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Tag Archives: Waverly

Live it Up! Nick Kostner of Kryton Manufactured Metals, Inc.

How does Nick Kostner #livethevalley?

photo of Nick and Megan Kostner wedding

Nick Kostner, Megan Vogt-Kostner

What Nick Kostner does as Supply Chain Manager for state-of-the-art manufacturer KRYTON Engineered Metals in Cedar Falls can change from one hour to the next. You might find Nick working at his desk, on the shop floor, or in a customer location. He loves being empowered to try new things. “I’ve been given a lot of freedom in my day-to-day job to research and create new strategies, procedures, and processes to improve operations throughout the entire company.” Nick helped create the role that he began during an internship that almost didn’t happen: about a year earlier he was unenrolled from the University of Northern Iowa due to poor academic achievement. Ouch. He presented a detailed plan, was granted readmission, and got his act together. In 2016, he graduated from UNI with a Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management. Newlyweds Nick and wife Megan live in Waverly: small enough to see people they know everywhere but with the conveniences of a larger metro. #liveitup

Winnebago Completes Acquisition of Grand Design

The following information was submitted by our investor Winnebago Industries which has facilities in the Cedar Valley, located in Waverly, Iowa.

11/08/16 — Winnebago Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WGO) today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Grand Design RV, LLC (“Grand Design”), a manufacturer of towable recreation vehicles (RVs), for approximately $500 million in cash and Winnebago shares. The Company also entered into a seven-year $300 million term loan and five-year asset based lending facility for up to $125 million arranged by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

“We are pleased to complete this transformative transaction. The acquisition of Grand Design positions Winnebago Industries as an immediately stronger player in the RV market and will provide long-term value for our shareholders,” said Michael Happe, Winnebago’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to welcome Grand Design into our portfolio and look forward to working with their talented team to exceed the expectations of our collective dealers and end customers.”

J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor to Winnebago and Lindquist & Vennum LLP acted as legal counsel. Baird acted as financial advisor to Grand Design and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal counsel.

About Winnebago

Winnebago is a leading U.S. manufacturer of recreation vehicles, which are used primarily in leisure travel and outdoor recreation activities. The Company builds quality motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheel products. Winnebago has received the Quality Circle Award from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association every year since 1996. Winnebago has multiple facilities in Iowa, Indiana, Oregon and Minnesota. The Company’s common stock is listed on the New York and Chicago Stock Exchanges and traded under the symbol WGO. Options for the Company’s common stock are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. For access to Winnebago’s investor relations material or to add your name to an automatic email list for Company news releases, visit http://investor.wgo.net.

About Grand Design

Grand Design was founded in 2012 and is one of the fastest-growing RV companies in the industry. Since its founding, Grand Design has shipped 26,850 units and has sold over 22,250 units at retail. Grand Design manufactures the market leading Reflection fifth wheel and travel trailer, flagship Solitude extended stay fifth wheel, luxury Momentum toy hauler and lightweight Imagine travel trailer product lines.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements, including, but not limited to increases in interest rates, availability of credit, low consumer confidence, availability of labor, significant increase in repurchase obligations, inadequate liquidity or capital resources, availability and price of fuel, a slowdown in the economy, increased material and component costs, availability of chassis and other key component parts, sales order cancellations, slower than anticipated sales of new or existing products, new product introductions by competitors, the effect of global tensions, integration of operations relating to mergers and acquisitions activities, any unexpected expenses related to ERP, risks relating to the integration of our acquisition of Grand Design including; risks inherent in the achievement of cost synergies and the timing thereof; risks related to the disruption of the transaction to Winnebago and Grand Design and its management; the effect of announcement of the transaction on Grand Design’s ability to retain and hire key personnel and maintain relationships with customers, suppliers and other third parties, risk related to compliance with debt covenants and leverage ratios, risks related to integration of the two companies and other factors. Additional information concerning certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from that projected or suggested is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the last 12 months, copies of which are available from the SEC or from the Company upon request. The Company disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward looking statements contained in this release or to reflect any changes in the Company’s expectations after the date of this release or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based, except as required by law.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winnebago Industries to Expand Operation to the Cedar Valley of Iowa

Officials from Winnebago Industries Inc., the City of Waverly, Iowa, and the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber are announcing the planned location of a Winnebago production facility in Waverly, Iowa.

The Winnebago facility will locate in the Waverly’s SW Business Park on 8th St. SW in 33,400 square foot building.   As stated in an earlier press release from Winnebago Industries, the new Waverly facility will be used for wire loom assembly for the Company’s motorhomes.

The Waverly production facility is expected to employ 70 full time workers with a capital investment of $1.5 to $2 million.

The Alliance & Chamber along with the Cedar Valley Regional economic development partners, to Randy Potts, Winnebago’s Chairman, President & CEO after reading about the company’s projected growth in January.

“The announcement of Winnebago’s decision to locate their new facility in Waverly is the culmination of a collaborative effort among Winnebago Industries, Waverly Economic Development, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber and Hawkeye Community College. This effort has resulted in very positive outcome for the entire Cedar Valley Region” said Connie Tolan, Economic Development Specialist, Waverly Economic Development.

“We are very excited that Winnebago Industries has chosen Waverly as the site for their new sub-assembly facility. The addition of a quality employer like Winnebago to Waverly and the Cedar Valley will have a positive impact on the entire Region” said Bill Werger, Community Development Director, Waverly Economic Development.

“The Waverly property was the best fit for the companies immediate and long term needs,” Werger added.

Property acquisition is expected within the next 45-60 days. No timeline has been given for the start of production, but Winnebago anticipates that hiring will begin in June 2015. Those interested in employment are directed to the company website www.winnebagoind.com/company/careers.

“We are pleased to have another legacy Iowa brand locate in the manufacturing hub of Iowa, the Cedar Valley. On behalf of our manufacturers and all businesses and institutions, the Alliance & Chamber welcomes Winnebago to the Cedar Valley of Iowa,” said Steven Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

 

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The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The Cedar Valley Economy – Strong and Growing!

The strong and growing Cedar Valley economy contains the right conditions for business and career success. Current economic growth and its demand for quality talent is benefiting manufacturing, business services, retail, housing, education, healthcare and other enterprises that contribute to the vitality of the region.

Strong Cedar Valley job market is creating opportunity and raising income.

According to Smart Solutions Group, employment in the Cedar Valley Region Labor Market grew by 7.4% from 2003 to 2013, slightly above the State of Iowa during the same period. As of November 1st, Iowajobs.org, the web-based job board of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), shows 1,504 positions currently available in the Cedar Valley. Many of these jobs are in the advanced manufacturing sector. Welders and CNC operators are among the many positions available in advanced manufacturing operations in the Cedar Valley.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber recently surveyed Cedar Valley employers regarding their immediate employment needs. “We’ve identified businesses in the Cedar Valley region with immediate openings,” reports Danny Laudick, Talent Solutions Coordinator with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.  “We are coordinating efforts to match available talent with these companies or with training in the fields where there is greatest demand.”
Connecting to training

The Alliance & Chamber collaborates with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Hawkeye Community College (HCC) and other agencies to connect talent with employment and training opportunities through career and resource fairs, data collection and sharing.  There is ongoing collaboration between employers and agencies to design programs to stay ahead of shifts in demand and provide rapid response to immediate workforce needs. The Alliance & Chamber identifies the specific employment needs in the Cedar Valley business community and acts as the voice of business. The Alliance & Chamber develops innovative solutions to solve talent issues. They use their network of partners and affiliate to bring others into the process.

In response to local demand, Hawkeye Community College now offers short term certifications for industrial maintenance and CNC machining programs. The CNC Machining Program prepares students for high demand, entry-level positions as a CNC machine operator or general machinist, one of the most demanded skills by area employers in the Cedar Valley. Both programs are designed to create a pipeline of available talent with new skills to fill these high demand jobs in a short amount of time.

The Department of Industrial Technology at the University of Northern Iowa also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of: Construction Management; Electrical Engineering, Manufacturing Technology, Technology Education, and Technology Management. The UNI Metal Casting Center, offers students practical hands-on experience in concepts in additive manufacturing with modern well-equipped facilities and cutting edge technology. At the Additive Manufacturing Center, located at the Cedar Valley TechWorks, students operate a variety of 3D printers, including the ExOne, the largest of its kind in North America.  Students are producing products and part prototypes for manufacturing clients across state.  UNI students are ‘floor ready’ upon graduation having had real world experience working with private sector businesses on actual projects. The Center also provides manufacturers affordable access to research and development and rapid prototyping. The Department of Industrial Technology currently enrolls over 500 students annually.

K-12 Career Training

Cedar Valley school districts are making sure their students are prepare for success beyond graduation through a variety of initiatives and partnerships with the business community.

In the Waterloo Community School District, Career Academies give students the opportunity to choose an area of interest, such as construction, business and finance, marketing, engineering, healthcare, etc. Students then take a sequence of classes to prepare for the real world of work in that field. Waterloo also has an International Baccalaureate Program which is an intensive, two year academic program in the high schools that prepares students for success in higher education and for effective participation in global society. The program includes writing an extended essay (similar to a doctorate thesis, but at high school level), a focus on critical thinking as well as creativity, action, and service activities. Waterloo’s West High and East High are two of only three schools in Iowa to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Both the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts have embraced the Leader in Me initiative championed by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. The Leader in Me is based on Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The initiative teaches students 21st Century soft skills for success in college, career, and citizenship. Through authentic leadership opportunities and daily practice of the habits, participating schools are transforming their school cultures into proactive, leadership focused communities of learning and development.

Cedar Valley West’s School to Work program brings together students from four Cedar Valley school districts (Aplington-Parkersburg, Dike-New Hartford, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, and Grundy Center) to provide valuable career information and connections to area businesses. Businesses are asked to provide speakers, offer internship and job shadowing opportunities, give worksite tours and contribute financial support.

Through the School to Work program, students throughout the Cedar Valley are becoming more prepared for the local job market. Businesses are molding potential employees by creating hands-on ways for students to explore careers while still in high school. Business – education partnerships like these are helping to bridge the talent gap and produce individuals prepared for employers across sectors in the Cedar Valley.

Diverse Economic Base
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partners have placed diversifying the economic base as a top priority of business attraction . . . and it has paid off. The diversified economic base has created jobs and helped the region weather the last recession far better than most parts of the country earning the Cedar Valley the title “Recession Busting” by Area Development Magazine, a leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection.  The Cedar Valley is not reliant on one sector to maintain the health of the economy.

Since 1996, 76% of new jobs created in the Cedar Valley have not been tied to a single industry, specifically agricultural manufacturing. Likewise, 81% of the new capital investments in the Cedar Valley were equally diversified during the same time. This diverse industrial base provides increased opportunities for wealth creation and employment in the event of a downturn in one sector.

“Most new capital investment has come from companies who have expanded existing operations here or established new locations in a broad spectrum of industry sector. This is consistent with new construction and new jobs created,” notes Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development with the Alliance & Chamber.

Adding to the industry mix is the growing Information Technology (IT) sector. In the Cedar Valley, IT consists of local start-up web product and software companies, and is among the fastest growing sector in percentage of current workforce in the Cedar Valley market area. Enterprises also see internal IT operations increasing and contributing to the growing demand for highly skilled programmers, engineers, coders, and designers in the Cedar Valley.

Conversations with technology leaders in the Cedar Valley suggest that IT employers are increasing their employment by up to 50% or more over the next few years.  This makes availability of trained/educated individuals critical. The Alliance & Chamber, Kate Washut of Far Reach Inc., and Linda Allen of Hawkeye Community College (HCC) convened a discussion between Alliance & Chamber investors in the IT sector and HCC academic and career education teams. The group discussed courses, training, and programs available through Hawkeye, and the expectations of the employers. Dialogs like this, between business and education, are vital to better understand of specific skill demand in order to offer training programs that are most relevant to industry needs.

 

“The strong job market is creating opportunities for individuals to take advantage of an increase in training opportunities and raising personal income,” says Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “We see growing demand across industry sectors. IT related fields, advanced manufacturing, higher education, healthcare, logistics, and business service markets make up the employment landscape of the Cedar Valley.  The competitive wage scales being offered go much further here than in most areas of the country thanks to our low cost of living.”

The cost of living in the Cedar Valley is 8.1% lower than the national average according to third quarter 2014 Cost of Living Index prepared by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Utility costs are an even greater value, at 10.4% below the national average – a key factor for companies looking to locate or expand their operations.

While the cost of living is low, prosperity is on the rise in Cedar Valley. According to the new US Cluster Mapping website launched by Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Cedar Valley Region is one of a handful of regions with growth in prosperity from 1998 -2012. Our economic region ranks 7th among 170 economic regions in the country for prosperity growth. The scorecard is based on three categories of data: performance (the economic activities of the region), business environment, and demographics & geography. The Cedar Valley is also in the top 20 regions for growth in annual personal wages at 3.49%.  This outpaces the national average of 3.16% during the same period.

Low cost of living and strong personal wages may contribute to an increase in spending. In September of 2014, the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers were released showing considerable growth in the Cedar Valley. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (GDP) grew to $8.7 billion from 2012-2013. This is up 5.6% from the previous year, according to data released in September from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Collectively, real GDP for U.S. metropolitan areas increased 1.7% during the same period. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area had the second highest percentage increase in GDP compared to other Iowa metros.

These gauges of economic health demonstrate the strength and continued growth of an already stable Cedar Valley economy and instill confidence both in consumers and business leaders. Recent announcements of business expansions reflect confidence and optimism in the region.

Business Confidence and Private Investment

Cedar Valley businesses across the region are making investments in their companies. Increasing exports, and hiring talented, productive people demonstrates their confidence in the strength of the Cedar Valley economy.

CBE Companies, with international locations, chooses to keep their corporate headquarters here in the Cedar Valley where their success started over 80 years ago. “We continue to tap into a rich talent pool in our own backyard to fill a variety of positions and levels – from contact center associates to fraud service representatives to IT, Analytics, Finance, Marketing and HR professionals,” says Mary Phillips, Chief Human Resources Officer for CBE Companies.

Based on a variety of regional data, CBE has determined that the Cedar Valley has the talent resources available to expand their staff considerably.  “We use information from both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Iowa Workforce Development when considering expansion.  We evaluated unemployment rates, education levels, Spanish speaking population, underemployment, average wages, and average ages.”  Over the last year, CBE has had two major surges in hiring making them one of the top ten major employers in the Cedar Valley.

Mark Hanawalt is the CEO of United Equipment Accessories, Inc. (UEA) in Waverly, Iowa and the current chair of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI). He often shares with peers from around the state that the Cedar Valley is a great place to do business. “They know about the Cedar Valley and never disagree,” notes Hanawalt. UEA has found that being part of a regional economy driven by advanced manufacturing has contributed to their growth. “Because of the presence of very large manufacturers in the area, we can utilize a common vendor base with tremendous capabilities without having to go outside the area.”

UEA invests in training and development opportunities that contribute to the personal and professional growth of their employees.  UEA provides training for new hires, development opportunities with specifically designed skills enhancement training, job cross-training, as well as a Tuition Assistance Program for employees. Highly technical positions, such as CNC programmers, machinists, engineers and IT professionals regularly participate in training opportunities relating to technology advancements and developments, job knowledge enhancement, computer software and system developments and updates.

“United Equipment Accessories, Inc. has been a Cedar Valley manufacturer for over 60 years.  Even as we have grown substantially over the years, we have never felt the need to expand outside this area,” says Hanawalt. “Our pool of labor talent is very high.  Employees are well educated, trained, and motivated to be productive employees.”

Start-up Momentum

While long standing businesses continue to expand, the start-up community in the Cedar Valley is picking up momentum at a rapid pace. ‘Serial’ entrepreneurs and young visionaries are gathering in coffee shops, bars, and meeting rooms around the Cedar Valley to share ideas and connect with resources in hopes of launching the next big thing. Start-Up Drinks, Start-Up Weekend, BarCamp, One Million Cups, Cedar Valley Opencoffee, and Cedar Valley Makers are a few of the organized efforts to support a young and energetic start-up community.

Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber, believes that “the prosperity of the Cedar Valley still depends on fostering, growing, and attracting entrepreneurship in all types of businesses. We want to encourage more people to build on our history of successful entrepreneurship, and the Alliance & Chamber supports efforts to enhance the strong, growing start-up scene throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.”

The Cedar Valley is thriving

With an abundance of good paying jobs and access to higher education, the Cedar Valley offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals to grow their careers. Businesses are thriving and making significant investments in the region by expanding their operations through building projects, new processes, equipment, technology, and talent. The lower cost of living, excellent school districts, and overall safety make it a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

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.

Hanawalt Elected Chair of ABI; Dust, Abbas, Graening, Voorhees Elected to ABI Board of Directors

Alliance & Chamber investor and President of United Equipment Accessories (UEA) in Waverly was elected chair of the board of directors of the Iowa Association of Business & Industry (ABI) for the 2014-15 program year. Other Cedar Valley representatives elected to and serving on the ABI board of directors include:

·         Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust – At Large Director

·         Threads CEO Sean Abbas – District 2 Vice Chair

·         GMT Corporation President Jared Graening- At Large Director

·         Standard Golf President Pete Voorhees – District 2 Director

 

The elections were held during ABI’s annual meeting on June 10, in conjunction with its annual Taking Care of Business conference.

ABI has been known as “The Voice of Iowa Business Since 1903,” and is the largest business network in the state (serving as Iowa’s State Chamber) with a long legacy of advocating for a competitive business climate in Iowa. With over 1,400 members, ABI works, “to foster a favorable business, economic, governmental and social climate within the State of Iowa so that our citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.” ABI is also the state level affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers and BIPAC, an organization that provides employers with issue based tools to inform employees about impacts of public policies on business.

“Mark will be a terrific, results-oriented chair for an important organization,” stated Dust. “ABI is an essential partner in our work. It’s also impressive that the Cedar Valley has such a strong representation in our state association’s board of directors. That gives us a strong voice in crafting the message of business in Des Moines and Washington, said Dust.

CUNA Mutual Group’s Waverly Philanthropy Committee Presents Donation to first Waverly Leader in Me School -St. John’s Lutheran

St. Paul’s Lutheran School is the first school in Waverly to show interest in the “Leader in Me” program. With the success of this program in several Cedar Valley schools and the belief that this program will facilitate strong working partnerships between Cedar Valley businesses, educators, parents and students in each community in which Leader Valley is organized, CUNA Mutual Group hopped on board. On May 29th, CUNA Mutual Group’s Waverly Philanthropy Committee presented a generous donation to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & School, sponsoring the implementation of the Leader in Me program into the school’s curriculum.

GREATER CEDAR VALLEY ALLIANCE & CHAMBER and the CEDAR VALLEY REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCE DREAM BIG GROW HERE CEDAR VALLEY $5,000 WINNER

Cedar Valley of Iowa -The 2nd Annual Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley contest concluded on the evening of October 18th, 2012 with a “pitch-off” by five finalist of the online popular vote portion of the $5,000 grant contest.

The winner of the pitch-off, Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets – pitched by Dawn Pursell of Waverly, was chosen by a panel of business entrepreneurs and experts from the fields of law, technology, finance and entertainment. Twenty-one start-ups and small businesses participated in the popular online voting generating over 9,300 votes, from 44 states and 16 countries.

The Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley competition provides early stage and emerging small business an additional financial boost to accelerate the growth of their business.  The contest was open to start-up and small businesses in the Cedar Valley Economic Area comprised of Butler, Bremer, Buchanan, Black Hawk, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama counties.

“This year we saw more businesses competing in the contest take advantage of the free business services available through the University of Northern Iowa, MyEntrenet and the Small Business Development Center” commented Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber.

“This is the whole point of the contest…helping these individuals take their business idea to the next level.” added Nate Clayberg, Chair, Cedar Valley Marketing Partnership.

Both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber and the Cedar Valley Regional Partnership were regional sponsors of the statewide contest.  Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets will compete March 7, 2013 for a chance to win $10,000 at the statewide pitch off sponsored by MyEntre.net during their annual conference. Pursell plans to use the prize money to expand her baking operation and open a store front in Waverly.

Other event sponsors for the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event included, MyEntre.net, UNI’s Business Incubator, Point Builders and PDCM Insurance.

Other finalist included:

Computer Troubleshooters Computer Service and Sales(Cory Vieth) – Waterloo, Eat Cakes Cakery (Elizabeth Wilson)– Hudson , Watapri (Jane Zehr)– Waverly, and Recycle Rite Inc. (Brian Hoyer)- Cedar Falls.

Kate Washut of Far Reach Technologies moderated the Pitch-off. The judges panel included; Wade Arnold CEO of Banno; Darin Beck CEO of Barmuda MMC; Eric Johnson of Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, P.C.; Mark Stewart of Prime Logic Partners and Nick Evens of  The Veridian Group.

 

Returning to the Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley Pitch-Off event and delivering the keynote was author Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grand niece of Thomas Edison. Caldicott’s presentation How Collaboration Drives Innovation: A Midnight Lunch with Thomas Edison, was based on a soon to be released book. Co – author of the book Innovate Like Edison, Caldicott has recently released an e-book titled Inventing the Future: What Would Thomas Edison be Doing Today.

 

Dust added, “Cedar Valley Innovation Day is one way to celebrate the strength and vitality of the individual entrepreneurial drive in the Cedar Valley economic area, and the improvements it brings our businesses and lives.

 

The contestants of Dream Big Grow Here-Cedar Valley have taken the first steps to growing the next dominant business with whatever product or service improvement they have put into the marketplace. These aren’t hobbies, or businesses that plan to remain garage-based operations. DBGH-Cedar Valley contestants are in the mold of many, many other Cedar Valley dreamers who started with a vision to help businesses and consumers to do something better – innovating. Their success at innovation has earned them a place among the best in the nation in their industries. Remember, the innovation of John Froelich and his partners in the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Co. – introducing gasoline powered traction – changed agriculture around the globe. It’s that commitment to find new, better ways to produce and provide in America’s Free Enterprise system – innovation – from the Cedar Valley – that is celebrated in this event.

 

Cedar Valley Innovation Day is a way to inform and demonstrate why it’s critical to create a welcoming place for people to innovate. We need that brainpower – continually striving to find the next better way to do something – create – make – or deliver something – to expand our economy. Encouraging, welcoming and celebrating innovation is still another way to Be Part of Something Greater – the Cedar Valley of Iowa.”

 

More information about Lizzy Mae’s Cupcakes & Sweets can be found at www.facebook.com/LizzyMaes Cupcakes Sweets.

 

Plans are already underway for the 2013 Dream Big Grow Here Cedar Valley & Cedar Valley Innovation Day.  Businesses and individuals interested in participating or sponsorships should contact the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber at 319-232-1156.

 

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