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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

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Volume 5 ● No. 9

BUSINESS MONTHLY COLUMNS Page 5

Jim Offner Information technology vital to Cedar Valley economy.

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University of Northern Iowa Opportunities exist to get plugged in to technology.

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Hawkeye Community College Using technology professionally a must in any industry.

BUSINESS MONTHLY STAFF DIRECTORY EDITORIAL CONTENT Nancy Raffensperger Newhoff nancy.newhoff@wcfcourier.com (319) 291-1445

ADVERTISING David Braton davidbraton@wcfcourier.com (319) 291-1500

Jim Offner jim.offner@wcfcourier.com (319) 291-1598

Jackie Nowparvar jackie.nowparvar@wcfcourier.com (319) 291-1527 Sheila Kerns sheila.kerns@wcfcourier.com (319) 291-1448

Cedar Valley Business Monthly is published monthly. It is a free publication direct-mailed to more than 6,500 area businesses. For distribution, call Courier Communications at (319) 291-1527 Contact Cedar Valley Business Monthly at P.O. Box 540, Waterloo, IA 50704.

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Jill Murray talks about different types of websites and blogs during an IT class for employees at PFGBest in Cedar Falls.

This is IT

PFGBest an information technology innovator By JIM OFFNER

BUSINESS MONTHLY ON THE COVER DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer

Russ Wasendorf Jr., front, poses in the server room at PFGBest in Cedar Falls with IT technicians, from left, Ryan Weekly, Greg Engelkes, Jon Harbaugh, Jill Murray and Eric Canakes.

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

CEDAR FALLS — Russ Wasendorf Jr. says “IT” might as well be part of the jumble of letters in the PFGBest nomenclature. The Cedar Falls-based financial services company has grown on its ability to develop fast, secure and reliable information platforms in the competitive field of commodity futures trading, said Wasendorf, president and chief operating officer. PFGBest specializes in electronic trading, futures, foreign

exchange, options, managed accounts and precious metals. It also stakes a claim as a leader in research and investor education and offers numerous free webinars each week attended by hundreds of people wishing to enhance their knowledge and skills in trading, charting, trading psychology and many other areas, Wasendorf said. The company’s IT expertise has fueled that growth, and it is nurturing that expertise both internally and externally, through education, Wasendorf said.

“We originally started off as a company that focused on creating a trading platform and were the first firm to offer global access, in 1998,” he said.

IT specialist leads efforts The company brought on Liam Boyle as its New York-based chief information officer to pilot development of that platform. “We continued to build around him in that time, and he became the brains behind that operation,” Wasendorf said.

See PFGBEST, page 4


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PFGBEST From page 3 IT has transformed the company, Wasendorf added. “We started being a brokerage firm and started dabbling in IT, and now we’re more an IT company dabbling in brokerage business,” he said. The company’s evolution accelerated as it moved its headquarters from Chicago to Cedar Falls and moved into its new $18 million building on the edge of town. It has been able to recruit plenty of qualified talent to build the IT infrastructure, Boyle said. “As the company evolved, we always had a footprint in Iowa, but we started building the IT team in Iowa,” Boyle said. “When Russ (Wasendorf Sr.) and Russ (Wasendorf Jr.) decided to move to Iowa, we found a lot of great people. The resource pull is gigantic. In Iowa, the pool was much smaller, so the decision

CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

was made that we need to cultivate people and invest in people to get them to be where we need them to be.” The company launched a scholarship program with Hawkeye Community College and is working to develop similar programs at the University of Northern Iowa, Wartburg College and Kaplan University to develop IT talent for the future, Boyle added. Two scholarships a year are awarded to Hawkeye students. The company pays tuition and book fees as well. In addition, the company offers paid internships. “So, it was a pretty big investment. That’s why we focused on two or three students per year,” Wasendorf said.

Professional development The professional-development opportunities also apply to current employees. “We wanted more web development talent and saw a lot of value in that area,” he said. “We realized with the massive pool of

talent already here, if given the opportunity to take courses such as web development, they may find they’re actually very good at it,” Wasendorf said. The program was to start with a simple spreadsheet course. “With that, you learn the basic concepts of a database and programming,” Wasendorf said. “It gives the groundwork to see what people we want to advance on.” The company recruited Jill Murray, an adjunct professor at UNI and Hawkeye. “Jill was a great instructor and turned out to be a great resource, so we offered her a job to come on full time and develop our IT training course internally. It wasn’t meant to be just internal; it was meant to be internal and external. We thought it would be good to start cherry-picking some great talent locally and use them as a basis for growing a large robust IT department,” Wasendorf said. Boyle said it’s simply a matter of investing what PFG considers its

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top resources — its employees. PFG’s physical plant is a model of IT efficiency, Boyle added. “There was a real investment put in to put that building where it is and make sure it can handle the type of data we handle as a financial firm,” he said.

New offices fit plan Extensive planning put the new headquarters building on a plane with any of the most advanced operations in the world, Boyle said. “Large investments were made in redundant connections not just for power but communications,” he said. “We had to work with (Cedar Falls Utilities) and other providers to actually pull out our own fiber lines from multiple locations. We have dedicated fiber lines PFG had invested in and had installed to our building and to Team Technology and back to CFU. There was a tremendous cost to that infrastructure, but it is strong enough to sustain the business model we built.”

AUGUST 2011 PFG’s new facilities, which include a secure data center with layers of redundant protection, were designed to keep up with the advances in IT. “The Internet technology continues to improve; speed continues to improve; software continues to improve,” he said. “That’s how we can make these offices work much more efficiently. It gives us the ability to operate here as if we were anywhere in the world,” Wasendorf said. There’s a “war room” for video conferences as well. “The theory is we can have a meeting at any time or place with anybody in our offices and it will feel like they’re in the same spot,” he said. “We can take advantage of our location in Iowa and have the advantages of being able to access the different benefits we have from places like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. We’re able to tap into resources and pull the best from the world and give our employees the ability to be where they want to be.”

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Information technology central to local economy PFGBest, the subject of the cover story in this issue of Cedar Valley Business Monthly, has an intriguing story to tell. Just glance around the innards of the company’s state-of-the-art building in rural Jim Offner Cedar Falls and is the Courier you’ll get a sense business editor. of security that Contact him at Fort Knox might jim.offner@ strive to emulate wcfcourier.com. The data-center room in the bowels of the PFGBest building resembles one of those doomsday rooms from a classic sci-fi film. A stack of servers eight feet high and 10 feet wide is housed in a vault-like concrete room built to withstand the worst of nature’s fury. Multiple layers of secure connections with built-in redundancies communicate constantly with PFG IT officials; if anything goes wrong, they instantly know. More about PFGBest’s information technology expertise can be found in the story on page 3. This article is more about IT in general and the increasing role it is playing in the Cedar Valley. Information technology is about keeping precious financial, medical and other irreplaceable data secure. That’s how some Cedar Valley IT specialists are making their businesses hum. IT expertise often flies under the radar, but it generally comes to the fore in the wake of natural

disasters, as in the flood of 2008 when Cedar Falls-based Team Technologies, for example, sprang its own data-management and security capabilities into action to help clients like Iowa Health System and Cedar Falls Utilitities protect crucial data. Barmuda Cos. also was able to save its most sensitive data even though the floods washed away the company’s old headquarters building and forced it to move into a new $4 million facility in the Cedar Falls Technology Park. IT-focused companies such as Team, and other Cedar Falls companies like T8 Webware, excel in their capacity as planning specialists, and there are more companies like that springing up in the Cedar Valley each year. Their constituencies may differ, but their data-centric missions share common goals. The leaders in the IT community seem eager to share insights with colleagues. Once a month, some of the brightest tech minds get together to talk about the latest developments and future potential, both on the business and technical sides, at informal “Tech Brew” meetings at local coffee shops. As much a part of the local economy manufacturing and financial services are, look for information technology to continue to take a prominent spot in Cedar Valley business. In a world that spins on information, IT expertise is the fuel of that activity, and the Cedar Valley is in the middle of that evolution.

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Getting plugged into technology The stickiness of summer is here, and that usually ushers in a slowdown for many in business. However, the local IT scene stays active. There are several things going on in the Cedar Valley tech Dan Beenken industry. The Technolis manager of the UNI Innovation ogy Association of Incubator. Contact Iowa has brought him at 273-4322 its Tech Brew or dan.beenken@ event to the Cedar uni.edu. Valley. It meets on the first Thursday each month after work at the Voodoo Lounge in Cedar Falls. You can learn more at www. technologyiowa.org/en/events_ services/techbrew. It is a great outlet to get tech-minded people together to network and cover just about anything tech-related. Even if you don’t work for a technology firm, there may be ways technology can enhance what you are doing. The Tech Brew crowd is a great group to bounce those ideas off of. There are other groups meeting around the area in specific areas of technology as well. There is a .NET users group that meets the first Tuesday of the month. Its focus is on education around .NET related technologies such as ASP.NET, VB.NET, SharePoint, SQL Server and others.

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You can get more information at www.cvineta.org. For something more general, Wade Arnold of T8 Webware has organized Tech Talk Cedar Valley. It’s a group of “geeks,” as Arnold describes them, that meet every quarter to talk about various techrelated topics and network for a couple hours. For more information on Tech Talk check out its Meet Up page at www.meetup. com/tech-talk-Cedar-Valley. There is also a great technology scene building momentum at the University of Northern Iowa at the Innovation Incubator. There are several technology-based firms in operation that continue to generate new ideas all the time. If you have an idea for a startup, come over and talk about ways the incubator can help you accelerate your growth and reduce your risks. In addition to the incubation program, the university is also launching a co-work option for those looking for a space to work on a part-time basis. Think of co-working as a spot to work without the distractions of home or the coffee prices of Starbucks. There are already have a few members on board working on various startup businesses. The Innovation Incubator is a part of business and community services, a division of the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa.

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Cigarette break goes up in smoke “The only kinds of discrimination that are illegal are the kinds speciďŹ ed in a statute — e.g., discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, religion, Q. My company moved to a national origin, sexual orientanew facility three years ago and tion, etc.,â€? said employment implemented a new smoking lawyer Richard Kass, a partner policy that prohibits the staff at Bond, Schoeneck & King in from taking smoking breaks Manhattan. “Other kinds of during business hours, except during our lunch hour. In the old favoritism may be poor management, but they’re not against building, we could all go out to the law. There is no law that says smoke as we pleased. Some of the staff disregards the that bosses have to be fair.â€? In fact, you may have unwitpolicy and sneaks out to smoke. tingly prompted the manager’s It’s a known fact this happens; unwanted attention. even the office manager knows “A manager is permitted to it. I’ve personally seen her watch discriminate against employees some of these employees go outside and smoke, and it wasn’t who spend their working time during their lunch hour. She has watching the manager to see if the manager knows that other done nothing to those people. employees are taking smoking But she saw me and decided to breaks,â€? he said. blab to upper management. To It’s important to note that my knowledge, I am the only aside from meal breaks, employperson who ever been written ers don’t have to grant any other up for taking an unauthorized breaks.â€? smoking break. Isn’t this disCarrie Mason-Draffen is a crimination? Can she legally columnist for Newsday and the enforce the policy so unevenly? author of “151 Quick Ideas to Deal With Difficult People.â€? Readers A. The manager’s action may indeed be discriminatory but not may send her email at carrie. draffen@newsday.com. necessarily illegal.

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See DiMARCO, page 9

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of time and resources. If these members of the “greatest generation” are willing and able to adapt to new technologies, just think what the boomers and other generations to come will be willing and able to do. Last year in this publication, I wrote about “exponential change” and how things have changed rapidly, and how we as business professionals need to embrace the changes and find ways to adapt to them. This was brought home clearly to me when I was sitting at breakfast that day. If that group of people (who could have easily adopted the attitude that they have experienced all that life has to offer) decides to stay mentally active and embrace new ideas, it should send a message to all of us that we must not continue to do things the way we always have. To survive we must change.

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My wife and I were recently at breakfast with both sets of our parents. Even though they live in the same town, because of their age they don’t get to see each other too often. We thought it would be nice for them to have some time together. As we Paul DiMarco sat eating, they is operations caught up with manager with each other. EvenVGM Forbin in tually the main Waterloo. Contact him at 274-7979 topic of converor pauld@forbin. sation turned to Facebook and com. how they each use it. I had to chuckle. Here were four people — ages 94, 93, 93 and 88 — talking about various things to do on Facebook and how they use it. I pity the business owner or marketing professional who thinks social media marketing is a waste

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DiMARCO From page 8 Most of us by now have heard the term “social media.” Many of us understand it has something to do with Facebook and Twitter. While that’s a start, it is a very basic definition. What about the concept of social media marketing? How can we use social media marketing if we don’t know all there is to know about social media? Simple — don’t try to know “all there is to know” about social media. From a marketing standpoint, set a plan and follow it — with the exception that you will implement social media tools as tactics in the process. Don’t feel that you have to utilize all the social media tools available — pick one and use it and learn from it. When you get comfortable with the activity and results, add another service to the process. The main thing to understand about social media marketing is that it is not a “set-it-andforget-it” process. It is not like placing an ad in the newspaper, or setting a radio or TV advertising schedule to run. Social media marketing needs to be “social.” You need to use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, videos — each where appropriate — to get bits of your message and branding out to multiple segments of the marketplace constantly. Each of these tactics allows for instant

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

feedback that is extremely valuable to you as a business owner. As a business, your “brand” is not what you want to tell clients it is, but rather what your clients tell you. They will do it with posts and comments on all the platforms listed above. If you are not active in the social environment, you will miss out on what is being said and how you can react. This may sound daunting — a whole new set of processes and tactics to learn. Who said succeeding in business was easy? If you haven’t implemented some form of social media marketing in your marketing mix within the past year and your competitor has, you have cause for concern. I’m not implying that your competitor will automatically succeed just because they have started the process, but they have a better chance of influencing the market because they are engaged in the process. Nobody hits the ball without swinging the bat. If you’re not in the social media marketing game it’s time to step up to the plate. While it takes time and resources to implement these tactics, there are a growing number of business that offer these types of services. When I go home and see a 93year-old couple interacting with and being influenced every day by technology like Facebook, I see potential for all of us. Hopefully, you will embrace that potential and take steps with your business to start implementing a social media marketing plan into your business.

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AUGUST 2011

Jump-start your student’s post-graduation ďŹ nances That ceremonial toss of the mortarboard at graduation means your child has officially entered the next phase of his or her financial life. Chances are that up to this point you’ve played a key Larry K. Fox role in his or is senior ďŹ nancial her financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial well-being. But Inc., Waterloo. don’t bow out Contact him just yet. You at 234-7000. can still help get your graduate on the road to ďŹ nancial independence with these suggestions. Encourage organization — Balancing a checkbook regularly and setting up a simple ďŹ ling system for important papers is a must. Good organization helps to track

expenses and establishes a paper trail should it be needed later. Teach tips for tracking expenses. Allocating income to spending categories can help your young adult avoid debt, plan for expenses and provide more money for enjoyment. By establishing a timeframe and tracking spending, your child can decide which expenses are unnecessary and which ones need to be worked into a regular budget. Support goal-setting — Perhaps your graduate wishes to save for a new car or a ďŹ rst home. As you have already learned, knowing what you want to accomplish with your money is an important ďŹ rst step in reaching goals. It’s not too early to introduce your children to your ďŹ nancial adviser and others in your life who have helped you reach your own goals. Tout the virtues of an emergency fund — Once they’ve landed a

job, it makes smart ďŹ nancial sense to set aside an emergency reserve of three to six months living expenses. They may not see a high rate of return on the conservative investments appropriate for a reserve fund, but job loss, disability and medical bills happen at any age, so it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. Encourage saving before spending — After they’ve paid the bills and had lots of fun is the wrong time to think about saving money. A foolproof way to make sure young adults pay themselves ďŹ rst is to save a certain amount from each paycheck. This can be done effortlessly through an automatic payroll deduction or an automatic investment program in a mutual fund account. Explain the beneďŹ ts of early retirement savings — Retirement is probably the last thing on a recent graduate’s mind, espe-

cially in today’s job market. However, once on the job, saving for retirement early makes sense, especially with looming Social Security reform. Early starters have several advantages over those who wait until their 30s or 40s to begin. Not only will investments compound, but they will also grow tax-deferred. By delaying taxes on 401(k) earnings, even modest investments can grow to respectable sums by retirement. Add the beneďŹ t of possible employer matches to these contributions, and a qualiďŹ ed plan is hard to beat. Outside of an employer’s plan, investments can also be made in traditional or Roth IRAs. Traditional IRA contributions may be federal income tax deductible if income requirements are met. They also offer tax-deferred growth until distributions are

taken after age 59½. Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but withdrawals may be tax-free in retirement if certain conditions are met. Encourage debt management — Once that ďŹ rst job is landed, the lure of material items will be strong. Hopefully you can inuence your kids to save for what they want and avoid racking up debt. Delayed gratiďŹ cation is a discipline they should learn to value as their ďŹ nances take shape. Teach the beneďŹ t of time — The world is before recent graduates and a long time horizon may be their greatest asset. That means they can grow their investments without having to worry about short-term volatility. By getting started now, young adults can enjoy ďŹ nancial security in the future — and still have some fun along the way.

Creative Culture Clients Nationwide Collaborative Workspace These are just a few of the reasons why working at T8 Webware is great. We have a flexible working style, we enjoy what we do and we manage to have fun in the process. If you like sharing, challenging yourself in new areas and developing skills, find out if creating solutions at T8 Webware could fit into your life. We are always seeking exceptional talent in:

Sales Web Designers & Developers Programmers DBA System Administrators To find out more visit www.t8webware.com or send your resume to futurestar@t8webware.com 7:HEZDUHLVDVWUDWHJLF:HEGHYHORSPHQWPDQDJHPHQWDQGKRVWLQJÄşUPWKDWFDWHUVVSHFLÄşFDOO\WRÄşQDQFLDOLQVWLWXWLRQV 7:HEZDUHpVSKLORVRSK\LVWRKHOSÄşQDQFLDOLQVWLWXWLRQVOHYHUDJHWKHLUPRVWSRZHUIXOPDUNHWLQJWRROWKHLU:HEVLWHWRGULYH QHZEXVLQHVVDQGEXLOGDQRQOLQHPDUNHWLQJSUHVHQFH WO-072911032


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Community banks offer the latest money-managing technology In listing the areas of one’s life that have been impacted by technology over the past decade, banking and financial services may be toward the top. Just 10 years ago, online banking was still fairly new and a trip or call to the bank was Mike McCrary often required is first vice president/ for even roumarketing director tine banking at Lincoln Savings transactions. Bank/LSB Financial in Waterloo. Contact Writing a check him at 433-3777 or was the promimikem@mylsb.com. nent payment method for retail purchases and paying bills. Today, it is unthinkable that a bank of any size wouldn’t offer basic online services. It’s also likely that trips or calls to the bank have become

less frequent, replaced by online services and ATM visits. The use of debit cards and online bill payment has significantly reduced the volume of checks being processed in the U.S. Behind the scenes, online banking and check processing have come a long way. Services available online often parallel the transactions that can be conducted at a bank branch. Checks once cleared by mail and courier, the original check being passed from customer to merchant, through the Federal Reserve System, to the originating bank and ultimately back to the customer. Today all of this is done electronically. As much as the past 10 years have been witness to change, the next 10 will see that increase exponentially. The ubiquity of mobile devices that scan, store and transmit information has the potential of changing the pay-

ments landscape. Burgeoning updates in budgeting and financial management tools promise a bright future for those who have benefited from tracking their financial lives digitally. Within the next few months and years, more banks will adopt mobile banking platforms and enhanced online functionality. While these offerings have been available from larger institutions for a while, technology providers have recently made them more accessible to community banks. One online enhancement, Personal Financial Management, encompasses a host of features to help individuals view, categorize and manage financial resources online. Although a few independent providers offer robust PFM solutions, PFM functionality has had a difficult time capturing popular attention. This is likely because PFM providers are often not banks, requiring

users to share sensitive financial information with an unknown entity. They also become a chore to maintain because users must manage another logon outside of the banking relationship. As smaller banks start to offer PFM and other enhancements as part of their online suite of tools, the consumer will be the winner. With so much banking and financial management taking place online and via mobile devices, the question of security is valid. That too has improved. Where once a username and password gave one full access to finances online, today dual-factor authentication is commonplace. DFA is essentially another hoop through which someone with malicious intent would have to jump through in order to access your sensitive information. The most secure form of DFA would require the use of a “token” or physical device that

cannot be duplicated or known by anybody else. Users would enter their password, and then a number presented digitally on their mobile phone. Another step for the honest end-user to be sure, but a small one to ensure the security of their finances. Going digital with one’s finances can offer a great deal of security and convenience. Bills can be paid in minutes, accounts can be reconciled simply and easily, and goals can be set and tracked. Individuals who embrace technology to manage their financial lives will benefit greatly from upcoming innovation offered by community banks. They can enjoy the rich set of functionality and convenience while still using a local bank that invests in and supports the community. Look for a great deal of change in the coming months and years, and look for a lot more from our local banks.

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Electronic portfolios: A useful tool in today’s job market During the hiring process, employers may encounter an applicant with an electronic portfolio. An ePortfolio is a digital archive of items (audio/ video clips, text, graphics or examples Marilyn Drury of work) that is director of showcases a educational person’s work. technology at the ePortfolios have University of Northern been used since Iowa. Contact her the early 1990s, at 273-6268 or evolving from marilyn.drury@uni. p a p e r- b a s e d edu. portfolios, and are frequently used by candidates seeking positions in a variety of fields. Many pre-K through 12 schools and higher education institutions use ePortfolios to

create opportunities to learn and reflect on their work. Once students begin using ePortfolios, they often continue use throughout their lives. The 2010 Campus Computing Survey annually reports data on trends related to the use of information technology in private and public higher education. One of the metrics reported last year was the use of ePortfolios on campuses. Close to 50 percent of four-year institutions responding to the survey offer ePortfolio services to faculty, staff and students. Approximately 30 percent of community colleges offer such services. Over the last eight years, the percentage of institutions offering ePortfolios has increased dramatically. The use at public four-year institutions increased from approximately 22 percent to 50 percent.

Job applicants often provide an employer access to an ePortfolio for a certain time period. A person sees information the owner designates for a particular viewer. Potential employers would find items such as a resume, videos, presentation skills, leadership examples, past work history and more. Candidates can add details such as rationale for why they included certain items, their professional growth, philosophical views on certain topics and challenges they have experienced in their work. Another benefit of an ePortfolio is that it allows peers, teachers and faculty to provide feedback on the portfolio owner’s work. This provides candidates with insights on improving their work in the ePortfolio. Use of an ePortfolio system is secure — meaning a person’s

ePortfolio can’t be viewed by the world, only by those who the owner allows to view the ePortfolio. This is extremely important due to the personal information often contained in an ePortfolio. An ePortfolio can be easily updated as the owner gains greater career experience. Many

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AUGUST 2011

CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

Social media help break through gender barriers Newsday

MELVILLE, N.Y. — As a woman in a male-oriented business, Lindsay M. Heller says she knows what it’s like to be mistaken for a cashier “simply because of my sex.â€? Still, Heller, general manager at J Barbera Tobacconist in Garden City, points to a resource she says has helped her break the gender barrier — social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have helped her establish her personal brand and “assert myself globally in the tobacco industry,â€? where she serves on executive advisory boards and speaks at major events. Indeed, a new report from LinkedIn, with more than 100 million members, says that women in some nontraditional ďŹ elds are particularly well-connected, more so than their male counterparts, with the same true for men in some female-dominated industries. This is based

on a networking “savvinessâ€? formula that considers the ratio of the number of men’s to women’s connections on LinkedIn, and the ratio of men to women in given ďŹ elds. So in an industry where 45 percent of proďŹ les are women’s, but women have 70 percent of the connections, women would be considered the savvier networkers. In industries dominated by one sex, the “minority sexâ€? may just be networking harder to break in, say the LinkedIn data crunchers. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of “The Twitter Job Search Guide,â€? says that social media “can be a huge barrier buster.â€? Engaging and sharing know-how can demonstrate professional chops and “really bring down the walls,â€? she said. The “magic numberâ€? of connections on the site is 50, which shows you have a solid professional network, said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s connection director. The next tier to shoot for — 500, she said.

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AUGUST 2011

UIU creates resource to promote Upper Iowa Corridor By MONICA BAYER-HEATON

Upper Iowa University has established a resource for businesses along Iowa Highway 150 from Oelwein to West Union. The Upper Iowa Corridor project is designed to help “brand” the corridor as a place for business and leisure, according to Andrew Wenthe, UIU vice president for external affairs. “We have more resources available along this portion of Highway 150 than most people realize,” Wenthe said. “We have a variety of restaurants, gift shops, and other small businesses as well as excellent recreational resources, including the Volga River. We have an outstanding quality of life to share.” The Upper Iowa Corridor project, which was established by UIU in partnership with area chambers of commerce and other organizations, helps expand the e-resources and ecommerce capabilities for business in the area. It can provide free web placement to showcase regional businesses, consultation on marketing and seminars on entrepreneurship, business plans, website creation and development, tax issues and accounting practices. The Upper Iowa Corridor project creates an electronic hub that links all businesses from Oelwein to West Union through a single website (www.upperiowacorridor.org). In addition to provid-

ing information about regional businesses, the website also lists resources available to businesses, job openings, and provides information about the UIU E-Center, which provides access to grant opportunities, e-learning and seminars, and e-marketing services. Wenthe noted that several of the e-marketing services — such as website design and security — are offered through an E-Center-sponsored, student-run organization known as Heartlanding. “We believe that businesses need to expand their footprint electronically to survive in rural areas,” Wenthe added. “UIU wants to be a resource to small businesses, helping them to expand markets and increase their exposure. The website will continue to evolve as a resource to recruit people and businesses to the region and support those we already have.” Wenthe said creating the Upper Iowa Corridor resources is an outgrowth of the University’s commitment to economic development of the region. The university addresses the importance of initiating and supporting eco-

nomic development efforts as part of the UIU strategic plan and has followed through by collaborating on creation of the city of Fayette downtown master plan, construction of additional single-family housing in the community and establishing new businesses in Fayette through the Upper Iowa Business Development grant. The UIBD grant was created through an endowment of $500,000, donated by Bob and Betty Firth, longtime benefactors of the university and members of the UIU board of trustees. The program offers an annual grant of up to $40,000 to entrepreneurs interested in starting, expanding or relocating a business in Fayette. Individuals applying for the UIBD grant will be evaluated on criteria ranging from the expected impact on the community in terms of job creation and local tax revenue, the e-commerce opportunities present in the applicants’ business plan, and whether or not the business will provide a measurable benefit or amenity to the community. Since the grant program began

in 2008, three businesses have been added to Fayette’s Main Street — Fayette Flooring, S.K. Rogers Funeral Chapel and Victories Restaurant & Sports Lounge. These three businesses combined have created over 30 jobs and $250,000 in new retail sales.

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AUGUST 2011

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

Money only one facet of retirement scenario “Do I have enough to retire?â€? This is a common question we tend to think about when we begin to seriously consider retirement. This question can often lead to fear and selfdoubt as we wonder if our nest egg will Erica Feldick be “enoughâ€? to is a ďŹ nancial adviser fund our retirewith Jacobson ment. We get Financial Services in so wrapped up Cedar Falls. Contact in the finanher at 266-2445. cial aspects of retirement that we neglect to see the big picture. In his book, “The New Retirementality,â€? author Mitch Anthony writes, “Retirement is a life event, not an economic event. We need to develop a more holistic approach that integrates ‌ individual’s aspirations, life stage, familial responsibilities, health issues and concerns about money ‌ In the wheel of

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Startup businesses come together at UNI incubator By JOHN MOLSEED john.molseed@wcfcourier.com

CEDAR FALLS — Two startup businesses that shared a similar business plan now share an office and company name. Two fledgling businesses merged at the University of Northern Iowa Innovation Incubator to form Target Click Marketing Solutions. The company offers online marketing expertise to help businesses promote themselves through paid searches, search engine placement and social media. “Since we’ve merged, we’ve become much more confident,” said Greg Jass, co-owner of Target Click. Jass founded SEO Solutions last August. Doug Drees founded Target Click in January 2010 shortly after moving back to the area from Denver, Colo. Drees, a 2007 graduate of the University of Denver, moved his business into the UNI incubator in March. The incubator gives startup businesses office space, a phone number and address — and accounting assistance — to help new companies get off the ground.

FELDICK From page 15 A common assumption: Retirement means quitting work cold turkey. If you love your job, you may want to consider working in retirement. If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, retirement might be the time to start one. If you are nearing retirement, Anthony suggests considering the following questions before delving into the financial mechanics: ■ What would the ideal week in your retirement life look like? How will you invest your time? ■ What are you most looking forward to when you are retired?

Jass, a May UNI graduate, said the incubator has provided more than infrastructure for the startup. It’s a place where like-minded entrepreneurs come together. “We motivate each other,” he said. When Jass and business partner Therese Kuster gave a presentation about their business to other incubator business owners, Drees decided to approach him and bring the two endeavors together. “We realized we were both pretty young companies, and we were both on the verge of something special,” Drees said. Marketing companies that focus on online marketing strategies are relatively new. The three said they foresee a boom. “Websites used to be a brochure,” Kuster said. “Now, everything has to be interactive. If it’s one-sided, you’re in trouble.” Kuster, who plans to graduate from UNI in May 2012, focuses on social media marketing strategies. Drees works on paid search and e-commerce plans, while Jass works on search engine optimization. Kuster said she isn’t much of a risk taker but added she got advice from her father to take the ■ What will you miss most about the job you have today? ■ How do you plan to change your lifestyle when you retire? ■ What are your biggest fears about your retirement? ■ What are the top five to 10 things you want to do while you still can? ■ A financial adviser you trust can be a great sounding board as you go through the process of discovering what it is you’d like your retirement to look like. It’s okay if it isn’t conventional. Your advisor can lead you through the discovery process and into the financial details, until you have arrived at a realistic set of goals and assumptions. Together, you can use what you’ve learned to make retirement decisions that are best for you and your family.

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Doug Drees, left, Therese Kuster, center, and Greg Jass have combined forces to create Target Click, an online marketing company. opportunity while she is young. However, she doesn’t see the business as risky. “Opportunities arose and we took them little by little,” she

said. “We’ve been too busy to be scared.” The three said terms like search engine optimization will go from obscure buzz phrases to an essen-

tial tool in every business plan. Gone are the days of businesses jockeying for first-display status in phone books by tacking extra a’s to the front of their names. Search engine optimization helps businesses appear in a prominent position in online searches relevant to their services. Businesses can use online social media to have their clients and customers help market for them. It also allows clients and customers to give businesses instant feedback. Although businesses are realizing they need to employ these strategies, few companies focus on those specific marketing strategies, Jass said. Target Click has 10 active clients and 20 projects in their portfolio, Drees said. “To get in the game this early is really exciting,” Drees said.

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Using technology professionally a must in any industry When we think about information technology, computer science and high-tech skills, we often think of careers in business, finance, graphic design and marketing. But manufacturing careers demand hightech skills, too. Advanced manufacturing represents the Brittany economic base of Jungck our community. is advanced Thousands of jobs manufacturing and millions of coordinator with Hawkeye dollars in tax reveCommunity nue are created by College in these companies. Waterloo. Contact And technology her at 296-2329. is just as much a part of manufacturing as any other industry. Students who pursue this career pathway often sideline their computer skills in favor of more time in the shop honing their trade. That choice may damage some applicants’ employability. Last month I moderated a panel of human resource professionals from manufacturing firms

based all over Iowa. When asked the No. 1 reason job-seekers are turned away, nearly all replied that few resumes and applications are completed correctly. More than 50 percent of area manufacturers have online applications. They expect participants to be able to spell, use proper capitalization and demonstrate proper grammar. They expect job-seekers to write complete sentences. They expect professionalism. As applicants make their way through the screening process, technology can throw another hurdle in the hiring process, including issues with cell phone protocol. Many employers issue smartphones to employees so they can track emails and appointments. However, cell phones must be used professionally both while employed and when seeking a job. An unprofessional applicant can leave the employer wondering what else the applicant doesn’t know. With more than 300 million cell phone users in the U.S., inconsiderate cell phone habits and forgetting to turn off the cell phone during

an interview can cost you a job. Several HR professionals have commented to me that they will call an applicant to schedule a potential interview, only to be confronted with screaming music in their ear the second their finger swiped the last number. Callback recordings can kill employability. No potential employer wants to hear music instead of a ring. Yet, it is far more common than people think. Professionalism is also disappearing from voicemail greetings. “Yo, this is B---, call me back or don’t. I probably don’t care.” This is an actual message I received when calling to schedule scholarship interviews with potential candidates. It is also what many employers are hearing from people of all ages when they dial those digits on the resume.

In the end, a person’s application can be a gorgeous piece of artwork, but the phone call can cancel it all out. Finally, email. Know how to send a professional email. In this high-tech world, many resumes are submitted via email. Employers expect correspondence to be written professionally. Signatures should not include random quotes. And the email addresses themselves should be a name — simply a name — not a nickname or a humorous title. Job-seekers think they understand technology in this hightech world— and they might — but many do not understand how to marry professionalism with technology appropriately. Others do not understand that technology plays a part in all industries. Excel spreadsheets appear more

often on a machining floor than people realize, and many internal forms for area companies have been made web-based for easy access. The best way to combat these annoyances in this high-tech working universe is to teach job applicants, young and experienced, to be professional at all times no matter what the medium of communication. Using email does not grant a license to throw the need for good communication out the window. With unemployment at record-high levels the importance of professionalism in the workplace is more important than ever. Our society has become fast-paced and casual, but professionalism remains the key to success and advancement in all careers.

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PAGE 18

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New Teacher's Breakfasts

Waterloo New Teacher's Breakfast Monday, August 1, 2011 7:30am-8:45am

Cedar Falls New Teacher's Breakfast Thursday, August 11, 2011 7:30am-9:00am

Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center 205 West 4th Street,Waterloo

Prairie Lakes Church 1907 Viking Road,Waterloo Premier Sponsor

This annual recognition breakfast is for new teachers in the Cedar Valley. Local businesses show their support of the quality education found in the Cedar Valley and have an opportunity to welcome the new teachers to Waterloo and Cedar Falls. The District Superintendents, Alliance & Chamber representatives and business leaders will provide a brief program. Both events are attended by approximately 100 people. Please contact Amy B. Anderson with any questions regarding this year's breakfasts at 232-1156 or aanderson@cedarvalleyalliance.com -------------Gold Sponsors-------------

------------------------------Superintendent Sponsors----------------------------

--------Principal Sponsors------Courier Communications MidwestOne Bank Prairie Lakes Church Stuff, Inc. The Gregg Nicoll Agency Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Fall Golf Classic Tuesday, August 23 Pheasant Ridge Golf Course, Cedar Falls Half Day Event; $350 for a foursome; 12:30pm Shot gun Lunch is available at cost. Steak Dinner following the Classic.

Premier Sponsor

For more information please contact Kim Schleisman at 232-1156 or kschleisman@cedarvalleyalliance. com. If you are interested in being a sponsor for the 2012 Golf Classic, please contact Molly Brown at 266-3593 or mbrown@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

SAVE THE DATES

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19th Hole Sponsor

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Cedar Valley Diversity & Inclusion 1st Annual Summit

Good Morning Cedar Valley

Tuesday, Sept. 13

Friday, Sept. 23rd

Thursday, Sept. 29th

Sunnyside Country Club 7:30 am

Convenant Medical Center Time TBA

Wartburg College The "W" 7:30 -9:00 am

Cedar Valley Techbrew 1st Anniversary Celebration

Wing Ding

Total Resource Campaign Kick-off Breakfast

Thursday, Sept. 1st

Thursday, Sept. 8th

Park Place Event Center Cedar Falls 5:00 -7:00 pm

Overman Park Cedar Falls 5:00 -8:00 pm


PAGE 19

AUGUST 2011

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2011-2012 Alliance Board Officers

Hugh Field Chair Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman, & Johnson, P.C.

Kris Hansen Vice President

Tom Penaluna Treasurer

Jean Trainor Past Chair

Western Home Communities

The CBE Group, Inc.

Veridian Credit Union

Steve Dust CEO & Secretary Ex-officio Director Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Sue Hansen CFO

Sandi Sommerfelt Assistant Secretary

Greater Cedar Valley Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Alliance & Chamber

2011-2012 "New" elected Alliance Board of Directors Bob Brunkhorst Mayor of Waverly Representing Smaller Cities and Counties

Kim Fettkether

Eric Johnson

John Knox

Veridian Credit Union Representing Chamber

Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman, & Johnson, P.C. Representing Waterloo Industrial Dev.

CEO Allen Hospital Representing Healthcare

Tom LIttle Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors Representing Black Hawk County

David Stoakes Superintendent Cedar Falls School District Representing K-12 Education

Lynn Carter Bossard Representing Tourism

Existing Business Survey More than 80% of the growth of our Community is the result of existing businesses that have invested in equipment and facilities, paid taxes, and created jobs. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber understands the importance of retaining and expanding existing companies and recognizes that a healthy business climate is vital for their success. As part of the Alliance’s Existing Industry Program, Linda Laylin is sending a survey to over 250 manufacturers in the Cedar Valley. The survey helps to identify areas of assistance, i.e., identifying job training opportunities, discovering supplier linkages, and creating new intra-region business relationships. Laylin feels it is equally important that companies are aware of the programs and services available to assist with expansion plans. Survey responses in previous years have been used to address the area’s workforce issues, to improve state and local incentives, and to formulate legislative priorities for the Cedar Valley. 

ˆ›‘—ƒ”‡‹Â?–‡”‡•–‡†‹Â?’ƒ”–‹…‹’ƒ–‹Â?‰‹Â?–Š‹•Â•Â—Â”Â˜Â‡Â›ÇĄ’Ž‡ƒ•‡…‘Â?–ƒ…–‹Â?†ƒƒ›Ž‹Â?ƒ––Š‡ŽŽ‹ƒÂ?…‡ĆŹŠƒÂ?„‡”‘Ƽ…‡ƒ–͖͖͗nj͕͕͙͚‘”ŽŽƒ›Ž‹Â?̡ cedarvalleyalliance.com.


PAGE 20

AUGUST 2011

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TechWorks Designated Enterprise Zone WATERLOO, IOWA –Cedar Valley TechWorks is pleased to announce that their Campus has been designated as an Enterprise Zone by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Cary Darrah, General Manager of TechWorks, is pleased to learn of the designation, she commented “From day one TechWorks has been focused on creating an attractive environment for investment and job creation. The Enterprise Zone designation is a solid economic development tool that ™‹ŽŽ”‡‹Â?ˆ‘”…‡ƒÂ?†•—’’‘”––Šƒ–‡ƥ‘”–•—„•–ƒÂ?–‹ƒŽŽ›ǤѠԥ–‘–Š‡‹–›‘ˆƒ–‡”Ž‘‘ƒÂ?†–Š‡ ‘™ƒ‡’ƒ”–Â?‡Â?–‘ˆ…‘Â?‘Â?‹…‡˜‡Ž‘’Â?‡Â?–ˆ‘”–Š‡‹” ‡ƥ‘”––‘’—”•—‡–Š‹•ƒ’’Ž‹…ƒ–‹‘Â?Â•Â—Â…Â…Â‡Â•Â•ÂˆÂ—ÂŽÂŽÂ›Ç¤Çł Enterprise Zones are designed to stimulate development by targeting economically distressed areas in Iowa. Through state and local tax incentives, businesses and developers are encouraged to make new investments, and create or retain jobs in these areas. The goal of the program is to revitalize these areas and make them competitive with other locations throughout the state. Businesses locating or expanding in an established Enterprise Zone may be eligible to receive certain local and state tax incentives. For example; local property tax exemption based on the value added to the property, funding for training new employees and refund of state sales, service, or use taxes paid to contractors or subcontractors during construction. Of course there are some eligibility requirements for businesses utilizing those incentives. For example, the business will need to make a minimum qualifying investment of $500,000 over a three year period, create or retain at least 10 full-time, project-related jobs over a three year period ƒÂ?†Â?ƒ‹Â?–ƒ‹Â?–Š‡Â?ˆ‘”ƒÂ?ƒ††‹–‹‘Â?ƒŽ–™‘›‡ƒ”•ƒÂ?†‹Â?ƒ††‹–‹‘Â?’”‘˜‹†‡•‘Â?‡Ž‡˜‡Ž‘ˆÂ?‡†‹…ƒŽ„‡Â?‡Ƥ–•–‘ƒŽŽÂˆÂ—ŽŽnj–‹Â?‡‡Â?’Ž‘›‡‡•Ǥ For more details on Enterprise Zones: http://www.iowalifechanging.com/business/enterprise_zones.aspx Cedar Valley TechWorks is a regional bioeconomy, technology and advanced manufacturing campus connecting technology, intellectual property, and industry innovators, with a focus on commercializing and manufacturing bioproducts. TechWorks is bringing together public and private sector partners to collaborate on new bioeconomy innovations, including Deere & Company, the University of Northern Iowa and Hawkeye Community College. TechWorks is a place where major innovators in the region as well as small and start-up businesses, can collaborate on and showcase innovations and products, while at the same time accessing expertise and facilities of major research universities in the state. TechWorks consists of a 43-acre campus containing 15 acres of development sites and over 300,000 square feet of space in two existing buildings undergoing renovation. Located at the intersection of Waterloo’s downtown riverfront, the John Deere Waterloo Works Drive Train Operations, and the interchange of U.S. Highways 63 and 218, TechWorks is highly visible and accessible.

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Green Cedar Valley Initiative

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 Š‡ŽŽ‹ƒÂ?…‡ĆŹŠƒÂ?„‡”‘Ƽ…‡”‡…‡Â?–Ž›”‡…‡‹˜‡†ƒ”‘Â?œ‡Â…Â‡Â”Â–Â‹Ć¤Â…ÂƒÂ–Â‹Â‘Â?„›–Š‡ ”‡‡Â?‡†ƒ”ƒŽŽ‡› Â?‹–‹ƒ–‹˜‡Ǥ ˆ›‘—”„—•‹Â?॥‹•‹Â?–‡”‡•–‡†‹Â? Ž‡ƒ”Â?‹Â?‰Â?‘”‡ƒ„‘—–„‡‹Â?‰…‡”–‹Ƥ‡† ”‡‡Â?’Ž‡ƒ•‡˜‹•‹–™™™Ǥ‰”‡‡Â?…‡†ƒ”˜ƒŽŽ‡›Ǥ…‘Â?  Š‡ˆ‘ŽŽ‘™‹Â?‰ÂˆÂƒÂ…–•ǥ–‹’•ĆŹ”‡…‘Â?Â?‡Â?†ƒ–‹‘Â?•ƒ”‡ˆ”‘Â?–Š‡ ”‡‡Â?Ƽ…‡ —‹†‡’”‘†—…‡†„› ǤǤǤǤǤČ‹ ”‡‡Â?ƒ”–Š‘”’‘”ƒ–‡‹Â?†Â?॥ Organization) and can be found at www.corporatekindness.org.  Š‡ƒ˜‡”ƒ‰‡ǤǤ‘Ƽ…‡™‘”Â?‡”‹•”‡•’‘Â?•‹„Ž‡ˆ‘”ƒÂ?‡Â?–‹”‡–”‡‡’‡”›‡ƒ”‹Â?’ƒ’‡”—•‡Ǥƒ’‡”™ƒ•–‡ƒ……‘—Â?–•ˆ‘”‘˜‡”͔͘Ψ‘ˆ–Š‡–‘–ƒŽ™ƒ•–‡ …—””‡Â?–Ž›„‡‹Â?‰ŽƒÂ?†njƤŽŽ‡†‹Â?–Š‡Â?‹–‡†–ƒ–‡•Ǥ ‡”‡ƒ”‡•‘Â?‡™ƒ›•–‘Š‡Ž’ǣ x Supply paper recycling bins at every location that there is a trash receptacle. x Replace paper based internal forms with electronic digitally signed ones. If someone really needs a paper copy they can print it. x Print double-sided whenever possible. x Â?Ž›•Š”‡†…‘Â?Ƥ†‡Â?–‹ƒŽ‹Â?ÂˆÂ‘ÇĄ”‡…›…Ž‡–Š‡”‡•–Ǥ x Set margins on every computer to .75 inches rather than the default 1.25 inches.


AUGUST2010 2011 MARCH

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Schedule set for the 2011-2012 Cedar Valley Leadership Institute

TRC Co-Chairs Selected

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to present the 2011-2012 Cedar Valley Leadership Institute, a professional development series designed for business members who want to develop and strengthen their leadership skills within the community. If you are interested in registering, please contact Molly Brown at 266-3593, or email mbrown@cedarvalleyalliance.com. Early registration is recommended, seating is limited. Final reservations are due to the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber by September, 1, 2011. Listed below are course topics and what to expect: October 5, 2011 – Developing Relations with Memory Enhancements- Dale Carnegie seminar will help you ™‹–ŠÂ?ƒÂ?‡Â?‡Â?‘”›‡Â?ŠƒÂ?…‡Â?‡Â?–ȋ–‘•Š‘™Š‘™›‘—”Â?‡Â?‘”›…ƒÂ?•‡”˜‡›‘—™‡ŽŽ‹Â?„—•‹Â?॥ƒÂ?†•‘…‹ƒŽ gatherings.) The day will focus on networking and interpersonal skills, while you get to know your classmates. November 2, 2011 – Leadership through Community Volunteerism- Through personality/management assessments learn how you and others interact. Learn directly from community leaders on the rewards experienced through leadership and volunteering. Experience the servant style and explore ways to implement serving in your routine. December 7, 2011 – Meet your Community- You will gain an insight into the community’s history and culture in the Cedar Valley. Gain a better knowledge of the present and future demographics of our workforce and community. Take the Diversity tour to highlight the Cedar Valley history museums, cultural centers, places of worship and much more. January 4, 2012 – Understanding Your Local and State Government/Power of Communication- Meet lo…ƒŽƒÂ?†•–ƒ–‡‰‘˜‡”Â?Â?‡Â?–Â‘ĆĽÂ…Â‹ÂƒÂŽÂ•ƒÂ?†‰ƒ‹Â?ƒÂ?—Â?†‡”•–ƒÂ?†‹Â?‰‘ˆ–Š‡‹””‘Ž‡•‹Â?•Šƒ’‹Â?‰‘—”…‘Â?Â?—Â?‹–›Ǥ Through this session, you will learn how the government works, how it impacts local and state issues, and Š‘™›‘—…ƒÂ?Â?ƒÂ?‡ƒ†‹ƥ‡”‡Â?…‡™‹–Š‹Â?’‘”–ƒÂ?–…‘Â?Â?—Â?‹–›‹••—‡•Ǥ‡ƒ”Â?–Š‡’”‘…‡••‹Â?˜‘Ž˜‡†‹Â?‰ƒ–Š‡” Â?‡™•™‘”–Š›‹Â?ˆ‘”Â?ƒ–‹‘Â?ˆ”‘Â?†‹ƥ‡”‡Â?–Â?‡†‹ƒ‘—–Ž‡–•ƒÂ?†„—•‹Â?॥’”‘ˆ‡••‹‘Â?ƒŽ•Ǥ February 1, 2012 – Healthcare- ‡ƒ”Â?Š‘™–Š‡™‘”Â?’Žƒ…‡‹•ÂƒĆĄÂ‡Â…–‡†„›•‡˜‡”ƒŽŠ‘–„—––‘Â?‹••—‡•‹Â?…Ž—†‹Â?‰ aging generations in the workplace, worker shortages in the healthcare industry, costs of healthcare and government reimbursement, and community resources available. You will also get active with workplace wellness! Get insights into drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace with a testing coordinator. March 7, 2012 – Economic Development in the Cedar Valley- Tour the Cedar Valley to understand economic development collaboration through the many organization such as The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Main Street Programs, Tourism Bureaus, City Departments, and many others. April 4, 2012 – Education in the Cedar Valley- Understand the challenges of education and how working as a community we can improve and enhance the Cedar Valley. Learn more about education issues through open discussion with superintendents, principals, and administrators. May 2, 2012 – Diversity- Diversity is part of our community, state, and country. Take a deeper look at imÂ?‹‰”ƒ–‹‘Â?ÇĄ‹–•‡ƥ‡…–•ǥƒÂ?†™‘”Â?‹Â?‰–‘‰‡–Š‡”Ǥ ‘™†‘™‡™‘”Â?„‡––‡”–‘‰‡–Š‡”Ǎ’‡Â?†–‹Â?‡Ž‡ƒ”Â?‹Â?‰Â?‘”‡ about your dominant personality traits and how to work better as a team. May – TBA – CVLI Graduation Ceremony

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Corey Clark

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The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce that the Co-Chairs for the 2011 Total Resource Campaign are Corey Clark, Lincoln Savings Bank and Chris Fereday, Pedersen, Dowie, Clabby & McCausland Insurance. The campaign theme ‹•Dz—‹Ž†‹Â?‰‘Â?‡–Š‹Â?‰ Â”Â‡ÂƒÂ–Â‡Â”ÇłƒÂ?†™‹ŽŽ–ƒÂ?‡’Žƒ…‡ September through November. Alliance & Chamber volunteers will secure sponsorships for a wide variety of activities, events and initiatives as well as recruitment of new members/investors. “The TRC’s diverse variety of sponsorships allows our members and investors the chance to plan their promotional dollars for the whole year. It also provides a great networking opportunity for the volunteers, and the opportunity to meet more Alliance & Chamber members. Last year’s TRC was a great success and I am …‘Â?Ƥ†‡Â?––Š‹•…ƒÂ?’ƒ‹‰Â?™‹ŽŽ„‡ĥ™‡ŽŽǥdz•ƒ‹†‘„ —•–‹•ǥ Chamber President. Those interested in sponsorships or becoming involved ™‹–Š–Š‡Dz—‹Ž†‹Â?‰‘Â?‡–Š‹Â?‰ Â”Â‡ÂƒÂ–Â‡Â”Çłƒ”‡ĥÂ?‡† –‘…ƒŽŽ–Š‡ŽŽ‹ƒÂ?…‡ĆŹŠƒÂ?„‡”‘Ƽ…‡ƒ–͖͖͗nj͕͕͙͚‘”‡Â?ƒ‹Ž Molly Brown at mbrown@cedarvalleyalliance.com.


AUGUST 2011

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August Calendar of Events August 1 Mon. Waterloo New Teachers' Breakfast, Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, 7:30 am August 2 Tues. TechWorks Board Mtg., Lockard Companies, 4501 Prairie Parkway, Cedar Falls, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Alliance Board Mtg., Lockard Companies, 4501 Prairie Parkway, Cedar Falls, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. August 9 Tues. Ambassador Mtg., Clarion Inn University Plaza, Cedar Falls, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. August 11 Thurs. Cedar Falls New Teachers Breakfast, Prairie Lakes Church, 7:30 a.m. August 12 Fri. Government Relations Mtg., Cedar Falls Office, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. August 18 Thurs. Investor Relations Mtg., Cedar Falls Office, 8:00 - 9:30 a.m. August 22 Mon. Finance Commitee Mtg., Waterloo Office, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. August 23 Tues. Fall Golf Classic, Pheasant Ridge Golf Course, 3205 W. 12th St., Cedar Falls August 25 Thurs. Chamber Board Mtg, Clarion Inn University Plaza, Cedar Falls, 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

Thank you to all of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Premier Members. Agape Therapy Bill Colwell Ford, Inc. Clean Cut Blade, L.L.C. Community Auto Plaza

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AUGUST 2011

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Technology a means to an end, not the end itself I was eating an individual-sized bag of chips the other day. When I finished the bag, I flattened it out and turned it over to read the content on the back before I threw it away. Beneath the box that told me how many calories I’ll have to burn off later were two small but familiar Jesse Tink logos, logos that is Waterloo campus pastor seem to be everyof Prairie Lakes where these days. Church. Contact One was a small him at 266-2655. blue square with a white, lowercase “f” in it. The other was a lighter blue square with what looked like a pregnant robin about to sing in the later days of spring. And I thought to myself, “Wow, even my Doritos bag is tweeting now.” Like it or not, technology is becoming more and more integrated into our lives. And whether you are someone who stands resolutely outside of its Borg-like assimilation, scoffing at the rest

of us who are seemingly buried in our smartphones and tablets all day, or whether you are someone who stood in line outside of Best Buy to get the latest version of the iPad (guilty as charged), the current reality is this: We are becoming more familiar with and more dependent on technology. Period. We could debate the merits and faults of a world like this, but I’d rather talk about how to best navigate in today’s technological world. First, avoid substituting a familiarity with your audience for a familiarity with your technology. Simply because you know how to tweet and post a status to Facebook doesn’t mean that you’re connecting with anyone about anything important. Social media only work if you’re actually connected to your audience. And it is still true that most of those connections can really only be formed the old fashioned way: personally. Second, use technology instead of being used by it. As a modest geek it pains me to say it, but it

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is nevertheless true: Technology suffers from the disease of overpromising yet underdelivering. It’s good and useful, but never nearly as good and useful as its marketing seems to indicate. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in what technology promises and in the experience of using it that you become the one being used rather than the other way around. Hours of productivity and precious dollars can easily get sucked up into the vacuum of the latest version, the next upgrade, and the mystical, problem-free world that will magically come into being as a result. Fight the ever-present technological gravity by periodically unplugging. You might be surprised that the world somehow, someway still spins, even when you’re not pushing the buttons.

Finally, stay relevant by staying conversant. In today’s techsavvy world, you simply have to do your best to keep up. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. But if you want to be able to communicate with your kids, your customers and your community, you’ll have to spend some time on websites like Wired, Engadget, Gizmodo, and TechCrunch (and yes, even Facebook and Twitter). Otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of foreign terms and unfamiliar references, resulting in a crippling loss of credibility and resentment for a world that has passed you by. Let me leave you with a challenge from Seth Godin — one of those boomers who has become a significant voice in the age of technology. In one of his recent

blog posts titled “When did you get old?” he writes: “At some point, most brands, organizations, countries and yes, people, start talking about themselves like they’re old. “We can’t stretch in that direction,” or “Not bad for a 60 year old!” or “I’m just not going to be able to learn this new technology.” Even countries make decisions like this, often by default. Governments decide it’s just too late to change. “The incredible truth is this: It never happens at the same time for everyone. It’s not biologically ordained. It’s a choice. It’s possible to put out a hit record at 40, run a marathon at 60 and have your 80-year-old nonprofit change its business model. It’s not as easy as it used to be, but that’s why it’s worth doing.”


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Senior housing co-op to go up in Cedar Falls By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

CEDAR FALLS — Adults 55 and older who want to combine a retirement lifestyle and home ownership will get a chance for that when the Village Cooperative of Cedar Falls opens. The way has been cleared for St. Paul, Minn.-based Real Estate Equities Development LLC to build a three-story, 50-unit complex in the Pinnacle Prairie development in Cedar Falls. The cost of the project is about $9 million, said Steve Jahnke, sales and marketing director for Real Estate Equities Development, which opened similar facilities for seniors last year in Mason City and Marshalltown. In all, the company has built 12 cooperatives in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Village Cooperative of Cedar Falls will have 50 one- or two-bedroom units with layouts ranging from 874 to 1,416 square

feet. Each is maintenance-free and includes a laundry room, storage area and a private balcony or patio. “It’s designed for people who want to maintain their independence, but it’s also a community,â€? Jahnke said. The facility will feature party rooms, a ďŹ tness room, a guest suite, elevator, woodworking shop, landscaped gardens, free wireless Internet, secure entrances with security cameras, a heated parking garage and a car wash. Each resident will own a share of the cooperative, which is a major difference between this concept and other senior-living establishments, Jahnke said. “As a cooperative, the members control every aspect of ownership,â€? he said. ‘The cooperative will also employ an on-site resident services coordinator as well as offer courtesy services.â€?

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CO-OP From page 24 Diane Robert is the sales coordinator, with an office at 3630 University Ave., Suite B., in Waterloo. Construction on the project could begin as early as September if at least 30 buyers have signed up for units. Construction will wait until next spring if that number isn’t reached in time to build in the fall, Robert said. “We’re now at 19; these are pretty solid people,” Robert said. “The math looks pretty good (for building in the fall).” Project manager Shane Wright said interest has been plentiful. “We have had a great response; we’ve had over 200 people contact us showing an interest in possibly making a move,” he said. “But there are several steps you have to take.” The cooperative concept is gaining traction, Jahnke said. “There’s about 97 senior housing cooperatives in the country, and 75 are in Minnesota,” he said. “Every town in Minnesota has a cooperative.” Iowa is following suit, he said.

Courtesy photo

An artist’s rendering of the Village Cooperative of Cedar Falls, which will go up in the Pinnacle Prairie development. A $500 refundable deposit is required from applicants. “That basically gets you a priority number to select a home,” Jahnke said. “Once they do that, they’ll sit down with Diane Robert, and she’ll go over the advantages of cooperative housing. It’s our opinion this is the best senior housing value in the market, short of if you need services or assisted living.” As for other costs, each unit comes with an ownership share in the facility. “Residents own 100 percent of the building,” Jahnke said.

Shares cost $40,000 to $80,000 and appreciate 3 percent annually, he added. There also is a monthly fee starting at $800 and rising, depending on the type of unit purchased, Jahnke said. “They cover the expenses for

the building, and about 65 percent of that monthly fee is taxdeductible,” he said. Robert said many would-be applicants who visit with her are most curious about what living in a co-op situation means. “I say a cooperative is a collec-

tive group of people who own shares and everybody has a sayso in what happens there,” she said. “They’re voting members. And, each member of the board are residents.” Anyone interested in the project can call Robert at 266-1111.

2011 Festival of Trees Call for Decorators The Gallery of Trees planning committee is seeking people interested in decorating a tree or wreath for this event, to be held November 16 - 20, 2011. The Gallery of Trees is viewed by thousands of people in the community. If you or your employees are interested in donating your time, talents and supplies to this worthy cause, please contact: Peg Ascherl, Chair 319-269-0138 Or Joan Hovey, Chair 319-231-8636

Phone 319.266.2445 • Toll-Free 800.316.2445 • Fax 319.266.4259 P.O. Box 1106 • 411 Clay Street • Cedar Falls, IA 50613

This can be a great group project and provides an opportunity to showcase the talents of you and/or your staff. A small stipend is available to help offset the cost of decorations.

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

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AUGUST 2011

Things to remember with a new business The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that just 69 percent of businesses survive at least two years. Only 44 percent of new companies experience. With that in mind, here a few tips on making a business successful. Rick Brimeyer First, there is is the president of Brimeyer LLC, a big difference an independent between having a good idea and management consulting firm having a viable located in Ames. business. The Contact him at Small Business (515) 450-8855. Administration provides a useful business plan template which forces the hopeful entrepreneur to consider all aspects of the new venture. We’ve all heard the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” The business

template highlights areas that require additional research. Be conservative when completing the business plan. There will be unexpected expenses and delays. When conducting market research, understand that not everyone who tells you you’ve got a great idea will become a customer; many are just trying to be kind and encouraging. Don’t overlook legal and professional fees as well as insurance when estimating expenses. QuickBooks accounting software and online services such as LegalZoom can be great investments for a new company. A traditional financial planning rule of thumb suggests individuals carry a three- to six-month emergency fund. While this is typically adequate for individuals who consider their employment steady and secure, 12 months or more is appropriate for someone taking on the risks of a new

business. Those leaving the comfort of a traditional employer should make sure they consider the cost of all of the benefits which they’ll be forfeiting. Making up employer contributions for health insurance, retirement plan, Social Security match and Medicare can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per year. For the selfemployed, those expenses are as real as groceries and gas. Note that paid time off was not included in the forfeited benefits above. That’s because vacation, sick leave, personal time and bereavement are typically not out-of-pocket expenses for the self-employed. When migrating from employed to going it alone, paid time off becomes simply time off. The lights to the busi-

ness are off. Owning a business blurs the lines between work and life. While there may be more personal schedule flexibility depending on the type of business, almost every small business owner will testify that they work more than they did when they were employed by someone else. It becomes critical to regularly step away from the business to not only recharge the batteries but also to see more clearly the forest for the trees. Things can change quickly with a small business as new opportunities and challenges arise. A clear head is vital to making sound decisions to direct the business. Once the leap is taken, the entrepreneurial light switch is flipped on. Potential opportu-

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Janitorial service shapes to how your business is perceived First impressions. You truly only get one. The first impression you make on a new client, prospective employee or any guest to your facility is important one. A first impression can tell people a lot about who your organization is. It can make people Gary Marske comfortable, or is operations and sales manager for turn them away Marsden Building in an instant. A clean, well-mainMaintenance LLC, which tained building has a location creates a welcomin Waterloo. ing environment Contact him at and lets people (515) 865-3808 know you appreor gmarske@ ciate them and marsden.com. their business. Choosing the right janitorial company is a big part of that first impression. Every building needs to be

WO-072911006

cleaned, and every building has different cleaning needs. Likewise, all janitorial companies clean, but not all have the capabilities to fit your specific building’s needs. Some are small — one- or two-person companies that have been in business for a few years — while others have a national presence with 50 years in the business and several thousand employees. How do you know which one to choose? A good janitorial company will come out and customize a program to fit the needs of your organization. Do you simply need to have the trash taken out and the restrooms cleaned a couple of times a week, or will you need several full-time janitors? A good janitorial company will also be available to meet with you regularly to ensure the services they provide continue to meet the needs of your facility as tenancy and occupancy

changes. A large, multitenant building will have different needs from a medical facility with clean rooms that need the attention of a special team or a restaurant with grease traps and hood cleaning in a food prep environment. You may have special floors that need more than just sweeping and mopping or a 7 foot tall tchotchke that needs to be dusted. You may need extra day porter services for tenants and guests with specific needs. Take into consideration all areas of your organization: kitchens, restrooms, windows, parking lots, landscaping and HVAC systems to name a few. Your janitorial company should also be able to help your organization achieve its corporate goals and values. Are you or would you like to become LEED-compliant? Is day or night cleaning important to you? Are you

a sustainable organization that values partnering with other sustainable organizations? A good janitorial company will be a partner as well, helping you to stay on budget and to fulfill the expectations of your customers, tenants, etc. As with anything, communication is paramount. If you have several janitors on staff around the clock, they may be available by pager or cell phone for immediate assistance. A more infrequent schedule may only require a notebook or an occasional email to do the job. Unfortunately, the unexpected does occur. In the case of fire, flood or other disaster, emergency response time and live support is tremendously important as is the quick and safe restoration of that environment. A good company may offer emergency preparedness planning in their repertoire of services, and knowing

your options ahead of time is always a good policy to have. From putting the right mat in the right place to reduce tracking of dirt to placing wet floor signs and touch point cleaning; the right tools for the right job are essential not only to a wellmaintained facility but also to the health and safety of your building occupants. As a value-added service, some companies may also be able to provide you with the consumable supplies for your restrooms, the matting for your entry ways and other specialty services all on your regular bill. It is important to work with your vendor to design the right program for your company. When it is done right, it adds value to buildings, owners, tenants and employees. Choose the right company for your building and make your first impression a lasting one.


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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

DENNIS MAGEE / Courier Regional Editor

cvbusinessmonthly.com

a perfect example. He said their love for nature is evident. “That’s what these field days are all about — to spread that enthusiasm,” Herring said. “I think business and (timber) management can go hand in hand. People just want to do what’s right.” That was always the goal of the Schrages. With Iowa’s landscape dominated by row crops, the couple felt compelled to pre-

Neal Schrage’s property in Butler County features dozens of acres along the west branch of the Cedar River.

Money trees Business and nature co-exist well near Parkersburg of Natural Resources, Iowa State University Extension and other environmental groups. More than two dozen people PARKERSBURG — Sometimes business aspirations trump envi- toured Schrage’s Woods, native ronmental concerns. For Neal prairie and woodworking shop. Schrage, they go together like trees and leaves. With retirement from Caterpillar on the horizon, the rural Parkersburg man is starting a second career as a woodworker. But his quest to have an endless supply of raw materials comes second to protecting the soil, air and water and providing habitat for wildlife. Schrage and his wife, Chris, purchased 144 acres of timber and farmland about eight miles northeast of Parkersburg more than a decade ago. They’ve since converted it to all forest and native prairie, giving the property a park-like feel — complete with signed trails through immense ash, oak, maple and hackberry trees near the west fork of the Cedar River. In June the Schrages hosted a forestry field day to prove nature and business interests can coexist. The event was co-sponsored by the Iowa Department WO-072911007 By MATTHEW WILDE

matt.wilde@wcfcourier.com

Experts gave advice on how to properly manage forests and harvest logs for specialty products. Joe Herring, district forester for the DNR, said the Schrages are

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AUGUST 2011 serve the little forest that’s left — at least the acres under their control. With the help of the DNR, the couple formulated a forest stewardship plan for nearly 65 acres of mature timber. The objectives are to improve the quality of the woodland for wildlife and recreational opportunities and as an investment.

See FOREST, page 29


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During the field day in June, Schrage and forestry experts talked about proper care for trees and what not to do. Schrage said he has made many mistakes through the years, and advice from experts is always welcome. For example, he has learned not to mow too close to young trees because even small amounts of damage from the blade or mower deck can set trees back. However, Schrage said, people shouldn’t

give up on trees too soon because they tend to bounce back. Tom and Agnes Kenney from rural Elkader, 2010 Iowa Tree Farmers of the Year, attended the field day. More than a dozen are held each year statewide, and the couple likes to hit every one. “You always gain something,” Agnes said. For more information about forestry and programs available, call Herring at (641) 752-3352.

DENNIS MAGEE / Courier Region Editor

Neal Schrage hosted a forestry field day recently on his property in rural Butler County. Schrage has planted about 7,000 trees in the last decade.

From page 28 Some suggestions include incorporating seeds that fall from trees to encourage new growth, removing undesirable species to relieve crowding and harvesting declining trees in a timely manner. About 7,000 trees were planted to create 14 acres of windbreaks on the property. Fifty-six tillable acres were converted to prairie grass and wildflowers last year. The Schrages utilized government cost-share programs, some up to 75 percent, to help pay for land improvements. “When it comes to taking care of the environment and wildlife, we know we can work with (people) to make an impact,” Herring said. Timber management is more than just planting trees and letting them grow. It’s a lot of work, but the reward is worth it, Schrage said. Wildlife activity has exploded recently, said the avid hunter. Deer, turkey and pheasants call the property home. Windbreaks and putting erodible land into the conservation reserve program have cut down on soil erosion, officials said. “If everybody does a little bit, it goes a long way,” Schrage said. Plus, the 62-year-old said, the woods will provide all the lumber he needs to satisfy a wood-

working passion that’s gradually morphed into a business. Schrage currently works in Minneapolis as a supplier collaboration engineer for Caterpillar, making sure equipment is made as economical as possible while meeting all design specifications. He is home on weekends, which he spends taking care of the property and working in the wood shop. Years ago Schrage started out making highchairs, miniature table and chair sets and toy boxes that resemble trains and semis for his grandchildren. Now, he makes portable butcher block tables, signs for homes,

baseball bats and other items. Bats are donated to children in Nicaragua. Though Schrage doesn’t advertise, word has spread about the burgeoning unnamed business — nschrage@dishmail. net — and orders are coming in. He even built his own kiln to dry wood harvested from the property. There’s no question, though, what his highest priority is: Nature always trumps profit. “It just makes sense. Why would you want to destroy the environment to make money?” Schrage asked.

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

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Pump up the past

cvbusinessmonthly.com

AUGUST 2011

Viking marks 100th anniversary with new Cedar Falls museum

together over the last eight or nine vious memorabilia they had, and months, anybody who was curi- we were trying to ďŹ gure out how ous about Viking Pump’s history we could display that,â€? said Beth CEDAR FALLS — The history was relegated to a small display Sulentic, Viking’s marketing of Viking Pump is now a ready on the third oor of the George manager. Wyth House in Cedar Falls. resource. “They gave us some of the preViking Pump opened its new See VIKING, page 31 museum in June in the main hall WO-072911029 of the company’s main office at 406 State St. The museum, opened as part of Viking’s yearlong 100th anniversary celebration, showcases the company’s products and history with displays, documents, photographs and time lines. Whether you’re a small business owner, evaluating your Among the displays are original estate planning strategies, or sending your kids to patents issued to Jens Nielsen, college, we can help you plan to reach your financial the company’s founder, who goals through personal, customized financial planning. started the company after having emigrated from Denmark. Call (319) 234-7000 and ask for Larry today! Prior to the museum, which was designed in-house and put By JIM OFFNER

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

A personal, more meaningful approach to financial planning.

RICK CHASE / Courier Staff Photographer

Jens Nielsen used wooden mockups of pump designs to test his concepts. Several are on display at the recently opned Viking Pump Museum in Cedar Falls.

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

VIKING

The original “Granddad Pump” (circa 1904) is presented at the front door of the Viking Pump Museum in Cedar Falls.

From page 30 “That, and the 100th anniversary, were the drivers (behind building the new museum).” Planners decided it was time to tell Viking’s history and its aspirations for the future in greater detail, Sulentic said. “The museum does a good job of explaining who we are and what we’ve done,” she said. “We tell the story of our roots and move to some things we’re known for today and to what the future vision of the company is.” The museum features Vikingmanufactured pumps of virtually every shape, size and era, Sulentic said. “We have 50 to 60 panels of information, plus interactive displays,” she said, adding that a tour through all the displays could take upward of two to three hours.

“It’s self-guided, but we do have tour guides available during large open houses” and school field trips, she said. The museum is designed to appeal to different tastes, whether it’s a love of history, an appreciation of the evolution of technology a desire to learn about the types of Viking products found in the home, Sulentic said. “I like the history aspect of it,” she said. “We were able to get

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PAGE 31 Jens Nielsen’s original passport. We were able to capture a lot of information we didn’t know existed.” The museum is available to visitors free of charge and is open during community events, such as the annual Sturgis Falls celebration each June. Individuals looking to tour the museum should call 266-1741 ahead of the visit to make an appointment, Sulentic said.


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Be prepared for senior emergencies Former Team Cos. executive with tool kit designed for caregivers will head up TDS subsidiary It’s the midnight call that can strike terror in the hearts of so many who are caring for or serving older adults. Maybe it’s that Mom has suffered a stroke. Or Dad has taken the wrong dose of medicine and gets sick. Perhaps you are a senior care professional who encounters Candy an older adult Diercks who doesn’t is owner of Home know what medInstead Senior Care. Contact her ications she is on. at 235 5999. Or a senior who doesn’t remember if he has a living will. An emergency with an older adult can happen at any time. Seniors are at particular risk because of the large numbers of medications they are taking. What’s worse: Many family caregivers who live in fear of getting “the call” don’t have the

information they need to help their loved ones. In fact, research has confirmed this. The Home Instead Senior Care network surveyed future family caregivers — those who are expecting to be family caregivers within the next 10 years. Less than half — 47 percent — say they are knowledgeable about their parents’ medical histories. And about half — 49 percent — are unable to name any of the medications their parents are taking each day. Furthermore, 36 percent of those future caregivers don’t know where their seniors’ financial information is located. That’s why the Home Instead Senior Care network has introduced the Answering the CallSM program. It’s designed to help family caregivers be better prepared for that emergency call that their senior loved one needs help. Home Instead worked with Humana Points of Caregiving to develop a variety of resources

that I know will be of interest. These tools include the Caring for Your Parents: Senior Emergency Kit to help family caregivers keep important information at their fingertips. The toolkit is designed so that family caregivers have ready access to such information as a senior’s doctors, pharmacy and insurance company, medications and dosage details, as well as allergies and other important documents. Check out www. SeniorEmergencyKit.com for more information.

MADISON, Wis. — TDS Telecommunications Corp. has selected Phil LaForge as chief operating officer of TDS Hosted & Managed Services LLC. “Phil comes to TDS with an extensive background in the managed services industry. Most recently, he was vice president and general manager at Nimsoft (part of CA Technologies) in Campbell, California,” William Megan, president of TDS Hosted & Managed Services LLC, said in a news release. “Phil understands the hosted and managed

services business exceptionally well and will help TDS expand in this exciting business segment.” Prior to his work at CA Technologies, LaForge had a long tenure with CDW Berbee in Madison and will be returning to familiar roots, having previously served as vice president of sales and COO at Team Cos. in Cedar Falls, which became a TDS subsidiary last winter. LaForge holds a bachelor’s degree in history from University of Illinois and an MBA in finance from Florida State University.

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

cvbusinessmonthly.com

AUGUST 2011

Recruitment program brings workers back to Iowa

E

rs

RV IC

6

based in Decorah. Prentice said his family’s plans are to move back to Iowa as soon as we get some money saved. The Welcome Home to Iowa program is a way to fight the well-noted “brain drain” afflicting the state, Joblinske said. “We know 18,000 people will be leaving Iowa by 2013 as a result of baby boomers retiring and lower birth rates,” she said. “We know the talent crunch is going to get more severe, so we’re focusing on a sustainable program so when we have that candidate that’s looking to move back home, we’re looking to connect that individual to resources in making that move.” Manpower handled the screening and interview process for Reel-Core. “I was just looking for an industrial electrician, and I was

2

WAUKON — Greg Prentice just wanted to come back home. Manpower Inc. helped him take a big step in that direction with a new initiative it launched last fall. The Welcome Home to Iowa program is designed to aggressively recruit and relocate talent back to Iowa with an eye on supporting the growth of the state’s businesses and communities by filling needs in a “timely” fashion, Manpower officials said. “This program is proof that Manpower is dedicated to our local communities and committed to innovative workforce solutions for our clients,” said Kathy Joblinske, Waterloo-based regional director for Manpower of Iowa. Manpower created the program in November 2010, after having found it difficult to source available talent in state, due to the state’s lower-than-average unemployment rate. Manpower looked for a solution that leveraged its national presence and

decided to recruit individuals who emigrated from Iowa back to the state. A recruitment program was launched formally this year. Prentice, a native of Boone who received his training at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, was jobless in Brownsville, Minn., after a layoff. He applied for an opening as an industrial electrician at ReelCore Inc., a plastics manufacturer in Waukon, through Manpower’s job board. “It’s all worked out real good,” said Prentice, 46, who has been on the job for a little over two months. “The people down at Manpower found this job for me, and I’ve been there ever since. I just got through my probationary period, and it seems to be going pretty good.” Manpower’s two-edged goal for the program is to bring former Iowans back into the state, as well as bring non-Iowans who were educated in Iowa back into the state’s workforce. “The program’s whole goal is to get people back into the state of Iowa,” said Erika Murillo, a Manpower senior staffing specialist

Ye a

By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

OF S E

very interested in how his resume looked,” said Brian Hermanson, plant manager at Reel-Core. “We met with him and it just clicked. He’s working out very well.” The company, which is in the midst of a production peak, is looking to fill some machinist positions, as well, and is working with Manpower to meet those needs, Hermanson added. “I think it’s a great program,” he said. “For my general labor, it’s kind of hard to fill needs under that program, because not many people want to move for a $9or $10-an-hour job, but skilled labor is different. I’m hoping to maybe draw a small family back into our community.” Welcome Home to Iowa embraces a variety of skill sets, Murillo said. “We’re not looking for a specific mold,” she said. “It runs full

gamut from skilled trades to professional positions.” Candidates and employers can contact Manpower, she added. “I have an industrial electrician who would be interested in living in Waterloo-Cedar Falls area,” she said. “I also have a manufacturing and quality assurance manager interested in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Both are out of state.” Multiple social media platforms should help bring more workers back to Iowa, Joblinske said. “We have a nationwide database at Manpower and can locate talent across the U.S.,” she said. “Word of mouth is very big. We all know family members live out of state and we get referrals to the program, as well.” For more information, contact Murillo at (507) 383-8181 or erika. murillo@na.manpower.com.

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cvbusinessmonthly.com

AUGUST 2011

CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

THE COURIER

Payday loans bad for consumers The dangers of payday loans are well documented: Consumers pay astronomical interest rates on small sums of money, often dragging them into a cycle of debt. Payday loans may be convenient, but is an annual Tom Miller percentage rate is the attorney of interest of 300 general for Iowa. For more to 400 percent information or to worth that confile a complaint, venience? These contact the loans are risky and Attorney General’s expensive. Consumer Here’s how payProtection Division, day loans work: Des Moines, For $100 in cash 50319. Call (515) now, you write the 281-5926 or toll-free at (888) lender a check for $116.67, which is 777-4590. cashed in a week or two. A $16.67 fee for a two-week, $100 loan works out to an APR interest rate of over 434 percent. Even a very expensive credit card would only charge around 24 percent APR — that ends up being a 92-cent fee for that same $100. Those interest rates and fees add up, even if you pay the loans

back on time. If you don’t, you’re in big, financial trouble. Borrowers of payday loans often have to return for more loans to pay back loans they’ve previously taken out, the dreaded debt treadmill. Almost half of Iowa borrowers of payday loans borrow over 12 of them a year, leading to an average of $480 spent on borrowing fees. Now payday lenders are going online to make it more convenient for consumers to go deeper into debt. However, it is often illegal for online payday lenders to make loans to Iowa consumers. Payday lenders must be licensed by the state, and to be licensed must have physical presence in the state. If you need emergency cash for important bills, search for alternatives. For example, if you have a pressing utility bill, check first with the utility company about emergency assistance programs. If you’re having trouble paying bills month after month, seek debt counseling instead of the debt treadmill. Trying to pay debts with triple digit APR loans – especially when made illegally online – is likely to sweep your financial situation downward into a spiral of worsening debt.

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

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AUGUST 2011

Thinking of getting a smaller car? Autumn is time to buy ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Thinking of trading in the clunker in your garage for something that gets better gas mileage? Wait a little longer. Small car prices, which have set record highs this year, are expected to come down this fall. Lower gas prices will make people comfortable driving something bigger. Honda and Toyota, which were hurt by the Japan earthquake, will crank up production of small cars. And Japan and Detroit will offer big discounts on smaller models as their lots fill up. The average new compact car, which cost a record $20,500 in June, should fall to about $19,300 by the end of the year. The average used compact car should fall from a record $11,300 to about $9,600 over the same time, according figures compiled by the Kelley Blue Book auto pricing service. Small-car prices should start falling in September and accelerate through the end of the year. “Values for these vehicles just rose too quickly and got to a level that was really unsustainable,” says Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for the Kelley Blue Book car pricing service. Here are factors pushing down small-car prices: ■ Small-car surplus: Carmakers such as Honda and Toyota are boosting production following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The disaster essentially shut down that nation’s auto industry and slowed Japanesebrand factories in North America. With factories returning to normal, American dealers will have more Civics, Corollas and Priuses. And they won’t have to put small-car buyers on waiting lists, like they did this spring. In fact, some will have more small cars than they need says George Davis, general manager of a Honda dealership in Ann Arbor, Mich. “One minute they’re going to look out the window and see 50 cars. Two weeks later they’ll

Time to buy FALLING PRICES: Prices for new and used small cars will fall later this year. Auto pricing service Kelley Blue Book expects the average new compact car to fall from a record $20,500 in June to about $19,300 by the end of the year. THE REASONS: Some car buyers are shifting to larger vehicles as gas prices fall from their May peak. Honda and Toyota are shipping more cars to dealers because their plants are ramping up following a March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. More cars in stock could mean discounts for buyers.

see 300. Panic sets in,” he says. “They pay interest on these cars and they’ll have to discount.” ■ Deals: Honda and Toyota dealers will increase rebates, low-interest financing and other promotions, Gutierrez predicts. “GM and Ford will be right behind them, and Hyundai as well,” he says. Automakers say they won’t cut prices even if Toyota and Honda come out with bigger incentives. Instead, they want to sell cars on quality, styling and features. Dealers and analysts are skeptical, though, saying that once Honda and Toyota restock, prices will fall as rivals try to win customers who have to replace their clunkers. The average age of a car in the U.S. is now 10.6 years, up more than a full year from 2008, according to the Polk research firm. ■ Lower gas prices: Gas prices are down 31 cents from their peak of $3.98 a gallon in May, and although small-car demand is still strong, buyers have started to shift to larger vehicles. Compact and subcompact sales fell to just under 195,000 last month, down from 238,000 in March, according to Autodata Corp. There’s now a shortage of cars at Pacific Honda near San Diego. But there will be a surplus after July and buyers will see deals, says Wayne Meyer, president of the chain that owns the dealer-

“There’s going to be so much defending market share they ship. Pacific Honda has about 38 vehicles in stock instead of the car availability,” Meyer says. gained or regaining market share Automakers “are going to be they lost.” usual 350.

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AUGUST 2011

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CEDAR VALLEY BUSINESS MONTHLY

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Bent on cutting health costs, corporations add in-house clinics LOS ANGELES — Major employers across the country, eager to curb fast-rising health care costs, are opening their own state-ofthe-art health centers where doctors and nurses provide medical care to workers often just steps from their desks. The strategy has been embraced by dozens of companies — typically large employers that are self-insured and pay their own medical claims, including Walt Disney Co., Qualcomm Inc. and American Express Co. Many of the health centers are full-service medical offices equipped with exam rooms, Xray machines and pharmacies. Some provide on-site appointments with dentists, dermatologists, psychiatrists and other specialists who treat life-threatening illnesses. Executives say providing inhouse medical care keeps workers healthy and productive. But the clinics also help the bottom line by reducing absenteeism and slashing medical bills for outside doctors and emergency rooms. “Employers see the health centers as a way to get more for their money,” said Helen Darling, president of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit National Business Group on Health. Skeptics wonder about the quality of the care and worry workers may surrender medical privacy to employers. Others question the idea that corporate medicine is a big money saver. In a recent study, the nonprofit Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington, D.C., found that health centers hold promise but are unlikely to be cost-cutting game changers, partly because it’s difficult to persuade employees to change unhealthful habits that can lead to expensive medical care. “There may be some employers with high turnover where a clinic might not end up saving anything,” said Ha Tu, the study’s lead author. Even so, health care economists say the strategy makes sense for

growing numbers of companies that must keep a vigilant eye on their bottom lines. “It is in their self-interest to have a healthy workforce,” said Gerald F. Kominski, associate director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California-Los Angeles. “There’s a direct economic benefit.” And that, health care analysts say, explains why the corporate option is steadily mounting. Nationally, 15 percent of companies with 500 or more employees had health centers last year, up from 11 percent the year before, according to an employer survey by benefits consulting firm Mercer. Companies with 20,000 or more employees were even more likely to have clinics. Among the biggest advocates is American Express. Its “wellness centers” in Phoenix, New York and three other cities offer free or low-cost blood tests, physicals, allergy shots, prescriptions and other services to employees and family members. Some sites also provide dental exams, boxing classes, yoga and massage therapy.

“The investment we are making is more than going to pay off in improved health and improved productivity on the job,” said David Kasiarz, who oversees global compensation and benefits for the company. “We have begun to bend the trend of bad health.” American Express and others are expanding beyond urgent care, emphasizing preventive services such as mammograms to keep employees from getting sick and running up big medical bills. NBCUniversal, for one, is gearing up to provide workers with free screenings for prostate and skin cancer at its clinic on the back lot of Universal Studios in Universal City, Calif. It also plans to introduce an electrocardiogram machine to detect heart irregularities. “We want to take every opportunity for prevention,” said Dr. Tanya Benenson, the company’s chief medical officer, who oversees its six medical clinics in New York; Universal City; Burbank, Calif.; and Orlando, Fla. “If we can keep people healthier and get to illnesses earlier, they won’t be

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Office Space

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604 Ansborough Avenue, Waterloo t $3,000/mo gross t 4,000 sf available t Large open areas with some offices and kitchenette

t Plenty of parking t Great visibility and accessibility from US 218

Brady A. Gruhn, CCIM

4140 Kimball Avenue, Waterloo t t t t

$2 490 000 $2,490,000 $16.00/sf NNN 20,212 sf Class “A” office building with 300 parking spaces

t Premier P i location l ti iin south th Waterloo t Great visibility to US Hwy 20 t Can divide

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1508 Jefferson Street, Waterloo t t t t

$1 500/ $1,500/mo gross iincludes l d utilities ili i 2,400 sf available Zoning: M-1 Light Industrial Great for car shop, janitorial, lawn care or snow removal business

t 12’O 12’ Overhead h d Door D t Radiant Heat t Small Office & Restroom

1150 Flammang Drive, Waterloo t t t t

Former Factory Card Outlet $11.25/sf NNN NNN (est): $4.82/sf 10,500 sf

t Zoning C-2 t Good visibility from San Marnan Drive t Owner willing to divide

For information on these and other commercial listings, call:

(319) 277-8000 www.LockardOnline.com

All information contained herein is given by sources deemed reliable. While we have no reason to doubt its accuracy, all information is provided without representation of warranty. WO-072911035

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