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IA: Econ Dev Board Approves Awards to Support 9 Companies' Expansions, 484 New Jobs

19 May, 2014


The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to nine companies for job creation and expansion projects. Today's awards will assist in the creation/retention of 484 jobs and will result in nearly $105 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also took action to support three innovation projects.

“The projects announced today will help Iowa’s existing businesses grow their operations right here in our state,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “It’s important that we take care of Iowa businesses since we know that 80 percent of our job growth comes from within. I’m proud of our track record of doing just that and believe it’s a big part of why we’re seeing more Iowans working than ever before.”

The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Milford, Sioux City, Story City, Swisher, Tipton and West Des Moines.

“From tractors to ice cream, today’s awards support expansions in advanced manufacturing across our state,” commented Debi Durham, director of the IEDA. “We also are excited to support three projects for start-up companies that will allow them to innovate and move their businesses to the next level.”

Packaging company in Story City receives award for expansion project

American Packaging Corporation, located in Story City, is a packaging company specializing in flexographic printing and adhesive lamination of film.  The company also fabricates pouches and bags with a variety of features.  In an effort to grow its customer base and increase capacity, the company plans to purchase new equipment.  The board awarded American Packaging $62,500 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits for this $8.8 million dollar capital investment. The project is expected to create 20 jobs at a qualifying wage of $22.01 per hour.

Expansion of Baker’s Pride planned in Burlington

Baker’s Pride is a co-packer of breads and doughnuts for food companies and distributors whose markets are within 600 miles of Burlington. The company provides either fresh or frozen breads or doughnuts for its customers from its two bakery locations in Burlington. The proposed expansion project would have three phases including upgrading production equipment to expand product offerings and installing new equipment to allow the company to add product lines. The board awarded this $8.5 million capital investment project tax benefits via the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit (TJWTC) program to create 62 jobs, of which 27 are incented at a qualifying wage of $17.09 per hour.

Micro-distillery expanding production capacity in Swisher

Cedar Ridge Vineyard, located in rural Swisher, is a winery and distillery that produces and sells wine and spirits to customers in Iowa and eight other states. The company is Iowa's oldest licensed micro-distillery and specializes in sourcing local materials to create unique, craft beverages. To increase production capacity, Cedar Ridge needs to expand its operations with the construction of a new facility on the vineyard/distillery campus.  The new facility will allow the company to source and process more local grains which will be turned into finished product for sale outside the state. The IEDA board approved HQJP tax incentives for this $1 million capital investment that is expected to create one job at a qualifying wage of $21.71 per hour.

Global transportation headquarters project slated for Cedar Rapids

CRST International is one of the nation’s largest transportation companies, providing total transportation solutions and comprehensive logistics services to customers all over North America. CRST is considering building its world headquarters in downtown Cedar Rapids. The 11-story building would consist of three levels of parking and an additional eight levels of office space. This $36 million project was awarded Enterprise Zone (EZ) tax incentives to create 30 jobs, 12 of which are incented at a qualifying wage of $17.20 per hour.

Electrical wholesaler to relocate to Council Bluffs

Echo Group, Inc. is a holding company that operates 18 electrical product sales subsidiary locations in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota with a total employment of approximately 400. The company is proposing a $11 million capital investment project to relocate the company’s wholesale division to a 13-acre site in Council Bluffs. The project would include warehouse space, a large equipment/product storage area and a training center and administrative support services building in a campus setting. The IEDA board awarded the company tax benefits through both the HQJP and the TJWTC programs to create and retain 117 jobs.

Ice Cream production facility planned for Tipton

Gott Ice Cream was organized as an Iowa LLC in February 2012 and began sales of ice cream in the ultra-premium segment of the ice cream market, primarily in grocery stores in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area. The proposed project in Tipton would establish a dedicated production facility in Iowa and increase production capacity which is needed to meet the growing demand for the product. The product is currently being produced in Minnesota. The project was awarded direct assistance of $125,000 plus tax benefits via HQJP. It is expected to result in a capital investment of $820,000 and 35 jobs, of which 24 new jobs and one retained job are incented at a qualifying wage of $18.22 per hour.

Expansion project slated for Cedar Falls John Deere facility

John Deere is a world leader in designing and manufacturing advanced products and services for agriculture, construction, forestry and turf care. This proposed project includes an investment to expand tractor product laboratories at the John Deere Product Engineering Center in Cedar Falls.  These investments will address the evolution of tractor size and power, and add test capabilities to help ensure that John Deere products meet customers’ expectations for productivity, reliability, efficiency and comfort.  The project is expected to have a capital investment of $27.7 million and would retain 29 jobs at a qualifying wage of $18.84. The board awarded John Deere tax incentives through the HQJP to complete this project in Iowa.

Expanded Polaris operations center supported in Milford

Polaris Industries is a global leader in the power sports industry with manufacturing locations in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Monterrey, Mexico.  Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.  Due to the demand for Polaris’ products, it is proposing an expansion project at the Milford facility to transform a warehouse into an operation facility that will house assembly, weld and metal paint operations. This $10 million project was awarded direct financial assistance of $300,000 and  tax incentives via the HQJP to create 150 jobs, 45 of which are incented at a qualifying wage of $15.21 per hour.

Clinic expansion supported in Sioux City

Tri-State Specialists (TSS) is a multi-disciplinary practice, caring for patients with musculoskeletal, joint and pain problems through state-of-the-art medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitation and diagnostic services. The clinic’s current space on the UnityPoint - St. Luke’s campus will no longer be available, compelling them to look for a new location. The proposed project in Sioux City would allow TSS to relocate its existing operations, expand into physical therapy and add some additional surgeons at the new site. The project has a capital investment of $400,000 and is expected to result in 40 jobs, of which one new job and 17 retained jobs at a qualifying wage of $16.14 will be incented with tax benefits via the TJWTC program.

Awards made to three start-ups

The Demonstration Fund provides financial and technical assistance to encourage high-technology prototype and concept development activities that have a clear potential to lead to commercially viable products or services within a reasonable period of time.

The fund provides up to $150,000 to encourage commercialization activities by small and medium-sized Iowa companies in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology industries. The primary purpose of the fund is to help businesses with a high-growth potential reach a position where they are able to attract later-stage, private-sector funding. 

The Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund promotes the formation and growth of businesses that engage in the transfer of technology into competitive, profitable companies that create high-paying jobs. The funds are designed to support commercializing research, launching new start-ups and accelerating private investment and industrial expansion efforts that result in significant capital investment.  

Award recommendations for the Demonstration Fund and Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund are made by the Technology and Commercialization Committee (TCC) to the IEDA Board for approval.

West Des Moines-based Certintell develops, markets and operates a cloud-based platform for delivering telemedicine and eHealth services to local, regional, and national healthcare institutions, individual healthcare practitioners and general population. Sold to medical professionals, Certintell’s Software as a Service platform (SaaS), called U-Care Platform (UCP), is a time- and resource-sparing solution for the provision of medical consultative services. The company was awarded $50,000 through the Demonstration Fund to market its cloud-based telemedicing software that will allow healthcare institutions, physicians and patients to communicate via videoconferencing, securely exchange files and input data from telemedicine devices.

NextStep.io, a Cedar Rapids-based company, is developing a web dashboard that helps people better utilize activity trackers, by making it simple to connect with health and fitness professionals. The product allows for a professional to increase engagement with clients, hold clients accountable to realistic health goals, scale their time, and generate new revenue with technology-based programming. NextStep.io has already been deployed in pilots with corporate wellness coaches and personal trainers. The board awarded $75,000 through the Demonstration Fund for NextStep.io to develop sales channel and tools, as well as provisioning tools that will allow for product scale.

VEMTOWA is a nutraceutical product company focusing on compounds derived from botanical and other natural sources.  The West Des Moines-based organization utilizes company-owned IP as well as currently available natural product and botanical IP from academia, government, and corporate partners for a flexible, low-cost approach to early stage product development. Since VEMTOWA’s inception in early 2013, they have developed a pipeline of innovative phytochemical and probiotic product candidates that address inflammation, pain, aging, infection and wound healing, gastrointestinal and metabolic health and weight management. The board awarded the company $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance grant to continue product development activities.

Download a spreadsheet of these awards

http://iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/UserDocs/documents/IEDA/may14awards.pdf

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