IA: IEDA Approves Awards to Support New, Retained Jobs, $90M Investments

22 Jan, 2014

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board awarded direct financial assistance and tax benefits to five companies for job creation and expansion projects. Today's awards will assist in the creation of 91 jobs and the retention of 86 jobs and will result in over $90 million in new capital investment for the state. The board also took action to support the growth of start-ups and small businesses in Iowa. 

“Today’s action by the IEDA board is another sign that Iowa is working,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “Supporting job creation projects is essential to our growth.”

The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Norwalk, Carter Lake, Rose Hill, Coralville and Johnston.

“This month’s projects and awards continue to validate Iowa’s business-friendly environment and educated workforce,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “We are pleased to see that businesses, both large and small, continue to find prosperity and success in Iowa.”

FEH to lease facility in Sioux City
FEH Associates, Inc. is an architectural and structural engineering firm with locations in Iowa and Wisconsin. The company plans to lease a facility for their operations in Sioux City.  The board awarded FEH benefits through the Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit program for this $20,000 capital investment.  The project is expected to create four jobs and retain 14 jobs.

General Mills to convert portion of warehouse to manufacturing space
General Mills, Inc. is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold at retail stores. They are also a leading supplier of branded and unbranded food products to the foodservice and commercial baking industries.  The board awarded the company $200,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits for a proposed project that includes the conversion of warehouse space in their Cedar Rapids facility to food-grade manufacturing space.  The $47 million capital investment is expected to create 41 new jobs.

Davenport manufacturer plans expansion
Hardi North America designs, manufactures and distributes a broad range of agricultural sprayers.  The company plans to build an addition to support a new product line at their Davenport manufacturing facility.The manufacturer was awarded tax benefits for this $2.1 million capital investment project. The project is expected to create 24 jobs, of which four are incented.

Fresh produce distributor receives financial assistance for new facility
Loffredo Gardens Inc. is a regional fresh produce distribution company that started in Des Moines in 1892 and currently sells produce to customers in seven Midwestern states.  The board awarded the company tax benefits to build a new facility in Norwalk for its fresh-cut produce and perishable food division.  Loffredo will continue to operate its distribution center in Des Moines as its primary headquarters. This project will result in a $7 million capital investment and is expected to create six jobs.

Owen Industries to expand operations
Owen Industries, Inc. supplies fabricated steel for commercial, industrial and nuclear projects at its Carter Lake facility. The company was awarded $50,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits for a project to expand operations to a new green-field facility and add several major pieces of processing equipment to meet customer requirements.  The $33.6 million capital investment is expected to create 16 new jobs and retain 72 jobs, of which 20 are incented.

Awards made to three start-ups
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 Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund are made by the Technology and Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval.

AccuGrain was founded by Ryan Augustine and is based in Rose Hill. The company plans to commercialize a patented X-Ray technology from Iowa State University for the purpose of deploying grain-measuring devices for grain as it moves between storage and usage points where scale technology is either not available or not practical. End users of this technology would include farmers, grain terminals and grain processing facilities.  The company was awarded a $35,000 royalty through the Innovation Acceleration Fund for prototype development.

RAMDO Solutions, LLC was founded in 2013 in Coralville to commercialize a software solution (iRBDO) developed at the University of Iowa (UI) under grants by TARDEC (the United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center). The company believes Reliability-Based Design Optimization (RBDO) is the industry ideal for reducing product costs while improving reliability, but it has challenges that current commercial software has yet to overcome. RAMDO, the commercial version of the UI-developed solution, has demonstrated superior results compared to current reliability methods.  RAMDO plans to market its software tool as a plug-in to existing Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) commercial platforms, and as a stand-alone enterprise system.  The board awarded the company a $100,000 loan from the Innovation Acceleration Fund for product refinement, market entry activities and to purchase equipment.

MAKO Enterprises is a manufacturer and distributor of a tool used for leveling new concrete. This patented tool assembly consists of a driver and a screed support, called a FinCap, used to support a screed used for leveling poured concrete. The Johnston-based company was awarded a $125,000 loan through the Innovation Acceleration Fund for IP development and market entry activities.

Download a spreadsheet of the awards.