Facebook and Google add to the list of investments in Iowa

Today the state of Iowa announced that Facebook and Google will both be building data centers in Iowa. Facebook will build a facility in central Iowa located in Altoona. Google is adding on to its existing facility in Council Bluffs.

Combined with the news of recent plans by Principal Financial Group and Wells Fargo in the Des Moines area, along with the two fertilizer facilites in Sioux City and Fort Madison, this is proving to be a great year for Iowa. These developments show great promise for the state of Iowa in regards to future job growth and economic development.

Iowa has much to offer companies seeking to expand or relocate, and we will work to support efforts to continue this growth down in southeast Iowa.



Iowa increases manufacturing jobs for 2nd straight year

EVANSTON, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 15, 2013--

For the second year in a row, industrial employment in Iowa posted a gain according to the 2013 Iowa Manufacturers Register(R) , an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Iowa gained 2,487 manufacturing jobs from January 2012 to January 2013 or about one percent.

Manufacturers’ News reports Iowa is now home to 5,421 manufacturers employing 264,440 workers.

“Iowa’s manufacturing sector continues to improve,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “The state’s low business costs, logistics, and abundant natural resources continue to be a draw for new business.”

According to the industrial directory, Iowa’s largest sectors by number of manufacturing jobs all posted gains. Food products ranks first in the state for industrial employment with 57,661 jobs, up about a half percent. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 47,257 manufacturing jobs, up 9.5%, while fabricated metals accounts for 21,110 industrial jobs, up 1.1%.

Several manufacturing companies have announced openings and expansions in Iowa, including Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries, which plans to open a fertilizer plant in Lee County; Timewell Drainage Products, which opened a location in Sibley, and Monsanto, which announced expansions of its plants in Grinnell and Williamsburg. Valent Biosciences established a biorationals production plant in Osage; Alcoa announced an expansion of its Davenport facility; Sabre Industries opened a new electrical equipment plant in Sioux City; and fertilizer maker CF Industries plans an expansion of its factory in Port Neal.

Other sectors to gain jobs included instruments & related products, up 10.9%; transportation equipment, up 3.9%; rubber/plastics, up 3.6%; printing/publishing, up 1%; and primary metals, up a half percent. Losses were seen in textiles/apparel, down 2.1%; chemicals, down 2% and furniture/fixtures, down 1%.

Manufacturing locations in Iowa that have announced closures included a Hostess bakery in Waterloo; Cargill Kitchen Solutions’ plant in Panora; Larson Manufacturing in Clear Lake; and Beef Products Inc.’s Waterloo facility.

The East Central region of Iowa accounts for the most industrial employment in the state with 92,721 jobs, up a half percent over the year. Southeast Iowa is home to 56,839 industrial workers, down 1%, while the West Central region accounts for 50,665, with no significant change reported. Northeast Iowa saw manufacturing employment increase 4.4% and represents 24,406 of the state’s jobs, while jobs jumped 5.7% in Northwest Iowa, with the region currently home to 23,701 industrial workers. Southwest Iowa accounts for 16,108 manufacturing jobs, with no significant change reported.

MNI’s city data shows Cedar Rapids remains Iowa’s top city for manufacturing employment, with 19,992 jobs, up 1.1% over the survey period. Second-ranked Des Moines is home to 17,935 jobs, up 1.8% in 2012. Waterloo accounts for 12,448 industrial jobs, down 2.3%, while industrial jobs in Davenport remained virtually unchanged over the year, with the city home to 8,664 jobs. Fifth-ranked Dubuque accounts for 8,547 jobs, with no significant change reported.

Detailed profiles of Iowa’s 5,421 manufacturing companies and 744 distributors can be found in the 2013 Iowa Manufacturers Register(R) available in print for $112, or available online through MNI’s industrial database subscription service EZSelect.com. Users may generate custom profiles of manufacturers using a variety of criteria, including region, SIC, sales volume, number of employees, and more. Each business profile provides up to 30 facts, including vital contact information, 20,441 executives by name and title, product(s) manufactured, and more.

    SOURCE: Manufacturers News, Inc. 
Copyright Business Wire 2013 


Iowa is One of 19 States Leading a Manufacturing Resurgence in the U.S.

Iowa’s $27.6 billion advanced manufacturing industry is the state’s largest single business sector — with more than 6,000 manufacturers operating 6,400 factories, employing 200,000 workers, and generating more than 18 percent of Iowa’s total gross state product (GSP) in 2011, according to NAM. During the past decade Iowa’s manufacturing GSP has grown at an impressive inflation-adjusted rate of 9.2 percent.
Leading industries include industrial metal processing, automation precision machinery, environment control systems, digital and electronic devices, and power generation equipment. Other top sectors are aerospace and defense, industrial chemicals, construction components, commercial and industrial motor vehicles, food ingredients, printing and packaging, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices and products.

“Iowa’s economy is very strong, thanks in large part to the success of the advanced manufacturing industry in our state,” says Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. “It’s obvious that we have the right tools in place to attract and grow manufacturing companies. From our logistics advantages to our highly productive work force, Iowa has a proven track record in helping manufacturers succeed.”

That includes Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries, which recently announced its decision to build a new $1.4 billion facility in Lee County, which will reduce the nation’s dependence on imported fertilizers (the U.S. imports over half of the ammonia, urea, and urea ammonium nitrate [UAN] it consumes every year). It will be the first world-scale natural-gas-based fertilizer plant built in the United States in nearly 25 years. The plant will utilize proven state-of-the-art production process technologies and is expected to produce over a million tons of ammonia, urea, and UAN annually. State incentives for the project totaled about $100 million.

To view the full article follow the link below:

Site Selection Magazine names Burlington No. 30 on a list of top micropolitans with 4 large economic projects.

Burlington among top U.S. Micropolitans

Burlington Hawk Eye


The Burlington/West Burlington area tied at No. 30 on a list of top micropolitans in the nation for the nation for the number of large business projects started in 2012.

The top 100 micropolitans were revealed in the March issue of Site Selection magazine.  The research was conducted by Conway Data Inc., which worked with state economic development to collect the information.

A micropolitan largely is a rural county with an urban core such as Burlington/West Burlington where the population falls between 10,000 and 49,999 residents.  A business project had to meet some but not all of the following criteria in order to be credited to a micropolitan’s tally: at least $1 million in investment, square footage added to a building, 50 jobs created and/or real estate was purchased for an expansion or construction of a new building.

The Burlington area- the top Iowa micropolitan on the list- had four projects in 2012 that met the criteria.  The projects that qualified were:

The $1.4 billion Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant south of Wever, which will create 165 permeant jobs.  Egyptian-based Orascom Construction Industries purchased 300 acres along 180th Avenue for the facility.

Winegard Co.’s $25.8 million expansion into Fairway Center in Burlington. The facility with the former Montgomery Ward building as the nucleus, is expected to create about 70 jobs.

KPI Concepts’ $1 million expansion onto the north side of its existing facility at 1415 W. Mount Pleasant St. in West Burlington.  The project added 35,000 square feet to the plant, plus added about 22 new jobs.

The shell building in the Flint Ridge Business Park was sold by the Greater Burlington Partnership for $1 million to Rod Wittkamp’s company, Industrial Service Corp.  The expansion of Wittkamp’s business was expected to create a few jobs.

“I was thrilled,” said Jason Hutcheson, CEO and president of the Greater Burlington Partnership, upon hearing the news of the Burlington area making the list. “My first thought is this community should embrace it and promote it. It gives some validation that momentum is in the right direction.”

Burlington tied for 30th place with 14 other micropolitans, the nearest one being Paducah, KY. The only other Iowa micropolitans on the list were Fort Dodge and Spirit Lake with three projects each and tied for 45th place.

The nation’s top micropolitan was Statesville-Mooresville, N.C., which had 20 projects.

Hutcheson plans to use the honor as a way of branding the Burlington metro area to site selectors and companies. Burlington’s top 30 ranking will be notated on the Greater Burlington Partnership’s marketing materials and prospective packets.

Hutcheson will start boasting about Burlington’s honor this week as he calls on site selectors and companies Wednesday through Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

“We have some projects possible this year,” Hutcheson said of getting a start on the 2013 list.

Iowa fared well in the top metropolitan lists as well in Site Selection magazine. Sioux City was the No. 1 metropolitan with a population fewer than 200,000 with 23 projects. Dubuque tied for the No. 5 spot with 10 projects.

In metropolitan areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million, the Omaha/Council Bluffs area was No. 3 with 38 projects.

In other news, Hutcheson has begun the search for a new director of economic development for the Greater Burlington Partnership. Rob Harrington, the former director, left on good terms in February.

“We are still in the process of casting the net,” Hutcheson said of the search.

Ploeger Recruiting Services of Burlington is helping GBP find qualified candidates. Hutcheson expects the interview process to start soon.

Burlington Hawkeye: Branstad criticizes IFC naysayers during Fort Madison town hall


From the Burlington Hawkeye:

“It’s hard to imagine that you would have people that would criticize this incredible opportunity, but the usual naysayers have had their share of say already,” Branstad told a crowd of more than 75. “They think it’s all about politics. We know it’s all about jobs.”

Several speakers noted Lee County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 9.1 percent, as of December when the most recent figures are available. Beyond the local jobs, Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said the plant will save Iowa farmers $740 million a year in fertilizer costs.”


Letter to the Editor in the Burlington Hawk Eye

Lee County has a positive future thanks to the Iowa Fertilizer Company.


Letter to the Editor:

Promising opportunity

During the last few years, Lee County has been unfortunate in having one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. The recession was devastating to our economy, but for the first time in a while there is hope we can come out of this strong.

The Iowa Fertilizer Co. is an opportunity for multiple sectors in our community to expand. Southeast Iowa has struggled to create and retain jobs for a number of years now. A wave of more than 3,000 workers will ensure many businesses will continue to grow, and people will keep their jobs.

This surge of workers will increase revenue for business in the area. It will boost the local economy and allow us to be competitive in regional markets. For these reasons, Iowa Fertilizer is a push in the right direction.

I would like to thank the Lee County Economic Development Group for its efforts. Due to organizations like it, Lee County looks very promising in 2013.



Positive Impact from additional Iowa Fertilizer Company jobs

The economic impact of the Iowa Fertilizer Company in Lee County will be nothing short of amazing. I am sure most people in the area are aware of the 165 permanent jobs that will accompany the arrival of the plant. What many do not realize, however, is that recently the Iowa Fertilizer Company has asked for an additional 1,000 construction workers to an already needed 2,500 construction jobs. Bringing the total number of construction workers needed to 3,500! This means there will be more people buying from our local stores and restaurants. These stores in turn may hire extra workers, which brings additional income to families in need. We don’t need to be reminded that Lee County is still struggling to recover from the recession but with additional jobs headed our way, things are looking brighter for Lee County in 2013.

Iowa Fertilizer Company adds an additional 1,000 jobs

George Morgan, who serves on the Restoring Iowa Jobs board, recently had a letter to the editor run about the additional jobs that the Iowa Fertilizer Company will be adding during the construction phase. Full story below.

As a former Lee County Supervisor among other economic development roles I have held in the community, I joined many in our area in welcoming the Iowa Fertilizer Company to our community. I have spent a good deal of time promoting business in Lee County, and continue to promote the benefits of welcoming establishments like the fertilizer plant in our area. For these reasons, I was thrilled to hear that the Lee County Board of Supervisors received information indicating that the Iowa Fertilizer Company is bringing not only 2,500 construction workers to our area, but 3,500.

There is a lot of planning that will need to be done in welcoming these hard working people into our community, but I am excited to reap the benefits this will provide for our county. An extra 1,000 construction workers means 1,000 more patrons in local businesses, and the benefits this will bring are unending. More jobs in our area is more good news, and I am excited to see how our community grows throughout the next year.

George Morgan

Positives on horizon in 2013

Great things are on the horizon for southeast Iowa in 2013. Congress has recently averted the so-called “fiscal cliff”. Included in that legislation was an extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC). Siemens Energy, who recently laid off 407 employees at their wind blade manufacturing facility could see some of those jobs come back to its Fort Madison plant with the PTC’s renewal.
The Iowa Fertilizer Company was also officially brought to Lee County this past year and has the potential to change the economic landscape. Experts predict the new plant will generate 165 permanent full time jobs at wages averaging $26 per hour. Close to 2,500 construction workers will be needed over a three-year period to build the facility, as well as 1,000 supplemental jobs. This all adds up to a $200 million economic impact annually.
For a county that has had the one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, the economic outlook for 2013 in Lee County is bright.

Great Letter to the Editor explaining why new plant is good for Iowa

Jacob Tweedy is a senior in accounting.

“This is the worst economic development deal in state history,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom. Bolkcom has been a member of the Iowa Ways and Means Committee for 14 years and is challenging Gov. Terry Branstad’s rationale behind the recent tax incentive package given to Egyptian conglomerate Orascom Construction Industries. The package is simple: Orascom will receive up to $550 million in taxpayer subsidies from federal, state and local governments to build a fertilizer plant.

We have learned that $250 million is coming from the state of Iowa and Lee County, implying that the remaining $300 million is coming from the federal government. The $300 million in tax incentives from the federal government comes into play because the site in Lee County, where the plant is being built, is a Midwestern Disaster Area resulting from the 2008 floods. The federal government allows businesses to issue tax-free bonds to build in these disaster areas. It is important to understand the stipulations of this federal aid because the site in Illinois didn’t qualify for Midwestern Disaster Bonds.

If the disaster bond incentives don’t give adequate reason to question Branstad’s actions, there are many other issues that will. For one, the site in Iowa is in the middle of the “Midwest Corn Belt.” With the United States importing approximately 54 percent of its nitrogen fertilizer in 2011, Iowa puts the plant in the optimal position to efficiently fulfill this demand. Another reason behind Iowa being the obvious choice for Orascom, over Illinois, is the economic health of the two states. Illinois is currently facing an unfunded pension liability of $83 billion, where Iowa is expecting a surplus of approximately $688 million in 2012.

With every passing day, Iowa is becoming an increasingly relevant state in this country. Iowans should see conducting business in this state as a privilege instead of enticing businesses with free money.