CBJ Newsmakers 2018

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.













Corridor Business Journal

2345 Landon Rd.

North Liberty IA 52317


Thank you for trusting

T&K Roofing with your

project needs.

T&K Roofing Projects

Arconic/Alcoa 2017 Reroofing

Coe College Eby Athletic Addition

Coral Ridge Mall Anchor Renovation

Johnson County Ambulance Services

Kirkwood Community College - Iowa City Remodel

Mt. Mercy Athletic Complex

The Gardens of Cedar Rapids

UI Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall

UI Power Plant

T&K Upcoming Projects:

Cornell College - Science Building, Mt. Vernon

Eastern Iowa Airport Phase III Expansion/Renovation

First United Methodist Church, Marion

Lil Drug Distribution Facility

316 Madison Street, Iowa City

Kinnick Stadium 2017/2018 Renovations and Additions

Grinnell College - Admission & Financial Aid Building

UI Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall

Coe College Eby Athletic Addition

UI Children’s Hospital

Commercial & Industrial Roofing • Sheet Metal Standing Seam Metal Roofs • Composite Shingles

Decorative Soffits • Architectural Wall Panels and Screen Walls • Custom Copper Fabrication • Historical Preservation and Renovation

Free Estimates • 24/7/365 Service and Preventative Maintenance

101 T&K Drive, Ely, IA 52227 319-848-4191 or 800-383-7663 www.tkroofing.com

2 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


The good news just keeps coming to us here

at the newly named Debbie and Jerry Ivy

College of Business. On the second day of

classes, we announced a $7 million donation

from the Gerdin Charitable Fund, which allows

us to move forward with a much-needed

building expansion. This is essential as we

continue to experience record enrollment. A

month later, we made national news when

Debbie and Jerry Ivy (’53 industrial administration)

committed $50 million to the college.

Only 14 business colleges in the United

States have ever received a gift larger than

$50 million. The Ivy College of Business is

accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance

Collegiate Schools of Business). Less

than 5 percent of the world’s business programs

have earned this credential. It’s a great

time to be in business at Iowa State University!


John F. Lohman



Aspen N. Lohman


Andrea Rhoades



Adam Moore



Angela Holmes



Dave DeWitte




T&K Roofing and Sheet Metal Company

is truly one of the few full-service roofing

and sheet metal companies serving Eastern

Iowa. T&K offers roofing and sheet metal

services ranging from new construction to

re-roofing renovation to maintenance and

repair, and is experienced in architectural

sheet metal, wall panels and historical renovations.

T&K’s capabilities extend to steep

sloped roofing applications including

high-end shingle applications and standing

seam metal roofing. T&K’s low sloped

experience ranges from PVC, TPO, EPDM

and other single-ply membranes to modified

bitumen membranes and traditional

built up roofing systems. T&K is one of

the few remaining roofing companies that

maintains an asbestos removal license.

T&K also provides design and budgeting

assistance to general contractors, designers

and building owners, and is proud of

its reputation for undertaking some of the

most challenging projects in the Corridor.

A proud member of Built by Pros, T&K’s

record for safety and quality is unsurpassed

in the construction industry.

Katharine Carlon



Becky Lyons



Julia Druckmiller



Kris Lacina



Kelly Meyer



Rhonda Roskos



The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s

(IEDA) mission is to strengthen economic

and community vitality by building

partnerships and leveraging resources to

make Iowa the choice for people and business.

Through two main divisions – business

development and community development

– IEDA administers several state and federal

programs to meet its goals of assisting individuals,

communities and businesses. Visit

the newly-redesigned iowaeconomicdevelopment.com

to search programs that can be

used to support a variety of business functions,

from workforce training to exporting

and more.

Additionally, 2017 is officially the “Year

of Manufacturing” in Iowa. IEDA has partnered

with the Iowa Association of Business

and Industry and Iowa State University to

create a new website: iowamfg.com. Visit

this site to easily find resources available to

help Iowa manufacturers.

Judith Cobb



Jean Suckow



Ashley Levitt



Samantha Kollasch



Kassie Kilpatrick



About this publication

Welcome to Newsmakers, a year-end

wrap-up from the staff of the Corridor

Business Journal. Newsmakers is a compilation

of the most noteworthy stories

of 2017, as told through stories from the

weekly issues of the CBJ.

We selected stories and developments

we thought most impacted businesses

and people in the Corridor this year. The

abridged stories are not ranked, but rather

appear chronologically, as they did in

the issues of the CBJ.

This edition of Newsmakers also includes

the results of our first-ever Leaders

Survey, a subscribers-only poll rating the

year in business and setting expectations

for the year ahead (see page 36). We

think you’ll find the results interesting

and somewhat surprising, and hope that

you’ll participate in next year’s poll if

you missed it this year.

As always, we want to hear from

you – did your biggest story of the year

make our list? What are you excited for

in 2018? Weigh in on our Facebook and

Twitter pages, or send an email to news@

corridorbusiness.com. Thanks for reading;

we’ll see you in the new year.

- Adam Moore

Corridor Business Journal

(USPS 024-715) is published weekly by Corridor Media

Group, Inc. $2.00 a copy, $69.95 a year, $149.95 for three

years. Copyright Corridor Media Group, Inc. 2017. All

rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without permission,

of editorial or graphic contents in any manner is strictly

prohibited. Periodicals Postage Rate is paid at Iowa City, IA

and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address

changes to Corridor Business Journal, 2345 Landon Rd, Ste.

100, North Liberty, IA 52317 Phone: 319-665-NEWS (6397)


2345 Landon Rd. Ste. 100, North Liberty, IA 52317

Phone: (319) 665-NEWS (6397)

Fax: (319) 665-8888




VOL. 14 ISSUE 23

CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 3

The Kalona Creamery is set to open this


13 and 151 project to create new gateway UPDATE

$50M development in

east Marion could begin

as early as this year

By Adam Moore


A former driving range on the eastern

edge of Marion could become a striking

gateway to the city under a new development


A three-person development group

named 13 and 151 LLC has filed plans

for a $50 million, 20-acre mixed-use

project at the corner of Highways 13

and 151, which was previously home to

Village Green Driving Range but has sat

unused for the past three years.

The proposed project would include

13 lots in all, including office and commercial

buildings, multi-family housing,

a bank, an 83-room hotel and an

event center capable of hosting up to

500 people.

Developer Brian Ridge declined to

identify the hotel flag or a possible operator,

but did say that his group has

already completed negotiations with an

“upper-scale” hotel brand.

“It’s priced,” Mr. Ridge said. “We’re

basically waiting on the city to get

through this process.

The project would be built in two

phases, Mr. Ridge told Marion’s Planning

and Zoning Commission on Jan.

10, with the western half of the project

getting underway this spring, assuming

site plans are approved by the full

city council.

If the schedule holds, Mr. Ridge said

three of the five commercial buildings in

the western phase could open this year,

and the hotel could be open by August

2018. The entire project could be completed

as soon as 2020.

“Part of the reason we have to phase

it is, we only have so much time and

ability to do any project,” Mr. Ridge said





Fab labs

of Garling Construction, his employer

and the general contractor on the project.

“There are things that could happen

or could not happen, but we feel pretty

good about it.”

The goal of the project is to create a

high-end destination on the edge of the

city. Preliminary

design guidelines

and renderings

created by design

firm Shive-Hattery


modern, cleanlined


with a variety of

mixed materials,

including brick,

glass, metal and


“They’ve got a

beautiful toy box

of items they’ve

put into this plan

here,” Planning

and Zoning Commission Member Phill

Seidl said as the group reviewed design

standards for the project on Jan. 10.

“I’m in favor of this kind of thing.”

While commission members discussed

the potential mix of building

types and noted it may remain fluid until

further details are available, Mr. Ridge

acknowledged after the meeting that

“there’s pretty much a mix that’s been

set into motion,” meaning much of the

plan would likely remain intact.

Developers sought and received approval

for a rezoning of the land from

C-3 General Commercial to a Planned

Special Development, which would restrict

the types of businesses allowed

in the development, but also allow

developers variances on parking and

signage regulations, and the ability to

include residential buildings. Land at

each corner of the 13-151 intersection

is zoned for General Commercial, with

a Walmart, McDonald’s and a Culvers

restaurant located across the road.

City officials said the rezoning to

a planned special development


slow the project,

as it will require


approvals and

13 and 151

A former driving range on the eastern edge

of Marion could become a striking new

gateway to the metro area.


Cream of the crop

public hearings for each building, but

it will also provide the city more ability

to control the overall look and evolution

of the development.

Nick Glew, president of the Marion

Economic Development Corporation,

spoke in favor of the rezoning, noting

The former Village Green Driving Range office at the northeast

corner of Highways 13 and 151 in Marion will be coming down as

part of a planned 20-acre, mixed-use development that could bring

$50 million in new real estate investment. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE

that many in the community expected

the location to be the site of a big-box

store. The decision to rezone would be

a positive one for the area and the community

as a whole, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s guaranteeing

that … we’re elevating the quality of

what’s going to happen on these sites, as

opposed to just a C-3 [zoning] today,”

Mr. Glew said.

Mr. Ridge, a project manager with

Garling Construction, declined to name

his partners in the LLC, but said the

company was organized after seeing “a

need and an opportunity.” It purchased

the land from Water Rock LLC for $1.5

million in July 2015.

The group has not made a formal request

for incentives from the city, according

to Mr. Ridge, who added that they are

“approaching that a little differently than

everybody else,” by waiting to see what

their exact financial needs will be.

Site plans are expected to begin appearing

before the full council in early

spring, at which point Mr. Ridge expects

enthusiasm for the project to grow.

“It’s hard to believe that that corner

has sat vacant for so long,” he said. “I

think people will be excited when they

see what we’ll actually be bringing in

once we can announce those.” CBJ

Credit union

rising at

Squaw Creek


A Dupaco Community Credit

Union building is rapidly taking

shape at the development that has

been named Squaw Creek Crossing,

and a large convenience store

is set to follow.

“Hopefully, you’re going to see

a convenience store and a hotel

coming out of the ground in the

spring or summer of 2018,” said

Jim Angstmann of Coldwell Banker

Hedges Realty, who is marketing

the 20-acre gateway project at the

busy intersection of highways 151

and 13 in Marion.

Much of the work completed

in 2017 on the project by Squaw

Creek Crossing Inc. has entailed

the installation of what’s generally

termed horizontal infrastructure –

including sewer, water and roads

– on the former driving range and

mini-golf complex.

Talks are advancing with two

hotel chains interested in locating

within the development. While

feeling positive about the prospects

for a deal, Mr. Angstmann said they

are still working through the capital

formation and financing stage, and

aren’t ready to commit.

The hotel developers would like

to open in time for the first games at

Prospect Meadows, a large baseball

complex being developed a few miles

north at Highway 13 and County

Home Road, which is expected to be

a large traffic generator for the area.

Work has begun on roads into the

complex as fundraising continues,

with help from a Hall-Perrine Foundation

matching grant.

- Dave DeWitte

4 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

week, bringing a iconic tourist spot back

to town.


CR Taxi


NewBoCo expands

reach with virtual

City leaders say a new ordinance wi l “level

the playing field” between heavil

C rridor

C rridor

C rridor


C rridor


C rridor


C rridor


administration before us, there’s a sense

to retire, se ting o f

the Corridor's latest

executive search.

The city of Hiawatha is getting closer to a

decision on creating a municipal dog park.

By Chase Castle


Mick Starcevich, president of Kirkwood

Community College, has announced he

plans to retire by June 2018.

“This is my 14th year here at the college,

and I have been thinking about the

decision to retire,” Mr. Starcevich said

Jan. 17 during the announcement at

Kirkwood’s main Cedar Rapids campus.

“I believe now the time is right for me,

personally and for the college ... to retire.”

Mr. Starcevich, 69, became the college’s

fourth president when he took

over in 2005. Since then, Kirkwood has

reached its highest enrollment level in

50 years and improved its retention rate,

according to Kirkwood staff.

“I feel Kirkwood is well-positioned for

the future,” Mr. Starcevich said. “This is a

place where dreams become reality for

our students. Kirkwood’s massive impact

has spread like a ripple effect through

our graduates, to the rest of the Corridor,

to the entire state and beyond.”

Lois Bartelme, chair of Kirkwood’s

Board of Trustees, lamented the news of

Mr. Starcevich’s retirement.

“It’s so sad for me, because I was on

the board ... when we selected Mick as

president, and it seemed we had many,

many years ahead of us,” she said. “And

they have gone so fast. They’ve been so

full, and I have to thank him for his fabulous

leadership. It is beyond belief what

we have accomplished in the 14 years

that he’s been our president.”

Under his tenure, the total dollar

amount available for student scholarships

increased at Kirkwood to more than

$3 million annually, up from $740,000

when Mr. Starcevich assumed office. The

college also oversaw the completion in

2010 of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, a

$30 million hotel and events center that

also serves as a training facility for culinary

arts and hospitality students.

Larry Ebbers, a retired faculty member

at Iowa State University, will serve

as a consultant for the upcoming presidential

search. In that role, Mr. Ebbers

will establish a search strategy and train

search committee members, which will

include trustees, cabinet representatives,

faculty, staff and representation from the


Kirkwood’s Starcevich to retire in 2018

Kirkwood President Mick Starcevich discusses the economic impact of the college during

a 50th anniversary event held last year. PHOTO JOE PHOTO

college’s foundation board.

Ms. Bartelme said she has volunteered

to chair the presidential search committee

tasked with finding potential replacements.

The committee will eventually

choose three to four finalists, who will

be interviewed next fall, she said.

“Kirkwood has such a wonderful reputation

nationally that we think we will

have a lot of interest in this job,” Ms.

Bartelme said. “We expect to be overwhelmed,

and we expect we will have

some excellent candidates.”

Kirkwood’s profile includes a claim to

economic development in the Corridor,

where the school indirectly generated

more than $819 million in added income

from locally employed graduates, according

to a study of 2013-2014 data commissioned

by the college. The study by Economic

Modeling Specialists of Moscow,

Idaho also found the school spent $92.2

million on payroll. In turn, it estimated

the college provides a $3.70 return on every

$1 spent by students and by taxpayers.

Speaking to the Corridor Business

Journal last year, Mr. Starcevich

said how well the college

can communicate those contributions

could have a major

impact on its finances and future

enrollment costs.




“We need to be more aggressive on

how we show our value,” Mr. Starcevich

said, noting that the college received no

increase in financial support from the

state in fiscal year 2016, and only a 1.5

percent increase for 2017.

Last week, Mr. Starcevich said fundraising

is likely to play an increased role

in his successor’s job duties.

“As you look at the state finances …

you can’t continue to put all of the expenses

onto the backs of our students.”

When a new president takes office at

Kirkwood in 2018, he or she will join two

other recently appointed presidents in

Eastern Iowa higher education. University

of Iowa President Bruce Harreld replaced

former UI President Sally Mason

in 2015, while Mark Nook, former chancellor

at Montana State University Billings,

is slated to take office next month

at the University of Northern Iowa. CBJ

Forecasting 2017


Economic Forecast Luncheon

offers clues to year ahead


Phil Levy


presentation o fers

three risk factors

that could stop the

economic recovery.


Star power

Kirkwood President

Mick Starcevich

announces plans



Executives and

leaders from some

of the Corridor’s

largest employers

weigh in on 2017.



And then there

were four

After a nationwide search that attracted

more than 60 applications, Kirkwood’s

Presidential Search Committee

interviewed nine candidates, and

invited the top four back to campus

in November for final interviews and

a chance to meet and interact with

students and college leaders.

Finalists for the top spot include:

• J. Michael Thomson, campus

president of Cuyahoga Community

College in Cleveland, Ohio since


• Lori Sundberg, president of

Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg,

Illinois since 2010.

• Steve Schulz, president of

North Iowa Area Community College

in Mason City since 2013.

• Kristie Fisher, assistant vice

president and senior director of strategic

partnerships at ACT in Iowa

City. She previously served as Kirkwood’s

director of special projects

and assistant to the president from

2004-2006 and vice president of

student services from 2006-2014.

Kirkwood’s 17-member search

committee called for applications

from leaders able to “promote and

foster the college as a community of

learners,” among other requirements

on a three-page list that included the

need for an advanced degree and

prior experience as a president for an

institution of higher education, K-12

superintendent or a minimum of

five years administrative experience

at the dean’s level or higher.

“Everybody in the initial round

was a very highly qualified candidate

and brought a lot to the table, so

just narrowing it down to four was a

tough decision,” said Justin Hoehn,

Kirkwood’s associate director of marketing,

adding that while the search

committee had set no timetable for

making a final decision, it would

likely be “weeks, not months.”

Updated information on the

search is available at kirkwood.edu/


—Katharine Carlon


Going to the dogs

6 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Rue Patel, general manager of General Mi ls’ Cedar Rapids plant, discusses sales and marketing trends during the EFL panel session with

four other Corridor leaders. Turn to page 5 for a condensed recap of the half-hour discussion. PHOTO ADAM MOORE

With a new year and a new presidential


of both hope and uncertainty in the air.

Will President Donald Trum

tectionist measures that could ultimately brought together hundreds of business

harm the very businesses he’s aiming to leaders in

help? Will our histo


CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 7

shown progress in recent months

after a year that's shown how fickle

drug company investors can be.


CR casino proposals shrink

in latest round

By Dave DeWitte



Another Linn

casino bid


For the two groups competing in the latest round of proposals

for a Linn County casino, it’s become a question of how small

can you go.

The hope is that by making a casino proposal small enough,

it will be able to “squeeze in the door,” as one project partner

put it, with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The commission in 2014 shot down a previous proposal by

the Steve Gray-led Cedar Rapids Development Group (CRDG)

that had strong local support, solely because of estimates that

73-81 percent of its revenues would come at the expense of

other Iowa casinos. That left a smaller casino as the best hope

for winning acceptance.

With a three-year moratorium on considering new casino

applications soon to expire, veteran Iowa casino operator

Wild Rose Entertainment was the first to try to exploit the

possible opportunity. Wild Rose lined up a development deal

with Steve Emerson of Aspect Architecture and Hunter Parks

of Hunter Companies on a small “boutique” casino project.

The partners pitched the $40 million project as a first for Iowa,

combining an urban location with a compact footprint that

included about 700 slot machines and 15-20 gaming tables

in a new building Mr. Parks and Mr. Emerson’s companies

would develop at 411 First Ave. SE.

CRDG, not to be overtaken, last week submitted a $105

million, 550 slot/15 table casino just across First Avenue

from the site proposed by Wild Rose, where a city parking garage

now stands. It also resubmitted its earlier proposal for a

$165-million, 840 slot/22 gaming table casino with development

partner Peninsula Pacific.

Peninsula Pacific CEO Brent Stevens seemed to suggest at a

recent press conference that the smaller casino has the best shot

at a license. CRDG and Peninsula Pacific’s own economic impact

study indicated its small casino proposal would reduce revenue

by only 4.7 percent at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in

Riverside, which previous studies have shown to be the casino

most vulnerable to losing business from a Cedar Rapids casino.

“What we learned in 2014 was the size of Cedar Crossing

on the River was larger than the Iowa Racing and Gaming

Commission was comfortable in allowing,” Mr. Stevens said,

adding the group decided it was important to offer the larger

proposal as well because of its many benefits to the state and

the community.

CRDG and Peninsula worked out their proposals with assistance

and input from the city, releasing them on the eve





CBJ Health Care Summit

Block grants,

HSAs likely tenets

of ACA reform

8 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017



For the two groups competing in the latest

round of Cedar Rapids casino proposals,

smaller may turn out to be be ter.


3-D knees

A new knee implant procedure comes to

the Corridor, promising patients be ter

results and smoother recoveries.


Seeing success

Coralvi le-based KemPharm has

A rendering of the $105 million Cedar Crossing Central casino,

one of two concepts proposed by Cedar Rapids Development

Group and Peninsula Pacific. CREDIT CRDG/PENINSULA

of the Feb. 13 license application deadline in hopes of not

tipping their hand. Wild Rose eventually applied with a 600

slot/20 table proposal smaller than it originally pitched.

Acceptance of either of the two smaller applications could

leave Cedar Rapids with a casino not much larger than those

in Emmetsburg, Jefferson or Marquette, although it would

likely be a bigger draw because of the larger local population

and visitor base.

Sixty-one percent of Linn County voters who participated

in a 2013 referendum voted in favor of allowing a casino

license in the county, while 39 percent were opposed. The

Cedar Crossing proposal was the only one on the table at

that time.

“It just seems like that 61 percent of voters should be recognized

for having voted for a full-amenity casino,” said Maureen

Hunt, a citizen who addressed the city council Feb. 14.

After Ms. Hunt spoke, Daniel Kaiser took the podium. He

expressed concerns that the Wild Rose Cedar Rapids proposal

wouldn’t be large enough to compete with the others in the area.

They were not alone in their views on small casinos. The

bigger-is-better contingent includes Mayor Ron Corbett, who

prefers Cedar Crossing on the River. He said the city-owned

site of Cedar Crossing on the River could be the best in the

state, with its downtown location, riverfront views and easy

access from I-380.

“It’s bigger and it can have a greater impact,” Mr. Corbett


After reviewing two entirely new casino

proposals and a largely recycled

one from 2015, the Iowa Racing and

Gaming Commission on Nov. 16

came to the same conclusion it had

two years earlier regarding a gaming

license for Linn County.

The commission voted 3-2 to

reject the two Cedar Crossing casino

license applications from Cedar

Rapids Development Group and a

submittal from Wild Rose Resorts in

cooperation with local developers

Steve Emerson and Hunter Parks.

Commission Chairman Richard

Arnold had praise for what’s

been called Cedar Crossing 2.0 – a

small-scale casino that would have

given Cedar Rapids a new parking

structure to replace the aging Five

Seasons parking garage that serves

the U.S. Cellular Center and the

DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids

Convention Complex. He said

the advantages were enough to outweigh

his concerns about the business

other casinos would lose to a

newly licensed casino.

Dolores Mertz of Algona also

said she’d support one of the applications,

saying “Iowa’s second largest

city deserves something.”

But it never came down to a vote

on which license to approve after

commission member Jeff Lamberti,

an Ankeny attorney, moved to deny

all three license applications. He

was joined by Kristine Kramer of

New Hampton and Carl Heinrich

of Council Bluffs.

Cedar Rapids Development

Group said it wasn’t giving up on

seeking a gaming license in Linn

County. Wild Rose Resorts, which

has several existing casinos in the

state, said it will continue to seek

opportunities for growth.

- Dave DeWitte


Sco t Sundstrom, vice pre

Tech &

CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 9

NewBoCo's Iowa Startup Accelerator

A proposed mixed-use project in Cedar

Rapids' NewBo District is bringing interest

in home ownership in the area to the fore.


UI Children‘s Hospital already

making a difference

By Cindy Hadish



UI Children’s

Hospital finds

its footing

IOWA CITY—As another group of patients moves into the new

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, young

charges such as Lilly Timmerman are finding reasons to smile.

Lilly, 9, of Burlington, was diagnosed with acute myeloid

leukemia on Christmas Eve and has spent much of her time

hospitalized since then, undergoing chemotherapy and preparing

for a bone marrow transplant.

Before she moved into the new 14-story hospital last

month, she often had to stay confined to her room because of

her weak immune system. A HEPA air filtration system on all

patient floors reduces the risk and spread of infection in the

new hospital, allowing Lilly to go to classes and other activities.

“When your [blood] counts drop, you’re kind of isolated,”

said Lilly’s mother, Maria Timmerman. “It’s hard for them to

not be with their peers. Here, we can go anywhere on this unit.”

The HEPA system filters out 99.9 percent of contaminants

on patient floors, such as tiny dust particles, mold spores, pollen

and bacteria. Operating rooms and inpatient rooms, such

as the 11th floor where Lilly is staying, are equipped with additional

HEPA filters at the vents to provide an extra line of

defense against the spread of airborne agents.

Ms. Timmerman also appreciates the spacious patient

rooms, which include a couch that converts into a bed. Lilly, a

third-grader who enjoys art, has taken a liking to the high-tech

bedside touchscreen that allows her to play games or watch

movies on a flat-screen TV.

The $360 million hospital’s opening has been long anticipated,

beginning with the demolition of a parking ramp that

previously sat on the site in 2012.

Originally expected to open in December 2016, the first

patients were moved Feb. 25, with another group arriving

March 25.

Scott Turner, executive director of Stead Family Children’s

Hospital, said the limited availability of skilled labor needed

for the project was one factor in the delay. Finding certified

people to install the special rubberized floors, for example,

was a challenge, he said.

Mr. Turner added that changes, such as including windows

strong enough to withstand an EF3 tornado – with speeds of

165 mph – led to increased costs over the original budget estimate

of $270 million.

No tax dollars were used to fund the building, he noted.

Instead, it was funded by $190 million in bonds, $120 million

in cash reserves and operational funds and $50 million




*wink* and *nod*


Marketers find new

ways to connect with

‘textual paralanguage’

By Dave DeWitte





UI Children's Hospital

Patients have completed their move into

the new hospital, which is already giving

people reasons to smile.


Meet the teams

Nine-year-old Lilly Timmerman, sits in her new room with her


in private donations.

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, former Maquoketa residents for

whom the hospital is named, committed $25 million to children’s

medicine at the University of Iowa. Jerre Stead has had

a long career leading technology and information companies,

currently serving as chairman and CEO of IHS Inc.

The Gerdin family, of North Liberty-based Heartland Express,

made a $12 million gift commitment to support the new

hospital. The first-floor lobby is named after the Gerdin family.

Jason Miller, director of project management for the children’s

hospital, said the project did not have a single general

contractor. Rather, contractors bid on 26 prime contracts,

with nearly 4,000 workers involved in the building project

and 90 percent of those from Iowa.

Workers put in more than 2 million hours of labor on

500,000-plus-square-feet of space, with no accidents resulting in

serious injury and only two lost-time accidents, Mr. Miller said.

Mr. Turner declined to comment on a contract dispute

with Modern Piping regarding work on the facility. Hospital

spokesman Tom Moore sent a statement saying University of

Iowa Health Care representatives do not discuss matters that

involve litigation.

The former pediatric rooms in the main hospital will be

used to accommodate adult patients, Mr. Turner said. There

were previously 165 inpatient pediatric beds in the main hospital;

there are now 189 patient beds between the new Children’s

Hospital – most of those in single-patient rooms – and 55 beds

in the neonatal intensive care unit in the main hospital.

With the completion of the March 25 move, all pediatric

inpatient units have relocated to the new hospital. Only the

Level 4 surgery center and Level 5 surgery and post-anesthesia

care unit have yet to move into the new facility. CBJ

Iowa’s favorite new tradition – the

first quarter wave from football fans

at Kinnick Stadium to the young

patients huddled at the top-floor

windows – has put the University

of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s

Hospital on the map.

But hospital administrators say

“The Kinnick Wave,” which has

captivated sports fans from coast

to coast, is only one of the developments

worth cheering about now

that the facility has been open for

about six months.

“The new hospital is elevating

the overall patient and family experience,”

said Scott Turner, chief operating

officer at the hospital, adding

that the time and attention paid

to the facility’s planning and design

is paying off in increased efficiency

and patient satisfaction.

Mr. Turner said highlights of the

hospital’s half-year anniversary include

greater availability of state-ofthe-art

technology, expanded services

and treatment options, “and a

caring environment that transcends

every floor.”

Over the summer, the new hospital

was ranked among the top 50

children’s hospitals in six specialties

by U.S. News and World Report:

34th in cancer, 48th in cardiology/

heart surgery, 20th in neonatology,

21st in nephrology, 45th in pulmonology

and 36th in urology.

“Our children’s hospital is a special

place and moving into a brand

new hospital is a once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity,” said Jodi Kurtt, the

hospital’s director of nursing and

patient care services. “Now that all

of our units and services have been

in their new home for more than

six months, we’re fully settled in,

with our feet on the ground.”

- Katharine Carlon

Marketers are expanding their messaging to incorporate

the digital shorthand of texts, posts

and snaps – a trend that now has a name,

thanks to newly published research

from a University of Iowa business


It’s called ‘textual paralanguage,’

or TPL, and it’s defined as

written manifestations

of nonverbal

audible, tactile and visual

elements that supple-

10 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017




introduces its new year-long format and its

first startup teams of 2017.


ment and replace written


A paper offering the

new definition appeared

*eye roll*

NewBo housing

in the January edition of

the Journal of Consumer Psychology, presented

by UI Assistant Professor of Marketing Andrea

Luangrath, Joann Peck of the

University of Wisconsin-Madiso






growth, giving

and gratitude

right here in the Corridor


By Dave DeWitte


Flood, hail, tornado – even sewer backups.

If you’re in business in Iowa, some

things are hard to overlook in discussions

about insurance. There’s simply too much

weather drama to ignore the possible need

for big checks to be written down the line.

But what about data breaches, power

failures, breakdowns in critical equipment

or human factors that could result in lawsuits,

or even workplace violence?

Risk management experts say that

while some risks remain steady, others

are emerging and business coverage

needs are constantly changing. That has

put the onus on business leaders to look

“It’s easy to only look at it one time a

year,” said Spencer Stephens, risk consultant

for Sheets Forrest Draper Insurance

in Marion. “But over times, things change.

Sales can go up, you’re switching vehicles,

you’ve started operations in a different

Celebrating Our New Office

New York Life Insurance Company is

readying to expand in Eastern Iowa.

Don't miss next week's special

edition honoring the 2017 W


Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa announces

new facility in MedQuarter


PCI’s expansion

takes shape

Adam Moore


Cedar Rapids-based multi-specialty medical group Physicians’

Clinic of Iowa (PCI) is exploring a second facility

on the current PCI campus in the downtown Cedar Rapids

Medical Quarter.

“PCI’s exploratory plans are to construct a

new 100,000-square-foot medical facility and

an additional 500-car parking structure,” David

Hart, M.D., PCI’s president and medical

director, stated in a press release. “These new

facilities are necessary to accommodate PCI’s

continuing growth and to attract other non-PCI

healthcare-related services.”

The new medical facility, designed by BBL

Medical Facilities of Albany, New York, will be

located to the south and west of Firestone Tire,

between Second and Third avenues SE.

“The vision is that the new pavilion will have

a wellness theme, featuring new PCI specialties

and new health and wellness-related tenants, potentially in

the areas of executive health, men’s and women’s focused

wellness, and a sports performance center,” Dr. Hart continued.

“PCI is very proud to be a part of the continued development

within the downtown MedQuarter. Our goal is the new

facility will strengthen the PCI Medical Pavilion campus as

a medical destination for patients, referring physicians, employers

and visitors we serve throughout east central Iowa.”

The 500-car parking structure will be located to the south

of the PCI Medical Pavilion, along Third Avenue SE. Current

plans are to connect the new medical facility to the existing

parking structure via walkway. Covered walkways will be

constructed from the new parking structure to the existing

PCI Medical Pavilion.

“The plans for this new facility are exciting. Patients will

continue to receive a complete ambulatory health care experience

within one centralized location, whether it’s the original

PCI Medical Pavilion, or the planned health

and wellness pavilion,” Dr. Hart said. “PCI is actively

recruiting new physicians in existing and new




medical and surgical specialties to provide comprehensive

specialty-care services for Eastern Iowa.”

In September, the Cedar Rapids City Council supported

grant funding of up to $9.5 million for development of a

parking structure. The two structures and their associated

skywalks represent a total investment of around $30 million.

A rendering of the second Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa building coming to Cedar

Rapids’ MedQuarter. IMAGE BBL

Caleb Mason, the city’s economic development analyst,

said the project qualifies for the city’s Community Benefit

Economic Development Program, because of benefits such

as allowing increased development density in the MedQuarter

and reducing the need for surface parking lots.

Because the parking structure will be privately owned,

Cedar Rapids plans to issue bonds to fund construction and

use Tax Increment Financing revenues to pay them off, as it

did on the existing PCI parking structure, Mr. Mason said.

Because tax collections lag a year behind the completion of

a new structure, PCI will make the first two payments on the

bonds, and will later be reimbursed from TIF collections.

During the city council’s deliberations on Sept. 12, Mayor

Ron Corbett emphasized the 200 employees the facility will

house as a benefit of supporting the project. City staff recommended

that PCI be required to commit to a minimum

$30 million investment, along with a commitment to build

a 98,000-square-foot building and 540-space parking

garage in a development

agreement. CBJ

Filling the gaps


Corridor insurers offer tips for

making sure your business

stays covered as risks evolve



The Cedar Rapids-based business center

highlights the support provided to area

businesses and entrepreneurs in 2016.




Kirkwood looks for early retirement

commitments amid pending decreases in

state funding and othe revenue shortfa ls.


Planning for growth

After winning enthusiastic support

for the expansion from its board,

Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa has unveiled

new plans and details about

its second facility, billed as a “specialty

care medical destination.”

Michael Sundall, PCI’s CEO,

said plans for the new facility call

for a 98,000-square-foot, three-story

structure featuring a glass atrium

and covered drop-off area facing

10th Street SE and a second parking

garage. Skywalks connecting both

facilities to the existing patient-only

parking structure will provide convenient

covered parking and access.

BBL Medical Facilities of Albany,

New York, will design the building

and lead the project with local

subcontractors hired to execute the

construction. Commercial realtors

with Skogman Realty are currently

sourcing new health and wellness-related

tenants for new facility.

Other tenants may be added once

the facility is complete.

“Our vision for MedQuarter is a

bustling, thriving destination,” Mr.

Sundall said in a release. “The new

medical pavilion may attract new

wellness-focused businesses to this

neighborhood and increase traffic

for existing businesses. People will

continue to travel from all over the

state to take advantage of some of

the nation’s best specialty health

care, found right here in the heart

of Cedar Rapids.”

PCI plans to break ground on

the new structure in early 2018

and anticipates a 24-month-long

construction process prior to moving

in. In addition to the tenants,

the new space will accommodate

growth of existing PCI services,

provide space for 15 new specialists

and house support services that are

currently off-site.

-- Katharine Carlon

more frequently at their coverage and

possible gaps.


12 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

state – you have go to through more than

a conversation once a year.”

A high percentage of insured businesses

have either a business owner’s policy

(BOP) or a commercial package policy

(CPP) to cover their major risks. A BOP

combines basic property and liability coverage

into one package that is typically



Lena Hi l, Associate Professor of

English and African American Studies

a the University of Iowa discusses how

employers can embrace di ferences among

their employees.


A Passion for Growth

Coming Up



Proud partner in the

Time Line


Strategic recruitment of

potential tenants.

Planning continues.

Spring 2018

Construction begins on

Medical Pavilion II

Late Fall 2019

Medical Pavilion II OPENS

Together in health.

Find a complete list of PCI providers at pcofiowa.com/ExpertCare

The Cedar Rapids

yeast maker is set

to head in a new

direction with its

latest expansion.

By Dave DeWitte



Crystal Group ready to grow

Employee-owners at the Crystal Group configure

network servers to customer requirements on the final

chassis assembly line at the company's Hiawatha

facility on May 1. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE

HIAWATHA—A $17.5 million facility

plan lies at the center of

Crystal Group’s efforts to become

a major supplier of servers to the

emerging autonomous vehicle

market and expand its positions

in the defense market.

The employee-owned company

manufactures network servers

and switches designed to operate

in extreme environments such as

military humvees, tanks and submarines.

It takes commercial offthe-shelf

components and customizes

them for performance under

intense conditions, testing each

unit rigorously before delivery to


Crystal Group will soon break

ground on a 111,500-square-foot

facility on a 9-acre site at 855

Metzger Road acquired from Armstrong Development, just behind

its current headquarters at 850 Kacena Drive, Hiawatha.

Primus Construction will design and build the facility, which

will provide better product flow and more production capacity

to meet growing demand from the defense market.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of our demanding customers

in the DOD [Department of Defense], offering the facilities

and capabilities we think they’ll be asking for,” said Michael

Kruger, vice president of operations and leader of the facility

project. “It should give us about a 50 percent increase in production


Crystal Group has also been contracted by several global automobile

manufacturers to supply equipment on autonomous

and semi-autonomous vehicle programs, according to Marketing

Director Leslie George. The automakers will need a different

style of rugged server than most of those Crystal Group currently

supplies, which are designed to fit into a standard rack or a rugged

transit case. The autonomous vehicle servers will be “much

more customized,” with a form designed to fit in a non-standard

space, Ms. George said.

In the two-year planning process for the facility, Mr. Kruger

said Crystal Group began by asking each department what their

needs were, and then evaluating and prioritizing those needs

based on the company’s capital budget.

“The biggest things we need are a new environmental test

facility and secure room,” he said. “These were the things that

could open new doors for us.”

The environmental test facility is used to evaluate the performance

of Crystal products under extreme conditions. The new

facility will add vibration testing, which is currently outsourced,

to testing in extreme humidity and temperature conditions.

Two secure rooms will meet the requirements of certain defense

agencies for space that can

be used to review secret plans and


“We have customers requesting

that,” Mr. Kruger said. “We’ll be

able to quote more business when

we have it.”

The new facility will also house

Crystal Group’s corporate headquarters.

A new part of that component

will be a new “proposal

room” for marketing and engineering

staffs to use in developing proposals.

It will incorporate multiple

video screens for displaying information

from the proposals to facilitate

communication among the

company’s teams, Mr. Kruger said.

Access control and security

were also high on the list of needs,

along with an uninterruptible

power supply for the entire building.

That is partly because final assembly

and test operations will be

moved into the new facility.

A standard test for a Crystal Group server, called the burn-in,

requires operating it at maximum capacity for 24 hours straight.

If even the slightest power blip interrupts the test, the process begins

all over again, Mr. Kruger said.

A building management system was designed into the project

to control all of the energy-consuming features of the building,

from its lighting and access control system to its high-efficiency

heating and air conditioning system.

Building close to home

Early in the planning process, Crystal Group determined the

logistics of expanding its nearly 20-year-old current facility

wouldn’t work, and began looking for a new location.

Building new in Cedar Rapids and other cities outside Hiawatha

were considered, but Crystal Group ultimately found

the best option to be right in the backyard of its current location,

Mr. Kruger said.

The new facility will allow synergies with the other Crystal

Group facilities nearby, is only a few minutes from a UPS shipping

facility, and will have even better access to Interstate 380

when the new Tower Terrace Road interchange is built.

“Hiawatha is growing,” Mr. Kruger said. “When Tower Terrace

[the interchange] is open, we’ll be in a prime location.”






Rugged and ready to grow

Carlson's message

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen

Carlson spoke at the Iowa Women Lead

Change 10th anniversary dinner.



Driving hard

With its new Hiawatha facility

rising out of the ground in 2017,

Crystal Group was gaining sales

momentum that will keep its occupants

busy when it opens in

late 2018.

“Our year continues with

solid performance, and we expect

to exceed our 2017 financial

plan with excellent business

momentum heading into 2018,”

Marketing Director Leslie George

said. “We are especially pleased

with the growth of our military

segment. Crystal Group’s core

military business increased over

20 percent since 2016.”

Industrial and commercial

demand for the company’s rugged

servers also improved in

2017, with new contracts that

included a significant deal with

a West Coast power distribution

company that could open doors

for future business.

Demand from the emerging

autonomous vehicle industry

was also improving.

“We spent much of this year

delivering equipment to our

initial autonomous vehicle customer,

and in the process we

have developed the designs,

engineering, relationships and

credibility to allow us further

penetration in the autonomous

market,” Ms. George said.

Construction of the

111,500-square-foot headquarters

facility at 855 Metzger Road

in Hiawatha is going according

to plan, according to company


- Dave DeWitte

Automation analysis

14 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017



maker hopes

to tap new


with $17.5M


New study lays out the risks of automation

by industry, with several of the state's

biggest sectors in the crosshairs.






Jennifer Daly, Doug

Neumann tapped

to lead economic

development orgs.




Coming in September 2018: Over 45 new jobs. 50% production

capacity increase. 169,500 total square feet of manufacturing and operations in Hiawatha.

Crystal Group would like to thank the City of Hiawatha, HEDCO, CRMEA, IEDA and all professional

partners for their support of this expansion.



crystalrugged.com | info@crystalrugged.com | 800.378.1636

Crystal Group is an employee-owned designer/manufacturer/integrator of rugged computers for military and industrial applications worldwide.

market demands. PHOTO DAV

The Cedar Rapids

yeast maker is set

to head in a new

direction with its

latest expansion.

By Dave DeWitte


A pair of key appointments unveiled

May 3 set the stage for what leaders say

will be a reenergized relaunch of the

Corridor’s first workforce and economic

development joint venture.

Jennifer Daly, 45, was named the

first president and CEO of the joint

venture formed in 2016 between the

Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

and the Iowa City Area Development

(ICAD) Group.

At the same time, the Economic Alliance

board of directors named Doug

Neumann, 47, executive director after

observing him in action as interim president

and CEO for just over one year.

There was no mistake to the timing

of the announcements. The region

has serious workforce needs, which are

closely entwined with its economic development


“Clearly from a board perspective

and from the perspective of our 1,200

business members, there’s certainly going

to be a major focus on developing

a great relationship with Jennifer and

making sure workforce development is

as strong as it can be,” Mr. Neumann

said. “This is a chance to for us to really

relaunch this joint effort with ICAD

around the regional initiatives.”

Ms. Daly said workforce development

has become the leading issue for

economic development agencies across

the country, and it’s been no different

in her role as CEO of the Greater Peoria

Economic Development Council in Illinois.

The council serves a five-county

region similar in size and population to

the Corridor.

“For us, a lot of it is about alignment

– introducing local students to careers

in the most critically needed areas, and

giving them the chance to advance

their skills in those





New leaders to ‘relaunch’

regional efforts


Rugged and ready to grow



maker hopes

to tap new


with $17.5M


16 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Carlson's message

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen

Carlson spoke a the Iowa Women Lead

Change 10th anniversary dinner.


Automation analysis

New study lays ou the risks of automation

by industry, with several of the state's

biggest sectors in the crosshairs.






Jennifer Daly, Doug

Neumann tapped

to lead economic

development orgs.


areas,” Ms. Daly said in an interview

with the CBJ. “The people who grew up

in a community are the most likely to

stay in a community or move back to

that community to find a career.”

The joint venture had

been without a permanent

leader since plans were announced

in January 2015

and a nonprofit entity, the Iowa’s

Creative Corridor Economic

Development Corp.,

was launched Jan. 1, 2016.

Mr. Neumann assumed the

interim CEO position with

the Economic Alliance in

April 2016 following the resignation

of Dee Baird.

“We are thrilled to be

able to relaunch and move

the strategic direction forward

for the joint venture,”

said Tom Goedken, who

co-chairs the joint venture

board with Lydia Brown. “A

lot of hard work has gone

into creating this entity, and

we have now found the right

person to lead it into its next

successful phase.”

Mr. Neumann said he

had the opportunity to meet with Ms.

Daly during the hiring process. He was

impressed by her expertise in workforce

development, and her experience managing

change in Peoria.

“The model of how they restructured

economic development there [in

Peoria] is what we want to do here,” Mr.

Neumann said, referring to that area’s

regional approach.

Ms. Daly said her work with the

Greater Peoria Economic Development

Council included building an organization

from three regional economic development-related

organizations after a

period of upheaval in regional development

efforts. The organization now has

a full-time staff

of eight.


economic development,


and foremost,

Jennifer Daly

Doug Neumann

needs to be there to support the efforts

of local economic development officials

and entities,” said Ms. Daly, adding that

the services provided by the Greater

Peoria group include marketing, training

and providing resources

such as market and labor

force data.

Both Ms. Daly and Mr.

Neumann bring a wealth

of familiarity with the Corridor

in addition to their

professional experience to

the positions.

Mr. Neumann has more

than 10 years experience at

the Economic Alliance and

its predecessor organizations,

serving as executive

vice president for about five

years and leading the organization’s

Downtown District

efforts. He also served

as opinion page editor and

a reporter at The Gazette in

Cedar Rapids.

Ms. Daly, a University

of Iowa psychology graduate

and former Coralville

resident, is a co-founder

and the former executive

director of programs for the Iowa Children’s

Museum. She served as executive

director of the Mount Pleasant Area

Chamber of Commerce and Area Development

Commission before moving

to Illinois, where she also served as executive

director of the Morton Economic

Development Council and Morton

Chamber of Commerce.

With the reallocation of some roles

to the joint venture, the Economic Alliance

remains focused on its roles as

an advocate for businesses in public

policy, in providing member services

and in supporting the downtown area,

among others.

Being promoted from interim CEO

to regular executive director “makes

this a very immediate and natural transition,”

Mr. Neumann said. With that

transition, he said he’ll be able to focus

more on long-term goals, strategies and

vision. CBJ


Daly set to

move the ball

Now that she’s met just about everyone

who’s anyone, Jennifer Daly,

the new CEO of the Corridor’s new

joint venture, said she is ready to

make things happen.

“It’s feeling really good after a

couple of months in here,” said Ms.

Daly, who is finalizing strategies

aimed at addressing both sides of

the economic development equation:

attracting new businesses to

the Corridor and recruiting and retaining

workers to staff them.

On the business attraction side,

Ms. Daly said she and her staff have

identified industry clusters they

plan to target, “and we’re moving

forward with a robust schedule

of trade shows and marketing in

2018.” Brian Crowe, who already

serves as economic development

strategist for the Cedar Rapids Metro

Economic Alliance, has signed on

as the group’s director of business

attraction. Tom Banta, ICAD’s director

of strategic growth, will also

assist with that effort.

On the workforce development

side, Ms. Daly said DaLayne Williamson

of ICAD Group will serve

as the venture’s director of workforce


“The focus there is on talent and

retention strategy and we have a

draft [plan] in the process of being

finalized,” she said. “One important

piece of that will be working with

students in schools and hopefully

building that pipeline of talent.”

Other upcoming projects include

updating the creativecorridor.co

website to align with the Corridor’s

new economic development goals

and launching a marketing campaign

showcasing the seven-country

region. Ms. Daly said she hopes

the campaign will debut in the first

quarter of 2018.

“It’s been a wonderful four

months,” she said. “Very, very busy,

but I think we’ve made a great deal

of progress.”

—Katharine Carlon


Employee-owners a the Crystal Group configure network servers to custome requirements on the fina

ny's Hiawatha facility on May 1. The company plans to expand its p

Creating home...

Our Home:

254 Employees

370 Residents

Sharing our passions and having fun

Proud to receive the CBJ’s

2017 Coolest of The Cool Award

An Active LifeCare Community Since 1966

Steve Roe, Executive Director

Founded in 1966 Oaknoll Court, Iowa City 319-351-1720 www.oaknoll.com

their career choices, and what would keep them in the Corridor,

where their talents are sorely needed.

jobs, and they wan the kind of life-work balance that won’t leave

them scrambling to find another job in a year.

Kevin Techau, of Scheldrup

Blades Law Firm, discusses


GEICO planning to open

office in North Liberty

By Adam Moore


In May, the CBJ was the first to report that insurance

company GEICO was finalizing plans to open

a new office located in North Liberty, according to

multiple sources familiar with the deal.

Land at the targeted site is owned by A&M Development,

a group of investors led by Mike Hahn,

co-owner of McComas-Lacina Construction in

Iowa City. A&M had a purchase agreement for the

land in place with Bourn Companies of Tucson,

A rendering of the new GEICO building coming to North Liberty in


Arizona, which is representing GEICO in the deal.

The agreement, which was in the due diligence

phase when first reported, called for the purchase of

about 5 acres of property just east of Interstate 380,

less than half a mile south of the Penn Street exit,

and near the Corridor Business Journal and University

of Iowa Community Credit Union headquarters.





The Corridor’s

next generation

The deal valued the land around $4.50 per

square foot, with an estimated total value of more

than $1 million.

GEICO representatives declined to comment on

any details of the project, including the timeline or

how the new office will impact the company’s existing

Midwest regional office in Coralville.

According to the company’s website, GEICO

opened its Coralville office in 1997. The office employs

about 450 people, primarily in sales and customer

service, and announced as recently as 2015

plans to hire additional managers and customer

service representatives.

In July, plans for the company’s new

customer service center in North Liberty

went up for review, impressing planning

officials as large, but also keeping

with the city’s design standards.

In a memo, City Planner Dean Wheatley

said A & M was proposing a 227-footlong

building - nearly a block long. He

said the structure and parking would

span nearly the entire site from setback

line to setback line. He is recommending

approval of the request, saying the project,

with its high masonry and glass content,

“will be a positive design influence

for the office park and the city.”

City officials said they planned to

seek state funding to improve vehicular

traffic flow to the area by paving the

current gravel section of Kansas Avenue south from

its paved portion to Forevergreen Road, where a

new I-380 interchange is being built.

Among the positive attributes Mr. Wheatley

cited were favorable traffic circulation, fire access,

and an outside dining area connected to the break

room and vending area of the facility. CBJ

Powering startups

A new GoDaddy-backed program aims to

help entrepreneurs hurdle economic and

social barriers in Cedar Rapids.




Statewide festival

draws hundreds of

innovators to Iowa




We’re happy to welcome

GEICO to North Liberty’s

family of businesses.


- Terry Donahue

North Liberty Mayor

Improvements ahead

Early site work is underway at the site of GEICO’s

new 50,000-square-foot facility, and thanks to an

assist from the Iowa Department of Transportation,

improved road access won’t be far behind.

In late summer, the state gave the nod to more

than $3 million in Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy,

or RISE, funding for North Liberty to pave a

5,200-foot gravel stretch of Kansas Avenue south to

Forevergreen Road, where a new I-380 interchange

is under construction.

According to a DOT news release, the $3.07 million

in funding will also assist in reconstruction of

a roundabout at Kansas Avenue and St. Andrews

Drive. The road upgrades are necessary, state officials

said, “to provide improved access to the proposed

site of GEICO’s national auto insurance

claims processing facility to support the creation of

307 new full-time jobs and $11,939,340 in associated

capital investment.”

The GEICO facility is expected to open in summer

2018, bringing about 400 workers currently

based in Coralville to North Liberty, with room for

upwards of 300 more. The road improvements are

set for completion by December 2018.

“We’re happy to welcome GEICO to North Liberty’s

family of businesses,” said North Liberty Mayor

Terry Donahue in a statement. “More and more people

are realizing that North Liberty is a great place to

live and work, and this new facility will allow them

to attract an even larger pool of talent.”

- Katharine Carlon

18 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Six graduates offer

thoughts on what the class

of 2017 really wants

Coe College graduate McKenna Heisler sits in the co lege's Stewart Memorial Library on a recent morning. PHOTO ADAM MOORE

They’re taking that big walk across the stage to receive their co lege

diploma, but the biggest question of a l will be where they walk next.

Six graduating seniors took time out of their busy schedules

to answer the CBJ’s questions about what’s next, what will guide

opportunities for growth and development, and give back to their

communities. They want to be able to make a difference in their

Book Club

This week's Book

Club reviews

a new memoir/

advice guide from political veteran in a

demanding job.





exemplified in

father-son CEO



There's certainly some common ground among these bright

young professionals. They are looking for employers that offer

transitioning to

private practice.

Of course, not everyone’s on the same path. Some are headed

home, while others are looking for that one big opportunity. We

hope you’ll find some insights – and maybe your next star employee

– as you read thi special roundup. > PAGE 10


We are data analytics.

At Annex Analytics,

we analyze all types

of data including

CRM, customer,

financial, marketing,

and sales data.


Big Data Analysis

Business / Competitive Intelligence

Data Integration

Industry / Market Studies

KPI/ Dashboard Reports

Free Data Review

visit our website to schedule


Outsource your data

analyst needs with us!

Why? Because it’s more efficient, effective

and cheaper than doing it in-house. We offer

a very affordable monthly flat-fee that gives

you access to Fortune 500 experienced data

analysts that will analyze your big data.

Whether you need one Analyst for a project

or an entire Analytics department, Annex

Analytics can meet those needs, quickly

boosting your company’s effectiveness

by supplying experienced Analytic

professionals, advanced in today’s newest

most cutting-edge technologies.

“Country Maid has utilized Annex Analytics in three major projects.

This has resulted in a successful brand launch.”

Mollie Clark, Marketing Manager

Country Maid, Inc.

“Annex Analytics inspired us to look at data in a new way. This

visualized data report creates important conversations about business

development and client relationships.”

Greg Kanz, Marketing Director


Peggy Stover




329 Tenth Avenue SE, Suite 123

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

(319) 360-0619

Jim Thebeau


A female, minority-owned corporation

The 43-year-old company makes plans

for a new $13 million, LEED-certified

headquarters off I-380.


Lil’ Drug Store building on success



capitalizing on

growth trends in

C-store sector

Dave DeWitte


Lil’ Drug Store Products may

be hitting middle age, but the

consumer products distributor

sees a lot of room to run

in a retail sector that remains

strong and growing.

The 43-year-old company

made a flurry of headlines

with plans for a new $13 million

LEED-certified headquarters,

and the launch of two

healthy snack food lines in the

convenience store channel.

President and CEO Chris

Chris DeWolf, president

and CEO of Lil' Drug Store

Products, shows one of

the newer additions in the

company's Cedar Rapids

distribution facility: Popchips

brand potato and corn snacks.


DeWolf says it’s all about growth – both in Lil’ Drug Store,

and in the channel it supplies.

The company distributes to more than 125,000 convenience

stores, and sold more than 145 million items last year – 10 times

more than in 2000. It has become the largest convenience store

distributor of over-the-counter drugs and personal care products

in the U.S., and is a big supplier of automotive products,

sensible snacks and other merchandise.

“There are a lot of examples of our products being more

than convenience and impulse purchases,” Mr. DeWolf said.

The company’s expansion meshes well with a trend in the

convenience store industry of becoming more of a destination,

rather than simply a place to pick up a few items when stopping

for gas, he added. Many new convenience stores are larger and

carry many basic household items needed for daily living.

Last year’s sales data suggests one possible reason for the trend.

Sales industry-wide declined 4.3 percent, to about $550 billion,

according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. But

that decline was entirely due to lower gas prices, which brought

fuel sales down 9.2 percent. If sales of items inside the store, such

as those Lil’ Drug Store Products supplies, had not increased by

3.2 percent, the decline would have been even larger.

Consumer product companies often seek out Lil’ Drug Store

to get their products into the convenience store channel, Mr.





The Branstad effect

Lil' Drug Store


Betsy McCloskey,

Principal with Plaid Swan

Inc., talks about why

she opened an

office in Cedar



DeWolf said. It can be a hard

channel to open, he noted, because

shelf space is tight and the

industry still has many competitors

with 10 stores or less.

“We really consider ourselves

an access point for products

and trends that want to be

in the convenience store channel,”

Mr. DeWolf said.

A good example of that came

this spring with an exclusive

convenience store marketing

agreement between Lil’ Drug

Store and two manufacturers

of healthier snack foods. While

mainstream grocery and convenience

stores both get a comparable

percentage of their revenue

from meat snacks like beef

jerky, sales of healthy snacks in

convenience stores didn’t come

close to the percentage in mainstream


Lil’ Drug Stores added the

Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Fruit line and the Popchips line of

healthy grain snacks on the expectation that convenience stores

will benefit from the growing popularity of those categories.

Mr. DeWolf said he also expects to see growth in services

at convenience stores. Lil’ Drug Store has acquired a 20 percent

stake in a Minnesota company that supplies tire filling and

auto vacuum equipment with the expectation that it can grow

its convenience market presence.

With its decades of experience in studying the convenience

store market, Lil’ Drug Store has also built a consulting and

analytics business. More than 45,000 convenience stores use

the company’s services to help determine the optimal mix of

product and pricing for profitability.

Lil’ Drug Store is owned by husband-and-wife Chris and

Suzy DeWolf, who acquired it from Ms. DeWolf’s parents, Dennis

and Donna Oldorf, in 2005. The company operates with

a lean local staff of about 50 at 1201 Continental Place NE, a

100,000-square-foot location it has leased since the mid-1990s.

Mr. DeWolf said the company had became serious about

building at a new location about one year ago, both to position

the company for growth and offer a more attractive workplace

for employees. With input from its department heads, it

worked with developer-builder Hunter Companies and Aspect

Architecture to come up with a facility to suit its needs.

The main location choices were along I-380 at the north

and south ends of the Cedar Rapids metro area. Mr. DeWolf

said the southern location is close to the FedEx air freight

hub at Eastern Iowa Airport, provides easy in and out access

for truckload carriers, and will be convenient for visiting

customers. CBJ


Lil’ Drug finds

growth in

private label

Growth remained strong for Lil’

Drug Store as work on its new headquarters

along I-380 in Cedar Rapids

progressed throughout 2017.

“It has been a sweet year for Lil’

Drug Store,” said Director of Marketing

Doug Marquardt.

Driving Lil’ Drug Store’s results

were growth in the company’s private-label

brand, its category management

business for convenience

store chains, and overall improvement

in its core health and beauty

care business, Mr. Marquardt said.

One trend that has been driving

sales is a growing consumer

preference for private-label products,

which typically sell for much

less than national brands. A line of

private-label Lil’ Drug Store health

and beauty products offers lower

prices than the brand names and

has been a success for Lil’ Drug

Store and its retailer clients.

The percentage of convenience

store sales coming from private label

products has doubled from 3 to 6

percent from 2014 to 2017.

Lil’ Drug Store acquired rights to

bring new products to market under

the No-Doz brand this year. No-

Doz is the leading over-the-counter

product for mental alertness, Mr.

Marquardt said. The products are in

Walmarts, Walgreens and grocery

stores, and Lil’ Drug Store Products

planned to bring them to market in

the convenience store channel in


The foundation of the new $13

million headquarters was complete

and the structure was going up in


“The project is on track and we’re

one year from the projected movein,”

said Lil’ Drug Store President

and CEO Chris DeWolf.

- Dave DeWitte


20 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


new CEO

Daniel Goldstein

discusses The

Gazette Co.'s



Prospects for improved trade

with China rise with

ambassador appointment

China's then-Vice President Xi Jinping is welcomed on stage by Gov. Terry Branstad on Feb. 15, 2012, a the

Mr. Branstad toasted Mr. Xi and the long-lasting friendship between Iowa a


Look no further for your next home!

“We weren’t sure how mom would adjust to the change

in her environment, but the staff was so helpful in getting

her acclimated. We have been so impressed!”

All-Inclusive Lifestyle

Independent Living with Optional Health Care Services

Memory Care Program

Let Brown Deer Place assist in caring for your loved one living with

dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease in our secure Memory Care while you

enjoy the Independent Living lifestyle, just down the hall.


1500 First Ave N, Coralville, IA 52241


This beautifully renovated community,

nestled in the lovely Brown Deer

neighborhood, is the ideal place

for your next step!

From studios, to one and two bedroom

apartments, as well as Memory Care

suites, Brown Deer Place is ideal for

individuals and couples.

CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 21

Companies are leveraging mobile devices and apps in

increasingly creative ways to keep customers engaged by

pushing out information about new products or services,

making shopping easier and tempting them with deals.

less and use the internet for more purchases.

Leadership trio at Central State Bank

brings an entrepreneurial approach to the

Corridor’s banking scene.

By Adam Moore


Guaranty Bank & Trust, one of the Corridor’s

oldest banking brands, is joining

one of its newest as part of a $44.2

million deal announced June 9.

QCR Holdings, the Moline-based

parent company of Cedar Rapids Bank

& Trust (CRBT), has agreed to purchase

all of Guaranty Bankshares’ stock and

assets, and will merge Guaranty Bank

into CRBT’s operations once the transaction

closes later this year.

No decisions have yet been made on

the banks’ offices or staffing, leaders

said. Guaranty has five offices, including

its headquarters at Third Street and

Third Avenue; CRBT counts two offices

in Cedar Rapids. Its headquarters is located

at 500 First Ave. NE, three blocks

away from Guaranty’s main office.

The sale brings an end to the 83-yearold

Guaranty brand, but leaders framed

the deal as an opportunity to build

scale and expand their footprint with a

like-minded partner.

“Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust has a local

board, their leadership is very local.

They make the decisions here as far as

what loans to make and what community

activities to be involved in,” said

Chris Lindell, president and CEO of

Guaranty Bank. “Being a local, community

bank and being involved – we want

that to continue on.”

Larry Helling, president and CEO of

CRBT, recalled that he met the bank’s

then-owner, Harold Becker, and his

son, Robert, around 25 years ago in

Omaha at a bar mitzvah for Harold’s

grandson. The leaders maintained that

relationship over the years, opening the

door to talks after Harold’s death last

May and Robert’s move to chairman of

the board.

“That’s the way a lot of business

deals come together – you build a relationship,”

Mr. Helling said. “I knew


CRBT acquires Guaranty Bank

in $44M deal

Merger forms second-largest bank in CR market

Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust's headquarters at 500 First Ave. NE in Cedar Rapids shown in

an undated photo. PHOTO POINT BUILDERS

[the Becker family] on a different level,

and because of that, it was a natural

fit for us.”

The acquisition will make CRBT the

largest community bank chartered in

Linn County, with the banks reporting

combined assets of almost $1.2 billion

as of March 31. It will also make CRBT

the second-largest in deposit share in

the county, behind U.S. Bank, with the

banks reporting $946 million in deposits

that same month.

That increased size will help CRBT

compete in an industry where “scale

matters,” Mr. Helling said, allowing it

to offer more services and cope with

the nation’s current period of “long,

low, protracted” interest rates. It will

also give the bank more resources to

deal with the complex regulatory environment

and develop more technologies

for customers, who are demanding

them from banks of all sizes.

“As a community

bank, at our size, it’s really

hard. Today, we’re

fine, but in 10 years

from now?” Mr. Lindell

said. “This gets it to the




right scale, where it needs to be.”

CRBT’s acquisition will also allow it

to better serve “the entire marketplace”

through an expanded branch network,

Mr. Helling said. The deal will double

the size of CRBT’s retail business, while

also bringing a book of “meaningful

commercial business” to its folio.

The acquisition is the latest for QCR

Holdings, which owns Quad Cities

Bank & Trust, and last May purchased

Community State Bank, based in Ankeny.

That bank was bought from Van

Dienst Investment Co. for $80 million.

Guaranty Bank & Trust was organized

and founded in 1934 by Van

Vechten Shaffer. Robert Becker’s grandfather,

Orrie Becker, was a founding

shareholder, and Harold Becker purchased

control of the bank from Mr.

Shaffer in 1969. CBJ



Swipe for speed

& savings

Bankers Trust hits 100

As the state's largest community bank

marks its centennial year this month, it’s

celebrating more than just longevity.

Guaranty to CRBT



CRBT makes

it official

It’s been a few months of change for

customers of Cedar Rapids-based

Guaranty Bank.

Customers received letters explaining

the merger and switchover

to Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust (CRBT)

in November, said President and

CEO Larry Helling, and the banks’

data processing systems were officially

merged on Dec. 4. CRBT signage

also went up on former Guaranty

branches in early December.

Mr. Helling said he expected the

transition to have a minimal impact

on client service. While two former

Guaranty locations were closed in

the merger – the bank’s headquarters

at the corner of Third Street and

Third Avenue in downtown Cedar

Rapids and a branch location on

42nd Street NE – those employees

were moved to nearby branches,

ensuring that customers will continue

to see “the same faces,” Mr.

Helling said. No other significant

staff changes are expected.

The next decision to be made

will center around the former Guaranty

headquarters building, which

is situated on a prime corner downtown.

Mr. Helling said the bank

is working with the city of Cedar

Rapids to “identify appropriate developers

who will hopefully turn

that into something very nice for

the city,” but added “it won’t be us,

we’re not developers.”

CRBT surpassed the $1 billion

asset mark in September, making it

the second largest bank in the Cedar

Rapids market and the largest

community bank headquartered in

Linn County. The bank’s newfound

scale will allow it to offer additional

account products and make larger

loans, Mr. Helling said, adding “as

clients grow, we’ll be able to grow

with them.”

- Adam Moore

Retailers turning to mobile apps

Guaranty Bank ends its 83-yea run

fo lowing its $44 mi lion sale to Cedar

to lure and keep customers

Rapids Bank & Trust.


22 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

By Dave DeWitte


Ed. note: This is the last part in the CBJ’s series on the Future of

Retail. Find our past installments at h tp://bit.ly/CBJFutureofRetail.

The smartphone is increasingly the tie that binds consumers

to their favorite retailers.

Startup banking

It’s a strategy driven by necessity, as consumers get out


“Three years ago, we started to invest in all things mobile,”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during the

company’s Investor Day presenta


A Stronger, Combined

Community Bank.

Visit www.crbt.com for our new locations and teams

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

Who's the Best of the

Corridor? Grab the n

How Our Obsessions Are

Changing What We Buy


Corridor’s biggest business

stories of 2017 (so far)

A SEASON for mergers

Rockwell primed the Corridor’s recent M&A storm

by completing its $8.3 billion acquisition of North

Carolina-based B/E Aerospace on April 13. Then

in June, in rapid fire, John Deere announced its

$5.2 billion purchase of global road construction

equipment maker Wirtgen Group, Cedar Rapids

Bank & Trust bought Guaranty Bank for $44 million,

and publicly-traded tech company Trimble

acquired Innovative Software Engineering (ISE)

for an undisclosed amount.

Headquarters rising

Hawkeye Hotels last week officially opened the

doors on its new headquarters in Coralville,

while both Crystal Group in Hiawatha and Lil’

Drug Store Products in Cedar Rapids recently announced

big-dollar headquarter expansions and

construction. The new Watts Group headquarters

on Coralville’s Oakdale Boulevard also opened in


Talent in development

A key regional leadership position was filled in

May when the Cedar Rapids

Metro Economic Alliance

and ICAD Group

announced Jennifer

Daly will be the first

CEO of their new

workforce and economic


joint venture. She will

arrive this month from

her post as CEO of the

Greater Peoria Economic

Development Council in

Kim Casko

Peoria, Illinois. Simultaneously,

the Alliance announced that interim CEO

Doug Neumann will serve as the organization’s

executive director. Kim Casko, president and CEO

of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce,

meanwhile, settled into her role after arriving in

September 2016 from ACT.

Compiled by Dave DeWitte and Adam Moore





C-suite changes

CRST and Bankers Trust

both announced big

C-suite changes earlier

this year, with Group

President and COO

Hugh Eckberg slated

to take over for CEO

Dave Rusch at CRST,

and Des Moines President

Don Coffin to

follow CEO Suku Radia

at Bankers Trust Company.

Iowa City’s MetaCommunications

named former Nautilus

chief executive Gregg Hammann president

and CEO in April, closing a period of uncertainty

following Bob Long’s departure last October.

Startup scene

The Cedar Rapids startup Acre Broadband

launched fundraising this spring for the first phase

of a large project to create a statewide wireless mesh

network to offer rural residents high-speed Internet,

as well as voice and navigation services. At the

Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids, the first

two startup teams were announced in March under

a longer, but less intense, one-year program format

that will help participants who want to maintain

their student or employment status while completing

the program. And in Iowa City, the new

MERGE space opened at 136 S. Dubuque St. to

offer entrepreneurs and startups resources, space

and a network to help them launch successfully in

June with support from ICAD Group and the UI’s

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and Office

of Research and Economic Development.


Mid-Year 2017

Reviewing the first six months

and looking ahead

Despite all of this year’s

political drama, in many

ways the story remains the

same for business:

Labor remains tight, taxes

and health care are status

quo, and growth comes at a

premium. But there are also

reasons to be optimistic,

as consumers continue

to spend, energy prices

stay low and deregulation

Gregg Hammann


Robin Therme, president of CIVCO,

discusses the changes in the medical

device market.


RSM economist

Keynote speaker Joseph Brusuelas, chief

economist of RSM US LLP, kicked o f the

CBJ Mid-Year Economic Review.


Big stories

Five of the Corridor's

biggest business

stories of 2017 (so far).


CBJ Book Club


Mergers, leadership

changes continue

Two of the Corridor’s biggest story threads at the midpoint

of the year continued to develop through the fall.

The CBJ reported on no less than 16 corporate deals between

July and November, including United Fire Group’s

sale of its United Life division for (see page 32) and United

Technologies’ $30 billion bid for Rockwell Collins (page

30). Other notable acquisitions included Heartland Express’

$113 million deal to purchase Interstate Distributors

Co. in July; food giant Cargill’s deal to buy Cedar

Rapids-based Diamond V; and Motion Industries’ deal to

acquire Cedar Rapids-based Apache Inc.

When it comes to leadership changes, MetaCommunications

set the pace this summer, hiring Patrick Tierney

as chief financial officer, Vanessa McDonald as chief development

officer and promoting Ali Ahmad to chief operating


Urbana-based e-commerce company Clickstop

launched a shared-services model in August that included

the creation of a new leadership team. Members included

Tom Altman, chief technology officer; Tammy Karr,

president of the Clickstop Accelerator team; Todd Kuennen,

chief intelligence officer and executive vice president;

Monica Steffeck, chief talent enrichment officer; Chad

Brandmeyer, chief financial officer; and Phil Akin, chief

marketing officer. August also saw the promotion of Tad

Cooper to president and chief operating officer of Acterra

Group, a full-service energy services and development

firm based in Marion.

In September, Aaron Horn was named the new chief

operating officer of NewBoCo, the Cedar Rapids-based

innovation and entrepreneurial hub, while Dennis Murdock,

executive vice president and CEO with Central Iowa

Power Cooperative (CIPCO), retired after nearly three decades

in his role.

In October, the University of Iowa named J. Brooks

Jackson to lead UI Health Care, which includes the Roy J.

and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, the UI Hospitals

and Clinics and UI Physicians. Dr. Jackson comes from the

University of Minnesota, where he served as the vice president

for health sciences and dean of the medical school.

In November, Kimberly Maes was named to lead CRST

Logistics Inc., one of CRST International’s eight operating

companies, after most recently serving as president of

Swift Logistics LLC.

Local leaders moving on or retiring include Lee Belfield,

the general manager of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, Iowa’s

only teaching hotel, and Syniverse President and CEO

Steve Gray, who announced that he will retire from the Orlando-based

telecommunications tech company in February

2018. Mr. Gray, of Cedar Rapids, has invested in and led

a series of successful startups in the Corridor through his

venture firm, Gray Venture Partners.

- Adam Moore


Review of "Superfandom:

INSIDE: Analysis and expert

and Who We Are."

24 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

opinion on the challenges

and opportunities ahead.



Test your comprehension with the

CBJ News Quiz, compiled from stories

appearing over the last month. How

we l have you been fo lowing the news?


Coming Up

Our productivity solutions

empower creative and

marketing teams at the

world's leading brands.

We're looking for the best and brightest minds

to help us grow. Are you ready to change the

way the world thinks about work?

www.workgroups.com I 201 E. Washington St. Iowa City, IA 52240


IOWA CITY—Grubhub, the mobile food

ordering and delivery giant, has been gobbling

up the competition in recent months,

leaving some restaurateurs wondering

By Dave DeWitte


The decision, announced last week, to

phase out the full-time MBA program

that the University of Iowa’s Tippie

College of business had offered for 56

years made big headlines, and it wasn’t

an easy one, Tippie Dean Sarah Fisher

Gardial said.

Nevertheless, the day after the Aug.

22 announcement, Ms. Gardial’s inbox

received a stream of emails from other

deans and academic professionals,

many of them praising the UI for making

a tough but smart move.

Academic leaders have seen full-time

MBA enrollment slipping for years, Ms.

Gardial said, but have been reluctant

to drop the programs because they are

highly visible in national rankings of

business schools by publications such

as U.S. News & World Report and the

Princeton Review.

“We have finally decided the trends

are undeniable, and rather than continue

to put resources into a program

that’s in decline, we need to prepare for

the future,” Ms. Gardial said.

The UI’s full-time MBA program enrollment

has fallen from 140 in 2010

to 100 in 2017, and makes up only

one-eleventh of this year’s record MBA

enrollment of 1,101. The remaining

students are in evening and weekend

programs like the growing Professional

MBA and Executive MBA, which are designed

to enable students to complete

their studies while they continue working


“The market’s not demanding less

MBAs, especially for people who want

to ascend to the top ranks of leadership,”

Ms. Gardial noted. “What has

changed is the demand on the part of

students and the workplace.”


MBA phaseout

a tough call for UI

Those pursuing MBAs are increasingly

taking evening and weekend programs

because they don’t want to put their careers

on pause or run up as much college

debt, said Ms. Gardial,

who arrived at the UI five

years ago. The UI and other

universities have also seen a

weakening in full-time MBA

applications from international

students – a trend

some attribute to the Trump

administration’s tougher




stance on immigration.

“You could call it the

Trump effect or the Brexit

effect,” Ms. Gardial said,

noting that she first experienced

it during a visit to England

after its vote to leave

the European Union. Soon

after the vote, she said it became clear

to business colleges in England that foreign

interest in attendance was waning,

apparently due to concerns about how

welcoming the country would be to foreign


Ms. Gardial said the constraints of

state education funding in Iowa – a decades-long

trend that has led to sizable

tuition hikes – were one of the factors

in the decision, but noted that discontinuation

of the program had been

discussed even before her arrival, and

long before current university funding

shortfalls. If it appeared that the fulltime

MBA program was worth saving,

she said she was willing to go the fundraising

route to help sustain it.

The UI will instead redeploy faculty

and staff associated with the full-time

program to its Professional MBA and

Executive MBA programs,

and to specialized offerings

like a new master’s

degree in finance that will

be launched in the fall of

2018. No faculty or staff

layoffs will result, Ms. Gardial


The UI offers MBA courses

not only on campus, but

in Davenport, Cedar Rapids

and Des Moines. It also

Sarah Fisher offers international MBA

Gardial programs in Hong Kong

UI Tippie Dean and Italy.

If the Iowa Board of Regents

concurs after a presentation

on the decision scheduled for

Sept. 6, the UI’s last full-time MBA students

will graduate in May 2019.

If the Tippie College of Business’

reputation does suffer from the move,

it may be because it will no longer

appear in some rankings of MBA programs.

Ms. Gardial said the UI’s MBA

programs have typically scored best in

measures of value to students, which

compare the gain in salaries before and

after graduation.

Still, she said most publications now

rank business colleges on a variety of

degree programs, not just full-time

MBAs, ensuring the UI won’t be overlooked.



Eating the competition

Cargofy hits the road

Iowa Startup Accelerator participants Stakh

and Natal ia Vozniak look to launch their

promising logistics app in the U.S. market.




Announced last

week, to phase out

the full-time MBA

program tha the

University of Iowa’s

Tippie Co lege of




Tippie leads

the way

The decision by UI’s Tippie College

of Business to end its full-time MBA

program turned out to be in the vanguard

of a trend that in October saw

King’s College in London become

the first leading British university

to open a business school not offering

the degree and the University of

Wisconsin’s briefly consider closing

its own full-time program.

UW leaders reversed their proposal

to temporarily stop admissions

into the program for a review

less than a week after it became

public, following complaints from

students and alumni, according to

a news report.

The question facing business

schools is, “do we stay in a shrinking

market with ever-decreasing

payouts, or do we move out to areas

that represent growth?” Tippie

Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial asked in

a conference call with reporters earlier

this year.

Students, and schools like Iowa,

Wake Forest University, Virginia

Tech and Simmons College, are increasingly

answering that question

“no.” According to a report by the

General Management Admissions

Council (GMAC), only 40 percent

of full-time, two-year MBA programs

in the U.S. reported receiving

an increase in applications in 2016;

48 percent reported a decline. And

an October Fortune Magazine article,

“What’s Killing U.S. Business

Schools?” argues that trend is likely

to continue

Tippie, which moved up two

spots in the U.S. News and World

Report ranking of business schools

to No. 31 this fall, has shifted its

focus to specialized master’s programs,

like its new master of science

in business analytics, and plans to

increase investment in its MBA programs

for working professionals,

according to a recent press release.

- Katharine Carlon

26 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Grubhub’s purchase of OrderUp leaving

some IC businesses with a bad taste

By Steve Gravelle

Running the Roost

The Tin Roost opened this month on one of

North Liberty’s busiest roads, and promises

to have enough room for the whole gang.


where they fit in the company’s strategy.

On Aug. 1, Chicago-based Grubhub

served by Groupon subsidiary OrderUp,

which arrived in Iowa City in the summer

of 2015. Three days later, Grubhub bought

Eat24, Yelp’s food-delivery service.

When Grubhub announced the OrderUp

acquisition, a company spokeswoman

said OrderUp’s brand would be phased

out. The company's Iowa City webpage is

rants in Iowa City under the Grubhub brand

and are working with Groupon to transition

a l of the restaurants over to our ecosystem

in the coming months,” Grubhub spokeswoman

Katie Norris wrote in an email. “OrderUp

diners will also join the Grubhub

platform and be able to order from new and

Taste of Iowa City

completed a deal to acquire all 27 markets

still active, although that will change.

“We intend

existing Grubhub restaurants.”

From its humble beginnings a deca

Our favorite sign

Entrepreneurs don’t become entrepreneurs so they can spend their days negotiating with

lenders. They become entrepreneurs to realize a vision. As the winner of four awards from

the Small Business Administration, including top lender in Iowa, we get it. You

want efficient loan applications and approvals, transparent communication, and

proactive expertise. You want a trusted local lender to handle the finances

so you can focus on the business of running your business. And at Bankers Trust,

that’s just what you get.

SBA Lender

in Iowa

Member FDIC

201 1st Street SE 319-896-7777

400 Blairs Ferry Road NE 319-221-1230



of business at Mount

Mercy University,

By Dave DeWitte


The retirement of the baby boom generation

is playing out in various ways

in the Corridor, but none more visible

than the current surge in senior living


More than a half-dozen senior living

projects totaling more than $55 million

in investment have been completed in

the past year, and nearly a dozen more

are in progress. When those additional

projects are completed over the next two

years, the total investment will approach

a quarter of a billion dollars.

The projects will bring at least 1,359

new living units onto the market by the

CBJ’s count, producing ripple effects in

everything from demand for workers

and development services to municipal

property taxes.

As one project after another unfolded

in 2016, it began to seem like overbuilding

was imminent. But experts say that

virtually every project has been based

on careful market analysis, and that even

more development could be coming.

“This is historic in nature – there’s

never been anything close to this,” said

Scott Olson of Skogman Commercial,

who has served as a real estate advisor

to about half of the new senior living

projects under development in the Cedar

Rapids metro.

The reasons include a demographic

shift with the retirement of the huge

baby boom generation (see page 4), and

the strong financial returns being generated

by senior living facilities built in

recent years.

Iowa’s senior population is forecast

to grow by 26 percent, or 218,000

people, from 2010-2020, according to

a 2012 study conducted for the Iowa





Senior Lifestyles

A golden


Inside the Corridor’s senior housing boom

Senior Lifestyles

A golden opportunity

Inside the Corridor’s senior housing boom

28 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Seniors leave The Gardens, a new senior living facility at 5710 Dean Road SW, Cedar Rapids,

after touring the facility during an Aug. 10 grand opening event. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE

Finance Authority. Seniors between the

ages of 65-75 are forecast to comprise 88

percent of that growth.

The report projects 27,000 additional

housing units will be needed over that

time period, with demand in the East

Central region – encompassing much of

the Corridor – expected to average 410

units annually.

The boom in senior housing is happening

in all parts of the country. In

the second quarter of 2017, 6,600 new

senior housing units hit the market, according

to the NIC MAP Data Service,

the largest number since it began tracking

the market in 2006.

Development projects include both

profit and nonprofit ventures; many involve

partnerships between senior living

operators and real estate developers. They

are backed by senior living chains, local

investors and seasoned real estate investors,

and sometimes receive gap financing

assistance from local governments

and federal loan guarantees.

Projects include

a broad range of

facility types, from

New ISA teams

Startups focused on easing some of life's

less-enjoyable decisions are joining the

Iowa Startup Accelerator.



hires COO

Aaron Horn to step

into newly created

role as NewBoCo

gears up for next

stage of growth.



Nathan Klein,

associate professor

affordable senior living apartments to independent

living, assisted living, skilled

care, and continuum of care communities.

One of the most telling signs regarding

the momentum in the Corridor’s

senior housing market is that some of

the area’s oldest and most established

communities are still expanding. The

Oaknoll Retirement Community, one of

the largest in the Corridor, completed its

70-unit Spring Street Addition in 2015.

In Cedar Rapids, Meth-Wick Community,

one of the state’s oldest and largest

senior communities, will complete the

addition of 18 large independent living

units this fall.

“This is a little unique for the whole

Corridor,” Meth-Wick CEO Robin Mixdorf

said. “There’s been a real uptick in

new construction, which leads you to

believe that these developers have identified

a demand for senior housing. This

is probably the largest uptick I’ve seen in

my [18-year] time at Meth-Wick.”

Developers like Ewing Development

of Pella are scouting sites, and city planners

in several Corridor communities said

they’ve fielded inquiries from others.



The boom


The largest senior housing buildout

in the history of the Corridor

rolled on as 2017 came to a close,

with an assortment of large projects

under way, one starting and

one more reaching completion.

Meth-Wick Community announced

in October it had completed

construction of Oakwood,

its newest condominium offering

in the 68-acre Cedar Rapids

senior living community.

The three-story building has six

condominiums on each floor,

ranging in size from 1,116-1,822

square feet.

The high-end condominiums

offer as much space as many

single-family homes and afford

a higher degree of privacy than

most senior living alternatives,

Meth-Wick President Robin Mixdorf

said, but also offer access to

on-campus dining, programs and


A groundbreaking was held

Nov. 17 for Stoney Point Meadows,

a 95-unit, $19 million assisted

living and memory care facility

at 16th Avenue and Stoney

Point Road SW in Cedar Rapids

developed by Bob Samples with

a large group of local investors.

Construction on the facility,

which will include a mix of 67 assisted

living and 28 memory care

units, is expected to be complete

in November 2018.

Major continuing care communities

under development

through the winter months will

include Grand Living at Bridgewater

in Coralville, Grand Living

at Indian Creek in Cedar Rapids,

and two projects in Marion: Terrace

Glen Village and The Views

Senior Living of Marion.

- Dave DeWitte

talks leadership and

world travel.



You’re on the move. You’re a pedal-pushing, seed-planting, grandkid-chasing machine.

Who said retirement is a time to slow down? Not us.

Wait till you see what we have in store for you. Learn more at methwick.org.

1224 13th St NW, Cedar Rapids, IA | 319–365–9171 | methwick.org

attention of the media and analysts.

than it was worth

United Technologies (UTC)

agreed to pay $30 billion for

Rockwell Collins, the global avionics

manufacturer based in Cedar Rapids,

earning it the title of the largest aerospace acquisition

in history by the Wall Street Journal.

The offer of $140 per share for Rockwell was an 18 percent premium

over the company’s trading price before news of the deal broke in

Dana Larson, executive director of

communications and marketing a the

University of Iowa Foundation, talks about

the power of giving back.

A new kind of competition in Iowa City

is aiming to explore the intersection of

technology and fashion.

By Dave DeWitte


United Technologies (UTC) agreed to

pay $30 billion for Rockwell Collins,

the global avionics manufacturer based

in Cedar Rapids, earning it the title of

the largest aerospace acquisition

in history by the Wall

Street Journal.

The offer of $140 per

share for Rockwell was an

18 percent premium over

the company’s trading price

before news of the deal

broke in August, and drew

criticism from some analysts

that UTC was overpaying.

The Connecticut-based

conglomerate expects to

borrow about $15 billion of

the purchase price, possibly paying off

the debt by selling off other business

units, and earned some minor credit

rating downgrades as a result.

For Rockwell shareholders – most

of them large institutional investors – it

felt more like Christmas. They would

be able to sell their stock for 67.7 percent

more than it was worth on Oct.

24, 2016, right after Rockwell Collins

announced its own $8.6 billion acquisition

of B/E Aerospace.

UTC CEO and Chairman Greg Hayes

said the strategic benefits Rockwell Collins

could bring made the price worth it.

“When you’re buying beachfront

property, I think it’s a pretty good deal,”

Mr. Hayes said on CNBC’s “Squawk on

the Street.”

Another number may be more important

to Rockwell Collins employees

and shareholders in the Corridor,

however: $500 million. That’s UTC’s

estimate of the cost synergies expected

to result from the merger in the fourth

year after it is finalized, and Rockwell


The $500M question in

UTC’s Rockwell deal

As Wall Street digested the deal announced Sept. 4 for United

Technologies Corp. to buy Rockwell Collins, one number in particular

grabbed the attention of the media and analysts.

Kelly Ortberg

Collins is reorganized into a new Collins

Aerospace Systems business unit, to

be run by Rockwell Chairman and CEO

Kelly Ortberg.

Cost synergies are the gravy that Wall

Street analysts savor from big mergers,

and can come from things like combining

headquarters, closing

or selling excess factory

space and trimming sales

forces. But a number of academic

studies find that big

mergers usually fail to deliver

the benefits promised to

shareholders through higher

earnings and stock price performance.

“The question is, are the

synergies great enough to

justify the price being paid?”

said Amrita Nain, a University

of Iowa associate professor of finance

who has reviewed the literature and published

some of her own studies on the

outcomes of acquisitions and mergers.

Ms. Nain said acquisition synergies

include both cost synergies and revenue

synergies. She described the latter as “2

+ 2 = 5” enhancements that can come

from things like cross-selling products,

or innovations that combine the advantages

of products from both companies.

Those synergies tend to be more difficult

to quantify and achieve, Ms. Nain

said. In fact, UTC did not try to quantify

them in announcing the merger.

In such large company mergers, Ms.

Nain said most do not produce the

big shareholder advantages promised.

Roughly 20 percent are significantly

harmful to shareholder value, and

about 60 percent result

in no significant

change, despite the

oft-promised improvements.

When they fail

to boost shareholder




value as promised, she said, it’s usually

because the synergies they expected

weren’t realized.

A synergy shortfall could affect

Rockwell Collins shareholders because

one-third of their payment for the deal

will be in UTC stock, Ms. Nain said. It

could become an issue for employees

if the synergies in expected areas don’t

materialize, forcing UTC to look for

other ways to reduce costs.

In a conference call with analysts on

Sept. 5, Mr. Hayes expressed confidence

UTC can achieve its synergy target

through a reduction in public company

and SG&A (selling, general and administrative)

costs, greater efficiencies in

procurement and increased productivity

in factories.

The acquisition “is not about closing

a lot of factories,” Mr. Hayes said during

the CNBC interview – a theme reflected

in a statement that came directly from

Rockwell Collins.

“United Technologies’ announced

acquisition of Rockwell Collins is expected

to have minimal impact on the

company’s overall presence in Iowa,”

read the statement, released through

spokesman Josh Baynes. “The majority

of jobs in the state are driven by design,

engineering and manufacturing of

our products and systems, and there is

virtually no overlap between our work

done in Iowa and UTC’s portfolios.”

The overlap is “only a couple hundred

million dollars” of product sales,


The $500 million question in

UTC’s Rockwell Collins deal

By Dave DeWitte | dave@corridorbusiness.com

As Wall Street digested the deal announced Sept.

4 for United Technologies Corp. to buy Rockwell

Collins, one number in particular grabbed the


Cutting costs

Former Marine Capt. Aaron Serrano

discusses the growth of Military Cost

Cu ters and its recent move.





future ahead

United Technologies Corp. (UTC)

remains on track to close its acquisition

of Rockwell Collins in the third

quarter of fiscal 2018, with plans to

create a new Collins Aerospace Systems

business folding in its Aerospace

Systems businesses, including

components suppliers Goodrich

and Hamilton Sundstrand.

The next hurdle is a vote by Rockwell’s

shareholders, expected in February.

At least five lawsuits seeking

class-action status have been filed

against the merger in U.S. district

court – a common occurrence in

most corporate transactions – although

share-price moves since the

deal’s announcement suggest that a

majority of shareholders expect the

deal to pass as planned. No vote is

required of UTC’s shareholders.

The bigger challenge could be securing

regulatory approvals in timely

matter. UTC and Rockwell will need

17 different approvals from global

regulators, including China and the

European Union, and some analysts

have suggested that the company’s

final size – at an estimated $68 billion

in annual sales – could make

it a target for regulators concerned

about the accelerating pace of consolidation

in the aerospace industry.

While corporate leaders have emphasized

the fact that there will be little

product overlap between Rockwell

and UTC, EU regulators are expected

to raise concerns over the combined

company’s overall size and its ability

to apply leverage on suppliers. That

argument was used to scuttle GE’s

proposed purchase of Honeywell in

2001, Reuters reported.

“If there is an issue, we expect

it would be in Europe and/or China,

because scope, rather than just

scale, matters,” Sanford C. Bernstein

& Co. analyst Doug Harned told the


- Adam Moore


30 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Fashion Lab

August, and drew criticism from some analysts that UTC was overpaying.

The Connecticut-based conglomerate expects to borrow about $15 billion of

the purchase price, possibly paying off the debt by selling off other business units,


and earned some minor credit rating downgrades as a result.

For Rockwell shareholders – most of them large institutional investors – it felt

more like Christmas. They would be able to sell thei

































for air transportation in Eastern Iowa and

the border regions of Wisconsin and Illinois.

CID offers the most non-stop destinations

and seats of any airport in the region.











By Dave DeWitte | dave@corridorbusiness.com

dealerships, and many others like it, they’re invaluable.

Recent public filings reveal what Rockwe l

Co lins leaders are being told abou the

$30 bi lion deal to sell their company.


UFG sells United Life

for $280 million

By Dave DeWitte


Spending $280 million to acquire the life insurance business

of Cedar Rapids-based United Fire Group is part of a Chicago

startup’s ambitious growth plans.

United Fire Group (UFG) and Kuvare US Holdings announced

on Sept. 19 that Kuvare will buy United Life Insurance

Company next year for $280 million. UFG,

which started the life insurance business in 1955,

will sharpen its focus on its core property and

casualty business, using the big capital infusion

for share repurchases, shareholder dividends and

potentially acquisitions.

Spurring Kuvare’s interest in the deal is a vast

opportunity to deliver more annuity and complex

life insurance products to retiring baby boomers

and other middle-market consumers, CEO Dhiren

Jhaveri told the CBJ after the announcement.

“What we like about United Life is that it enables

us to deliver solutions throughout our customer’s

life cycle,” Mr. Jhaveri said. “Particularly

when you’re younger and just starting a family,

you tend to look at protective products like the

fantastic life insurance products United Life offers. As you get

older, you look at more accumulation-oriented products, like

annuities and more sophisticated life insurance policies.”

Kuvare offers the latter kinds of products through Guaranty

Income Life Insurance Co. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,

which it acquired six months ago.

As baby boomers stop earning a steady paycheck at retirement,

Kuvare sees opportunities to sell them annuities

that can provide a stream of predictable income from their

retirement savings. Beyond that, Kuvare sees opportunities

to sell them insurance products that will provide tax and

convenience benefits for transferring wealth.

The acquisition will bring “great cross-pollination from

a product standpoint,” Mr. Jhaveri said, along with distribution

synergies. United Life is sold exclusively through a

network of independent insurance agents and brokers, while

Guaranty Income Life is sold through community banks

and independent marketing agencies. Kuvare’s ownership

will allow both insurance companies’ sales channels to sell

all of its products.

Carlos Sierra, chief operating officer of Kuvare, will be

a key architect of the integration of Guaranty Income Life,




Randy Ramlo

President and CEO

of UFG

United Life and a third Kuvare company, Kuvare Life Re,

based in Bermuda. Although the United Life acquisition

isn’t expected to close until the first half of 2018, Mr. Sierra

said the work is already beginning on how best to tap the

synergies of the companies.

About 46 employees of United Life, most of them working

in Cedar Rapids, will be offered employment with Kuvare

with no change in positions or salaries. Kuvare will sign a

short-term lease agreement with UFG to enable

them to remain in Cedar Rapids for a time, after

which Mr. Jhaveri and Mr. Sierra said the company

is committed to keeping a Cedar Rapids metro

area presence.

The 46 employees represent a small percentage

of United Life’s 1,000-plus employees nationwide,

of which more than 600 are in Cedar Rapids.

Mr. Jhaveri said he’d been studying United Life

over the past two years, becoming an admirer of its

products and independent agent network. His interest

in acquiring United Life aligned with UFG’s

organizational plans, he said, and they worked

through their respective advisors to develop a deal.

The purchase works out to a roughly 20 percent

premium over United Life’s book value, and

will be paid in cash. The terms restrict UFG from reentering

the life insurance business or soliciting any of its United Life

employees for employment for two years after it is concluded,

according to an SEC filing.

UFG President and CEO Randy Ramlo said in a press release

that the deal “establishes a solid future for our life insurance

employees, insurance agents and customers, while

allowing us to continue to build on the success of our property

and casualty operations.” He said UFG plans to reinvest

in its property and casualty business and surety operations,

with initiatives such as a new technology platform to enhance

underwriting decisions and productivity.

The deal comes as UFG expands its downtown Cedar

Rapids campus, a project including the construction of a

new tower next to the American Building on First Avenue SE,

and copes with a wave of property insurance claims resulting

from hurricanes Harvey and Katrina.

Mr. Jhaveri said the growth strategy of Kumare calls for

both organic growth and more acquisitions that will add to its

scale, but the company has no plans at present to go public.

UFG shares rose on the deal, gaining nearly 3.5 percent before

giving up some of the gains over the next two days. CBJ


Calling all customers

Innovation EXPO

If there’s waning interest in startups,

you wouldn’t have guessed i touring the

seventh-annual event.



On track for

a 2018 close

The $280 million acquisition of

United Life by Kuvare US Holdings

from United Fire Group (UFG) was

on pace to be completed in the

second quarter of 2018 as the year

came to a close.

“We’re working very closely with

the leaders and management team

on the transition plan that we will

complete over the next two years,”

CEO Dhiren Jhaveri said.

Kuvare had completed its regulatory

filings in connection with the

acquisition at the end of October,

Mr. Jhaveri said, and is awaiting

regulatory approvals that could run

into 2018.

No decisions were finalized regarding

a separate office location

for the employees of UFG in Cedar

Rapids that will join Kuvare.

Regardless of where the office is

located, Mr. Jhaveri reinforced that

“we expect to be a vibrant member

of this community” and maintain a

strong local presence.

Chicago-based Kuvare US Holding

continues to actively look at

possible transactions that could

add value and complement its existing

businesses, Mr. Jhaveri said.

UFG ended its third fiscal quarter

with a loss of $17.9 million, or

72 cents per share, but not due to

its life insurance business. UFG incurred

catastrophe losses of $30.7

million resulting primarily from

hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria,

and said it experienced continued

deterioration in its core loss

ratio due to the increased severity

of commercial auto losses. CEO

Randy Ramlo said UFG is taking

aggressive measures to bring those

losses under control.

- Dave DeWitte

32 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

They’ve become a predictable part of purchases – those

reminders via email, sales receipt or the voice of a friendly cashier

to fill out an online survey. They’re called Voice of the Customer

(VOC) surveys, and to the largest Corridor-based chain of auto

Ortberg on UTC


UFG deal

A Chicago startup

is spending

Opening Spring 2018


Spring 2018


Make One Move



We bring the services YOU choose

to you WHEN you need them.

No moving to a different apartment

when your needs change.


Kim Emrich, Executive Director

Scott Maiers, Sales Counselor

Visit Us At Our


M-F 8:30 to 5 / Sa-Su 11 to 3

or by appointment


1220 1st Avenue, Coralville, IA

Visit us at our Information Center

to learn more about our new community

offering extraordinary common areas

and remarkable programs and services.

Our Information Center is located at

the Radisson/Hampton Inn Conference Center.

Enter by the Hampton Inn Entrance,

1220 1st Avenue, Coralville

©2017 Grand Living


Community located at 3 Russell Slade Boulevard in Coralville

Follow us on

CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 33

Companies are leveraging mobile devices and apps in

increasingly creative ways to keep customers engaged by

pushing out information about new products or services,

making shopping easier and tempting them with deals.

less and use the internet for more purchases.

Leadership trio at Central State Bank

brings an entrepreneurial approach to the

Corridor’s banking scene.


Cardella & Associates plans

largest expansion yet


By Dave DeWitte


Cedar Rapids-based Thomas L. Cardella

& Associates (TLC) plans to add four new

call centers and expand an Iowa call center

in the next six months, marking the

largest expansion in history for one of the

Corridor’s fastest-growing companies.

Founder and President Tom Cardella

said the expansions will add 800 employees,

most of them in the southwest,

as the company increases capacity for

about six new clients.

TLC & Associates Founder Thomas Cardella, shown

earlier this year. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE

“All these locations are already sold

out,” Mr. Cardella said, adding that the

company has its eye on one other expansion

location in El Paso, Texas.

The expansions currently planned are:

• 75 additional employees and a

4,000-square-foot building expansion

at an existing call center in Keokuk. It

will open in November.

• A new contact center in eastern El

Paso, with 150 employees. The center

will complement an existing center in

central El Paso and open in December.

• A new contact center in Las Cruces,

New Mexico, with 350 additional

employees. It will open January 2018.

• A new call center in Marshalltown

with 75 employees. It will open February


• A new call center at

a soon-to-be-announced

location in the southwestern

United States with 150

employees. It will open in


The company provides

a full range of customer

contact services, including

inbound calls, outbound

calls, chat, email, business

process outsourcing and

fulfillment. It employs

more than 1,500 at seven

existing call centers in

Iowa, Texas, Florida and

the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Cardella said the

company gained new contracts

partly by expanding

its sales team late last year

with some experienced

talent, and partly because

consolidation in the contact

center industry has

created opportunities to

meet the needs of dissatisfied


The call center TLC will be opening

in Las Cruces is in a former location of

a Sitel call center that went dark after its

operations were moved offshore to the

Philippines, Mr. Cardella said. TLC is already

receiving interest in jobs from former

Sitel employees, he said, and is refurbishing

the call center to its standards.

Although much of the company’s

past expansion has been in Iowa, Mr.

Cardella said TLC has been forced to

look elsewhere because the job market

in Iowa has been so strong that the supply

of personnel is now constrained.

“It’s killing us – the unemployment

rate has contracted so much,” Mr. Cardella

said. TLC has been pleased with

the supply of applicants and the work

ethic of workers hired in New Mexico

and Texas, he added.

While expanding its call center capacity,

Mr. Cardella said TLC will be

moving its Cedar Rapids headquarters

to 3735 Queen Court SW from 4515

20th Ave. SW in April 2018 due to considerations

related to a lease expiration.

An announcement of the southwestern

United States call center location

that has not been disclosed is expected

in the next two weeks, he noted.

TLC has been honored multiple times

in the CBJ’s annual Fastest Growing

Companies recognition program, and

was recognized this spring as the “fastest

of the fast,” with a 919 percent two-year

growth rate in 2010, during an event celebrating

the program’s first decade.

The company has been ranked as the

ninth-largest integrated contact center

operator in the United States, and Mr.

Cardella said this spring that TLC’s revenues

have grown sixfold since it won

its first Fastest Growing Companies

honor in 2010.

Beyond the possibility of more call

center announcements this year, Mr. Cardella

said TLC is on the lookout for other

call center companies to acquire. CBJ



gets into gear

Thomas L. Cardella & Associates

held a ribbon-cutting on Oct. 27 for

its new call center in Ottumwa and

is making progress on its planned

expansion of four more.

“Everything’s going great,” said

President Tom Cardella, who attended

the ribbon-cutting with Gov.

Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam

Gregg. The new facility will eventually

employ about 150 people.

At the time of this writing, TLC

was on track to open a new call

center every month for the next

four months. November brought

a new 75-employee TLC call center

in Keokuk, while December will

bring a 150-employee call center

in El Paso, Texas. A 350-employee

call center in Las Cruces, New

Mexico, is set to open in January

and a 75-employee call center in

Marshalltown in February.

However, plans for a fifth call

center at an undisclosed location in

March 2018 have not solidified. The

company has a site in mind, Mr.

Cardella said, but has not been able

to come to terms with the building

owner, so the focus may shift to a

different location.

The search for new locations has

been largely outside Iowa and primarily

in the southwest. Iowa’s unemployment

remained at a low 3

percent in September, creating a challenging

hiring environment, he said.

- Dave DeWitte






Swipe for speed

& savings

Retailers turning to mobile apps

Bankers Trust hits 100

As the state's largest community bank

marks its centennial year this month, it’s

celebrating more than just longevity.


Guaranty to CRBT

Guaranty Bank ends its 83-yea run

fo lowing its $44 mi lion sale to Cedar

to lure and keep customers

Rapids Bank & Trust.


34 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

By Dave DeWitte


Ed. note: This is the last part in the CBJ’s series on the Future of

Retail. Find our past insta lments at h tp://bit.ly/CBJFutureofRetail.

The smartphone is increasingly the tie that binds consumers

to their favorite retailers.

Startup banking

It’s a strategy driven by necessity, as consumers get out


“Three years ago, we started to invest in all things mobile,”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during the

company’s Investor Day presenta


Celebrating 10 Years

of Growth!

We look forward to expanding two of our facilities

and opening three new centers in 2018!

At TLC Associates, we offer our clients a unique combination of

talent, experience and expertise in the sales and service environment.


4515 20th Avenue, SW | Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 | 319-730-4028




We are excited to unveil the results from the

CBJ’s inaugural Leaders Survey, a subscribersand

members-only survey designed to gauge

the sentiment of the Corridor’s business and

community leaders.

Since it’s our first year conducting the survey,

our response numbers are far from a scientific

sample. Nevertheless, we feel it provides

an interesting snapshot of how the region is

faring and what our readers are expecting in the

months ahead. It’s our hope that as the survey

grows, these first results will provide a base

reading from which to observe the Corridor’s

evolution and attitudes in the years to come.

We are offering the overall survey results

here, along with some selected verbatim responses

from those who cared to leave them.

We couldn’t have done this without the

more than 75 leaders who took time to answer

our survey and so we thank you for your input

and time. Now onto the show.

- Adam Moore

How would you rate the Corridor’s business

community and climate?

How optimistic are you about the job market

outlook for your industry?





7.9 7.6





0% 1% 0% 0% 0%


1% 0%

3% 3%





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders are feeling very good about the region’s current business

climate, with 90 percent of respondents rating it as an 8 or higher. In analyzing the verbatim

responses, most wrote that business opportunities are strong and consumers are

continuing to spend, although there was a lingering feeling that the local economy “could

be stronger.” Many cited workforce challenges as the primary reason for not rating the

region higher.

SUMMARY: Most respondents maintained their optimism of the first question, with 61

percent of respondents rating the job market outlook at an 8 or higher – although not

everyone shared the positivity. Many described the Corridor as a “growing and vibrant

community” with good job opportunities for motivated workers, although 12 percent

ranked the region’s job prospects as a 5 or lower, citing intensifying competitive pressures

and the difficulty of replacing employees who leave.


Pam Tiedt

Owner, PIP Printing & Marketing

7 – I still think we are recovering from the

recession. It is definitely getting better

but still would like to see an increase in

customer spending. The internet is our

competition and with high property taxes

and wage scale, it is sometimes hard to


Curt Heideman

Market President, U.S. Bank

8 — Unemployment is low. The economy

has been stable, people are buying

houses, cars, etc.

Linda Kuster

Director of Research Strategies, Vernon

Research Group

8 – We have an ethical, collaborative,

productive and educated workforce, low

property costs, low insurance costs, etc.

Not a 10 because it is still very traditional

in some industries and still not easy for

women or minorities.


Cathy Johnson

Chief Administrative Officer and CFO,

World Trend Financial/Terry Lockridge &


8 – Accounting, business consulting and

wealth management services continue to

be growing segments.

Nate Kass

Branch Manager, Fehr Graham

8 – With a large number of the workforce

near retirement age, there will be a strong

demand to fill those open positions.

Anne Parmley

SVP, Client Services/Iowa General

Manager, Pearson

6 – Pressures on price and margin impact

our industry like so many others. There is

a continuous drive to automate, increase

efficiency and drive out costs. The

pressure on assessments is to reduce the

time spent testing, which puts volume

pressure on our business.

36 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

The right


make all the


Every business communications provider has bandwidth,

data points and phone systems. ImOn Communications has

something different: the care and motivation to find out what

your business really needs.

When you partner with ImOn, we take the time to ask the right questions to help bring

focused solutions to your individual business needs. Every ImOn employee–from the front

office to field service–lives in the Corridor. Because we live and work in the same zip code

as your business, we understand the connection challenges you face. And since we own and

maintain 100% of our fiber backbone, we’re able to provide a unified connection system

with direct, consistent, uninterrupted and scalable reach.

Contact us today to discover what ImOn

can do for your business.

ImOn.net | 866.699.8800





What’s the biggest issue facing Iowa

businesses right now?

What major business or community story did

you watch the most this year?


Workforce availability/quality


Federal health care/tax reform


Health care costs


UTC-Rockwell Collins merger




Urban redevelopment in CR/IC




Continued ag weakness

SUMMARY: Surprise, surprise: Workforce concerns dominated voting, with three out of

five respondents citing “workforce availability/quality” as their biggest issue. Health care

costs came in second, with 25 percent citing the “unsustainable” health care climate that

continues to eat away at profits and employees’ paychecks, and the ongoing confusion

about the Affordable Care Act’s future. “Other” was the surprise third choice, with almost

10 percent selecting it as an opportunity to air their disappointment about the current

political climate and a “lack of leadership from Des Moines” on important business issues.

SUMMARY: CBJ readers were virtually tied on the $30 billion Rockwell Collins-United

Technologies merger proposed earlier this fall and the ongoing drama over federal health

care and tax reform. A third of survey respondents cited Rockwell, noting that the deal could

have a “huge impact on the progress of Cedar Rapids as a whole,” while another third noted

that the uncertainty surrounding health care and taxation “has left businesses unsure of

how to plan for the future.” Nearly 20 percent said they are most focused on watching the

ongoing urban redevelopment in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, noting that it serves as a “good

indicator of the overall [economic] climate.”



Dana Gratton

Marketing Manager, MediRevv

HEALTH CARE – All of the above, but high

health care costs ring true for many. Many

employers can only offer high-deductible

health care plans, and often the

employees, when they become patients,

struggle to meet those deductibles, which

means health care organizations don’t get

paid for the care they provided.

David Tominsky

ISA Managing Director, NewBoCo

WORKFORCE – We need to be prepared

for a complex future and lead the nation

in areas like technical trade training and

computer science education.

Charlie Funk

President and CEO, MidWestOne Bank

WORKFORCE – Our headquarters are

in Iowa City and it’s fairly easy to attract

good persons to open positions. Outside

of Iowa City, hiring capable persons to fill

positions is extremely difficult.

Gordon Epping

Owner and Principal, Gordon Epping LLC

LEADERSHIP – All you need to is read the

newspaper – our budget is upside down,

our Medicaid system is broke, our tax

system is not working. Poor leadership.

Brad Hart

Attorney/Partner, Bradley & Riley PC


such an important member of our

community in terms of employment and

its support of so many area nonprofits.

Losing a corporate headquarters could

reduce Rockwell’s ‘contributions’ to our


Dan Brown

Marketing & Communications Director,

Central State Bank

CR/IC DEVELOPMENT – Iowa City’s urban

redevelopment in the 1970s has carried

an impact for nearly 50 years. What

transpires over the next few years will

change both places in a long-term way.

Doug Neumann

Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Metro

Economic Alliance


Uncertainty hampers business. Issues that

get resolved with certainty can be factored

into business plans. The long-lingering

uncertainty of health care reform and tax

reform has left business unsure of how to

plan for the future.

Steve Fangman

President, Steve’s Roofing


to taxpayers and individuals have just

gotten out of hand.

Take the over or under:

Regulators and shareholders will

approve the $30 billion United

Technologies-Rockwell Collins merger.

SUMMARY: A whopping 94 percent of survey respondents said they expect the

Rockwell Collins-UTC deal to close successfully, citing a minimum of product overlap

between the two companies and the scale it would create in the industry. A small

but passionate group of voters indicated they already believed the deal’s close to

be “baked into the cake” due to the massive amount of money on the line. “What

doesn’t get approved in this day and age?” one respondent asked.







Darryl High

Owner, High Development Corp.

OVER – Those folks would not bet on a chance.

Bart Floyd

Eastern Iowa President, Great Western Bank

OVER – Based on past precedent, I don’t think

enough of a case can be made against it.


Jim Tinker

President Emeritus, Mercycare Service Corp.

OVER – Only Europe and the existing

competitors appear to oppose the merger with

UTC. I wish it were otherwise for Cedar Rapids,

but it will be hard to oppose.

38 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


your mortgage



Take the over or under:

Congress will revisit and pass health

care reform next year.

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders were much less confident about the prospect

of Congress revisiting and passing health care reform in 2018, with

two-thirds of respondents saying it won’t happen. Respondents cited

“too much divisiveness”, “too much negative publicity” and the coming

2018 elections as reasons it won’t, although most agreed that health

care is “unsustainable” in its current form and will likely force action in

the years to come. Several saluted “reasonable Republicans” for voting

against prior repeal attempts that could have “hurt real people” and

caused chaos in markets.




Aaron Warner

CEO, ProCircular

UNDER – There are enough reasonable people left in

the Republican party to keep from passing something

that would impact the people who keep them in office.

Robert Downer

Member, Meardon, Sueppel & Downer PLC

UNDER – They are more concerned with slogans,

e.g. repeal and replace Obamacare, than with

accomplishing something substantive.

Lynn Manternach

Co-Founder and President, MindFire Communications

OVER – This year’s chaos will force our elected

leaders to find a middle ground. Too many Americans

will be negatively impacted if this is not sorted out.

Lee Kreger

Manager (Retired), Intermec Technologies

OVER – Somehow there has to be a compromise that

corrects the faults of Obamacare.

Rate the effectiveness of our political leaders:







Gov. Kim Reynolds

Iowa Legislature

U.S. Congress

President Donald Trump

Corridor City Councils

Corridor Boards of Supervisors

Given the recent cyber attacks on businesses

and individuals, how worried are you about

online data security?



1% 0% 1%


6% 4%


27% 26%


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SUMMARY: The idiom “local government governs best” proved itself in this year’s survey,

with respondents generally saving their best ratings for city and county governing bodies.

The region’s local leaders were hailed for their “strong interest in working together for

the betterment of the whole Corridor,” although respondents had fewer kind words for

their state legislators and federal representatives. Nearly 40 percent of respondents rated

the Iowa Legislature at a 4 or lower, while two-thirds felt the same away about Congress.

More than half rated President Donald Trump at 2 or lower, although a quarter gave him

marks of 6-8.


Kim Lehrman

President, enTouch Wireless

The rhetoric is more important than

the vision and work that needs to be

completed – ridiculous.

Steve Gray

Chairman, ImOn Communications

Locally, leaders are quite good. What has

Governor Kim Reynolds done? What is

going on with the budget?

Grant Westemeier

Branch Sales Manager, Advanced Systems

It seems as though the ‘right’ is way right

and the ‘left’ is way left. I understand we

all have different thoughts and ideas, but

we need to get better at not separating us

but bringing us closer together. It starts at

the top, as always.

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders are very concerned about online data security, it seems,

with nearly half of respondents rating it a 9 or 10. Many now see the risk of cyber theft

as “the new normal,” and expressed concern about the fact that “the good guys can’t

seem to stay ahead of the bad guys.” There was almost a fatalistic sense to the responses,

with one respondent writing “I’m not sure we can stop it from happening in one way or

another.” Others emphasized the importance of personal diligence among employees as

the only way of truly securing business data.


John Kenyon

Executive Director, Iowa City UNESCO City

of Literature

9 – When one-third of the country is in

danger of suffering identity theft, there is

much cause for worry.

Chris Hummer

President, Don Hummer Trucking

6 – “This is a hazard of the world that we

live in. There are always things that can

happen. This is no different than storms,

tornadoes or illness.”

Kim Becicka

Vice President, Continuing Education and

Training Services, Kirkwood Community


10 – It’s way too prevalent. I’m very

concerned with where we are headed and

the cost to small business.”

40 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Do You Have Unexplained

Symptoms – With No Diagnosis?

Have Doctors Told You, “It’s All In Your Head?”

Dr. Stephanie Gray, a 2016 CBJ Forty Under 40 honoree, and recently

named an Amazon Best Selling Author, has been using this 8-step

process to help patients rebuild their health for years.

Now, thanks to her book,

Your Longevity Blueprint,

she can also help you!

Let’s live long together!

What are you waiting for? Wellness is Waiting !

Order your copy of

Your Longevity Blueprint today.

Available on Amazon.com,


and where all books are sold.






Yes or no:

The creation of a joint regional venture,

and the hiring of Jennifer Daly to lead it,

will lead to improved regional cooperation.

SUMMARY: More than three-quarters of respondents said they expect the Corridor’s

new joint venture to improve regional cooperation – but “maybe” was perhaps the

more accurate thought for many. All seemed to welcome the prospect of greater

regionalism, but many wondered if Ms. Daly and her staff will be able to overcome

the parochialism that continues to slow regional initiatives; others expressed concern

that Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are, to quote one voter, “both terrific, but vastly

different,” making it a challenge to bring the two communities together.


Anne Parmley

SVP, Client Services/Iowa

General Manager, Pearson

YES – This is a long time

coming and if influential

people don’t think it will

lead the region in the right

direction at this point in time,

we are in trouble.

YES: 83% NO: 17%

Nancy Young

Workplace Learning

Coordinator, Workplace

Learning Connection

YES – I sure hope so - we

are desperately needing

workforce development

strategies in this laborshed.

There has been too much

territorialism in the past.

Erik Miles

President, Miles Consulting

NO – Regionalism can work

for a while until smaller

players are increasingly

overlooked and begin their

own initiatives out of selfpreservation

or interests. I’ve

seen it before.

How stressed are you

feeling at work?



14% 14% 14% 14%

9% 9%

6% 6% 6%


Rate the overall quality of the Corridor’s arts,

culture and entertainment scene.



0% 0% 0% 1%







1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SUMMARY: The Corridor appears

relatively distributed when it comes

to stress levels at work, with the

overall average falling just above

the scale’s midpoint. Almost 30 percent

reported light levels of stress

(voting 1-3), while another quarter

reported high levels (voting 8-10).

The rest all fell into the middle,

perhaps best exemplifying Midwesterners’

steady, balanced outlook

on life. “Overall I think life is pretty

good, and some stress is a good

thing,” one voter wrote.


Sherri Proud

Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Coralville

7 – We have so many projects and initiatives,

it’s sometimes just hard to keep up, but it’s also

incredibly exciting to have so much going on and

leading us forward.

Dave Storey

Principal, Rainbow Enterprises

5 – It’s better than it was a few years ago for me.

Naftaly Stramer

Co-Founder, Oasis Falafel

6 – Being a business owner is a stressful position,

but very rewarding most of the time.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

SUMMARY: Corridorians are proud of

their arts and cultural institutions, as

evidenced by the solid show of support on

this question. More than three-quarters of

respondents gave the region a score of 8

or higher, and many noted there are many

opportunities “for a group of communities

of our size.” The biggest priority for most

voters was just to “keep doing what we’re

doing” in terms of expanding the area’s diversity

of offerings; others called for better

local visibility for all of the region’s events,

and several called for more mainstream

and popular acts at the revitalized Hancher



Ruth Paarmann

Owner, Paarlance Creative Writing

Now that Hancher is done, it would

be nice to get the big shows that Des

Moines gets.

Lisa Gleason

Administrative Director, Eastern Iowa

Sleep Center

Keep going! I love the improvements

and culture.

Brad Oppedahl

Realtor, Skogman Realty

Cedar Rapids needs to pay closer

attention to what’s happening in

Coralville and West Des Moines.

42 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017



said, explaining why he’d rather see that license application

approved than the smaller ones.

But Mr. Corbett said he could support either CRDG

proposal because each brings distinct advantages for the

city. The Cedar Crossing Central proposal would give the

city a large new parking ramp to replace the aging Five

Seasons Parking Ramp, potentially saving the city about

$35 million in borrowing, and would drive business to

the city-owned DoubleTree by Hilton and U.S. Cellular

Center via a connecting sky deck.

The Cedar Crossing on the River proposal would

spark a revitalization of the Kingston area in downtown

Cedar Rapids that still needs investment to recover from

the flood of 2008, and would also add a parking garage

that would help meet the needs of the city-owned outdoor

McGrath Amphitheater.

The city council supported only the CRDG proposals

at its Feb. 14 meeting, extending and expanding exclusive

agreements with CRDG that were set to expire in October

2019 until 2029. Those agreements allow for CRDG to acquire

either of the city-controlled sites for the casino and

provide approvals needed to satisfy license requirements.

CRDG is obligated to make $75,000 annual payments to

the city and satisfy other conditions, including payments

of 1.5 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of the casino

above $50 million.

Beyond the willingness to provide the sites, the city

guarantees it will offer tax increment financing and

other forms of economic assistance typical for large


Wild Rose Cedar Rapids backers said in their application

for a state license that they have not asked the city

to back out of its exclusive agreements with CRDG. They

said Mr. Gray declined an offer by Wild Rose to work together

on a Linn County project.

City Council Member Scott Overland, who’d received

numerous calls and emails from citizens about the new

proposals, had a message at the Feb. 14 council meeting.

That message was essentially, it’s up to the state gaming

commission, not us.

A rendering of the Wild Rose Cedar Rapids, a “boutique

casino” proposed by Wild Rose Entertainment for First

Avenue in Cedar Rapids. IMAGE WILD ROSE

“Regardless what their decision is, whatever group that

is, we’ll work with whatever group gets the license to get the

best project possible,” Mr. Overland said. CBJ



Mr. Hayes told analysts. He compared

that to the $8-10 billion in product overlap

that would have occurred had UTC

had gone through with a merger of Honeywell

International the two companies

discussed last year.

Rockwell Collins said it does expect

some job-related impacts due to it no longer

being a separate public company, but

said the overall impact should be minimal.

History as guide

For an example of what cost synergies

could look like in UTC’s Rockwell deal,

one can look to a similar acquisition it

made five years ago.

In 2012, UTC paid about $18.4 billion

to acquire Charlotte, North Carolina-based

Goodrich, a maker of aerospace

systems such as landing gear, aircraft

wheels and brakes. The company had

27,000 employees, compared to about

30,000 at Rockwell Collins.

UTC initially projected it would harvest

$400 million in synergy savings from

the merger, a target later raised to $500

million and achieved ahead of schedule

by the end of 2015.

Those savings took place over a period

of years and came from many areas of the

business, but some of them resulted from

job and plant reductions, and not all came

from the Goodrich side of the business.

The Hartford Business Journal reported

in August 2012 that UTC planned

to lay off 150 salaried employees in its

newly formed UTC Aerospace Systems

division, following the combination of

its Hamilton Sundstrand subsidiary with

Goodrich. About 70 were to come from

the roughly 4,000 positions at a former

Hamilton Sundstrand location in the

Connecticut city of Windsor Locks. The

company also said it was closing an intelligence,

surveillance and reconnaissance

equipment facility in Ithaca, New York,

and moving some of the jobs to a UTC

facility in Danbury, Connecticut.

Some job cuts had already been in the

works at both UTC and Goodrich before

the acquisition, but they weren’t over,

and rippled into succeeding years. A few

were significant enough to make headlines,

and just last year, 150 jobs were

eliminated at a UTC Aerospace Systems

plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

UTC did not respond to an interview

request, referring all questions to Rockwell


Not all the news was bad for the communities

where Goodrich had operations.

Charlotte landed the new UTC Aerospace

Systems headquarters, and welcomed

about 75 employees from Connecticut,

according to Aerospace Manufacturing &

Design magazine. UTC received an incentive

package that included a $2.5 million

grant from North Carolina, $2.5 million

in local government grants, and up to

$16.5 million in additional state grants

over a 12-year period contingent on job

and investment targets.

Exactly where the Collins Aerospace

Systems headquarters will be located after

the merger of Rockwell Collins with

UTC’s Aerospace Systems division is

undecided, Rockwell Collins said in its

statement, and will be determined over

the next several months.

Ms. Nain said the delivery of the synergies

will be one of the most closely

watched aspects of the UTC-Rockwell

Collins deal, especially given the high

price UTC is paying for the company.

“Synergies for cutting costs are easiest

to put a number on and argue in favor

of,” Ms. Nain said. “If you have two companies

in a very similar market, you might

have a lot of redundancies to eliminate.”

UTC and Rockwell Collins don’t make

the same products, however, making it

less likely that UTC can save a lot of money

by doing things like consolidating production

into fewer factories.

“Clearly, United Technologies has

something else in mind,” Ms. Nain said,

mentioning possibilities like gaining

market clout to get better volume pricing

from suppliers, or to be in a better position

to bargain with big customers like

Boeing and Airbus.

Turbulence ahead

As is often the case, the UTC-Rockwell

Collins merger announcement came out

sounding like a fait accompli, subject

only to regulatory approvals such as antitrust

reviews, and a vote of Rockwell


In reality, the deal could still have to

navigate some turbulent skies before

reaching a safe landing. Some of the very

customers UTC says the deal will help are

not quite convinced, and that could spell

trouble during antitrust reviews.

Boeing, Rockwell’s largest customer,

said it intends to “take a hard look” at the

proposed combination.

“Until we receive more details, we are

skeptical that it would be in the best interest

of – or add value to – our customers

and industry,” Boeing said in a statement

released to the CBJ. “Our interests and

those of our customers, employees, other

suppliers and shareholders are in ensuring

the long-term health and competitiveness

of the aerospace industry supply

chain. Should we determine that this deal

is inconsistent with those interests, we

would intend to exercise our contractual

rights and pursue the appropriate regulatory

options to protect our interests.”

Boeing added the first priority of both

UTC and Rockwell Collins “should be

delivering on existing cost, schedule and

quality commitments for their customers

and ours.”

Airbus expressed no particular enthusiasm

for the merger in a statement, but

wasn’t outwardly skeptical, either.

“Today, our total focus is on delivering

planes and we hope that this M&A would

not distract UTC from their top operational

priority,” said an Airbus statement. CBJ

Senior Business Reporter Dave DeWitte has

previously provided contractual services for

Rockwell Collins.

CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 43

Top Deals and Projects of 2017

(ranked by deal/project value)


1 UTC-Rockwell Collins deal $30 billion Rockwell Collins

400 Collins Road NE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52498

(319) 263-7460


2 Rockwell Collins acquires B/E Aerospace $6.4 billion Rockwell Collins

400 Collins Road NE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52498

(319) 263-7460


3 Deere acquires Wirtgen Group $5.2 billion Deere & Co.

One John Deere Place

Moline, IL 61265

(866) 993-3373


4 MidAmerican Energy makes major wind investment $3.6 billion MidAmerican Energy

666 Grand Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50309

(888) 427-5632


5 Alliant proposes major wind investments $890 million Alliant Energy

200 First St. SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

1 (800) ALLIANT


6 Deere acquires Blue River Technology $305 million Deere & Co.

One John Deere Place

Moline, IL 61265

(866) 993-3373


7 UFG sells United Life for $280M $280 million United Fire Group

118 Second Ave. SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52407

(800) 332-7977


8 Heartland Express acquires Interstate Distributors Co. $113 million Heartland Express

901 Kansas Ave.

North Liberty, IA 52317

(319) 626-3600


9 RISE at Riverfront Crossings project in Iowa City $102.5 million CA Ventures

130 Randolph St.

Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 994-1880


10 Millennium Housing project in Coralville $68 million Build to Suit

2451 Oakdale Blvd., Ste. 201

Coralville, IA 52241

(319) 512-2322


Industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. in September made its bid to acquire

Rockwell Collins and roll it into a new Collins Aerospace Systems business unit.

Rockwell Collins in April closed on its purchase of B/E Aerospace, a leading supplier of

aircraft seating and cabin systems, rolling it into a new Interior Systems business unit.

Deere & Co. in December completed its acquisition of Wirtgen, the Germany-based world

leader in road construction equipment.

MidAmerican announced the location of its 170-turbine North English Wind Farm, the third

and final wind farm in its massive Wind XI project.

Alliant is seeking state approval to add another 500 megawatts of wind generation on top of

the 500 megawatts announced in 2016 for its Whispering Willow Wind Farm.

Deere & Co. acquired Blue River Technologies, a leader in applying machine learning

technology, to expand its driverless and precision ag initiatives.

UFG agreed to sell its United Life subsidiary to the Chicago-based life insurance startup

Kuvare Holdings, which will keep its offices located in Cedar Rapids.

Heartland Express acquired Interstate Distributor Co., a truckload carrier based in Tacoma,

Washington, from Saltchuk Resources.

Construction of the 15-story residential building and 13-story hotel/office tower continued

this year, with completion expected next summer.

Work began this year on this 483,000-square-foot, mixed-use development proposed in

Iowa River Landing by Build to Suit LLC.

11 Squaw Creek Crossing project in Marion $50 million 13 & 151 LLC


Work began on this major mixed-use development in east Marion, with a credit union under

way, and a convenience mart and hotel to be announced.

12 The Chauncey in Iowa City $49 million Moen Group

105 E. College St.

Iowa City, IA 52240

(319) 351-3900


13 CRBT acquires Guaranty Bank $44 million Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

500 First Ave. NE, Ste. 100

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

(319) 862-2728


14 Hieronymus Square mixed-use development in IC $41 million Hieronymi Partners

152 E. Court St.

Iowa City, IA 52240

(319) 338-1294

15 Grand Living at Bridgewater senior living development $40 million Grand Living

7825 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 810

Minneapolis, MN 55439


Work continued on this 15-story mixed-use tower at College and Gilbert Streets that will

include a hotel, bowling alley, office space, condominiums and movie theater.

QCR Holdings, the Moline-based parent of Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust (CRBT), struck a

deal to merge Cedar Rapids-based Guaranty Bank into CRBT’s operations, creating the

largest community bank headquartered in Linn County.

Iowa City approved an incentive package for this long-simmering mixed-use project at the

corners of Clinton and Burlington streets. It will feature two seven-story towers connected

by a vestibule.

Ryan Companies and Grand Living are constructing this 170-unit senior living community off

of First Avenue in Coralville.

Noteworthy Unranked Deals of 2017

Cargill buys Diamond V ND Diamond V

2525 60th Ave. SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

(319) 366-0745


Motion Industries buys Apache Inc. ND Apache Inc.

4805 Bowling St. SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

(319) 365-0471


TrueNorth acquires DM-based insurance groups ND TrueNorth Companies

500 First St. SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

(800) 798-4080


Cargill reached a deal to buy Diamond V, the Cedar Rapids-based maker of animal nutrition

supplements, to meet growing market demand for healthy food ingredients.

Genuine Parts, through its Motion Industries subsidiary, acquired Cedar Rapids-based

Apache Inc. to broaden its line of belt and hose products for industry.

CSB Insurance Group and Rowles Hayes Carney (RHC) were acquired by TrueNorth

Companies, expanding its presence in the Des Moines area.

44 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


728 3 RD AVE SE





Crystal Group chose Primus Construction in part for

its design-build capabilities. Design-build compresses a

project’s timeframe by allowing design and construction

to occur simultaneously. Crystal Group leaders worked

with both Primus and lean consultants to maximize the

efficiency and workflow of the building design.

The company’s current headquarters was designed

with windows in executive offices, but Mr. Kruger said

the new design “flip-flopped” the lighting scenario to

provide maximum daylight to the most employees. Executive

offices will be in the interior of the building, and

won’t have windows.

An architect's rendering shows Crystal Group's planned

headquarters plant.

A total of 45 employees will be added once the new

building is complete, including a mixture of sales and

engineering staff. Crystal Group plans to keep its existing

Kacena Drive facility and a smaller 10,000-square-foot

CNC milling plant nearby.

The Hiawatha City Council “did everything they could

to keep us in Hiawatha,” Mr. Kruger said. He also credited

Iowa Economic Authority Director Debi Durham and

Jon Dusek of Armstrong Development for working closely

with the company to make the project possible.

Even more growth could be on the horizon for Crystal

Group if the expansion project opens up new opportunities

as is expected. Mr. Kruger said the new building is

specifically designed to be extended by another 35,000

square feet when needed.

Although the process has gone well, Mr. Kruger said

his advice to other manufacturers planning an expansion

is “you can’t start too early.” He said a project manager

has been hired to oversee the new facility’s completion,

allowing him to stay focused on quality and

production issues. CBJ



“The baby boomer market is just so

big right now, and they’re constantly

looking for a newer style of living than

just a rental or a condo, we believe,” said

Nick Crall, project analyst for Ewing.

He noted the company’s 60-unit Vintage

Cooperative senior living community

that opened in June 2016 in Coralville

is full, but added that Ewing has additional

plans for a Vintage Cooperative in

Iowa City – and possibly North Liberty

and Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids got its first big taste of

the senior housing surge in July, when

The Gardens, a $15 million project undertaken

by five local investors, opened

its doors. With 40 beds, The Gardens

represented the first new skilled nursing

facility in Cedar Rapids in 21 years. It also

has 30 assisted living units, 12 assisted

living memory care units and physical

therapy services, making it a continuum

of care facility.

Spokeswoman Angie McClure said

the southwest location was chosen partly

because that area of Cedar Rapids had

no continuum of care facility, and partly

because it’s easily accessible to smaller

communities south and west of Cedar

Rapids such as Fairfax, Walford, Newhall,

Atkins and Norway, which don’t

have such living options.

Mr. Olson, who serves on the Cedar

Rapids City Council and the Meth-Wick

board of directors, said he’s not concerned

about overbuilding. He cited data

from Maxfield Research Inc. of Minneapolis

that keeps tabs on housing market

demand, noting that city officials also use

the data to evaluate their investments.

“Right now, there’s about 600 units of

demand in our area, and though we’ve

got a lot of construction, we’re not there

yet,” he said.

Ripple effects

Many of the broader economic effects

from the senior housing surge have not

hit the market, but could become more

apparent in the coming years. Ms. Mixdorf

sees a variety of dynamics in play,

including a strong housing market and

more competition for nurses and certified

nurse assistants (CNAs).

“When the economic downturn happened

[in 2008], we did see people stay

in their houses longer,” Ms. Mixdorf said.

“Now the housing prices have gone up, and

they feel like they’re getting the real value of

their home out of the real estate market.”

The sales generated by seniors leaving

their homes to move into senior living

communities is expected to provide a

much-needed boost to the tight inventory

of existing homes available for sale in

the Corridor.

At the same time, Meth-Wick is finding

itself competing for the same pool of nursing

talent as large hospitals in Cedar Rapids,

Iowa City and even Waterloo, as Iowa’s

unemployment rate – 3.2 percent as of July

– remains well below the national average.

“We haven’t seen anyone leave yet

[for the new senior living facilities], but

there’s an awareness that these communities

are going to come on, and they’re

going to try to hire who we have,” Ms.

Mixdorf said.

The new communities and expansion

projects in the Corridor will employ well

over 500, with only four of the projects

accounting for 310 of that amount.

Grand Living will have more than 100

employees each at the two continuum of

care communities it is developing with

Ryan Companies: Grand Living at Bridgeview

in Coralville and Grand Living

at Indian Creek in Cedar Rapids. Stoney

Point Meadows has indicated it will employ

at least 60 at its new facility in Cedar

Rapids, and the Views Development has

said it will employ 50 with a $2.8 million

annual payroll when its new 104-bed

continuum of care community opens on

the south side of Marion.

Finding construction talent to build

so many senior living facilities has put a

strain on contractors, although builders

haven’t reached a crisis point yet.

Members of Carpenters Local 308

based in Cedar Rapids have been working

on one of the largest senior living projects

in development: the 170-unit Grand

Living at Bridgewater project, located just

north of I-80.

“We’ve got pretty much full employment,”

said Pat Loeffler, a Carpenters

Union leader who is also president of

the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building

Trades Council.

Although his local members are pretty

much all employed, Mr. Loeffler said the

union can send out calls to other union

locals outside the area if contractors need

more skilled labor.

“The economics of these retirement

communities are vast and very much unsung,”

said Ed Raber, director of the Washington

Economic Development Group.

Mr. Raber said retirees almost always

buy new furniture when they move into

an independent living facility like Halcyon

House in Washington, providing a

boost to local businesses like Marshall’s

Furniture. Seniors moving from outside

the county almost always move their

bank accounts, he added, and some create

new relationships within the county

for services such as insurance.

Peer pressures

David Heusinkveld is administrator of the

Pleasantview Home in Kalona, which was

organized by Amish and Mennonite ministers

in 1957. He says the growing number

of senior facilities, many of them under

for-profit ownership, puts pressure on

existing facilities to upgrade and compete.

Skilled nursing facilities have to get a

state certificate of need to open in Iowa,

he noted, but for independent living facilities,

“it’s whatever the market can bear.”

“All these places are competing for

staff, for nurses,” Mr. Heusinkveld said.

“I honestly want everyone that is in this

business to do well, because if they don’t,

the quality of care goes down and the residents

are the ones who suffer.”

Developer Fred Timko of Cedar Rapids

also has a mixed view of the new arrivals.

He developed the Bridges Senior Lifestyle

independent living facility, which opened

in Waterloo in a former Holiday Inn well

before the current housing boom.

“It’s a tough market,” Mr. Timko said.

“There are a lot of them out there.”

He suggested that the success of the

new senior developments could depend

on their marketing skill.

Still, Mr. Timko said he views senior

living facilities as a good long-term investment

once they are close to full occupancy,

especially in a place like Iowa. Among

all the states, Iowa has one of the highest

percentages of its population over 65.

“It [the senior housing market] should

be getting better and better,” Mr. Timko

said. “Iowa’s getting older and older.” CBJ

46 CBJ NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017




Sure, we’re investing in the jobs

of tomorrow. We just want them today.

That’s why we’ve been working so closely

with dynamic technology companies

to bring them to Iowa. Our research

institutions share discoveries

pipeline with breakthrough products.

Iowa brings together business leaders

to boost innovation and position us for

success in the global economy. Visit


Iowa as the land of opportunity.

“The Ivy’s generosity is a powerful endorsement of the college,

our programs, leadership and vision for the future. Most immediately, it will build on momentum in several growing areas, including

entrepreneurship, business analytics, and our supply chain management program, which is ranked sixth in the world for research. We

are proud to have internationally-known scholars leading these programs. The Ivy gift will also provide scholarships, faculty support, and

programmatic funding for those and other areas. We are very grateful to Debbie and Jerry Ivy.” • David Spalding, Raisbeck Endowed Dean

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!