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Penford Products Awarded $2 Million for Flood Recovery IDED Granted State Aid through CEBA-Disaster Recovery Program
On March 19, Penford Products Co. was granted $2 million in assistance from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to help with flood recovery. Last June, the flooding of the Cedar River caused $45 million in damages to Penford’s facilities, including production and office buildings. The company also incurred continuing expenses; Penford paid all of its employees their full wages while the facility was being restored.
interest in expediting the grant process, which in this case took only 15 days,” Bickel said.
The state aid isn’t just a win for Penford; the retention of high paying jobs is a win for the Cedar Rapids community as well. “Retaining quality jobs is every bit as important as creating new jobs,” said Mark Seckman, president of Priority One. “We should celebrate keeping nearly 250 jobs that have an average salary of The aid was granted through the CEBA-Disaster Recovery $69,000 a year the same way we would celebrate bringing 250 program in the form of a $1 million forgivable loan and a $1 new high paying jobs to the area.” million no-interest loan, if repaid within five years. The state aid was significant for Penford. The company received only $22 million in insurance recoveries, despite the $45 million total loss. While Penford continues to negotiate claims with the insurance agencies, they are also reducing costs, including working with suppliers to reduce manufacturing expenses and limiting discretionary expenditures. The $2 million in funding from IDED will help cover operating costs. Penford has been fully operational since October. “Though the clean-up and rebuilding portion is done, the funds from IDED will help to maintain operations and employment levels while we work through this very difficult economic time,” said Tim Kortemeyer, president of Penford. “We are very appreciative of Priority One’s assistance in navigating the application process.” Priority One requested a specific waiver of CEBA-Disaster Recovery non-statutory requirements related to project initiation and program dollar limits for the financial assistance application. P1 staff also assisted with the application process and presentations to both the City of Cedar Rapids and IDED. Cedar Rapidians Marcia Rogers and John Bickel, both of whom sit on the IDED board, were crucial to the approval of Penford’s CEBA application. “This is an example of IDED‘s support of Cedar Rapids’ economic development efforts and reflects IDED’s
Wind Energy Update
During the week of April 20th, Priority One attended Hannover Messe in Hannover, Germany. Over 6,150 exhibitors from 61 different countries and nearly 210,000 visitors par ticipated in the world’s largest showcase of industrial technology. A global event, 70% of the show’s foreign visitors were from other European nations, while 19% came from Asia and 7% percent from the Americas. Considered the new “wind” trade fair, Hannover Messe attracted 156 exhibitors from the wind energy sector and has positioned itself as a central hub within Europe for emerging wind technology. Priority One met with over 20 new and existing prospects who have an interest in expanding their wind component manufacturing into the United States. During the week of May 4th, Priority One and Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) representatives attended the American Wind Energy Associations Conference and Exhibition (Windpower 2009) in Chicago, Illinois. Governor Culver was also in attendance, hosting both an Iowa reception and breakfast for prospective companies interested in doing business in the state. This year’s show featured more than 1,200 exhibitors and over 20,000 attendees, up from 800 exhibitors and 12,000 attendees in 2008. Continued on page 2
Marion Awarded RISE Grant $1.3 Million for Industrial Park Development On April 22, the Iowa Transportation Commission approved a $1.3 million RISE Grant to help construct roads and storm sewers in the Marion Enterprise Center. The Marion Enterprise Center (MEC) is a new 184-acre development located next to the Marion Airport on the corner of Highways 13 and 151. The grant will cover 50% of the cost of extending Partners Avenue from 62nd Street into the new industrial park.
Corridor, we must be able to offer affordable shovel-ready sites. The Marion Enterprise Center will provide needed industrial development ground in the Corridor.” The project is being developed by MEDCO in partnership with Priority One, the city of Marion, landowners and financial institutions as part of an overall effort to market all available industrial land in Marion. Eventually, the park could host an additional 2.3 million square feet of industrial and commercial buildings, bring $114 million in new assessed valuation to the city’s tax rolls, and generate $4.8 million in annual property taxes. Work on the roadway extension could begin as early as Fall 2009.
Project Update Second Diamond V Mills Plant On September 8, 2008 Diamond V broke ground on a new manufacturing facility at 60th Avenue and 26th Street SW in Cedar Rapids. The 28,000 square-foot facility will be Diamond V’s second manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids and will create 30 new jobs at an average wage of $20 per hour, as well as retain 38 existing positions. Diamond V plans to have the plant fully operational later this month.
Marion Economic Development Co. (MEDCO) Chairman Dave Martin said that the City of Marion and MEDCO established the MEC to serve as a relocation site for businesses in the Brownfield area of Marion, as well as to develop affordable, shovel-ready industrial ground in the city. “Businesses located in the Brownfield area have served Marion well for many years, and we want them to stay in Marion for many more years. The development of the MEC will enable those businesses to more easily relocate out of the central corridor where they can expand operations, hire additional employees and become more profitable,” Martin said. Martin extended his thanks to Allen Merta, vice president of financial and administrative programs at Priority One, who submitted and presented the RISE Grant application on behalf of Marion and MEDCO. Merta explained to the DOT commissioners the impact the grant would have on Marion and the Corridor region. “There is a shortage of affordable, shovelready industrial ground in the Cedar Rapids Metro area. If we want to keep existing businesses and attract new business to the
Diamond V Mills, May 1, 2009 Wind Energy continued
Prior to the conference, Priority One, in partnership with IDED, MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy and the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD), hosted 40 individuals from 25 Danish wind energy companies for a day long event in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Technology Corridor. The agenda included tours of both Acciona and Clipper WindPower, dinner and presentations by IDED, the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, Priority One and ICAD. All 25 companies were exhibitors at Windpower 2009 in Chicago and made a special stop in our region to learn more about wind energy growth and potential opportunities in the Corridor.
Priorities Workforce Update CorridorCareers.com Expands Online Network In just the past few months, CorridorCareers.com has rapidly expanded its online presence. With 141 members on LinkedIn, 182 followers on Twitter and 100 friends on Facebook, the network of job seekers, hiring managers and professionals continues to grow. Richard Moffitt, account executive at StratosFour Inc, agrees with the CorridorCareers.com online strategy. “Companies today need to spend a significant amount of time looking into recruiting via social networking,” he said. “53% of social networking users are college graduates and 83% of high school and college students are plugged into one or more social networks. Corporate recruiters need to find ways to reach these demographics, and embracing social networking like Faceboook and LinkedIn are an easy introduction and inexpensive marketing tool.” In addition to connecting with the next generation of job seekers, the online network has allowed Priority One to assist area businesses with their workforce needs. This past February, John Schnipkoweit, Chief Technology Officer at Ovation Networks Inc., began ‘tweeting’ about his difficulties recruiting talent to the Cedar Rapids area. **How does a biz in CR compete for a candidate that has an offer from Google in Mt View,CA? loosing battle at this point, unfortunately** **What a day:I’m 0 out of 2 for attracting talent to Cedar Rapids - difficult to hear: they liked the opp, but they liked other locales better** Priority One staff reached out to see if there was an opportunity to assist the company with their recruiting efforts. After discussing the various resources available, Schnipkoweit sent a copy of Priority One’s Pick Your Pace Packet overnight to a prospect in North Carolina. The candidate accepted the position the next morning, giving Schnipkoweit something much better to ‘tweet’ about. ** Had a great day, thanks to Kari L from Priority1. Great Stuff! Successfully hired a software engineer from NC to move to Cedar Rapids!**
When asked to expand upon his experience, Schnipkoweit explained,“Social networking sites are important tools, and while Twitter is a great way to find and network with new people, it doesn’t replace other forms of communication. I explain the social networking world to people like this: Facebook is for your friends, LinkedIn is for your professional associates, and Twitter is the best place to reach out to ‘none of the above’ or ‘all of the above’. In this case, I vented a frustration on Twitter, unintentionally initiating a conversation that went from Twitter, to email, and then to a coffee meeting. Kari and Priority One really impressed me because they promptly reacted and it required almost no effort on my part. Without Priority One, we could have missed out on some great talent which would have cost us thousands of dollars in lost productivity and hampered our ability to stay competitive.”
2009 Corridor Career Fair The 14th annual Corridor Career Fair was held Saturday, April 25 from 9am to 2pm in the Michael J. Gould Recreation Center on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids. The 2009 fair featured nearly 70 employers, down only slightly from last year’s 80-plus companies and a sign that the economy is still strong in the Corridor. Attendance was just over 1,100, closely in-line with last year’s attendance of nearly 1,200. Those job seekers who did attend were able to network with potential employers, have their resume critiqued by professional recruiters and attend seminars designed to enhance their career fair experience. Feedback from job seekers has been extremely positive. “This was my first career fair since being laid off and I had a great experience,” wrote one attendee. “I was able to meet many potential employers and talk with them face to face. I also had my resume critiqued and am very happy with the advice given.” Employers were equally impressed, with many compliments on the quality of applicants. “Definitely worth our time,” wrote one employer. “Great candidates and a large variety of experience levels.”
Priority One Immediate Project List The following is a list of projects Priority One is currently working on with location decisions scheduled to be made within six months: Number of Jobs Companies BioProcessing/Food Ingredient 1 60 Food Processing 1 60 Advanced Manufacturing 10 1,153 Assembly 2 130 TOTAL: 14 1,403 Existing Businesses Assisted Advanced Manufacturing 7 430 Logistics/Distribution 3 180 Service 1 100 Food Processing 1 20 BioProcessing/Food Ingredient 1 0 TOTAL: 13 730 GRAND TOTAL: 27 2,133 New Businesses
Average Wage $15.00 $16.00 $22.32 $13.23 $20.57 $18.23 $17.58 $16.00 16.87 N/A $17.73 $19.60
Total Capital Investment* $ 4,500 $ 7,250 $ 131,350 $ 3,500 $146,600 $ 27,400 $ 41,000 $ 4,500 $ 20,000 N/A $ 92,900 $239,500
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*dollars in thousands
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