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Tag Archives: Steve Dust

Letter of Support for Convention Center, Hotel Agreement

In a letter to Mayor Quentin Hart and Waterloo Council Members, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust outlines several reasons why the city should approve an agreement with developer Leslie Hospitality Company. “This agreement is beneficial to the city’s taxpayers, and should be seen as enabling a significant benefit to the Cedar Valley economy and your city’s image,” Dust writes.

Waterloo City Council members approved selling the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center to Leslie Hospitality Company on July 17.

Read Dust’s letter of support.

Jim Schaefer joins the Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations

Cedar Valley of Iowa (April 12, 2017) – The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased
that Jim Schaefer has joined its’ professional team as Director of Investor Relations.

The Director of Investor Relations is primarily responsible for investor-member recruitment and retention.

“Jim is a strong advocate for the Cedar Valley,” says Steve Dust, Alliance & Chamber CEO, “He brings 25 years of experience in sales and marketing in business-to-business transactions, as well as a history of volunteering to make the Cedar Valley a stronger place.  Jim will be an integral part of delivering value to our existing and not-yet investors, and all businesses and institutions in the Cedar Valley economic area.”

Most recently, Schaefer was a Regional Territory Manager at Professional Office Services, Inc. (POS). He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, earning his B.A. in Political Science.  He resides in Waterloo with his wife, Kristin, and three children.  He will begin his work with the Alliance & Chamber on April 17, 2017.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation working to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area. 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.

ALLIANCE & CHAMBER PREPARES TO MOVE TO TECHWORKS CAMPUS

Cedar Valley of Iowa – “It only makes sense that our offices are located in TechWorks”, emphasizes Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust, “we are inseparable partners in Cedar Valley economic development, and TechWorks is attracting tenants that we want to be near.” Dust shows his enthusiasm when talking about the new offices under construction, and to be occupied by the organizations he leads. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is moving their office to the second floor of the Tech 1 Building on the campus operated by the Alliance & Chamber subsidiary, TechWorks Campus.

The 6,000 square feet of space will be occupied by the professional staff of 15 full-time, part-time, and contracted team members. The organizations located there include the Alliance & Chamber and its subsidiaries TechWorks and Leader Valley Foundation, as well as affiliated Cedar Valley Manufacturers Network and Cedar Valley Innovation Network.

Occupying space in TechWorks makes a lot of sense from a number of angles, and supports the work of the regional development, business promotion, and civic leadership organization. The Alliance & Chamber moves to space they have been deeply involved in for over a decade. The new space is immediately above the growing UNI Additive Manufacturing Center and the Design Lab collaboratively managed by Hawkeye Community College and UNI. The Alliance & Chamber space is one floor below the Cedar Valley Makerspace and offices available. And it is immediately next door to the new mixed-use Green@TechWorks project, opening a Courtyard by Marriott, conference center, and themed restaurant during mid-year. John Deere will open its new training center in The Green during the same time frame.

The growth of the riverfront and US 63 corridor fits nicely in the decision to build in Tech 1. “A decade ago when TechWorks began its redevelopment work,” Dust said, “the Campus was in the middle of nothing. Now, it’s central to one of the most active development districts in the Midwest.” He continues, “in addition to everything happening and about to happen on-campus, we’re next to the new Grand Crossing mixed-use project on the former Grand Hotel site, down the street from the new SingleSpeed brewery and restaurant; near all the riverfront amenities and new housing. We’re also right next to the new Hawkeye Urban Campus building. There will be as much collaboration between Tech 1 building users and the Urban Campus as there will be between the Marriott and nearby Cedar Valley SportsPlex, in my view.” concludes Dust.

The new space itself is a fresh change for the Alliance & Chamber. It’s designed in an open style, with minimal enclosed offices and a maximum of collaboration spaces. “We toured a lot of office layouts in new and old structures,” says Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Operations & General Manager Sandi Sommerfelt, “and it gave us a lot of guidance on best practices.” The new space includes huddle spaces for 2 to 5 people to congregate and meeting rooms of various sizes. It also includes some quiet spaces. “Sometimes, people do need to have a minimum of noise and privacy. For those not assigned to an office, we have provided small rooms for crunch time concentration and communications, and small, confidential meetings”, continued Sommerfelt.

The space features a lot of large windows, a part of the historical manufacturing building structure. “We designed the walls in such a way to use the natural light to its maximum,” says Sommerfelt. The project designers also worked to maintain the feel of the John Deere production environment that extended just into the 21st Century in this building. Sealed concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and open ceilings in most locations provides not only a modern “loft” feel, but pays homage to its history. “We make things in the Cedar Valley, and it’s only natural that we’d celebrate that heritage in the place dedicated to economic growth and improving the business climate,” Dust adds.

“The move-in date has been set at April 24”, says Sommerfelt, who has been the Alliance & Chamber’s project manager. Dust notes, “Sandi has a done a terrific job. I asked her to take on a major project, one she’s not been involved with in the past. She jumped in, assembling the team, acquiring the financing and negotiating the lease.” And as construction began, she shared project management with TechWorks Vice President & General Manager Wes James, who has managed the construction and maintenance in the Tech 1 building since it opened. “His knowledge and experience in working with this construction team, and this building has been absolutely invaluable,” Sommerfelt adds.

The design of the space was led by StruXture Architects, and the general contractor is Cardinal Construction, who utilized Young Plumbing & Heating, Shaw Electric, Hawkeye Alarm & Signal, Budget Blinds of Waterloo, Lindgren Glass Products, and Blackhawk Automatic Sprinklers. The furnishings contractor is Kirk Gross Company.  It’s no accident that all of the building team operate in the Cedar Valley. “It’s imperative”, says Sommerfelt, “It’s the point we make with our Value in the Valley initiative. We promote doing business in the Cedar Valley, and our work is funded by membership investments of our businesses. It’s our practice to do business with our investor-members, while watching the costs through competitive proposals in each area of cost”, says Sommerfelt. “We encourage everyone to do the same,” she concludes.

But they’re still not finished even when the group moves in. “We have a large meeting room that we’d like to finish adjacent to our offices.” It is designed to hold about 60 people in a classroom setting. It would be used by the Alliance & Chamber for board meetings, Leader Valley training seminars, and regional collaboration sessions, such as for the Manufacturers Network and Cedar Valley Regional Partnership.  It would also be available to other tenants of the Tech 1 building. “We invite businesses and individuals who would like to help make that happen through sponsorship to contact Steve or me. It’s a terrific way to recognize your family or business while providing a meeting room where thousands will meet each year,” encouraged Sommerfelt.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation working to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area. 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.

The TechWorks Campus is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research and development, innovation, education, commercial and manufacturing center. Located in downtown Waterloo adjacent to the John Deere Drive Train Operations, the campus is comprised of sites for new development and 300,000 square feet space in two historic John Deere manufacturing buildings. More information about TechWorks Campus can be found at www.techworkscampus.com or by calling Cary Darrah, President at (319) 232-1156.

The Leader Valley Foundation, born out of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s priority to develop a strong workforce and to strengthen business and education collaboration, has been formed to lead a business-education partnership to develop the leadership skills of Cedar Valley students to improve and close the skills gap over time, and prepare our students for a career, college and citizenship.  More information about Leader Valley can be found at www.leadervalley.org or by calling Dr. Melissa Reade, Director at (319) 232-1156.

Waterloo Business Park Recognized as an Iowa Certified Site

Today, Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds announced five additional
industrial sites to achieve certification through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) certified site program. The City’s South Waterloo Business Park was among the five announced during Governor Branstad’s weekly press conference at the Capitol this
morning.

The South Waterloo Business Park totals 181 acres and is located immediately south of Highway 20 and generally bounded by Ansborough Avenue, Shaulis Road, and Kimball Avenue. Waterloo is one of only 17 sites certified in Iowa. In an effort to address the lack of project ready industrial sites, the Iowa Economic Development

In an effort to address the lack of project ready industrial sites, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) created the Iowa Certified Site Program in May 2012. Under the leadership of Director Debi Durham, IEDA retained nationally recognized site selection firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting to perform independent analysis of applicants on behalf of IEDA.

“These five additional sites give Iowa – and Waterloo – an advantage when it comes to growing our state’s economy,” said Gov. Branstad. “The Communities have gone through a rigorous process to become certified and should be proud of what they have accomplished. Each site being ‘development-ready’ means more projects coming to Iowa and, in turn, more jobs.

“We are extremely excited to have the South Waterloo Business Park certified as a ‘development ready site’ said Quentin Hart, Mayor, City of Waterloo. “In partnership with the Alliance & Chamber we have been marketing it as development ready site and now it has the official designation as being such by McCallum Sweeney Consultants and the Iowa Economic Development Authority”. Hart added.

“The South Waterloo Business Park is immediately located off U.S. Highway 20 and near I-380 well positioned for expanding companies to service east-west and north-south U.S. markets.” He said.

Site certification is one of the fastest growing trends in the site selection business, and by introducing certified sites to the market Iowa is better able to compete for large scale projects. By going through this rigorous process, developers — working closely with their local officials, utility partners and consultants — are better prepared to market their sites with specific site-related information and community data. All site due diligence is completed and resulting issues are mitigated, making the site “risk-free” and thus accelerating the development schedule.

With the help of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, the City completed the certification process within 18 months, once McCallum Sweeny Consulting invited Waterloo to complete the required due diligence on the Park. To be certified the Park had to meet eight criteria including the ability to provide at least 5 megawatts of electric energy, fiber optics, and 500,000 gallons of water per day of excess capacity at the site within a 6 month timeframe. The certification process required a close partnership between City planning officials, Waterloo Water Works, Waterloo Waste Water, MidAmerican Energy Co. and Mediacom Communications.

“The Alliance & Chamber continues to see an increased demand by site selection consultants and companies for shovel ready sites versus a traditional greenfield site”, said Steve Dust, President/CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “The Certified Site designation essentially shortens a company’s schedule for new construction. This a location differentiator for the Park”, Dust added.

McCallum Sweeny Consultant will provide Waterloo and Alliance & Chamber officials with
recommendations for marketing and industry targets which will be incorporated in the Alliance & Chamber’s external marketing initiatives for the Cedar Valley. IEDA also undertakes special marketing initiatives to promote Iowa’s Certified Sites. The South Waterloo Business Park is well suited for companies engaged in light industrial, logistics/distribution, and data centers.

Companies interested in receiving more information on the South Waterloo Business Park should contact Noel Anderson or Adrienne Miller with the City of Waterloo at 319-291-4366 or Lisa Skubal at the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber at 319-232-1156.

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

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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GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER TO HOST LEGISLATIVE FORUM FOR INVESTORS

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber will host an Investor Legislative Forum to gain input from investors on legislative issues of importance to Cedar Valley businesses.  The Investor Legislative Forum will be held on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 from 8:00am to 9:00am at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, Waterloo.  State level issues requiring action in the upcoming session will be presented at the session by Alliance & Chamber.

Prior to the start of each Iowa legislative session the Alliance & Chamber establishes a legislative agenda.  The Cedar Valley Legislative Agenda for Economic Progress contains actions that will improve the Cedar Valley business climate and quality of life, and address specific issues for business.  Throughout the year, the Alliance & Chamber tracks and brings to the attention of its investors’ issues that have an impact on their bottom line. Investors in the Alliance & Chamber are invited and encouraged to help shape the Agenda by participating in the Investor Legislative Forum.

There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is appreciated by contacting Sandi Sommerfelt at 319 -232-1156 or ssommerfelt@cedarvalleyalliance.com. The Alliance & Chamber offers this opportunity exclusively to its 800 investor businesses & organizations and community partners. Registration deadline is September 13, 2016.

The Alliance & Chamber provides One Voice for Cedar Valley businesses and institutions by advocating for economic growth policies and business climate improvement at the local, state and federal levels.  For more information on advocacy initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber, contact Steve Dust at 319-232-1156 or sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Confidence High in the Cedar Valley

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With building permits on the rise, new businesses opening, and investment being made in the Cedar Valley, Steve Dust, President and CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber says confidence is high in the Cedar Valley business community. Listen to Steve’s comments  in this June 21st interview with Tim Harwood on News Talk KXEL.

 

 

Learn more about the Midwest Supply Chain Managers Survey here.

Mixed Use Project Construction Begins on TechWorks Campus

Construction has begun on the hotel on the TechWorks Campus in the Cedar Valley of Iowa.

Construction has begun on the hotel on the TechWorks Campus in the Cedar Valley of Iowa.

$40M hotel, training center, conference space, restaurant construction launch in Tech 2 building

Today, TechWorks Campus, a subsidiary of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, together with the City of Waterloo, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Financial District Properties (FDP), celebrated the construction launch of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, John Deere Training Center, and restaurant in the Tech 2 building on the TechWorks Campus. The construction launch represents a significant step in the continued progress of developing The Green@TechWorks.

Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds,  and Iowa Economic Development Authority representatives were present to celebrate the launch and its significance as one of the first designated Iowa Reinvestment Districts (IRD) and one of the first IRD project to get underway.

Tech 2, an 88-year old former John Deere tractor manufacturing building, is being transformed into The Green@TechWorks re-development project. The 180,000 square foot, six-story building will house a 191-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel; a new restaurant operated by Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. (CRO); John Deere Regional Training Center and a conference center (managed by Courtyard). The Green project is a principal feature of the overall TechWorks Campus riverfront re-development.

Also celebrating the launch was hotel operator Hotel Specialists, Inc. (HSI) of Jacksonville, Illinois and restaurant operator Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. (CRO) of Dallas, Texas.

The Green & Overall Project

The Green@TechWorks is part of the larger 33-acre TechWorks Campus. In addition to the Tech 1 and Tech 2 buildings (formerly John Deere Westfield R & C2) the campus includes parcels suitable for light manufacturing and retail. TechWorks Campus is the first technology park of its kind in Iowa to combine world class business amenities within a Brownfield redevelopment site.

The John Deere Waterloo Tractor & Engine Museum is already established in the Campus area, as is the Tech 1 Center for Applied Advanced Manufacturing, including the University of Northern Iowa’s Metal Casting and Additive (3D) Manufacturing Center and a Design Lab in partnership with Hawkeye Community College.

A marina and a riverfront restaurant along the Cedar River are also part of the overall $74.1 million Campus development plan.

“This is a momentous day for TechWorks, the city, and the state of Iowa,” says Cary Darrah, General Manager of TechWorks Campus. “Finally, the public can see the results of years of planning and the efforts of those who believed in the vision for this campus. This is the first of many celebrations to come!”

Downtown Momentum

TechWorks Campus is just steps to the Cedar Valley Recreation Trails, entertainment & museum districts, and a variety of Riverloop District amenities.

Other developments underway in the vicinity include: Grand Crossing mixed use residential/condominiums, Single Speed Brewery with Sidecar Coffee Shop, and Hawkeye Community College Urban Campus.

Construction of the Tech 2 building is now underway, with a projected hotel opening in Spring 2017.

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 Cary Darrah, General Manager at cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or Wes James Facilities Manager at wjames@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling (319) 232-1156.

Find photos here.

Read more in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

Development Team Contacts:

The Green@TechWorks – Financial District Properties: Rodney Blackwell 563-324-9898

City of Waterloo: Mayor Quentin Hart 319-291-4301 or

Economic Development Director Noel Anderson 319-291-4366

 

 

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – The VGM Group

 

CEO Mike Mallaro accepts the Business of the Year Award.

CEO Mike Mallaro accepts the Business of the Year Award.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016. The VGM Group received the Business of the Year Award for companies with 51+ employees.  PDCM Insurance sponsors this award.

View the presentation video about the VGM Group, produced by Pyke Studios,  here.

With 25 years of success, The VGM Group includes more than 20 business units. The most recent $20m expansion adds 70,000 square feet of new offices to the San Marnan Ave. corporate campus and will be home to 300 employees.  The $2m renovation of the Alexandra Drive location accommodates growth of new tech based jobs.

VGM is a 100% owned by its 650+ employees through Employee Stock Ownership Plan “ESOP”, keeping wealth in the Cedar Valley and creating an employee focused culture and unique employment brand. VGM is one of Iowa’s 2015 Top Workplace in the Large Company category selected through an independent survey by Workplace Dynamics.

VGM’s annual Heartland Conference contributed an economic benefit of $1.1 million in the Cedar Valley in 2015 alone.

To help develop, strengthen, and retain talent in the company and the Cedar Valley, VGM participates in Iowa’s STEM Student Internship Program and has developed an internal professional development program for emerging leaders with in their company.

 

View a video of the entire event, including acceptance speeches, produced by Cedar Falls Cable is here.

 

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