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January 2013


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CEDAR RAPIDS METRO ECONOMIC ALLIANCE

Table of Contents Article, Page From the President’s Desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 State of Iowa Policy Agenda. . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5 ImpactCR January Committee Meetings . . . . . 6 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Alliance Claims Solutions to Relocate & Add Jobs in 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Support for Proposed Casino . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Economic Alliance Annual Meeting & Keynote Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9 AMTek to Receive Urban Revitalization. . . . . 10 Area Workforce Summit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 New Members & Ribbon Cuttings . . . . . . . . 12 Economic Alliance Welcomes New Team Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 PM Exchange Recap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 January PM Exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 2013 Report Transition Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

January 2013

Volume 82 No 5 (USPS558-200) Economic Alliance Report (ISSN 108-50775) is published monthly by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 501 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401. Subscription price of $35 per year is included in an annual membership. Periodicals postage paid at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Postmaster: Send changes to: Economic Alliance Report Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance 501 First Street SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401-2011 President & CEO: Dee Baird Editor: Mallory Mohwinkle Contact the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance at 319-398-5317 for reprint permission.


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From the President’s Desk:

Happy New Year! Thanks to you and 1,200 other businesses that are members of the Economic Alliance, we had an extraordinary year in 2012 striving to make this the top economic growth region in the country. We sincerely appreciate your support! The foundation for the Economic Alliance began in 2011, with significant work done to merge the three legacy organizations—the Chamber of Commerce, Priority One and the Downtown District. A new governance structure, featuring a Policy Board, three Innovation Councils and a Large Investor Council, was created to provide integral leadership and input into the strategic direction of the Economic Alliance. Our work is guided by the core functions focusing on business support, community development, economic development and public policy. In addition to those changes, we also moved into a renovated space downtown, at 501 First St. SE. The building was designed in a smart, innovative and progressive manner to better reflect our organization, the community and Iowa’s Creative Corridor. If you have not had an opportunity to see the beautiful new space, you are always welcome to come in for a tour. And, please mark your calendars for the Economic Alliance Annual Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24. This premiere event will be held from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at Hawkeye Downs, 4400 Sixth St. SW. We hope you can join us as we welcome Daniel Reed, the vice president of research and development at The University of Iowa. Thanks to the great work of our Innovation Council’s in 2012, we have many new initiatives planned for 2013! We will unveil our agenda at the annual meeting but will also send communication to those of you who are unable to attend the event so you know our priorities. We also look forward to a busy legislative session where we can advance our public policy agenda which can be found in this month’s report. As always, our members are our priority and we look forward to serving you in 2013! Regards,

Dee Baird President & CEO

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2013 Economic Alliance State of Iowa Policy Agenda The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will advance its vision of being the top economic growth region in the country by placing greater emphasis on a cohesive policy agenda for our community. While all of the policy positions included in the Economic Alliance 2013 State Legislative Agenda are important to the growth and health of our community, the Economic Alliance will focus on the following priorities:

Taxes Commercial & Industrial Property Tax Relief

Tax competitiveness is among the top factors considered in business location and expansion decisions. Iowa’s tax environment continues to be a challenge for business expansion and attraction. The non-partisan Tax Foundation 2013 ranks Iowa 42nd in its State Business Tax Climate Index and at or near the bottom in several of its measures. While these rankings are not definitive, they do impact the selection process for companies (evaluating where to invest, including businesses currently operating in Iowa) and put Iowa at a severe competitive disadvantage during the critical early stages of the decision-making process. Iowa must improve its business tax climate. The No. 1 thing that can help achieve this is property tax relief for commercial and industrial property taxpayers. Iowa’s tax system ranks among the highest for business property taxes. This is unacceptable and puts Iowa at a competitive disadvantage at a time when competition is not just with other Midwestern states, but also globally. The Economic Alliance supports property tax relief that follows a set of four core principles: ■■ Property tax relief must be substantive and

permanent with the tax savings targeted to commercial and industrial classes of property.

■■ Any real tax reform must move the four locally

assessed classes of property taxpayers closer to equitable treatment.

■■ Consideration must be given to the impact a relief

proposal may have on the budgets of local governments. While local governments should not have an expectation to “be made whole,” it is not in the best interest of economic growth for Iowa to simply push property tax relief onto the budgets of local governments. The Economic Alliance supports addressing unfunded mandates, reforming pensions and other measures to help offset rollback effects on local governments.

■■ Any property tax proposal should be tethered to the

values of simplicity, transparency and predictability.

Corporate Income Tax

Iowa’s corporate income tax brackets rise to a top rate of 12%, restricting economic development efforts. The Economic Alliance supports efforts to simplify and reduce corporate income taxes as a means to better market Iowa as a destination for job-creating investments. Further, the

Economic Alliance supports the elimination of federal deductibility for corporate income taxes only if coupled with lower brackets that achieve a tax reduction greater than what federal deductibility offers alone. This will make Iowa’s corporate tax code more marketable, competitive and understandable.

Personal Income Tax

Iowa’s personal income tax code is overly complex. Simplicity should be pursued so that Iowa can better market itself for economic development. Flattening and streamlining the personal income tax will help illustrate that Iowa is working to attract talented people, businesses and new jobs. Property tax reform will keep more capital in the hands of closely-held and individually owned businesses that pay through the individual income taxes of their owners (common in LLC and “S Corp” businesses).

Economic Development The successful creation of the new Iowa Economic Development Authority and its accompanying non-profit entities—a concept for a private-public partnership born out of recommendations from the Iowa Chamber Alliance—provides the flexibility, nimbleness and expertise needed to execute competitive, responsive economic development initiatives for Iowa. Economic development incentives have delivered a high return on investment for the state. To compete for and win business investment and job opportunities of the quality and in the quantity needed, the Economic Alliance supports significantly increased funding of economic development incentives. The Governor and Legislature implemented this new structure in 2011. However, funding for incentive programs has lagged and inhibits economic development efforts. In 2012, the Legislature appropriated only 56% of requested funds. Funding flexible incentives is imperative if Iowa wants to effectively compete for investment and jobs. The Economic Alliance supports a variety of tax credits for the purposes of increasing business investment in Iowa. Tax credits are an essential tool in order to compete on a regional and even national scale. These credits assist in retaining, expanding and growing current businesses and attracting new business, investment, technology, talent and jobs to Iowa. The improving economic landscape in 2013 calls for restoring the “cap” on economic development tax credits back to the $185 million level. Improved economic conditions and willingness to invest will generate more projects in the incentive application cue than in the past. Tax credits remain a highly effective tool


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for putting together job-creating projects. The current cap of $125 million will likely be reached within this fiscal year with planned projects. Restoration to the $185 million level is in order.

Transportation & Infrastructure Iowa has great needs for updating and repairing its transportation infrastructure. Quality roads are essential to economic growth. The Economic Alliance supports fully funding the Transportation Investment Moves the Economy in the 21st Century Fund (TIME-21). The Economic Alliance also supports new or alternative sources of revenue including a fuel tax increase, providing the cap on TIME-21 is removed. New revenues should not be distributed under the old Road Use Tax Fund formula. Consideration must also be given to distributing more dollars toward Iowa’s most traveled roads, which drives commerce and economic growth for Iowa.

Workforce Development & Education Iowa’s workforce is at a crossroads. There is a significant gap between the skills sought by Iowa employers now and the skills and knowledge our workforce currently possesses. The gap will only widen if thoughtful action is

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not taken. The Economic Alliance supports a three-pronged approach to close the skills gap and position Iowa for strong, sustained economic growth: ■■ Equip the workforce of today with the skills they

need to obtain better jobs through skills remediation and successful completion of the National Career Readiness Certification program and other programs under the SkilledIOWA initiative.

■■ Expand funding for Iowa’s Science, Technology,

Engineering and Math (STEM) skills initiatives in K-12 education, with special attention to grades 7-12, in order to improve employment opportunities for workers entering the workforce within the next 5-10 years.

■■ Pursue substantive education reform focused on

recruiting and retaining talented educators, establishing measurable high expectations, fostering innovation in our schools, and parental engagement. These fundamental elements to education reform will revamp Iowa’s schools to best equip children to be globally competitive as adults.

General Business The Economic Alliance supports periodic review and cost-benefit analysis of agency rules and regulations in cooperation with affected businesses and organizations to ensure a minimally invasive and efficient regulatory environment. Rules and regulations should be regularly evaluated for necessity, effectiveness, cost efficiency, enforceability and financial impact. Regulatory stability and responsiveness must be recognized as a critical component of the business climate. For further details on this or any of our Public Policy work, please contact Barbra Snitker at 319/730.1426 or bsnitker@cedarrapids.org.

Legislative Forum Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Multipurpose Room, Economic Alliance Free to attend, registration requested on www.cedarrapids.org. Feel free to bring your lunch!

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2013 Advisory Board Members: Katie Johnson—Chair

About our Committees

Mallory Mohwinkle—Chair Elect, Marketing Chair

ImpactCR’s committees are committed to creating a vibrant, dynamic community that is appealing to young professionals. Through our committees, young pros help organize and coordinate ImpactCR’s high quality programs, initiatives and events. These inclusive and informal monthly meetings are always open to new participants. We hope you find a committee to participate in and make YOUR mark. Leadership & Service This committee is committed to educating and developing the next generation to capably drive positive, real change in the Cedar Rapids area through leadership in education, city planning, economic development, human services and arts. First Meeting of 2013: January 8, 11:30 a.m. @ Dublin City Pub. (Meets the second Tuesday of each month.)

Members & Mixers

Civic & Community Action This group is committed to enhancing and empowering young talent and the community through educational workshops, speakers and events while providing members opportunities to be leaders making a positive impact on the area. First Meeting of 2013: January 15, Noon @ The Early Bird (316 2nd St. SE). (Going forward, will meet on the second Tuesday of every month.)

Please stay tuned to www.ImpactCR.org or www.facebook.com/ImpactCR for details!

Mitch Bloomquist—Past Chair Michael Butterfield Tera Edmunds NEW! Heather Elwood—Civic & Community Action Committee Chair

Members & Mixers provides information to new and prospective members regarding all events, programs and activities that are available within ImpactCR. Striving to connect and engage our members to one another, membership hosts a monthly Q&A session, a bi-annual members meeting and an annual event Celebrate the Community.

Jennifer Germaine NEW!

First Meeting of 2013: January 16, 5:30-6:30 p.m. @ Irish Democrat (3207 1st Ave SE). (Meets the third Wednesday of every month.)

Christoph Trappe

Catie Houck—Members & Mixers Committee Chair Eric Johnson NEW! Beth Malicki Ron Maxa NEW! Joel McDermott—Leadership & Service Committee Chair Kaitlin Oswood NEW! Liz Schott NEW!

Community Calendar January ■■Workplace

Learning Conversation

■■Legislative

Forum

January 17, 1-5 p.m. The Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids

Jan. 18, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Multipurpose Room, Economic Alliance

Join us for a conversation with educators, employers and local resource providers to identify the gaps, challenges and needs and build awareness of existing programs in workforce development for today’s students.

Free to attend, registration requested on www.cedarrapids.org. Feel free to bring your lunch!

■■PM

Exchange

January 17, 5-7 p.m. CliftonLarsonAllen, 1715 First Ave.SE Join us for an evening of networking. This informal gathering provides attendees the opportunity to create new business contacts and learn more about area businesses. No cost to attend.

■■Economic

Alliance Annual Meeting

January 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Hawkeye Downs, 4400 Sixth St. SW The Economic Alliance will hold its annual meeting as an opportunity for our valued members to learn more about the progress made in 2012, and hear future plans for 2013. Stay tuned to www.cedarrapids.org for registration details.


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Safelite® Solutions to Relocate Alliance Claims SolutionsTM to Larger Cedar Rapids-Area Facility, Adding Up To 200 Jobs Next Year Safelite® Solutions, the U.S. leader in claims management solutions, has announced plans to more than double its Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based operation by the end of 2013. Safelite® currently operates its business unit Alliance Claims SolutionsTM, which is an employer of choice in the community and ranked number 14 in 2012 Top Places to Work in Iowa program from the Des Moines Register, at 1620 E Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids. The relocation to the new 21,220-square-foot facility at 1125 Dina Court, Hiawatha, IA 52233, will allow the company to add up to 200 new full-time and part-time jobs to the community on top of Alliance’s existing 75 associates. Alliance Claims SolutionsTM, which is a provider of property, auto physical damage and auto glass claims management for small to mid-sized insurance companies, plans to move after February 1, 2013. “We are excited about our expansion in Cedar Rapids and what it will mean for our customers, our employees and the community. We thank the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, local leadership and the community for its continued partnership.” said Jerry Beigel, senior vice president of Safelite® Solutions. “Being able to grow our business in tough economic times is a testament to the people who make Safelite® Solutions and Alliance Claims SolutionsTM the success we are.”

Hiawatha Mayor Tom Theis said he is “very excited” Alliance Claims Solutions/Safelite® has decided to stay and expand in the Cedar Rapids area. “We look forward to supporting their needs to attract a workforce, recognizing it will provide employment opportunities not only for the citizens of Hiawatha but those throughout the region,” Theis said. In addition, Beigel thanked City of Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz, for their efforts in helping to ensure the company remain in the Cedar Rapids metro area. Mayor Corbett was instrumental in the initial discussions with Alliance Claims SolutionsTM. While the company’s physical expansion will be in the neighboring community, Corbett said it will keep the jobs in the Cedar Rapids area. “Not only does this retain jobs, but the addition of 200 jobs will provide Cedar Rapidians more opportunities,” he said. Dee Baird, Economic Alliance president and CEO, said she is pleased the company made the decision to stay in this region, retaining and adding jobs in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. “We are very glad Safelite® chose the Creative Corridor to expand their operations,” she said. “Safelite® is also a great fit amongst our other financial service companies in the region.” The company will be utilizing Iowa’s New Job Training Program administered through Kirkwood Community College.

Economic Alliance Supports Proposed Casino Plan The Economic Alliance supports the specific initiative of a local investment group to bring casino gaming to the Cedar Rapids area. The proposed development, investment and ownership structure help ensure this casino would benefit the Cedar Rapids regional economy by creating good jobs, contributing to community development and encouraging additional economic redevelopment and investment. Our support of this initiative is consistent with our mission to serve as the catalyst for economic diversity, growth, and prosperity for our region. Policy Board members were very deliberate in their consideration of this proposal. The Economic Alliance has worked hard to keep its efforts narrowly focused on core functions of business support, community development, economic development and public policy. There are many initiatives—including some past gaming initiatives—the Economic Alliance (and/or its legacy organizations) does not involve itself in because we want to stay true to a very specific vision centered on economic growth.

The board asked for research and experiences from other communities and looked closely at the economic data. It also asked the Economic Alliance’s Business Support Innovation Council to take a look at the proposal, a move that brought in viewpoints from many locally-owned and small businesses. The Innovation Council unanimously supported the initiative, and the Policy Board then ratified that conclusion, also in a unanimous way. Innovation Council and Policy Board members were greatly moved by compelling economic data: • 360 new permanent jobs with an average wages and benefits of $42K • 130 high paying construction jobs during the casino building • $2.4-$4 million in yearly grants to worthwhile projects throughout Linn County The Economic Alliance is happy to add our support for initiative.


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Keynote Speaker: Daniel Reed

earching for a keynote speaker for the Economic Alliance’s Annual Meeting, President & CEO Dee Baird said the management team considered several quality people who would deliver an informative message to our members. In the end, Baird says, the timing to bring one of The University of Iowa’s newest members of the leadership team who has direct ties to economic development was a perfect fit.

Center for Supercomputing Application (NCSA), a federally funded supercomputing facility that supported computational science and engineering research across the country as well as industrial partnerships with major companies.

Daniel Reed, formerly an executive at Microsoft Corp. and a longtime higher-education academic, began his work as the vice president for research and economic development at the University of Iowa in mid-October.

In 2004, Reed was named the director of the Renaissance Computing Institute, a major collaborative venture of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the state of North Carolina, supported by $12 million in annual state funding.

“We believe the work Daniel is undertaking at The University, which has an impact throughout the Creative Corridor, the state and beyond, is important for our members to hear,” Baird says. University President Sally Mason said Reed has all the attributes fundamental to the position, He has “a background in business and economic development, a career in research and scholarship, and a trained eye toward innovation as it pertains to higher education and its public relevance and impact. I am confident that Dan will help propel the UI’s research agenda and further our economic imprint for Iowans.” For Reed’s part, he said he was delighted to join the university. “These are exciting and challenging times, and Iowa is strategically placed to help shape the future of academic research, enhance technology transfer and economic development, and address important issues for Iowa, the U.S. and the world. Working together, even greater things are ahead.” Reed joined Microsoft in 2007 and most recently served as a corporate vice president, reporting to the company’s chief research and strategy officer. As corporate vice president for extreme computing, Reed built and led research and prototyping on cloud and parallel computing. He later led Microsoft’s global technology policy group, helping foster dialog on the influence of technology on societal issues and government policy. In an interview on C-SPAN in 2010, he described his job as “to envision what the future of technology will be … (and) to try to invent the future.” On taking the position at the UI, Reed returns to his home in academia and the familiar territory of the Big Ten. After earning his doctorate at Purdue University in 1983, Reed was an assistant professor in computer science at the University of North Carolina for one year before accepting a position at the University of Illinois. There, he rose to full professor, and served as the highly ranked department’s head from 1996 to 2001, managing 40 faculty, 100 staff members, and some 2,000 students. During that time, he oversaw a dramatic expansion of the computer science department and design of a new IT quadrangle on campus. He also headed the National

Daniel Reed

He visited the UI campus in May as one of three finalists for the vice president for research position. In a talk outlining his vision, Reed said the mission of higher education is changing, given the flattened economic landscape spawned by globalization. He noted that there are new and heightened desires for research innovations to drive economic development and for lifelong education and skills to help workers remain competitive. “Expectations have never been higher,” he said, “and it is crucial that universities respond accordingly.” Reed notes that the quickening pace of technology and how data are used are changing the compact between research universities and society. We should embrace it, he argues. “Change brings opportunity for innovation,” Reed says. He says that the arts and humanities are integral to a well-rounded, fulfilling education. He cited his past partnerships with artists and historians and credited one of his former colleagues in the arts for the concept of multidisciplinary, “Renaissance” teams to address complex problems. “I am an academic truly at heart,” he says. Reed succeeds Jordan Cohen, who has served as the vice president for research and economic development since 2010. In an post on his blog shortly after the announcement, Reed said he was ready to get started. “For me, all of this is very exciting. It is a new adventure and an opportunity to help define higher education in the 21st century.”

Please register by January 17 at cedarrapids.org or by calling 319.398.5317.


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CEDAR RAPIDS METRO ECONOMIC ALLIANCE

AMTek To Receive Urban Revitalization Designation for Expansion, Adding Jobs AMTek Microwaves will receive an Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption from the City of Cedar Rapids to assist in expanding its facility, creating 14 new jobs and retaining 45 existing jobs. AMTek, 4115 Thomas Drive SW, was established in Cedar Rapids as a spin-off of Amana Microwaves. It provides industrial microwave processing equipment and systems for companies around the world. The company has distributors throughout South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company is seeking a 10-year, partial tax exemption for a 15,000 square foot addition. The exemption would be applied only to the increased property valuation from the building addition. AMTek’s estimated project cost is $600,000. Based on the scope of the proposed addition, the City estimates that over a 10-year period the project would generate an additional $165,000 in collected tax revenue and provide AMTek $130,000 in deferred as tax exempt.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance assisted AMTek in putting together its request for the Urban Revitalization designation. Tim Scheurs, AMTek president & CEO, said he appreciates the support from the Economic Alliance. “Economic Alliance staff helped us through each step of putting together this request,” he said. “Their work showed me their commitment to companies in the region.” Dennis Jordan, economic development strategist for the Economic Alliance, said supporting advanced manufacturing companies like AMTek was done through the former Priority One organization and continues with the Economic Alliance. “This region boasts the best and brightest microwave technology engineers in the country,” Jordan said. “We’re proud to be able to support AMTek’s request.”

Each of AMTek’s 14 new jobs is expected to pay an average $16 per hour or $33,280 annually.

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BANKERS TRUST commercial banker: Jeff Hines treasury management: Sara Harrison “They aren’t afraid to ask a tough question or tell you what needs to happen. We build confidence in each other, and I can move really quickly with them. Bankers Trust has big-bank services with a small-town feel.”

221 Third Avenue SE 319-896-7777 400 Blairs Ferry Road NE 319-221-1230 bankerstrust.com Member FDIC


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Area Workforce Summit: Current & Future Workforce Challenges to be Addressed Thursday, Jan. 17

1-5 p.m.

Building off the recommendations from the “Skills 2014” report released in 2011, the Iowa City Area Development Group, in partnership with the Economic Alliance, IowaWorks, and the Employers Council of Iowa are working with Kirkwood Community College and Workplace Learning Connection to host a half day workshop on workforce development and education. “One of the primary recommendations in that report was to link students to work-based learning experiences,” said DaLayne Williamson, Workforce Business Services Director for ICAD Group. “We are bringing everyone together to openly discuss the challenges, expectations, and the future of our education and workforce systems to prepare students in this area.” The event is scheduled for Thursday, January 17, from 1 to 5 pm at The Kirkwood Center. Regional educators and employers are encouraged to attend. Agenda information and registration for the summit is available at www.icadgroup.com/wlcevent. The event is free.

The Kirkwood Center

The workshop includes presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions with educators, employers and resource providers and will focus primarily on careers in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, and entry-level positions. Representatives from various resources, including apprenticeships and training programs, Career Academy programs, Kirkwood Community College’s Student Services, and Workplace Learning Connection will share what types of resources are currently available to both employers and educators. The underlying community need is maintaining a trained and available workforce and finding a way to offer our young people bright futures “at home,” according to Mary Lou Erlacher, from Workplace Learning Connection. “Current economy issues aside, local and regional employers are anticipating a workforce challenge based on the number of young people leaving the area and “Baby-Boomer” retirements facing them in the next 5-10 years,” said Erlacher. “Retaining future employees is a cost effective and complementary strategy to recruiting new people.”

DeMaris McKee, workforce programs specialist with the Economic Alliance echoed Williamson’s comments about the importance of employers and educators working in tandem. “This event will identify current and future workforce needs and highlight important regional tools that enhance student skills and link them to meaningful careers.”

For more information: Mary Lou Erlacher, Workplace Learning Connection, merlach@kirkwood.edu or 319-398-4825 DaLayne Williamson, ICAD Group, dwilliamson@icadgroup.com or 319-354-3939 Pam Hinman, Economic Alliance, phinman@cedarrapids.org or 319-730-1415

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CEDAR RAPIDS METRO ECONOMIC ALLIANCE

New Members DPT Group

Information Services USA

Loren Beem, President P: 515-727-0771 F: 515-727-0778 W: www.datapowertech.com W: www.dptmechanical.com 10202 Douglas Ave. Urbandale, IA 50322

Francis W. Dutton, Accounts Manager 1355 Sherman road Suite #601 Hiawatha, IA 52233 P: 319-393-8404 F: 319-393-0232 W: www.is-usa.com E: fdutton@is-USA.com

DPT Group is comprised of Data Power Technology and DPT Mechanical. Data Power Technology provides Data Center Support products such as computer room air conditioning systems and Uninterruptible Power Systems. DPT Mechanical provides commercial and industrial HVAC systems and cooling towers.

Information Services USA is a full service technology company. We offer a wide variety of technology solutions to help businesses run at peak performance, increase productivity, streamline business and lower IT-related costs. We help businesses organize, design and navigate the confusing technology maze. We are your one stop shop technology solutions provider!

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company)

My Time Ally, LLC

Melissa Lynne, Branch Office HR Representative 2213 2nd Street Coralville, IA 52241 P: 319-466-3502 F: 319-466-0407 W: www.geico.jobs/iowa E: mlynne@geico.com In 1997, GEICO first opened its Midwest office in Coralville, Iowa. Today, we employ more than 350 people in Sales and Customer Service, and plan to hire 100 new associates within the next 12 months. Additionally, we now offer a fast-track management training program for college graduates looking “to get their foot in the door� with an industry-leading company.

Jenna Busch P: 319-481-2559 E: jenna@mytimeally.com W: www.mytimeally.com Employees: 3 Physical Address: 526 Moose Dr. NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52405 Mailing Address: PO Box 9141, Cedar Rapids, IA 52409 My Time Ally is a total life services company. Our services provide solutions for a busy life, and it is our goal to use those services to help others free up time to spend with family and friends.

Ribbon Cuttings

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New Staff Members The Economic Alliance is proud to welcome two new staff members to our team of professionals! Amy Grotewold

, our Leadership & Innovation Programs Specialist, is now responsible for collaborating with our stakeholders and staff to identify, craft and deliver programs that impact the Economic Alliance’s strategic priorities and long-term goals. Amy is part of our Services Team and can be reached at 319/730.1402 or agrotewold@cedarrapids.org. With more than 15 years of experience in business development, and sales and marketing leadership across various industries, Amy is well equipped to take on this versatile role within the Economic Alliance. As our Leadership & Innovation Programs Specialist, she will be immersed in some of our most highly visible programs. Amy kicked off the year by taking on the Leadership for Five Seasons program including Executive, Adult, College, Youth and Alumni classes and programing. She will also work with ImpactCR and its Advisory Board on growing their mission and initiatives, including the Next Gen. Summit. Amy is also excited to deliver a refreshed calendar of high-quality programs, such as the Professional Development Academies, and the CEO, Sales, Marketing and Micro-Business Roundtables. Finally, Amy will be integral in the development of our entrepreneurial and innovation programs.

Barbra Snitker

, our Public Sector Liaison, is now responsible for monitoring government activities that impact the core functions and membership of the Economic Alliance. Barbra is part of our Communications Team and can be reached at 319/730.1426 or bsnitker@cedarrapids.org. Barbra joins us with more than eight years of experience on Capitol Hill, advising former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle on areas of public policy and communications, and also serving as an advisor at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She is well-versed in state and federal activities, and plans to spend time with leaders in Des Moines, as well as with local elected officials, in an effort to achieve the goals of our organizational mission. Barbra has already visited Des Moines with Economic Alliance leaders, and kicked off the year by collaborating on the Economic Alliance State of Iowa Policy Agenda for 2013 (see page 4). She will serve as the liaison between the Economic Alliance and elected officials or lobbyists, and will also manage any legislative events, in an effort to keep our members and leadership well-informed on government activities. Barbra’s interaction with public sector staff will ultimately help the Economic Alliance stay abreast of important issues, and provide reliable and timely information to our members.

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©2013 CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

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CEDAR RAPIDS METRO ECONOMIC ALLIANCE

You’re invited to the PM Exchange hosted by CliftonLarsonAllen at their new downtown Cedar Rapids office.

January 17, 2013, 5 – 7pm 600 Third Avenue SE, Suite 300 319-363-2697 Assurance

Tax

Advisory

December PM Exchange Recap Decembers PM Exchange was hosted by GreatAmerica Financial Services located at 625 First St. SE. Approximately 200 guests were serenaded by a violin quartet playing holiday tunes while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres, catered by Winifred’s. The event was held in their new Collaboration Center, located on the Third Floor of the GreatAmerica Building.

cliftonlarsonallen.com


january 2013

2013 Report

Transition Plan The Economic Alliance team is always working to find ways to best serve our 1,200 members. One of the key messages received during the merger talks in 2011 was that better and more transparent communication was essential for the new Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. We have taken that seriously and are working to provide more strategic targeted communication and delivering it in more effective ways. One of the communication vehicles we are looking at reconfiguring is the monthly Report. Originated by the Chamber of Commerce, this printed newsletter is a member benefit; the $35 subscription fee is included in each member’s investment. It serves as one of its key communication tools for information about upcoming events, public policy positions and member news. In 2013 we are going to provide our customers an option of how they each receive the Report. Included in this issue is a self-addressed, postage-paid postcard. Those members who wish to continue receiving a printed Report, we ask you to please fill out the card and return it to the Economic Alliance by March 15. This postcard will also be included in the February and March issues of the Report. In addition, there will be a link on the home page of our web site, www.cedarrapids.org where you can sign up for a printed edition. Starting in April, the Economic Alliance will begin distributing the Report electronically to members and will send a printed version only to those who have signed up via the postcard attached, through our eConnection or online. We are implementing this change after an analysis of several pieces of member feedback through a customer survey, post-event surveys and industry trends. Key survey questions reviewed included asking how customers receive their information and how customers prefer to receive their information. In the 2012 Customer Survey, we asked two related questions, the answers are included below:

Q. How would you prefer the Economic Alliance communicate with you about events and news in the community? Please rank from 1 to 4, with 1 being your most preferred method.

A. eConnection, Economic Alliance Report, Traditional Media and Social Media Q. How would you prefer to receive your monthly Economic Alliance Report? A. Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they would prefer to receive the Report in their email in-box. Eighteen percent said they would prefer to receive a printed copy.

In addition, in two separate post-event surveys, we found the majority of respondents learned about each event in ways other than the Report or other print outlets. In the case of the Next Gen. Summit, 26 percent of respondents learned about the event through their employer, 16.3 percent from ImpactCR, 14.1 percent from Facebook and 4.3 percent from print (including the Report). For the annual Good Morning Cedar Rapids program, almost 60 percent said they learned about the event from the weekly eConnection, 53 percent from having attended in previous years and 12 percent from the Report. We also reviewed national and local trends as it pertains to printed newsletters. The trend is to transition to an online magazine-type product that provides not only the opportunity for written stories, but additional interactive elements with the opportunity to include video and maps. An online version can also be timelier and can allow for more widespread distribution by simply sending a link to readers. However, we recognize there are business owners who not only like to receive the Report as a mailed item for their personal use, but we have heard from some who like to be able to display the monthly newsletter in their office lobby for customers to read. It provides community information and shows customers its business has an affiliation with the Economic Alliance. Each member’s main contact automatically receives a Report. Employees at member businesses are also allowed to sign up for a monthly Report. On average, there are 3,500 copies of the report printed and mailed each month. We believe by providing this transition and option for our members, we are allowing our members a choice. Moving forward, we will continue to seek feedback from customers not only as to how they prefer to receive their information, but what information they want and expect to see from the Economic Alliance.

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Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance January Report