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Tag Archives: Mark Kittrell

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.

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.”

Kittrell announces the IAMC proposed location at the Cedar Valley TechWorks in Waterloo

Cedar Valley of Iowa – On February 5, the Iowa Innovation Corporation will unveil the vision for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC). Two announcement / presentations will be made by Mark Kittrell, President, Iowa Innovation Corporation (IIC) on that day. The first will be at 9:00am during the 2014 Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference held in Tama Hall on the Hawkeye Community College campus. Later, Kittrell will make an official presentation in Des Moines as a part of the IIC Legislative reception at 5:00pm at the World Food Prize building.

Kittrell’s announcement is expected to include: the IAMC proposed location at the Cedar Valley TechWorks in Waterloo; the role and composition of the newly formed Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup ; a schedule of Advanced Manufacturing Focus Groups to be held in various locations; the resources to be offered to Iowa small & medium size manufacturers such as an industrial business incubator, acceleration services, modeling and simulation, industrial laboratories, state of the art production equipment, access to Iowa’s top industrial innovation work and talent from our universities and community colleges, and process improvement.

Kittrell will also discuss capital and operational funding necessary to continue development of the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup

Co-chaired by Sarah McDonald Hasken, Vice President, A.Y. McDonald MFG. Co., and Glenn Baker, Director Global Manufacturing and Enterprise Services, John Deere, this core group of Iowa’s manufacturing sector, has been formed to set the direction for the IAMC.

The workgroup comprises leaders from all types of advanced manufacturing in the state of Iowa and also includes representatives of the regent universities, community colleges, state government, engineering, business associations and economic development leaders. David Takes, President of Doerfer; Mark Hanawalt, President/CEO of United Business Equipment; and Marvin Schumacher, President of Schumacher Elevator; Metal Casting Center Director Jerry Thiel; Linda Allen, President of Hawkeye Community College; and TechWorks representatives Cary Darrah, Wes James, and Steve Dust participate in the Workgroup from the Cedar Valley.

Advanced Manufacturing Focus Groups

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 & medium size manufacturers.  The focus group sessions will be held March through mid -April. Advanced Manufacturing Focus Group Sessions will be held in: Council Bluffs, Mason City, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Dubuque, Iowa Quad Cities, and Holstein. Earlier, a session was held in the Cedar Valley.


TechWorks Campus

TechWorks is a 30-acre campus containing 20 acres of development sites and 300,000 square feet of space in two existing buildings undergoing renovation.  In 2007, Deere & Company donated land and buildings to start this innovation-driven economic development project.  This historic plant was the site of manufacturing and assembly of the earliest John Deere tractors. TechWorks Campus is a subsidiary of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

TechWorks will partner with the Iowa Innovation Corporation to establish and house the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center (IAMC) in the Tech I building on the TechWorks Campus.

For more information on the Iowa Innovation Council, the Iowa Innovation Corporation, the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center, or the Iowa Innovation Council Legislative Reception on Feb. 5th, contact:

Tonja Richards

Director of Marketing and Communications
Iowa Innovation Corporation

For more information on the Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference contact:

Pamela Wright, Business Development Manager

Hawkeye Community College

(319)296-2329 ext.3012


For information on the TechWorks Campus contact:

Steve Dust, CEO
Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

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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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