falls entrepreneur Mark Kittrell as the new president of the Corporation. Kittrell replaces Jack Harris. Harris left the president’s position to work fulltime on the creation of an advanced manufacturing and materials center.

“We could not be happier to have Mark on board,” said Board Vice Chair Cara Heiden. “His experience in technology start-up companies and his service to the state as an officer or director of numerous industry, state and regional economic development organizations makes him the perfect candidate to move the organization to the next level”

Kittrell is a serial entrepreneur, real estate developer and IT consultant based in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Through his over 30 year professional career he has been involved with multiple tech start-ups, real estate development and community/economic development initiatives including:

  • Founder of TEAM Technologies, a regional IT consulting/services firm specializing in IT and Internet services. Mark led the firm from modest beginnings to well over 100 staff members principally through engagements with many of the Midwest’s leading companies including John Deere, Meredith Publishing and Principal. The firm was sold to a publicly-traded company in 1998;
  • Co-founder and vice president of development for TEAM Companies, a specialist in mission critical IT facilities. The company developed and operated three data centers in Iowa and Wisconsin specializing in healthcare, financial services and other regulated industries. The firm was honored three times with the INC. 500 award for rapidly growing private companies and was acquired by TDS Telecom in December 2010; and
  • Co-founder and CEO of Eagle View Partners developing River Place, a $70 million mixed-use real estate project situated along the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Falls. In partnership with the Western Home Communities, the project consists of multi-family residential, national branded hotel and 55+ active lifestyle housing. The project is completing its first 21 units and is ready to break ground on an additional 30 units and over 20,000 feet of commercial space which is currently 50% pre-leased.

Holding a B.S in Physics from the University of Northern Iowa and an Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate (AMDP) from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design,  Kittrell has served in numerous industry, state and regional economic development organizations including the Iowa Innovation Council, Technology Commercialization Committee, Technology Association of Iowa, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, TechWorks (a regional biotech redevelopment project), the University of Iowa Research Foundation and the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC)).

Mark joins COO Karen Merrick and two other recent hires by the Iowa Innovation Corporation:

Tonja Richards, Director, Marketing & Communications – Richards brings over 20 years of public relations and communications experience to the Corporation. Recently she was the communications and marketing person for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Administrative Office, where she was responsible for social media, web management, event management, media relations, branding and graphic design. Prior to that position, Richards spent eight years with the Iowa Department of Economic Development (now Iowa Economic Development Authority) as a marketing manager for existing industry. Tonja earned an MPA from Drake University, is a past recipient of the Governor’s Volunteer of the Year Award and currently serves on the ABI’s Leadership Iowa Board of Governors.

Alex Carter, Program Manager – Carter earned his undergraduate degree in education from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill. and a J.D. from Drake University Law School.  Joining the team to specialize in research, business commercialization and strategy, Alex is a native of Wilton, IA.

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The Iowa Innovation Corporation: Created in 2011 to build public/private partnerships to “grow Iowa’s own”, the Iowa Innovation Corporation is a business-led, not-for-profit working as facilitators with businesses, government, start-ups, existing companies, nonprofits, universities, community colleges and anyone in the business of job creation and business growth to ensure Iowa has the tools necessary to succeed in the Innovation Economy.. For more information, go to www.IowaInnovationCorporation.com .

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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.

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