Waterloo, IA: (319) 232-1156 | Cedar Falls, IA: (319) 266-3593

Tag Archives: University of Northern Iowa

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

image Fuel for thought graphic What's Steve Dust Reading this Week? October 20, 2017

John Deere Waterloo TV ad

John Deere has begun showing a terrific 30-second ad on TV in the Cedar Valley area. You have to watch it. Send it along to your colleagues and friends.

Building the best large tractors :30 TV spot

And here’s a nearly eight-minute version

Building the best large tractors

When Should The Firm Adopt Additive Manufacturing

The University of Northern Iowa’s amazing Additive Manufacturing Center and Design Lab in our TechWorks Tech 1 building continues to expand in size, industrial production scale equipment, and Iowa clients served. We know that additive manufacturing in the industrial setting will be an important growth sector for the Cedar Valley, in terms of our firms’ investment in the technology, as well as the opportunity to recruit the makers of the equipment. I am trying to learn more about how the firm makes that investment decision, as well as be better informed about the technology. Here’s a good article with a process and opinion on how the evaluation should be structured.

Courtesy of Supply Chain Management Review.

Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Additive Manufacturing? André Kieviet and Suraj M. Alexander, Supply Chain Management Review, October 16, 2017

Zappos Hsieh on Business Organization

Zappos’ top guy has been famous for risks and successes in e-commerce and flaming failures. Still, he has more than1,500 employees in one of the attention-grabbing e-commerce firms. And he’s a damned good organizational thinker. Here’s an interview he did with the McKinsey firm to make sense out of his “holocracy” approach to organizational management. It is a good, and thought-provoking read.

Safe enough to try: An interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, McKinsey Quarterly, October 2017

China Strategy

This week, China commenced a session of its National Congress of the Communist Party. This Congress is held every five years. George Friedman, one of the best, objective observers of global geo-political/economic issues, republished a report with his analysis of the “grand strategy” employed by China. This nation that has seen extraordinary economic activity and growth, according to Friedman, may be operating in a different strategic framework than we might think.

In China, a Strategy Born of Weakness, Geopolitical Futures, October 18, 2017

Surviving the Merger

We haven’t merged again, but many of your firms are acquiring new operations or creating strategic partnerships of various kinds. No matter how small, these moves require thoughtful communications to all involved to ease anxieties about the post-agreement workplace. This is a good Harvard Business Review article on the topic that would be a good tool for individuals engaged in your growth program.

Surviving M&A: How to thrive amid the turmoil, Harvard Business Review, by Mitchell Lee Marks, Philip Mirvis, and Ron Ashkenas, March-April 2017

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.

Public invited to attend UNI presidential candidate forums

Public forums to be held November 29, 30 and December 1 at 2:30pm in the Old Central Ballroom of Maucker Union, on the University of Northern Iowa Campus.

Three candidates for the position of UNI president will visit campus during the week of November 28th. We encourage you to attend the public forums held on November 29, 30 and December 1 at 2:30pm in the Old Central Ballroom of Maucker Union. You may also have occasion to visit with the candidates in other meetings during the campus visits. The candidate’s vita and video from the forum will be available online. We ask that you provide to the search committee your input on the qualifications of each candidate by completing an online form. A fourth candidate was invited to be a finalist but withdrew.

The aim of the form is to collect meaningful quantitative and qualitative information from the campus community. It was developed by members of the search committee in consultation with Professor Mary Losch, Director of the UNI Center for Social and Behavioral Research.

On the day of each candidate’s public forum, faculty, staff and students will receive an email containing a link to a confidential electronic input form for that person. Please complete the forms as soon as possible and no later than 12 noon on Saturday, December 3. At that time, collection of electronic forms will be closed and the responses for each candidate will be summarized and provided to the search committee.

Community members and any UNI employees without university email access will be able to obtain a link by providing an email address either at the public forum or by requesting a link from CSBR@uni.edu. No names or identifying information will be collected on the forms.

Katie Mulholland
UNI Presidential Search Committee Co-Chair

Daniel Power
UNI Presidential Search Committee Co-Chair

 

UNI Announces New SBDC Director

The following information was submitted by our investor, the University of Northern Iowa.

The Center for Business Growth and Innovation at the University of Northern Iowa is excited to announce that Amy Dutton has joined our team as the new Small Business Development Center Regional Director for the UNI center.

Originally from rural western New York state, Dutton moved to the Cedar Valley in 1996 and quickly settled in. Prior to becoming UNI’s SBDC Regional Director, Amy was the Community Outreach Manager for Lutheran Services in Iowa where she worked throughout Black Hawk and Grundy counties to promote LSI programs. Her experience also includes time at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, College Square Mall and Martin Brothers, as well as current board positions on the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau Board and Cedar Valley Society for Human Resources Management Board.

We are excited to have Amy bring her knowledge, skill and passion for small business and entrepreneurship to our region.  Amy knows what it takes to succeed in today’s marketplace and is eager to share her experiences in building strong, vibrant and sustainable businesses.

As the Regional SBDC Director, Amy will provide one-on-one business consulting and assist entrepreneurs and small business owners in building and strengthening their businesses.  She will also be working alongside regional and state business service providers to build a more vibrant and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Fayette, Grundy, Howard and Tama counties.

The SBDC services include startup assistance, business planning, accounting, human resources, marketing, sales, information on local and statewide resources, and much more.  More information on the SBDC program can be found at http://www.iowasbdc.org/regional-center/waterloo-cedar-falls/.

We are also pleased to announce that Dan Beenken has been promoted to the position of Director of Advance Iowa, the Center for Business Growth and Innovation’s holistic consulting program.  Dan, who previously served in the role of SBDC Director, is responsible for helping Iowa’s Second Stage businesses become more sustainable, profitable and prosperous.

You can contact Amy at amy.dutton@uni.edu or by phone at (3189) 273-4328.  Feel free to share her contact information with any and all small business clients you think would benefit from her services.

High-Capacity Broadband from Mediacom Business Powering University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center

 The following information was released by Mediacom Business

 New additive manufacturing and design facility utilizes bandwidth intensive applications to train and prepare manufacturers and students

Waterloo, IA – June 28, 2016Furthering its commitment to drive economic growth in the Cedar Valley corridor, Mediacom Business, a division of Mediacom Communications Corporation, today announced the installation of a high-capacity broadband connection at the new University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Metal Casting Center on the TechWorks Campus in downtown Waterloo.

Randy Pilkington, Director of Business and Community Services for UNI, said manufacturers and students alike will learn necessary design software skills at the UNI Metal Casting Center to develop products and prepare CAD documents in conjunction with Hawkeye Community College for 3D printing. The facility houses the largest sand mold 3D design printer in the country, and is installing three new 3D printers over the next several months using a variety of media.

“Our goal is make the facility at the UNI Metal Casting Center the go to place in Iowa, if not the Midwest, to expand additive manufacturing training of this kind. This is a huge initiative for Iowa. We feel confident that by partnering with Mediacom Business, we’ll receive the high-capacity broadband necessary to make this happen,” Mr. Pilkington said.

Dan Templin, Senior Vice President for Mediacom Business, said his company’s partnership with UNI exemplifies how critical it is to have a high-capacity broadband connection to power advanced technology platforms. “The design software needed to fuel expertise in sand mold printing used by companies like John Deere or Rockwell Collins requires high speed data. Without it, you simply can’t conduct the training needed. We’re especially glad to play such an important role in bringing business and education together via our proprietary fiber-optic network.”

Cary Darrah, TechWorks Vice President and General Manager, said Mediacom Business powered a TechWorks Campus StartUp event last November with 5 Gigabits of fiber connectivity. “Fast broadband was a necessity for the event – the first time StartUp Weekend was held on the Campus. Mediacom Business delivered the fastest connection to data that we’d used. Mediacom Business came through for TechWorks Campus and StartUp Weekend Cedar Valley participants. I believe that gave the Metal Casting Center a clear indication that Mediacom Business was a good solution at this location.”

About the University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center

The University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center was established in 1990 with a grant from the Iowa Lottery to serve foundries and foundry suppliers in Iowa. The UNI MCC has been a leader in foundry innovations and added 3D sand mold printing capabilities in 2014. Since then, the UNI MCC has worked with more than 100 small and medium enterprises across Iowa and the Midwest as well as with all branches of the US military.

About the TechWorks Campus

TechWorks Campus is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research & development, innovation, education, commercial, and manufacturing center located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. The campus is comprised of 20 acres of development sites, and 300,000 square feet of flex space for innovation and development.

About Mediacom Communications

Mediacom Communications Corporation is the fifth largest cable operator in the U.S. serving about 1.3 million customers in smaller markets primarily in the Midwest and Southeast through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Mediacom Broadband LLC and Mediacom LLC. Mediacom offers a wide array of information, communications and entertainment services to households and businesses, including video, high-speed data, phone, and home security and automation. Through Mediacom Business, the company provides innovative broadband solutions to commercial and public sector customers of all sizes, and sells advertising and production services under the OnMedia brand. More information about Mediacom is available at www.mediacomcc.com.

Contact
Tom Larsen
Senior Vice President, Government & Public Relations
Phone: 845-443-2754 | Email: info@mediacomcc.com

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

 

 

R.J. McElroy Trust Receives 2016 Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Cedar Valley Partner Award

Accepting the award was Mike Young.

Accepting the award was Mike Young.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016. The R.J. McElroy Trust received the Cedar Valley Partner Award.

The R.J. McElroy Trust was founded in Waterloo in 1965 through the generosity of R.J. McElroy, KWWL-TV broadcasting pioneer. Upon his death a trust fund was established to be used “for the education and benefit of deserving young people.”

Since then, the Trust has funded a broad range of educational programs – including scholarships, fellowships, internships, student loan funds and numerous other projects to benefit youth of all ages. The lives of literally thousands of young people in Northeastern Iowa have been influenced. The trust has funded capital projects that many consider regional “landmarks” as well as smaller neighborhood and community ballparks.

In the 15-county region, more than $60.4 million has been awarded since the trust started making grants in 1980. In 2015, the Trust granted nearly $2 million. Recent projects include:  Schindler Education Center renovation project at the University of Northern Iowa; Cedar Valley Makerspace, and EMBARC for Burma-origin teen programs and leadership.

View the video here

 

Jim & Cecelia Mudd Honored with 2016 Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Legacy Award

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber presented their Annual Awards on Thursday, March 31, 2016.  Jim and Cecelia Mudd received the Legacy Award.

“Servant Leaders” Jim and Cecelia Mudd have a true American success story. The couple has built a strong business from the ground up while remaining true to their values. The Mudds believe in Friends, Family, and Faith made visible through their generous contribution of time, money, and wisdom to countless charitable organizations, especially those serving the underprivileged throughout the Cedar Valley and beyond.

Cecelia started her career as an airline flight attendant, and later worked alongside Jim in radio and at Mudd Advertising. She has been an active volunteer and supporter of the Sartori Festival of Trees, EPI, PEO, Catholic Daughters, and the American Heart Association Go Red Luncheon. Cecelia taught their children the value of hard work through helping with their paper routes and de-tasseling corn.

Jim is an unabashed promoter of free enterprise, personal responsibility, and civic involvement.

A graduate of Brescia University, Jim studied broadcasting at Northwestern University, spending 21 years in radio before starting Jim Mudd and Associates in the basement of their home in 1981. Today Mudd Advertising is a global marketing firm, serving over 3,500 clients primarily in the automotive industry. Clients also include Bridgestone Tires as well as 50 John Deere retailers.  Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Mudd employs 165 with offices around the country.

Jim maintains a personal friendship with Ken Blanchard and served on the board of Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus, and incorporates his Gung Ho principles into daily business culture and practice at Mudd Advertising.

Jim has served on the Western Home board of directors, as co-chair of the Cedar Falls Library Capital Campaign, United Way Annual Campaign and others. He is currently a member of the University of Northern Iowa Foundation board. Together the Mudds support 80 different Cedar Valley organizations, including St. Patrick Church, UNI and countless others.

View the Video here.

 

Alliance & Chamber Supports Upcoming Waterloo and Cedar Falls Schools Proposals

12540743_1224199570941655_371904826642398426_n (2)

Alliance & Chamber Supports Upcoming Waterloo and Cedar Falls Schools Proposals

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) The Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber voted unanimously to endorse two proposals by Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts. Waterloo Community Schools has a $47 million proposal to build a career center, expand career and technical education and renovate its high schools. Cedar Falls Community Schools proposes to fund upgrades at North Cedar and Orchard Hill elementary buildings and build a new elementary school in southwest Cedar Falls at a total cost of $32 million. The Board took the action following detailed presentations by the districts’ superintendents and questioning during its January 5 meeting.

Specifically, the Alliance & Chamber approved each proposal separately, though in characteristic manner, the actions were combined into one motion, displaying unity of the regional business community.

The board also reinforced the districts’ and superintendents’ design of the programs to provide the benefits of the Career-Technical curriculum to students throughout the Cedar Valley.

Cedar Valley Wide Impact

A compelling factor in the support for the two proposals is the ability for students from outside the host District to enroll in the Career-Technical Education programs, utilizing channels already in place to ensure the District is adequately compensated for the high-value curriculum delivered. Also, both Waterloo’s Academies and Cedar Falls’ CAPS programs will easily transfer credit to Hawkeye and UNI degree programs. This is important to ensure the student can seamlessly continue work toward a degree, obtaining the most current knowledge in the field, and entering the career field at the most opportune time for the student. It also defines clear career pathways for the student, and a quantifiable pipeline of candidates for jobs in the Cedar Valley.

The Alliance & Chamber board believes the taxpayers should approve these proposals. Business and education must work together to ensure continuing growth in our economy, while preparing smart, knowledgeable, engaged citizens. These proposals, well executed, will do both. Plus, a smooth transition to Hawkeye and UNI is precisely what students need to minimize their cost and time spent preparing for a great career in the Cedar Valley.

Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Chairman David Braton recapped the discussion of the board, stating, “Workforce development is critical to the growth of the Cedar Valley. The Alliance & Chamber applauds Waterloo and Cedar Falls Schools staff and school boards for taking these bold steps to give our students the best education in a changing world. Workforce development is the key to our economic success.”

Vote “Yes” on February 2 and April 5

The Alliance & Chamber encourages all voters of the Waterloo and Cedar Falls schools to view these initiatives favorably, and as investments in the future generations of Cedar Valley citizens.

Please vote Yes on Tuesday, February 2 for Waterloo’s Career Center and High School Renovation Plan.

Please also vote Yes on Tuesday, April 5 for Cedar Falls’ Elementary Construction & Upgrades Plan.

Waterloo Schools Career Center

The Alliance & Chamber Board recognizes the outstanding research and planning by Waterloo Schools that included broad representation of the business community. The District included the entire community in the development of a plan that matches the needs of students and our businesses. The Waterloo District is focusing the use of this specialized building on implementation of a menu of academies that will begin a student’s preparation for a career in a well-paying and significant job, or even starting their own business. Waterloo plans to implement 15 Academies in school year 18-19, and fully implement the 30-Academy structure by school year 20-21. The first 15 Academies address areas of immediate impact such as Computer Science, Engineering & Robotics, and Bio-medical and Nursing; while others start students toward careers in needed trades and services such as Construction Technology, Computer Aided Drafting & Design, Automotive Technologies, and Manufacturing Technology. These address current and anticipated high-demand skills in the Cedar Valley.

Cedar Falls CAPS and Elementary School Construction Program

Usually, the Alliance & Chamber would not publicly endorse proposals for specific elementary school construction and expansion programs. This time, however, it is important to underscore that modern education requires attention to facility upgrades at all levels of education. Cedar Falls’ student population is projected to increase significantly over the next decade, in contrast to many other locations that are projecting shrinking elementary populations. Cedar Falls’ growth has generated the need for additions onto some schools to eliminate trailer-like, temporary classrooms. The need to add flexibility in the use of the space and install advanced technologies infrastructure in all schools combines with District growth to be sound reasons to support this proposal. During the presentation, the Alliance & Chamber Board focused first on the implementation of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) initiative, and immediately connected success in CAPS at the high school level with the need for modern elementary and middle school facilities.

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.

-end-

For further information, contact Steve Dust, CEO, at SDust@CedarVAlleyAlliance.com or Wendy Bowman, Director of Communications at WBowman@CedarValleyAlliance.com or 319-232-1156; or Dave Braton, Chair of the Board, at 319-291-1400 or David.Braton@Lee.net

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.

###

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

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