CBJ Newsmakers 2018

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NEWS<br />

MAKERS<br />

2017<br />


SURVEY<br />

2017<br />

TOP<br />


2017<br />

A SPECIAL EDITION OF THE <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

2017 SPONSORS<br />


Corridor Business Journal<br />

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2 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


The good news just keeps coming to us here<br />

at the newly named Debbie and Jerry Ivy<br />

College of Business. On the second day of<br />

classes, we announced a $7 million donation<br />

from the Gerdin Charitable Fund, which allows<br />

us to move forward with a much-needed<br />

building expansion. This is essential as we<br />

continue to experience record enrollment. A<br />

month later, we made national news when<br />

Debbie and Jerry Ivy (’53 industrial administration)<br />

committed $50 million to the college.<br />

Only 14 business colleges in the United<br />

States have ever received a gift larger than<br />

$50 million. The Ivy College of Business is<br />

accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance<br />

Collegiate Schools of Business). Less<br />

than 5 percent of the world’s business programs<br />

have earned this credential. It’s a great<br />

time to be in business at Iowa State University!<br />

www.business.iastate.edu<br />

John F. Lohman<br />


johnl@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Aspen N. Lohman<br />


Andrea Rhoades<br />


andrea@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Adam Moore<br />


adam@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Angela Holmes<br />


angela@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Dave DeWitte<br />


dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />


T&K Roofing and Sheet Metal Company<br />

is truly one of the few full-service roofing<br />

and sheet metal companies serving Eastern<br />

Iowa. T&K offers roofing and sheet metal<br />

services ranging from new construction to<br />

re-roofing renovation to maintenance and<br />

repair, and is experienced in architectural<br />

sheet metal, wall panels and historical renovations.<br />

T&K’s capabilities extend to steep<br />

sloped roofing applications including<br />

high-end shingle applications and standing<br />

seam metal roofing. T&K’s low sloped<br />

experience ranges from PVC, TPO, EPDM<br />

and other single-ply membranes to modified<br />

bitumen membranes and traditional<br />

built up roofing systems. T&K is one of<br />

the few remaining roofing companies that<br />

maintains an asbestos removal license.<br />

T&K also provides design and budgeting<br />

assistance to general contractors, designers<br />

and building owners, and is proud of<br />

its reputation for undertaking some of the<br />

most challenging projects in the Corridor.<br />

A proud member of Built by Pros, T&K’s<br />

record for safety and quality is unsurpassed<br />

in the construction industry.<br />

Katharine Carlon<br />


katharine@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Becky Lyons<br />


becky@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Julia Druckmiller<br />


julia@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Kris Lacina<br />


kris@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Kelly Meyer<br />


kelly@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Rhonda Roskos<br />


rhonda@corridorbusiness.com<br />

The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s<br />

(IEDA) mission is to strengthen economic<br />

and community vitality by building<br />

partnerships and leveraging resources to<br />

make Iowa the choice for people and business.<br />

Through two main divisions – business<br />

development and community development<br />

– IEDA administers several state and federal<br />

programs to meet its goals of assisting individuals,<br />

communities and businesses. Visit<br />

the newly-redesigned iowaeconomicdevelopment.com<br />

to search programs that can be<br />

used to support a variety of business functions,<br />

from workforce training to exporting<br />

and more.<br />

Additionally, 2017 is officially the “Year<br />

of Manufacturing” in Iowa. IEDA has partnered<br />

with the Iowa Association of Business<br />

and Industry and Iowa State University to<br />

create a new website: iowamfg.com. Visit<br />

this site to easily find resources available to<br />

help Iowa manufacturers.<br />

Judith Cobb<br />


judith@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Jean Suckow<br />


jean@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Ashley Levitt<br />


ashley@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Samantha Kollasch<br />


samantha@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Kassie Kilpatrick<br />


kassie@corridorbusiness.com<br />

About this publication<br />

Welcome to <strong>Newsmakers</strong>, a year-end<br />

wrap-up from the staff of the Corridor<br />

Business Journal. <strong>Newsmakers</strong> is a compilation<br />

of the most noteworthy stories<br />

of 2017, as told through stories from the<br />

weekly issues of the <strong>CBJ</strong>.<br />

We selected stories and developments<br />

we thought most impacted businesses<br />

and people in the Corridor this year. The<br />

abridged stories are not ranked, but rather<br />

appear chronologically, as they did in<br />

the issues of the <strong>CBJ</strong>.<br />

This edition of <strong>Newsmakers</strong> also includes<br />

the results of our first-ever Leaders<br />

Survey, a subscribers-only poll rating the<br />

year in business and setting expectations<br />

for the year ahead (see page 36). We<br />

think you’ll find the results interesting<br />

and somewhat surprising, and hope that<br />

you’ll participate in next year’s poll if<br />

you missed it this year.<br />

As always, we want to hear from<br />

you – did your biggest story of the year<br />

make our list? What are you excited for<br />

in <strong>2018</strong>? Weigh in on our Facebook and<br />

Twitter pages, or send an email to news@<br />

corridorbusiness.com. Thanks for reading;<br />

we’ll see you in the new year.<br />

- Adam Moore<br />

Corridor Business Journal<br />

(USPS 024-715) is published weekly by Corridor Media<br />

Group, Inc. $2.00 a copy, $69.95 a year, $149.95 for three<br />

years. Copyright Corridor Media Group, Inc. 2017. All<br />

rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without permission,<br />

of editorial or graphic contents in any manner is strictly<br />

prohibited. Periodicals Postage Rate is paid at Iowa City, IA<br />

and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address<br />

changes to Corridor Business Journal, 2345 Landon Rd, Ste.<br />

100, North Liberty, IA 52317 Phone: 319-665-NEWS (6397)<br />


2345 Landon Rd. Ste. 100, North Liberty, IA 52317<br />

Phone: (319) 665-NEWS (6397)<br />

Fax: (319) 665-8888<br />

www.corridorbusiness.com<br />

www.facebook.com/CorridorBusinessJournal<br />

@<strong>CBJ</strong>ournal<br />

VOL. 14 ISSUE 23<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 3

The Kalona Creamery is set to open this<br />


13 and 151 project to create new gateway UPDATE<br />

$50M development in<br />

east Marion could begin<br />

as early as this year<br />

By Adam Moore<br />

adam@corridorbusiness.com<br />

A former driving range on the eastern<br />

edge of Marion could become a striking<br />

gateway to the city under a new development<br />

proposal.<br />

A three-person development group<br />

named 13 and 151 LLC has filed plans<br />

for a $50 million, 20-acre mixed-use<br />

project at the corner of Highways 13<br />

and 151, which was previously home to<br />

Village Green Driving Range but has sat<br />

unused for the past three years.<br />

The proposed project would include<br />

13 lots in all, including office and commercial<br />

buildings, multi-family housing,<br />

a bank, an 83-room hotel and an<br />

event center capable of hosting up to<br />

500 people.<br />

Developer Brian Ridge declined to<br />

identify the hotel flag or a possible operator,<br />

but did say that his group has<br />

already completed negotiations with an<br />

“upper-scale” hotel brand.<br />

“It’s priced,” Mr. Ridge said. “We’re<br />

basically waiting on the city to get<br />

through this process.<br />

The project would be built in two<br />

phases, Mr. Ridge told Marion’s Planning<br />

and Zoning Commission on Jan.<br />

10, with the western half of the project<br />

getting underway this spring, assuming<br />

site plans are approved by the full<br />

city council.<br />

If the schedule holds, Mr. Ridge said<br />

three of the five commercial buildings in<br />

the western phase could open this year,<br />

and the hotel could be open by August<br />

<strong>2018</strong>. The entire project could be completed<br />

as soon as 2020.<br />

“Part of the reason we have to phase<br />

it is, we only have so much time and<br />

ability to do any project,” Mr. Ridge said<br />



1.16.17<br />


Fab labs<br />

of Garling Construction, his employer<br />

and the general contractor on the project.<br />

“There are things that could happen<br />

or could not happen, but we feel pretty<br />

good about it.”<br />

The goal of the project is to create a<br />

high-end destination on the edge of the<br />

city. Preliminary<br />

design guidelines<br />

and renderings<br />

created by design<br />

firm Shive-Hattery<br />

showed<br />

modern, cleanlined<br />

buildings<br />

with a variety of<br />

mixed materials,<br />

including brick,<br />

glass, metal and<br />

wood.<br />

“They’ve got a<br />

beautiful toy box<br />

of items they’ve<br />

put into this plan<br />

here,” Planning<br />

and Zoning Commission Member Phill<br />

Seidl said as the group reviewed design<br />

standards for the project on Jan. 10.<br />

“I’m in favor of this kind of thing.”<br />

While commission members discussed<br />

the potential mix of building<br />

types and noted it may remain fluid until<br />

further details are available, Mr. Ridge<br />

acknowledged after the meeting that<br />

“there’s pretty much a mix that’s been<br />

set into motion,” meaning much of the<br />

plan would likely remain intact.<br />

Developers sought and received approval<br />

for a rezoning of the land from<br />

C-3 General Commercial to a Planned<br />

Special Development, which would restrict<br />

the types of businesses allowed<br />

in the development, but also allow<br />

developers variances on parking and<br />

signage regulations, and the ability to<br />

include residential buildings. Land at<br />

each corner of the 13-151 intersection<br />

is zoned for General Commercial, with<br />

a Walmart, McDonald’s and a Culvers<br />

restaurant located across the road.<br />

City officials said the rezoning to<br />

a planned special development<br />

will<br />

slow the project,<br />

as it will require<br />

additional<br />

approvals and<br />

13 and 151<br />

A former driving range on the eastern edge<br />

of Marion could become a striking new<br />

gateway to the metro area.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Cream of the crop<br />

public hearings for each building, but<br />

it will also provide the city more ability<br />

to control the overall look and evolution<br />

of the development.<br />

Nick Glew, president of the Marion<br />

Economic Development Corporation,<br />

spoke in favor of the rezoning, noting<br />

The former Village Green Driving Range office at the northeast<br />

corner of Highways 13 and 151 in Marion will be coming down as<br />

part of a planned 20-acre, mixed-use development that could bring<br />

$50 million in new real estate investment. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE<br />

that many in the community expected<br />

the location to be the site of a big-box<br />

store. The decision to rezone would be<br />

a positive one for the area and the community<br />

as a whole, he said.<br />

“At the end of the day, it’s guaranteeing<br />

that … we’re elevating the quality of<br />

what’s going to happen on these sites, as<br />

opposed to just a C-3 [zoning] today,”<br />

Mr. Glew said.<br />

Mr. Ridge, a project manager with<br />

Garling Construction, declined to name<br />

his partners in the LLC, but said the<br />

company was organized after seeing “a<br />

need and an opportunity.” It purchased<br />

the land from Water Rock LLC for $1.5<br />

million in July 2015.<br />

The group has not made a formal request<br />

for incentives from the city, according<br />

to Mr. Ridge, who added that they are<br />

“approaching that a little differently than<br />

everybody else,” by waiting to see what<br />

their exact financial needs will be.<br />

Site plans are expected to begin appearing<br />

before the full council in early<br />

spring, at which point Mr. Ridge expects<br />

enthusiasm for the project to grow.<br />

“It’s hard to believe that that corner<br />

has sat vacant for so long,” he said. “I<br />

think people will be excited when they<br />

see what we’ll actually be bringing in<br />

once we can announce those.” <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Credit union<br />

rising at<br />

Squaw Creek<br />

Crossing<br />

A Dupaco Community Credit<br />

Union building is rapidly taking<br />

shape at the development that has<br />

been named Squaw Creek Crossing,<br />

and a large convenience store<br />

is set to follow.<br />

“Hopefully, you’re going to see<br />

a convenience store and a hotel<br />

coming out of the ground in the<br />

spring or summer of <strong>2018</strong>,” said<br />

Jim Angstmann of Coldwell Banker<br />

Hedges Realty, who is marketing<br />

the 20-acre gateway project at the<br />

busy intersection of highways 151<br />

and 13 in Marion.<br />

Much of the work completed<br />

in 2017 on the project by Squaw<br />

Creek Crossing Inc. has entailed<br />

the installation of what’s generally<br />

termed horizontal infrastructure –<br />

including sewer, water and roads<br />

– on the former driving range and<br />

mini-golf complex.<br />

Talks are advancing with two<br />

hotel chains interested in locating<br />

within the development. While<br />

feeling positive about the prospects<br />

for a deal, Mr. Angstmann said they<br />

are still working through the capital<br />

formation and financing stage, and<br />

aren’t ready to commit.<br />

The hotel developers would like<br />

to open in time for the first games at<br />

Prospect Meadows, a large baseball<br />

complex being developed a few miles<br />

north at Highway 13 and County<br />

Home Road, which is expected to be<br />

a large traffic generator for the area.<br />

Work has begun on roads into the<br />

complex as fundraising continues,<br />

with help from a Hall-Perrine Foundation<br />

matching grant.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

4 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

week, bringing a iconic tourist spot back<br />

to town.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

CR Taxi<br />

overhaul<br />

NewBoCo expands<br />

reach with virtual<br />

City leaders say a new ordinance wi l “level<br />

the playing field” between heavil

C rridor<br />

C rridor<br />

C rridor<br />

JobClub<br />

C rridor<br />

JobClub<br />

C rridor<br />

JobClub<br />

C rridor<br />


administration before us, there’s a sense<br />

to retire, se ting o f<br />

the Corridor's latest<br />

executive search.<br />

The city of Hiawatha is getting closer to a<br />

decision on creating a municipal dog park.<br />

By Chase Castle<br />

chase@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Mick Starcevich, president of Kirkwood<br />

Community College, has announced he<br />

plans to retire by June <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

“This is my 14th year here at the college,<br />

and I have been thinking about the<br />

decision to retire,” Mr. Starcevich said<br />

Jan. 17 during the announcement at<br />

Kirkwood’s main Cedar Rapids campus.<br />

“I believe now the time is right for me,<br />

personally and for the college ... to retire.”<br />

Mr. Starcevich, 69, became the college’s<br />

fourth president when he took<br />

over in 2005. Since then, Kirkwood has<br />

reached its highest enrollment level in<br />

50 years and improved its retention rate,<br />

according to Kirkwood staff.<br />

“I feel Kirkwood is well-positioned for<br />

the future,” Mr. Starcevich said. “This is a<br />

place where dreams become reality for<br />

our students. Kirkwood’s massive impact<br />

has spread like a ripple effect through<br />

our graduates, to the rest of the Corridor,<br />

to the entire state and beyond.”<br />

Lois Bartelme, chair of Kirkwood’s<br />

Board of Trustees, lamented the news of<br />

Mr. Starcevich’s retirement.<br />

“It’s so sad for me, because I was on<br />

the board ... when we selected Mick as<br />

president, and it seemed we had many,<br />

many years ahead of us,” she said. “And<br />

they have gone so fast. They’ve been so<br />

full, and I have to thank him for his fabulous<br />

leadership. It is beyond belief what<br />

we have accomplished in the 14 years<br />

that he’s been our president.”<br />

Under his tenure, the total dollar<br />

amount available for student scholarships<br />

increased at Kirkwood to more than<br />

$3 million annually, up from $740,000<br />

when Mr. Starcevich assumed office. The<br />

college also oversaw the completion in<br />

2010 of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, a<br />

$30 million hotel and events center that<br />

also serves as a training facility for culinary<br />

arts and hospitality students.<br />

Larry Ebbers, a retired faculty member<br />

at Iowa State University, will serve<br />

as a consultant for the upcoming presidential<br />

search. In that role, Mr. Ebbers<br />

will establish a search strategy and train<br />

search committee members, which will<br />

include trustees, cabinet representatives,<br />

faculty, staff and representation from the<br />


Kirkwood’s Starcevich to retire in <strong>2018</strong><br />

Kirkwood President Mick Starcevich discusses the economic impact of the college during<br />

a 50th anniversary event held last year. PHOTO JOE PHOTO<br />

college’s foundation board.<br />

Ms. Bartelme said she has volunteered<br />

to chair the presidential search committee<br />

tasked with finding potential replacements.<br />

The committee will eventually<br />

choose three to four finalists, who will<br />

be interviewed next fall, she said.<br />

“Kirkwood has such a wonderful reputation<br />

nationally that we think we will<br />

have a lot of interest in this job,” Ms.<br />

Bartelme said. “We expect to be overwhelmed,<br />

and we expect we will have<br />

some excellent candidates.”<br />

Kirkwood’s profile includes a claim to<br />

economic development in the Corridor,<br />

where the school indirectly generated<br />

more than $819 million in added income<br />

from locally employed graduates, according<br />

to a study of 2013-2014 data commissioned<br />

by the college. The study by Economic<br />

Modeling Specialists of Moscow,<br />

Idaho also found the school spent $92.2<br />

million on payroll. In turn, it estimated<br />

the college provides a $3.70 return on every<br />

$1 spent by students and by taxpayers.<br />

Speaking to the Corridor Business<br />

Journal last year, Mr. Starcevich<br />

said how well the college<br />

can communicate those contributions<br />

could have a major<br />

impact on its finances and future<br />

enrollment costs.<br />



1.23.17<br />

“We need to be more aggressive on<br />

how we show our value,” Mr. Starcevich<br />

said, noting that the college received no<br />

increase in financial support from the<br />

state in fiscal year 2016, and only a 1.5<br />

percent increase for 2017.<br />

Last week, Mr. Starcevich said fundraising<br />

is likely to play an increased role<br />

in his successor’s job duties.<br />

“As you look at the state finances …<br />

you can’t continue to put all of the expenses<br />

onto the backs of our students.”<br />

When a new president takes office at<br />

Kirkwood in <strong>2018</strong>, he or she will join two<br />

other recently appointed presidents in<br />

Eastern Iowa higher education. University<br />

of Iowa President Bruce Harreld replaced<br />

former UI President Sally Mason<br />

in 2015, while Mark Nook, former chancellor<br />

at Montana State University Billings,<br />

is slated to take office next month<br />

at the University of Northern Iowa. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Forecasting 2017<br />


Economic Forecast Luncheon<br />

offers clues to year ahead<br />

Economist<br />

Phil Levy<br />

Keynote<br />

presentation o fers<br />

three risk factors<br />

that could stop the<br />

economic recovery.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Star power<br />

Kirkwood President<br />

Mick Starcevich<br />

announces plans<br />

Panel<br />

discussion<br />

Executives and<br />

leaders from some<br />

of the Corridor’s<br />

largest employers<br />

weigh in on 2017.<br />

PAGE 5<br />

UPDATE<br />

And then there<br />

were four<br />

After a nationwide search that attracted<br />

more than 60 applications, Kirkwood’s<br />

Presidential Search Committee<br />

interviewed nine candidates, and<br />

invited the top four back to campus<br />

in November for final interviews and<br />

a chance to meet and interact with<br />

students and college leaders.<br />

Finalists for the top spot include:<br />

• J. Michael Thomson, campus<br />

president of Cuyahoga Community<br />

College in Cleveland, Ohio since<br />

2011.<br />

• Lori Sundberg, president of<br />

Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg,<br />

Illinois since 2010.<br />

• Steve Schulz, president of<br />

North Iowa Area Community College<br />

in Mason City since 2013.<br />

• Kristie Fisher, assistant vice<br />

president and senior director of strategic<br />

partnerships at ACT in Iowa<br />

City. She previously served as Kirkwood’s<br />

director of special projects<br />

and assistant to the president from<br />

2004-2006 and vice president of<br />

student services from 2006-2014.<br />

Kirkwood’s 17-member search<br />

committee called for applications<br />

from leaders able to “promote and<br />

foster the college as a community of<br />

learners,” among other requirements<br />

on a three-page list that included the<br />

need for an advanced degree and<br />

prior experience as a president for an<br />

institution of higher education, K-12<br />

superintendent or a minimum of<br />

five years administrative experience<br />

at the dean’s level or higher.<br />

“Everybody in the initial round<br />

was a very highly qualified candidate<br />

and brought a lot to the table, so<br />

just narrowing it down to four was a<br />

tough decision,” said Justin Hoehn,<br />

Kirkwood’s associate director of marketing,<br />

adding that while the search<br />

committee had set no timetable for<br />

making a final decision, it would<br />

likely be “weeks, not months.”<br />

Updated information on the<br />

search is available at kirkwood.edu/<br />

presidentsearch.<br />

—Katharine Carlon<br />

PAGE 9<br />

Going to the dogs<br />

6 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

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

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

With a new year and a new presidential<br />

PAGE 15<br />

of both hope and uncertainty in the air.<br />

Will President Donald Trum<br />

tectionist measures that could ultimately brought together hundreds of business<br />

harm the very businesses he’s aiming to leaders in<br />

help? Will our histo<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q

<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 7

shown progress in recent months<br />

after a year that's shown how fickle<br />

drug company investors can be.<br />

GAMING<br />

CR casino proposals shrink<br />

in latest round<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

UPDATE<br />

Another Linn<br />

casino bid<br />

rejected<br />

For the two groups competing in the latest round of proposals<br />

for a Linn County casino, it’s become a question of how small<br />

can you go.<br />

The hope is that by making a casino proposal small enough,<br />

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

put it, with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.<br />

The commission in 2014 shot down a previous proposal by<br />

the Steve Gray-led Cedar Rapids Development Group (CRDG)<br />

that had strong local support, solely because of estimates that<br />

73-81 percent of its revenues would come at the expense of<br />

other Iowa casinos. That left a smaller casino as the best hope<br />

for winning acceptance.<br />

With a three-year moratorium on considering new casino<br />

applications soon to expire, veteran Iowa casino operator<br />

Wild Rose Entertainment was the first to try to exploit the<br />

possible opportunity. Wild Rose lined up a development deal<br />

with Steve Emerson of Aspect Architecture and Hunter Parks<br />

of Hunter Companies on a small “boutique” casino project.<br />

The partners pitched the $40 million project as a first for Iowa,<br />

combining an urban location with a compact footprint that<br />

included about 700 slot machines and 15-20 gaming tables<br />

in a new building Mr. Parks and Mr. Emerson’s companies<br />

would develop at 411 First Ave. SE.<br />

CRDG, not to be overtaken, last week submitted a $105<br />

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

from the site proposed by Wild Rose, where a city parking garage<br />

now stands. It also resubmitted its earlier proposal for a<br />

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

partner Peninsula Pacific.<br />

Peninsula Pacific CEO Brent Stevens seemed to suggest at a<br />

recent press conference that the smaller casino has the best shot<br />

at a license. CRDG and Peninsula Pacific’s own economic impact<br />

study indicated its small casino proposal would reduce revenue<br />

by only 4.7 percent at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in<br />

Riverside, which previous studies have shown to be the casino<br />

most vulnerable to losing business from a Cedar Rapids casino.<br />

“What we learned in 2014 was the size of Cedar Crossing<br />

on the River was larger than the Iowa Racing and Gaming<br />

Commission was comfortable in allowing,” Mr. Stevens said,<br />

adding the group decided it was important to offer the larger<br />

proposal as well because of its many benefits to the state and<br />

the community.<br />

CRDG and Peninsula worked out their proposals with assistance<br />

and input from the city, releasing them on the eve<br />



2.20.17<br />


<strong>CBJ</strong> Health Care Summit<br />

Block grants,<br />

HSAs likely tenets<br />

of ACA reform<br />

8 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Dueling<br />

casinos<br />

For the two groups competing in the latest<br />

round of Cedar Rapids casino proposals,<br />

smaller may turn out to be be ter.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

3-D knees<br />

A new knee implant procedure comes to<br />

the Corridor, promising patients be ter<br />

results and smoother recoveries.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

Seeing success<br />

Coralvi le-based KemPharm has<br />

A rendering of the $105 million Cedar Crossing Central casino,<br />

one of two concepts proposed by Cedar Rapids Development<br />

Group and Peninsula Pacific. CREDIT CRDG/PENINSULA<br />

of the Feb. 13 license application deadline in hopes of not<br />

tipping their hand. Wild Rose eventually applied with a 600<br />

slot/20 table proposal smaller than it originally pitched.<br />

Acceptance of either of the two smaller applications could<br />

leave Cedar Rapids with a casino not much larger than those<br />

in Emmetsburg, Jefferson or Marquette, although it would<br />

likely be a bigger draw because of the larger local population<br />

and visitor base.<br />

Sixty-one percent of Linn County voters who participated<br />

in a 2013 referendum voted in favor of allowing a casino<br />

license in the county, while 39 percent were opposed. The<br />

Cedar Crossing proposal was the only one on the table at<br />

that time.<br />

“It just seems like that 61 percent of voters should be recognized<br />

for having voted for a full-amenity casino,” said Maureen<br />

Hunt, a citizen who addressed the city council Feb. 14.<br />

After Ms. Hunt spoke, Daniel Kaiser took the podium. He<br />

expressed concerns that the Wild Rose Cedar Rapids proposal<br />

wouldn’t be large enough to compete with the others in the area.<br />

They were not alone in their views on small casinos. The<br />

bigger-is-better contingent includes Mayor Ron Corbett, who<br />

prefers Cedar Crossing on the River. He said the city-owned<br />

site of Cedar Crossing on the River could be the best in the<br />

state, with its downtown location, riverfront views and easy<br />

access from I-380.<br />

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

CASINO PAGE 43<br />

After reviewing two entirely new casino<br />

proposals and a largely recycled<br />

one from 2015, the Iowa Racing and<br />

Gaming Commission on Nov. 16<br />

came to the same conclusion it had<br />

two years earlier regarding a gaming<br />

license for Linn County.<br />

The commission voted 3-2 to<br />

reject the two Cedar Crossing casino<br />

license applications from Cedar<br />

Rapids Development Group and a<br />

submittal from Wild Rose Resorts in<br />

cooperation with local developers<br />

Steve Emerson and Hunter Parks.<br />

Commission Chairman Richard<br />

Arnold had praise for what’s<br />

been called Cedar Crossing 2.0 – a<br />

small-scale casino that would have<br />

given Cedar Rapids a new parking<br />

structure to replace the aging Five<br />

Seasons parking garage that serves<br />

the U.S. Cellular Center and the<br />

DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids<br />

Convention Complex. He said<br />

the advantages were enough to outweigh<br />

his concerns about the business<br />

other casinos would lose to a<br />

newly licensed casino.<br />

Dolores Mertz of Algona also<br />

said she’d support one of the applications,<br />

saying “Iowa’s second largest<br />

city deserves something.”<br />

But it never came down to a vote<br />

on which license to approve after<br />

commission member Jeff Lamberti,<br />

an Ankeny attorney, moved to deny<br />

all three license applications. He<br />

was joined by Kristine Kramer of<br />

New Hampton and Carl Heinrich<br />

of Council Bluffs.<br />

Cedar Rapids Development<br />

Group said it wasn’t giving up on<br />

seeking a gaming license in Linn<br />

County. Wild Rose Resorts, which<br />

has several existing casinos in the<br />

state, said it will continue to seek<br />

opportunities for growth.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

PAGE 6<br />

Sco t Sundstrom, vice pre<br />

Tech &

<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 9

NewBoCo's Iowa Startup Accelerator<br />

A proposed mixed-use project in Cedar<br />

Rapids' NewBo District is bringing interest<br />

in home ownership in the area to the fore.<br />


UI Children‘s Hospital already<br />

making a difference<br />

By Cindy Hadish<br />

news@corridorbusiness.com<br />

UPDATE<br />

UI Children’s<br />

Hospital finds<br />

its footing<br />

IOWA CITY—As another group of patients moves into the new<br />

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, young<br />

charges such as Lilly Timmerman are finding reasons to smile.<br />

Lilly, 9, of Burlington, was diagnosed with acute myeloid<br />

leukemia on Christmas Eve and has spent much of her time<br />

hospitalized since then, undergoing chemotherapy and preparing<br />

for a bone marrow transplant.<br />

Before she moved into the new 14-story hospital last<br />

month, she often had to stay confined to her room because of<br />

her weak immune system. A HEPA air filtration system on all<br />

patient floors reduces the risk and spread of infection in the<br />

new hospital, allowing Lilly to go to classes and other activities.<br />

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

said Lilly’s mother, Maria Timmerman. “It’s hard for them to<br />

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

The HEPA system filters out 99.9 percent of contaminants<br />

on patient floors, such as tiny dust particles, mold spores, pollen<br />

and bacteria. Operating rooms and inpatient rooms, such<br />

as the 11th floor where Lilly is staying, are equipped with additional<br />

HEPA filters at the vents to provide an extra line of<br />

defense against the spread of airborne agents.<br />

Ms. Timmerman also appreciates the spacious patient<br />

rooms, which include a couch that converts into a bed. Lilly, a<br />

third-grader who enjoys art, has taken a liking to the high-tech<br />

bedside touchscreen that allows her to play games or watch<br />

movies on a flat-screen TV.<br />

The $360 million hospital’s opening has been long anticipated,<br />

beginning with the demolition of a parking ramp that<br />

previously sat on the site in 2012.<br />

Originally expected to open in December 2016, the first<br />

patients were moved Feb. 25, with another group arriving<br />

March 25.<br />

Scott Turner, executive director of Stead Family Children’s<br />

Hospital, said the limited availability of skilled labor needed<br />

for the project was one factor in the delay. Finding certified<br />

people to install the special rubberized floors, for example,<br />

was a challenge, he said.<br />

Mr. Turner added that changes, such as including windows<br />

strong enough to withstand an EF3 tornado – with speeds of<br />

165 mph – led to increased costs over the original budget estimate<br />

of $270 million.<br />

No tax dollars were used to fund the building, he noted.<br />

Instead, it was funded by $190 million in bonds, $120 million<br />

in cash reserves and operational funds and $50 million<br />



3.27.17<br />

*wink* and *nod*<br />


Marketers find new<br />

ways to connect with<br />

‘textual paralanguage’<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

TTYL<br />

BFFs<br />

LOL<br />

UI Children's Hospital<br />

Patients have completed their move into<br />

the new hospital, which is already giving<br />

people reasons to smile.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Meet the teams<br />

Nine-year-old Lilly Timmerman, sits in her new room with her<br />

mother, Maria. CREDIT SHUVA RAHIM<br />

in private donations.<br />

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead, former Maquoketa residents for<br />

whom the hospital is named, committed $25 million to children’s<br />

medicine at the University of Iowa. Jerre Stead has had<br />

a long career leading technology and information companies,<br />

currently serving as chairman and CEO of IHS Inc.<br />

The Gerdin family, of North Liberty-based Heartland Express,<br />

made a $12 million gift commitment to support the new<br />

hospital. The first-floor lobby is named after the Gerdin family.<br />

Jason Miller, director of project management for the children’s<br />

hospital, said the project did not have a single general<br />

contractor. Rather, contractors bid on 26 prime contracts,<br />

with nearly 4,000 workers involved in the building project<br />

and 90 percent of those from Iowa.<br />

Workers put in more than 2 million hours of labor on<br />

500,000-plus-square-feet of space, with no accidents resulting in<br />

serious injury and only two lost-time accidents, Mr. Miller said.<br />

Mr. Turner declined to comment on a contract dispute<br />

with Modern Piping regarding work on the facility. Hospital<br />

spokesman Tom Moore sent a statement saying University of<br />

Iowa Health Care representatives do not discuss matters that<br />

involve litigation.<br />

The former pediatric rooms in the main hospital will be<br />

used to accommodate adult patients, Mr. Turner said. There<br />

were previously 165 inpatient pediatric beds in the main hospital;<br />

there are now 189 patient beds between the new Children’s<br />

Hospital – most of those in single-patient rooms – and 55 beds<br />

in the neonatal intensive care unit in the main hospital.<br />

With the completion of the March 25 move, all pediatric<br />

inpatient units have relocated to the new hospital. Only the<br />

Level 4 surgery center and Level 5 surgery and post-anesthesia<br />

care unit have yet to move into the new facility. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Iowa’s favorite new tradition – the<br />

first quarter wave from football fans<br />

at Kinnick Stadium to the young<br />

patients huddled at the top-floor<br />

windows – has put the University<br />

of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s<br />

Hospital on the map.<br />

But hospital administrators say<br />

“The Kinnick Wave,” which has<br />

captivated sports fans from coast<br />

to coast, is only one of the developments<br />

worth cheering about now<br />

that the facility has been open for<br />

about six months.<br />

“The new hospital is elevating<br />

the overall patient and family experience,”<br />

said Scott Turner, chief operating<br />

officer at the hospital, adding<br />

that the time and attention paid<br />

to the facility’s planning and design<br />

is paying off in increased efficiency<br />

and patient satisfaction.<br />

Mr. Turner said highlights of the<br />

hospital’s half-year anniversary include<br />

greater availability of state-ofthe-art<br />

technology, expanded services<br />

and treatment options, “and a<br />

caring environment that transcends<br />

every floor.”<br />

Over the summer, the new hospital<br />

was ranked among the top 50<br />

children’s hospitals in six specialties<br />

by U.S. News and World Report:<br />

34th in cancer, 48th in cardiology/<br />

heart surgery, 20th in neonatology,<br />

21st in nephrology, 45th in pulmonology<br />

and 36th in urology.<br />

“Our children’s hospital is a special<br />

place and moving into a brand<br />

new hospital is a once-in-a-lifetime<br />

opportunity,” said Jodi Kurtt, the<br />

hospital’s director of nursing and<br />

patient care services. “Now that all<br />

of our units and services have been<br />

in their new home for more than<br />

six months, we’re fully settled in,<br />

with our feet on the ground.”<br />

- Katharine Carlon<br />

Marketers are expanding their messaging to incorporate<br />

the digital shorthand of texts, posts<br />

and snaps – a trend that now has a name,<br />

thanks to newly published research<br />

from a University of Iowa business<br />

professor.<br />

It’s called ‘textual paralanguage,’<br />

or TPL, and it’s defined as<br />

written manifestations<br />

of nonverbal<br />

audible, tactile and visual<br />

elements that supple-<br />

10 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

IDK<br />

*sigh*<br />

ROFL<br />

introduces its new year-long format and its<br />

first startup teams of 2017.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

ment and replace written<br />

language.<br />

A paper offering the<br />

new definition appeared<br />

*eye roll*<br />

NewBo housing<br />

in the January edition of<br />

the Journal of Consumer Psychology, presented<br />

by UI Assistant Professor of Marketing Andrea<br />

Luangrath, Joann Peck of the<br />

University of Wisconsin-Madiso<br />


Celebrating<br />

10<br />


YEARS OF<br />

growth, giving<br />

and gratitude<br />

right here in the Corridor<br />


By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Flood, hail, tornado – even sewer backups.<br />

If you’re in business in Iowa, some<br />

things are hard to overlook in discussions<br />

about insurance. There’s simply too much<br />

weather drama to ignore the possible need<br />

for big checks to be written down the line.<br />

But what about data breaches, power<br />

failures, breakdowns in critical equipment<br />

or human factors that could result in lawsuits,<br />

or even workplace violence?<br />

Risk management experts say that<br />

while some risks remain steady, others<br />

are emerging and business coverage<br />

needs are constantly changing. That has<br />

put the onus on business leaders to look<br />

“It’s easy to only look at it one time a<br />

year,” said Spencer Stephens, risk consultant<br />

for Sheets Forrest Draper Insurance<br />

in Marion. “But over times, things change.<br />

Sales can go up, you’re switching vehicles,<br />

you’ve started operations in a different<br />

Celebrating Our New Office<br />

New York Life Insurance Company is<br />

readying to expand in Eastern Iowa.<br />

Don't miss next week's special<br />

edition honoring the 2017 W<br />


Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa announces<br />

new facility in MedQuarter<br />

UPDATE<br />

PCI’s expansion<br />

takes shape<br />

Adam Moore<br />

adam@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Cedar Rapids-based multi-specialty medical group Physicians’<br />

Clinic of Iowa (PCI) is exploring a second facility<br />

on the current PCI campus in the downtown Cedar Rapids<br />

Medical Quarter.<br />

“PCI’s exploratory plans are to construct a<br />

new 100,000-square-foot medical facility and<br />

an additional 500-car parking structure,” David<br />

Hart, M.D., PCI’s president and medical<br />

director, stated in a press release. “These new<br />

facilities are necessary to accommodate PCI’s<br />

continuing growth and to attract other non-PCI<br />

healthcare-related services.”<br />

The new medical facility, designed by BBL<br />

Medical Facilities of Albany, New York, will be<br />

located to the south and west of Firestone Tire,<br />

between Second and Third avenues SE.<br />

“The vision is that the new pavilion will have<br />

a wellness theme, featuring new PCI specialties<br />

and new health and wellness-related tenants, potentially in<br />

the areas of executive health, men’s and women’s focused<br />

wellness, and a sports performance center,” Dr. Hart continued.<br />

“PCI is very proud to be a part of the continued development<br />

within the downtown MedQuarter. Our goal is the new<br />

facility will strengthen the PCI Medical Pavilion campus as<br />

a medical destination for patients, referring physicians, employers<br />

and visitors we serve throughout east central Iowa.”<br />

The 500-car parking structure will be located to the south<br />

of the PCI Medical Pavilion, along Third Avenue SE. Current<br />

plans are to connect the new medical facility to the existing<br />

parking structure via walkway. Covered walkways will be<br />

constructed from the new parking structure to the existing<br />

PCI Medical Pavilion.<br />

“The plans for this new facility are exciting. Patients will<br />

continue to receive a complete ambulatory health care experience<br />

within one centralized location, whether it’s the original<br />

PCI Medical Pavilion, or the planned health<br />

and wellness pavilion,” Dr. Hart said. “PCI is actively<br />

recruiting new physicians in existing and new<br />



4.24.17<br />

medical and surgical specialties to provide comprehensive<br />

specialty-care services for Eastern Iowa.”<br />

In September, the Cedar Rapids City Council supported<br />

grant funding of up to $9.5 million for development of a<br />

parking structure. The two structures and their associated<br />

skywalks represent a total investment of around $30 million.<br />

A rendering of the second Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa building coming to Cedar<br />

Rapids’ MedQuarter. IMAGE BBL<br />

Caleb Mason, the city’s economic development analyst,<br />

said the project qualifies for the city’s Community Benefit<br />

Economic Development Program, because of benefits such<br />

as allowing increased development density in the MedQuarter<br />

and reducing the need for surface parking lots.<br />

Because the parking structure will be privately owned,<br />

Cedar Rapids plans to issue bonds to fund construction and<br />

use Tax Increment Financing revenues to pay them off, as it<br />

did on the existing PCI parking structure, Mr. Mason said.<br />

Because tax collections lag a year behind the completion of<br />

a new structure, PCI will make the first two payments on the<br />

bonds, and will later be reimbursed from TIF collections.<br />

During the city council’s deliberations on Sept. 12, Mayor<br />

Ron Corbett emphasized the 200 employees the facility will<br />

house as a benefit of supporting the project. City staff recommended<br />

that PCI be required to commit to a minimum<br />

$30 million investment, along with a commitment to build<br />

a 98,000-square-foot building and 540-space parking<br />

garage in a development<br />

agreement. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Filling the gaps<br />


Corridor insurers offer tips for<br />

making sure your business<br />

stays covered as risks evolve<br />

EDC<br />

Meeting<br />

The Cedar Rapids-based business center<br />

highlights the support provided to area<br />

businesses and entrepreneurs in 2016.<br />

PAGE 10<br />

Seeking<br />

retirees<br />

Kirkwood looks for early retirement<br />

commitments amid pending decreases in<br />

state funding and othe revenue shortfa ls.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Planning for growth<br />

After winning enthusiastic support<br />

for the expansion from its board,<br />

Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa has unveiled<br />

new plans and details about<br />

its second facility, billed as a “specialty<br />

care medical destination.”<br />

Michael Sundall, PCI’s CEO,<br />

said plans for the new facility call<br />

for a 98,000-square-foot, three-story<br />

structure featuring a glass atrium<br />

and covered drop-off area facing<br />

10th Street SE and a second parking<br />

garage. Skywalks connecting both<br />

facilities to the existing patient-only<br />

parking structure will provide convenient<br />

covered parking and access.<br />

BBL Medical Facilities of Albany,<br />

New York, will design the building<br />

and lead the project with local<br />

subcontractors hired to execute the<br />

construction. Commercial realtors<br />

with Skogman Realty are currently<br />

sourcing new health and wellness-related<br />

tenants for new facility.<br />

Other tenants may be added once<br />

the facility is complete.<br />

“Our vision for MedQuarter is a<br />

bustling, thriving destination,” Mr.<br />

Sundall said in a release. “The new<br />

medical pavilion may attract new<br />

wellness-focused businesses to this<br />

neighborhood and increase traffic<br />

for existing businesses. People will<br />

continue to travel from all over the<br />

state to take advantage of some of<br />

the nation’s best specialty health<br />

care, found right here in the heart<br />

of Cedar Rapids.”<br />

PCI plans to break ground on<br />

the new structure in early <strong>2018</strong><br />

and anticipates a 24-month-long<br />

construction process prior to moving<br />

in. In addition to the tenants,<br />

the new space will accommodate<br />

growth of existing PCI services,<br />

provide space for 15 new specialists<br />

and house support services that are<br />

currently off-site.<br />

-- Katharine Carlon<br />

more frequently at their coverage and<br />

possible gaps.<br />

PAGE 5<br />

12 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

state – you have go to through more than<br />

a conversation once a year.”<br />

A high percentage of insured businesses<br />

have either a business owner’s policy<br />

(BOP) or a commercial package policy<br />

(CPP) to cover their major risks. A BOP<br />

combines basic property and liability coverage<br />

into one package that is typically<br />

GAPS PAGE 6<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

Lena Hi l, Associate Professor of<br />

English and African American Studies<br />

a the University of Iowa discusses how<br />

employers can embrace di ferences among<br />

their employees.<br />

PAGE 22<br />

A Passion for Growth<br />

Coming Up



Proud partner in the<br />

Time Line<br />

2017<br />

Strategic recruitment of<br />

potential tenants.<br />

Planning continues.<br />

Spring <strong>2018</strong><br />

Construction begins on<br />

Medical Pavilion II<br />

Late Fall 2019<br />

Medical Pavilion II OPENS<br />

Together in health.<br />

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

The Cedar Rapids<br />

yeast maker is set<br />

to head in a new<br />

direction with its<br />

latest expansion.<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />


Crystal Group ready to grow<br />

Employee-owners at the Crystal Group configure<br />

network servers to customer requirements on the final<br />

chassis assembly line at the company's Hiawatha<br />

facility on May 1. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE<br />

HIAWATHA—A $17.5 million facility<br />

plan lies at the center of<br />

Crystal Group’s efforts to become<br />

a major supplier of servers to the<br />

emerging autonomous vehicle<br />

market and expand its positions<br />

in the defense market.<br />

The employee-owned company<br />

manufactures network servers<br />

and switches designed to operate<br />

in extreme environments such as<br />

military humvees, tanks and submarines.<br />

It takes commercial offthe-shelf<br />

components and customizes<br />

them for performance under<br />

intense conditions, testing each<br />

unit rigorously before delivery to<br />

customers.<br />

Crystal Group will soon break<br />

ground on a 111,500-square-foot<br />

facility on a 9-acre site at 855<br />

Metzger Road acquired from Armstrong Development, just behind<br />

its current headquarters at 850 Kacena Drive, Hiawatha.<br />

Primus Construction will design and build the facility, which<br />

will provide better product flow and more production capacity<br />

to meet growing demand from the defense market.<br />

“We’re trying to stay ahead of our demanding customers<br />

in the DOD [Department of Defense], offering the facilities<br />

and capabilities we think they’ll be asking for,” said Michael<br />

Kruger, vice president of operations and leader of the facility<br />

project. “It should give us about a 50 percent increase in production<br />

capacity.”<br />

Crystal Group has also been contracted by several global automobile<br />

manufacturers to supply equipment on autonomous<br />

and semi-autonomous vehicle programs, according to Marketing<br />

Director Leslie George. The automakers will need a different<br />

style of rugged server than most of those Crystal Group currently<br />

supplies, which are designed to fit into a standard rack or a rugged<br />

transit case. The autonomous vehicle servers will be “much<br />

more customized,” with a form designed to fit in a non-standard<br />

space, Ms. George said.<br />

In the two-year planning process for the facility, Mr. Kruger<br />

said Crystal Group began by asking each department what their<br />

needs were, and then evaluating and prioritizing those needs<br />

based on the company’s capital budget.<br />

“The biggest things we need are a new environmental test<br />

facility and secure room,” he said. “These were the things that<br />

could open new doors for us.”<br />

The environmental test facility is used to evaluate the performance<br />

of Crystal products under extreme conditions. The new<br />

facility will add vibration testing, which is currently outsourced,<br />

to testing in extreme humidity and temperature conditions.<br />

Two secure rooms will meet the requirements of certain defense<br />

agencies for space that can<br />

be used to review secret plans and<br />

documents.<br />

“We have customers requesting<br />

that,” Mr. Kruger said. “We’ll be<br />

able to quote more business when<br />

we have it.”<br />

The new facility will also house<br />

Crystal Group’s corporate headquarters.<br />

A new part of that component<br />

will be a new “proposal<br />

room” for marketing and engineering<br />

staffs to use in developing proposals.<br />

It will incorporate multiple<br />

video screens for displaying information<br />

from the proposals to facilitate<br />

communication among the<br />

company’s teams, Mr. Kruger said.<br />

Access control and security<br />

were also high on the list of needs,<br />

along with an uninterruptible<br />

power supply for the entire building.<br />

That is partly because final assembly<br />

and test operations will be<br />

moved into the new facility.<br />

A standard test for a Crystal Group server, called the burn-in,<br />

requires operating it at maximum capacity for 24 hours straight.<br />

If even the slightest power blip interrupts the test, the process begins<br />

all over again, Mr. Kruger said.<br />

A building management system was designed into the project<br />

to control all of the energy-consuming features of the building,<br />

from its lighting and access control system to its high-efficiency<br />

heating and air conditioning system.<br />

Building close to home<br />

Early in the planning process, Crystal Group determined the<br />

logistics of expanding its nearly 20-year-old current facility<br />

wouldn’t work, and began looking for a new location.<br />

Building new in Cedar Rapids and other cities outside Hiawatha<br />

were considered, but Crystal Group ultimately found<br />

the best option to be right in the backyard of its current location,<br />

Mr. Kruger said.<br />

The new facility will allow synergies with the other Crystal<br />

Group facilities nearby, is only a few minutes from a UPS shipping<br />

facility, and will have even better access to Interstate 380<br />

when the new Tower Terrace Road interchange is built.<br />

“Hiawatha is growing,” Mr. Kruger said. “When Tower Terrace<br />

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



5.8.17<br />



Rugged and ready to grow<br />

Carlson's message<br />

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen<br />

Carlson spoke at the Iowa Women Lead<br />

Change 10th anniversary dinner.<br />

PAGE 7<br />

UPDATE<br />

Driving hard<br />

With its new Hiawatha facility<br />

rising out of the ground in 2017,<br />

Crystal Group was gaining sales<br />

momentum that will keep its occupants<br />

busy when it opens in<br />

late <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

“Our year continues with<br />

solid performance, and we expect<br />

to exceed our 2017 financial<br />

plan with excellent business<br />

momentum heading into <strong>2018</strong>,”<br />

Marketing Director Leslie George<br />

said. “We are especially pleased<br />

with the growth of our military<br />

segment. Crystal Group’s core<br />

military business increased over<br />

20 percent since 2016.”<br />

Industrial and commercial<br />

demand for the company’s rugged<br />

servers also improved in<br />

2017, with new contracts that<br />

included a significant deal with<br />

a West Coast power distribution<br />

company that could open doors<br />

for future business.<br />

Demand from the emerging<br />

autonomous vehicle industry<br />

was also improving.<br />

“We spent much of this year<br />

delivering equipment to our<br />

initial autonomous vehicle customer,<br />

and in the process we<br />

have developed the designs,<br />

engineering, relationships and<br />

credibility to allow us further<br />

penetration in the autonomous<br />

market,” Ms. George said.<br />

Construction of the<br />

111,500-square-foot headquarters<br />

facility at 855 Metzger Road<br />

in Hiawatha is going according<br />

to plan, according to company<br />

officials.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

Automation analysis<br />

14 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Hiawatha<br />

computer<br />

maker hopes<br />

to tap new<br />

markets<br />

with $17.5M<br />

expansion<br />

New study lays out the risks of automation<br />

by industry, with several of the state's<br />

biggest sectors in the crosshairs.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Lesaffre<br />

rising<br />

New<br />

leaders<br />

Jennifer Daly, Doug<br />

Neumann tapped<br />

to lead economic<br />

development orgs.<br />




Coming in September <strong>2018</strong>: Over 45 new jobs. 50% production<br />

capacity increase. 169,500 total square feet of manufacturing and operations in Hiawatha.<br />

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

partners for their support of this expansion.<br />



crystalrugged.com | info@crystalrugged.com | 800.378.1636<br />

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

market demands. PHOTO DAV<br />

The Cedar Rapids<br />

yeast maker is set<br />

to head in a new<br />

direction with its<br />

latest expansion.<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

A pair of key appointments unveiled<br />

May 3 set the stage for what leaders say<br />

will be a reenergized relaunch of the<br />

Corridor’s first workforce and economic<br />

development joint venture.<br />

Jennifer Daly, 45, was named the<br />

first president and CEO of the joint<br />

venture formed in 2016 between the<br />

Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance<br />

and the Iowa City Area Development<br />

(ICAD) Group.<br />

At the same time, the Economic Alliance<br />

board of directors named Doug<br />

Neumann, 47, executive director after<br />

observing him in action as interim president<br />

and CEO for just over one year.<br />

There was no mistake to the timing<br />

of the announcements. The region<br />

has serious workforce needs, which are<br />

closely entwined with its economic development<br />

efforts.<br />

“Clearly from a board perspective<br />

and from the perspective of our 1,200<br />

business members, there’s certainly going<br />

to be a major focus on developing<br />

a great relationship with Jennifer and<br />

making sure workforce development is<br />

as strong as it can be,” Mr. Neumann<br />

said. “This is a chance to for us to really<br />

relaunch this joint effort with ICAD<br />

around the regional initiatives.”<br />

Ms. Daly said workforce development<br />

has become the leading issue for<br />

economic development agencies across<br />

the country, and it’s been no different<br />

in her role as CEO of the Greater Peoria<br />

Economic Development Council in Illinois.<br />

The council serves a five-county<br />

region similar in size and population to<br />

the Corridor.<br />

“For us, a lot of it is about alignment<br />

– introducing local students to careers<br />

in the most critically needed areas, and<br />

giving them the chance to advance<br />

their skills in those<br />



5.8.17<br />


New leaders to ‘relaunch’<br />

regional efforts<br />


Rugged and ready to grow<br />

Hiawatha<br />

computer<br />

maker hopes<br />

to tap new<br />

markets<br />

with $17.5M<br />

expansion<br />

16 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Carlson's message<br />

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen<br />

Carlson spoke a the Iowa Women Lead<br />

Change 10th anniversary dinner.<br />

PAGE 7<br />

Automation analysis<br />

New study lays ou the risks of automation<br />

by industry, with several of the state's<br />

biggest sectors in the crosshairs.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Lesaffre<br />

rising<br />

New<br />

leaders<br />

Jennifer Daly, Doug<br />

Neumann tapped<br />

to lead economic<br />

development orgs.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

areas,” Ms. Daly said in an interview<br />

with the <strong>CBJ</strong>. “The people who grew up<br />

in a community are the most likely to<br />

stay in a community or move back to<br />

that community to find a career.”<br />

The joint venture had<br />

been without a permanent<br />

leader since plans were announced<br />

in January 2015<br />

and a nonprofit entity, the Iowa’s<br />

Creative Corridor Economic<br />

Development Corp.,<br />

was launched Jan. 1, 2016.<br />

Mr. Neumann assumed the<br />

interim CEO position with<br />

the Economic Alliance in<br />

April 2016 following the resignation<br />

of Dee Baird.<br />

“We are thrilled to be<br />

able to relaunch and move<br />

the strategic direction forward<br />

for the joint venture,”<br />

said Tom Goedken, who<br />

co-chairs the joint venture<br />

board with Lydia Brown. “A<br />

lot of hard work has gone<br />

into creating this entity, and<br />

we have now found the right<br />

person to lead it into its next<br />

successful phase.”<br />

Mr. Neumann said he<br />

had the opportunity to meet with Ms.<br />

Daly during the hiring process. He was<br />

impressed by her expertise in workforce<br />

development, and her experience managing<br />

change in Peoria.<br />

“The model of how they restructured<br />

economic development there [in<br />

Peoria] is what we want to do here,” Mr.<br />

Neumann said, referring to that area’s<br />

regional approach.<br />

Ms. Daly said her work with the<br />

Greater Peoria Economic Development<br />

Council included building an organization<br />

from three regional economic development-related<br />

organizations after a<br />

period of upheaval in regional development<br />

efforts. The organization now has<br />

a full-time staff<br />

of eight.<br />

“Regional<br />

economic development,<br />

first<br />

and foremost,<br />

Jennifer Daly<br />

Doug Neumann<br />

needs to be there to support the efforts<br />

of local economic development officials<br />

and entities,” said Ms. Daly, adding that<br />

the services provided by the Greater<br />

Peoria group include marketing, training<br />

and providing resources<br />

such as market and labor<br />

force data.<br />

Both Ms. Daly and Mr.<br />

Neumann bring a wealth<br />

of familiarity with the Corridor<br />

in addition to their<br />

professional experience to<br />

the positions.<br />

Mr. Neumann has more<br />

than 10 years experience at<br />

the Economic Alliance and<br />

its predecessor organizations,<br />

serving as executive<br />

vice president for about five<br />

years and leading the organization’s<br />

Downtown District<br />

efforts. He also served<br />

as opinion page editor and<br />

a reporter at The Gazette in<br />

Cedar Rapids.<br />

Ms. Daly, a University<br />

of Iowa psychology graduate<br />

and former Coralville<br />

resident, is a co-founder<br />

and the former executive<br />

director of programs for the Iowa Children’s<br />

Museum. She served as executive<br />

director of the Mount Pleasant Area<br />

Chamber of Commerce and Area Development<br />

Commission before moving<br />

to Illinois, where she also served as executive<br />

director of the Morton Economic<br />

Development Council and Morton<br />

Chamber of Commerce.<br />

With the reallocation of some roles<br />

to the joint venture, the Economic Alliance<br />

remains focused on its roles as<br />

an advocate for businesses in public<br />

policy, in providing member services<br />

and in supporting the downtown area,<br />

among others.<br />

Being promoted from interim CEO<br />

to regular executive director “makes<br />

this a very immediate and natural transition,”<br />

Mr. Neumann said. With that<br />

transition, he said he’ll be able to focus<br />

more on long-term goals, strategies and<br />

vision. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

UPDATE<br />

Daly set to<br />

move the ball<br />

Now that she’s met just about everyone<br />

who’s anyone, Jennifer Daly,<br />

the new CEO of the Corridor’s new<br />

joint venture, said she is ready to<br />

make things happen.<br />

“It’s feeling really good after a<br />

couple of months in here,” said Ms.<br />

Daly, who is finalizing strategies<br />

aimed at addressing both sides of<br />

the economic development equation:<br />

attracting new businesses to<br />

the Corridor and recruiting and retaining<br />

workers to staff them.<br />

On the business attraction side,<br />

Ms. Daly said she and her staff have<br />

identified industry clusters they<br />

plan to target, “and we’re moving<br />

forward with a robust schedule<br />

of trade shows and marketing in<br />

<strong>2018</strong>.” Brian Crowe, who already<br />

serves as economic development<br />

strategist for the Cedar Rapids Metro<br />

Economic Alliance, has signed on<br />

as the group’s director of business<br />

attraction. Tom Banta, ICAD’s director<br />

of strategic growth, will also<br />

assist with that effort.<br />

On the workforce development<br />

side, Ms. Daly said DaLayne Williamson<br />

of ICAD Group will serve<br />

as the venture’s director of workforce<br />

solutions.<br />

“The focus there is on talent and<br />

retention strategy and we have a<br />

draft [plan] in the process of being<br />

finalized,” she said. “One important<br />

piece of that will be working with<br />

students in schools and hopefully<br />

building that pipeline of talent.”<br />

Other upcoming projects include<br />

updating the creativecorridor.co<br />

website to align with the Corridor’s<br />

new economic development goals<br />

and launching a marketing campaign<br />

showcasing the seven-country<br />

region. Ms. Daly said she hopes<br />

the campaign will debut in the first<br />

quarter of <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

“It’s been a wonderful four<br />

months,” she said. “Very, very busy,<br />

but I think we’ve made a great deal<br />

of progress.”<br />

—Katharine Carlon<br />

PAGE 5<br />

Employee-owners a the Crystal Group configure network servers to custome requirements on the fina<br />

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

Creating home...<br />

Our Home:<br />

254 Employees<br />

370 Residents<br />

Sharing our passions and having fun<br />

Proud to receive the <strong>CBJ</strong>’s<br />

2017 Coolest of The Cool Award<br />

An Active LifeCare Community Since 1966<br />

Steve Roe, Executive Director<br />

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

their career choices, and what would keep them in the Corridor,<br />

where their talents are sorely needed.<br />

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

them scrambling to find another job in a year.<br />

Kevin Techau, of Scheldrup<br />

Blades Law Firm, discusses<br />


GEICO planning to open<br />

office in North Liberty<br />

By Adam Moore<br />

adam@corridorbusiness.com<br />

In May, the <strong>CBJ</strong> was the first to report that insurance<br />

company GEICO was finalizing plans to open<br />

a new office located in North Liberty, according to<br />

multiple sources familiar with the deal.<br />

Land at the targeted site is owned by A&M Development,<br />

a group of investors led by Mike Hahn,<br />

co-owner of McComas-Lacina Construction in<br />

Iowa City. A&M had a purchase agreement for the<br />

land in place with Bourn Companies of Tucson,<br />

A rendering of the new GEICO building coming to North Liberty in<br />

<strong>2018</strong>. IMAGE A&M DEVELOPMENT<br />

Arizona, which is representing GEICO in the deal.<br />

The agreement, which was in the due diligence<br />

phase when first reported, called for the purchase of<br />

about 5 acres of property just east of Interstate 380,<br />

less than half a mile south of the Penn Street exit,<br />

and near the Corridor Business Journal and University<br />

of Iowa Community Credit Union headquarters.<br />



5.15.17<br />


The Corridor’s<br />

next generation<br />

The deal valued the land around $4.50 per<br />

square foot, with an estimated total value of more<br />

than $1 million.<br />

GEICO representatives declined to comment on<br />

any details of the project, including the timeline or<br />

how the new office will impact the company’s existing<br />

Midwest regional office in Coralville.<br />

According to the company’s website, GEICO<br />

opened its Coralville office in 1997. The office employs<br />

about 450 people, primarily in sales and customer<br />

service, and announced as recently as 2015<br />

plans to hire additional managers and customer<br />

service representatives.<br />

In July, plans for the company’s new<br />

customer service center in North Liberty<br />

went up for review, impressing planning<br />

officials as large, but also keeping<br />

with the city’s design standards.<br />

In a memo, City Planner Dean Wheatley<br />

said A & M was proposing a 227-footlong<br />

building - nearly a block long. He<br />

said the structure and parking would<br />

span nearly the entire site from setback<br />

line to setback line. He is recommending<br />

approval of the request, saying the project,<br />

with its high masonry and glass content,<br />

“will be a positive design influence<br />

for the office park and the city.”<br />

City officials said they planned to<br />

seek state funding to improve vehicular<br />

traffic flow to the area by paving the<br />

current gravel section of Kansas Avenue south from<br />

its paved portion to Forevergreen Road, where a<br />

new I-380 interchange is being built.<br />

Among the positive attributes Mr. Wheatley<br />

cited were favorable traffic circulation, fire access,<br />

and an outside dining area connected to the break<br />

room and vending area of the facility. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Powering startups<br />

A new GoDaddy-backed program aims to<br />

help entrepreneurs hurdle economic and<br />

social barriers in Cedar Rapids.<br />

PAGE 5<br />

EntreFEST<br />

returns<br />

Statewide festival<br />

draws hundreds of<br />

innovators to Iowa<br />

City.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

TrueNorth<br />

We’re happy to welcome<br />

GEICO to North Liberty’s<br />

family of businesses.<br />

UPDATE<br />

- Terry Donahue<br />

North Liberty Mayor<br />

Improvements ahead<br />

Early site work is underway at the site of GEICO’s<br />

new 50,000-square-foot facility, and thanks to an<br />

assist from the Iowa Department of Transportation,<br />

improved road access won’t be far behind.<br />

In late summer, the state gave the nod to more<br />

than $3 million in Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy,<br />

or RISE, funding for North Liberty to pave a<br />

5,200-foot gravel stretch of Kansas Avenue south to<br />

Forevergreen Road, where a new I-380 interchange<br />

is under construction.<br />

According to a DOT news release, the $3.07 million<br />

in funding will also assist in reconstruction of<br />

a roundabout at Kansas Avenue and St. Andrews<br />

Drive. The road upgrades are necessary, state officials<br />

said, “to provide improved access to the proposed<br />

site of GEICO’s national auto insurance<br />

claims processing facility to support the creation of<br />

307 new full-time jobs and $11,939,340 in associated<br />

capital investment.”<br />

The GEICO facility is expected to open in summer<br />

<strong>2018</strong>, bringing about 400 workers currently<br />

based in Coralville to North Liberty, with room for<br />

upwards of 300 more. The road improvements are<br />

set for completion by December <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

“We’re happy to welcome GEICO to North Liberty’s<br />

family of businesses,” said North Liberty Mayor<br />

Terry Donahue in a statement. “More and more people<br />

are realizing that North Liberty is a great place to<br />

live and work, and this new facility will allow them<br />

to attract an even larger pool of talent.”<br />

- Katharine Carlon<br />

18 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Six graduates offer<br />

thoughts on what the class<br />

of 2017 really wants<br />

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

They’re taking that big walk across the stage to receive their co lege<br />

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

Six graduating seniors took time out of their busy schedules<br />

to answer the <strong>CBJ</strong>’s questions about what’s next, what will guide<br />

opportunities for growth and development, and give back to their<br />

communities. They want to be able to make a difference in their<br />

Book Club<br />

This week's Book<br />

Club reviews<br />

a new memoir/<br />

advice guide from political veteran in a<br />

demanding job.<br />

PAGE 17<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

Succession<br />

planning<br />

exemplified in<br />

father-son CEO<br />

transition.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

There's certainly some common ground among these bright<br />

young professionals. They are looking for employers that offer<br />

transitioning to<br />

private practice.<br />

Of course, not everyone’s on the same path. Some are headed<br />

home, while others are looking for that one big opportunity. We<br />

hope you’ll find some insights – and maybe your next star employee<br />

– as you read thi special roundup. > PAGE 10<br />


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The 43-year-old company makes plans<br />

for a new $13 million, LEED-certified<br />

headquarters off I-380.<br />


Lil’ Drug Store building on success<br />

Corridor<br />

distributor<br />

capitalizing on<br />

growth trends in<br />

C-store sector<br />

Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Lil’ Drug Store Products may<br />

be hitting middle age, but the<br />

consumer products distributor<br />

sees a lot of room to run<br />

in a retail sector that remains<br />

strong and growing.<br />

The 43-year-old company<br />

made a flurry of headlines<br />

with plans for a new $13 million<br />

LEED-certified headquarters,<br />

and the launch of two<br />

healthy snack food lines in the<br />

convenience store channel.<br />

President and CEO Chris<br />

Chris DeWolf, president<br />

and CEO of Lil' Drug Store<br />

Products, shows one of<br />

the newer additions in the<br />

company's Cedar Rapids<br />

distribution facility: Popchips<br />

brand potato and corn snacks.<br />


DeWolf says it’s all about growth – both in Lil’ Drug Store,<br />

and in the channel it supplies.<br />

The company distributes to more than 125,000 convenience<br />

stores, and sold more than 145 million items last year – 10 times<br />

more than in 2000. It has become the largest convenience store<br />

distributor of over-the-counter drugs and personal care products<br />

in the U.S., and is a big supplier of automotive products,<br />

sensible snacks and other merchandise.<br />

“There are a lot of examples of our products being more<br />

than convenience and impulse purchases,” Mr. DeWolf said.<br />

The company’s expansion meshes well with a trend in the<br />

convenience store industry of becoming more of a destination,<br />

rather than simply a place to pick up a few items when stopping<br />

for gas, he added. Many new convenience stores are larger and<br />

carry many basic household items needed for daily living.<br />

Last year’s sales data suggests one possible reason for the trend.<br />

Sales industry-wide declined 4.3 percent, to about $550 billion,<br />

according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. But<br />

that decline was entirely due to lower gas prices, which brought<br />

fuel sales down 9.2 percent. If sales of items inside the store, such<br />

as those Lil’ Drug Store Products supplies, had not increased by<br />

3.2 percent, the decline would have been even larger.<br />

Consumer product companies often seek out Lil’ Drug Store<br />

to get their products into the convenience store channel, Mr.<br />



6.5.17<br />


The Branstad effect<br />

Lil' Drug Store<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

Betsy McCloskey,<br />

Principal with Plaid Swan<br />

Inc., talks about why<br />

she opened an<br />

office in Cedar<br />

Rapids.<br />

PAGE 17<br />

DeWolf said. It can be a hard<br />

channel to open, he noted, because<br />

shelf space is tight and the<br />

industry still has many competitors<br />

with 10 stores or less.<br />

“We really consider ourselves<br />

an access point for products<br />

and trends that want to be<br />

in the convenience store channel,”<br />

Mr. DeWolf said.<br />

A good example of that came<br />

this spring with an exclusive<br />

convenience store marketing<br />

agreement between Lil’ Drug<br />

Store and two manufacturers<br />

of healthier snack foods. While<br />

mainstream grocery and convenience<br />

stores both get a comparable<br />

percentage of their revenue<br />

from meat snacks like beef<br />

jerky, sales of healthy snacks in<br />

convenience stores didn’t come<br />

close to the percentage in mainstream<br />

groceries.<br />

Lil’ Drug Stores added the<br />

Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Fruit line and the Popchips line of<br />

healthy grain snacks on the expectation that convenience stores<br />

will benefit from the growing popularity of those categories.<br />

Mr. DeWolf said he also expects to see growth in services<br />

at convenience stores. Lil’ Drug Store has acquired a 20 percent<br />

stake in a Minnesota company that supplies tire filling and<br />

auto vacuum equipment with the expectation that it can grow<br />

its convenience market presence.<br />

With its decades of experience in studying the convenience<br />

store market, Lil’ Drug Store has also built a consulting and<br />

analytics business. More than 45,000 convenience stores use<br />

the company’s services to help determine the optimal mix of<br />

product and pricing for profitability.<br />

Lil’ Drug Store is owned by husband-and-wife Chris and<br />

Suzy DeWolf, who acquired it from Ms. DeWolf’s parents, Dennis<br />

and Donna Oldorf, in 2005. The company operates with<br />

a lean local staff of about 50 at 1201 Continental Place NE, a<br />

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

Mr. DeWolf said the company had became serious about<br />

building at a new location about one year ago, both to position<br />

the company for growth and offer a more attractive workplace<br />

for employees. With input from its department heads, it<br />

worked with developer-builder Hunter Companies and Aspect<br />

Architecture to come up with a facility to suit its needs.<br />

The main location choices were along I-380 at the north<br />

and south ends of the Cedar Rapids metro area. Mr. DeWolf<br />

said the southern location is close to the FedEx air freight<br />

hub at Eastern Iowa Airport, provides easy in and out access<br />

for truckload carriers, and will be convenient for visiting<br />

customers. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

UPDATE<br />

Lil’ Drug finds<br />

growth in<br />

private label<br />

Growth remained strong for Lil’<br />

Drug Store as work on its new headquarters<br />

along I-380 in Cedar Rapids<br />

progressed throughout 2017.<br />

“It has been a sweet year for Lil’<br />

Drug Store,” said Director of Marketing<br />

Doug Marquardt.<br />

Driving Lil’ Drug Store’s results<br />

were growth in the company’s private-label<br />

brand, its category management<br />

business for convenience<br />

store chains, and overall improvement<br />

in its core health and beauty<br />

care business, Mr. Marquardt said.<br />

One trend that has been driving<br />

sales is a growing consumer<br />

preference for private-label products,<br />

which typically sell for much<br />

less than national brands. A line of<br />

private-label Lil’ Drug Store health<br />

and beauty products offers lower<br />

prices than the brand names and<br />

has been a success for Lil’ Drug<br />

Store and its retailer clients.<br />

The percentage of convenience<br />

store sales coming from private label<br />

products has doubled from 3 to 6<br />

percent from 2014 to 2017.<br />

Lil’ Drug Store acquired rights to<br />

bring new products to market under<br />

the No-Doz brand this year. No-<br />

Doz is the leading over-the-counter<br />

product for mental alertness, Mr.<br />

Marquardt said. The products are in<br />

Walmarts, Walgreens and grocery<br />

stores, and Lil’ Drug Store Products<br />

planned to bring them to market in<br />

the convenience store channel in<br />

November.<br />

The foundation of the new $13<br />

million headquarters was complete<br />

and the structure was going up in<br />

November.<br />

“The project is on track and we’re<br />

one year from the projected movein,”<br />

said Lil’ Drug Store President<br />

and CEO Chris DeWolf.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

PAGE 3<br />

20 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Folience's<br />

new CEO<br />

Daniel Goldstein<br />

discusses The<br />

Gazette Co.'s<br />

rebranding.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

Prospects for improved trade<br />

with China rise with<br />

ambassador appointment<br />

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

Mr. Branstad toasted Mr. Xi and the long-lasting friendship between Iowa a<br />


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Companies are leveraging mobile devices and apps in<br />

increasingly creative ways to keep customers engaged by<br />

pushing out information about new products or services,<br />

making shopping easier and tempting them with deals.<br />

less and use the internet for more purchases.<br />

Leadership trio at Central State Bank<br />

brings an entrepreneurial approach to the<br />

Corridor’s banking scene.<br />

By Adam Moore<br />

adam@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Guaranty Bank & Trust, one of the Corridor’s<br />

oldest banking brands, is joining<br />

one of its newest as part of a $44.2<br />

million deal announced June 9.<br />

QCR Holdings, the Moline-based<br />

parent company of Cedar Rapids Bank<br />

& Trust (CRBT), has agreed to purchase<br />

all of Guaranty Bankshares’ stock and<br />

assets, and will merge Guaranty Bank<br />

into CRBT’s operations once the transaction<br />

closes later this year.<br />

No decisions have yet been made on<br />

the banks’ offices or staffing, leaders<br />

said. Guaranty has five offices, including<br />

its headquarters at Third Street and<br />

Third Avenue; CRBT counts two offices<br />

in Cedar Rapids. Its headquarters is located<br />

at 500 First Ave. NE, three blocks<br />

away from Guaranty’s main office.<br />

The sale brings an end to the 83-yearold<br />

Guaranty brand, but leaders framed<br />

the deal as an opportunity to build<br />

scale and expand their footprint with a<br />

like-minded partner.<br />

“Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust has a local<br />

board, their leadership is very local.<br />

They make the decisions here as far as<br />

what loans to make and what community<br />

activities to be involved in,” said<br />

Chris Lindell, president and CEO of<br />

Guaranty Bank. “Being a local, community<br />

bank and being involved – we want<br />

that to continue on.”<br />

Larry Helling, president and CEO of<br />

CRBT, recalled that he met the bank’s<br />

then-owner, Harold Becker, and his<br />

son, Robert, around 25 years ago in<br />

Omaha at a bar mitzvah for Harold’s<br />

grandson. The leaders maintained that<br />

relationship over the years, opening the<br />

door to talks after Harold’s death last<br />

May and Robert’s move to chairman of<br />

the board.<br />

“That’s the way a lot of business<br />

deals come together – you build a relationship,”<br />

Mr. Helling said. “I knew<br />

M&A<br />

CRBT acquires Guaranty Bank<br />

in $44M deal<br />

Merger forms second-largest bank in CR market<br />

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

an undated photo. PHOTO POINT BUILDERS<br />

[the Becker family] on a different level,<br />

and because of that, it was a natural<br />

fit for us.”<br />

The acquisition will make CRBT the<br />

largest community bank chartered in<br />

Linn County, with the banks reporting<br />

combined assets of almost $1.2 billion<br />

as of March 31. It will also make CRBT<br />

the second-largest in deposit share in<br />

the county, behind U.S. Bank, with the<br />

banks reporting $946 million in deposits<br />

that same month.<br />

That increased size will help CRBT<br />

compete in an industry where “scale<br />

matters,” Mr. Helling said, allowing it<br />

to offer more services and cope with<br />

the nation’s current period of “long,<br />

low, protracted” interest rates. It will<br />

also give the bank more resources to<br />

deal with the complex regulatory environment<br />

and develop more technologies<br />

for customers, who are demanding<br />

them from banks of all sizes.<br />

“As a community<br />

bank, at our size, it’s really<br />

hard. Today, we’re<br />

fine, but in 10 years<br />

from now?” Mr. Lindell<br />

said. “This gets it to the<br />



6.19.17<br />

right scale, where it needs to be.”<br />

CRBT’s acquisition will also allow it<br />

to better serve “the entire marketplace”<br />

through an expanded branch network,<br />

Mr. Helling said. The deal will double<br />

the size of CRBT’s retail business, while<br />

also bringing a book of “meaningful<br />

commercial business” to its folio.<br />

The acquisition is the latest for QCR<br />

Holdings, which owns Quad Cities<br />

Bank & Trust, and last May purchased<br />

Community State Bank, based in Ankeny.<br />

That bank was bought from Van<br />

Dienst Investment Co. for $80 million.<br />

Guaranty Bank & Trust was organized<br />

and founded in 1934 by Van<br />

Vechten Shaffer. Robert Becker’s grandfather,<br />

Orrie Becker, was a founding<br />

shareholder, and Harold Becker purchased<br />

control of the bank from Mr.<br />

Shaffer in 1969. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />



Swipe for speed<br />

& savings<br />

Bankers Trust hits 100<br />

As the state's largest community bank<br />

marks its centennial year this month, it’s<br />

celebrating more than just longevity.<br />

Guaranty to CRBT<br />

PAGE 3<br />

UPDATE<br />

CRBT makes<br />

it official<br />

It’s been a few months of change for<br />

customers of Cedar Rapids-based<br />

Guaranty Bank.<br />

Customers received letters explaining<br />

the merger and switchover<br />

to Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust (CRBT)<br />

in November, said President and<br />

CEO Larry Helling, and the banks’<br />

data processing systems were officially<br />

merged on Dec. 4. CRBT signage<br />

also went up on former Guaranty<br />

branches in early December.<br />

Mr. Helling said he expected the<br />

transition to have a minimal impact<br />

on client service. While two former<br />

Guaranty locations were closed in<br />

the merger – the bank’s headquarters<br />

at the corner of Third Street and<br />

Third Avenue in downtown Cedar<br />

Rapids and a branch location on<br />

42nd Street NE – those employees<br />

were moved to nearby branches,<br />

ensuring that customers will continue<br />

to see “the same faces,” Mr.<br />

Helling said. No other significant<br />

staff changes are expected.<br />

The next decision to be made<br />

will center around the former Guaranty<br />

headquarters building, which<br />

is situated on a prime corner downtown.<br />

Mr. Helling said the bank<br />

is working with the city of Cedar<br />

Rapids to “identify appropriate developers<br />

who will hopefully turn<br />

that into something very nice for<br />

the city,” but added “it won’t be us,<br />

we’re not developers.”<br />

CRBT surpassed the $1 billion<br />

asset mark in September, making it<br />

the second largest bank in the Cedar<br />

Rapids market and the largest<br />

community bank headquartered in<br />

Linn County. The bank’s newfound<br />

scale will allow it to offer additional<br />

account products and make larger<br />

loans, Mr. Helling said, adding “as<br />

clients grow, we’ll be able to grow<br />

with them.”<br />

- Adam Moore<br />

Retailers turning to mobile apps<br />

Guaranty Bank ends its 83-yea run<br />

fo lowing its $44 mi lion sale to Cedar<br />

to lure and keep customers<br />

Rapids Bank & Trust.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

22 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Ed. note: This is the last part in the <strong>CBJ</strong>’s series on the Future of<br />

Retail. Find our past installments at h tp://bit.ly/<strong>CBJ</strong>FutureofRetail.<br />

The smartphone is increasingly the tie that binds consumers<br />

to their favorite retailers.<br />

Startup banking<br />

It’s a strategy driven by necessity, as consumers get out<br />

PAGE 8<br />

“Three years ago, we started to invest in all things mobile,”<br />

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during the<br />

company’s Investor Day presenta<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q

A Stronger, Combined<br />

Community Bank.<br />

Visit www.crbt.com for our new locations and teams<br />

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

Who's the Best of the<br />

Corridor? Grab the n<br />

How Our Obsessions Are<br />

Changing What We Buy<br />


Corridor’s biggest business<br />

stories of 2017 (so far)<br />

A SEASON for mergers<br />

Rockwell primed the Corridor’s recent M&A storm<br />

by completing its $8.3 billion acquisition of North<br />

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

in June, in rapid fire, John Deere announced its<br />

$5.2 billion purchase of global road construction<br />

equipment maker Wirtgen Group, Cedar Rapids<br />

Bank & Trust bought Guaranty Bank for $44 million,<br />

and publicly-traded tech company Trimble<br />

acquired Innovative Software Engineering (ISE)<br />

for an undisclosed amount.<br />

Headquarters rising<br />

Hawkeye Hotels last week officially opened the<br />

doors on its new headquarters in Coralville,<br />

while both Crystal Group in Hiawatha and Lil’<br />

Drug Store Products in Cedar Rapids recently announced<br />

big-dollar headquarter expansions and<br />

construction. The new Watts Group headquarters<br />

on Coralville’s Oakdale Boulevard also opened in<br />

April.<br />

Talent in development<br />

A key regional leadership position was filled in<br />

May when the Cedar Rapids<br />

Metro Economic Alliance<br />

and ICAD Group<br />

announced Jennifer<br />

Daly will be the first<br />

CEO of their new<br />

workforce and economic<br />

development<br />

joint venture. She will<br />

arrive this month from<br />

her post as CEO of the<br />

Greater Peoria Economic<br />

Development Council in<br />

Kim Casko<br />

Peoria, Illinois. Simultaneously,<br />

the Alliance announced that interim CEO<br />

Doug Neumann will serve as the organization’s<br />

executive director. Kim Casko, president and CEO<br />

of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce,<br />

meanwhile, settled into her role after arriving in<br />

September 2016 from ACT.<br />

Compiled by Dave DeWitte and Adam Moore<br />

news@corridorbusiness.com<br />



7.3.17<br />

C-suite changes<br />

CRST and Bankers Trust<br />

both announced big<br />

C-suite changes earlier<br />

this year, with Group<br />

President and COO<br />

Hugh Eckberg slated<br />

to take over for CEO<br />

Dave Rusch at CRST,<br />

and Des Moines President<br />

Don Coffin to<br />

follow CEO Suku Radia<br />

at Bankers Trust Company.<br />

Iowa City’s MetaCommunications<br />

named former Nautilus<br />

chief executive Gregg Hammann president<br />

and CEO in April, closing a period of uncertainty<br />

following Bob Long’s departure last October.<br />

Startup scene<br />

The Cedar Rapids startup Acre Broadband<br />

launched fundraising this spring for the first phase<br />

of a large project to create a statewide wireless mesh<br />

network to offer rural residents high-speed Internet,<br />

as well as voice and navigation services. At the<br />

Iowa Startup Accelerator in Cedar Rapids, the first<br />

two startup teams were announced in March under<br />

a longer, but less intense, one-year program format<br />

that will help participants who want to maintain<br />

their student or employment status while completing<br />

the program. And in Iowa City, the new<br />

MERGE space opened at 136 S. Dubuque St. to<br />

offer entrepreneurs and startups resources, space<br />

and a network to help them launch successfully in<br />

June with support from ICAD Group and the UI’s<br />

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and Office<br />

of Research and Economic Development.<br />


Mid-Year 2017<br />

Reviewing the first six months<br />

and looking ahead<br />

Despite all of this year’s<br />

political drama, in many<br />

ways the story remains the<br />

same for business:<br />

Labor remains tight, taxes<br />

and health care are status<br />

quo, and growth comes at a<br />

premium. But there are also<br />

reasons to be optimistic,<br />

as consumers continue<br />

to spend, energy prices<br />

stay low and deregulation<br />

Gregg Hammann<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

Robin Therme, president of CIVCO,<br />

discusses the changes in the medical<br />

device market.<br />

PAGE 22<br />

RSM economist<br />

Keynote speaker Joseph Brusuelas, chief<br />

economist of RSM US LLP, kicked o f the<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> Mid-Year Economic Review.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Big stories<br />

Five of the Corridor's<br />

biggest business<br />

stories of 2017 (so far).<br />

PAGE 6<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> Book Club<br />

UPDATE<br />

Mergers, leadership<br />

changes continue<br />

Two of the Corridor’s biggest story threads at the midpoint<br />

of the year continued to develop through the fall.<br />

The <strong>CBJ</strong> reported on no less than 16 corporate deals between<br />

July and November, including United Fire Group’s<br />

sale of its United Life division for (see page 32) and United<br />

Technologies’ $30 billion bid for Rockwell Collins (page<br />

30). Other notable acquisitions included Heartland Express’<br />

$113 million deal to purchase Interstate Distributors<br />

Co. in July; food giant Cargill’s deal to buy Cedar<br />

Rapids-based Diamond V; and Motion Industries’ deal to<br />

acquire Cedar Rapids-based Apache Inc.<br />

When it comes to leadership changes, MetaCommunications<br />

set the pace this summer, hiring Patrick Tierney<br />

as chief financial officer, Vanessa McDonald as chief development<br />

officer and promoting Ali Ahmad to chief operating<br />

officer.<br />

Urbana-based e-commerce company Clickstop<br />

launched a shared-services model in August that included<br />

the creation of a new leadership team. Members included<br />

Tom Altman, chief technology officer; Tammy Karr,<br />

president of the Clickstop Accelerator team; Todd Kuennen,<br />

chief intelligence officer and executive vice president;<br />

Monica Steffeck, chief talent enrichment officer; Chad<br />

Brandmeyer, chief financial officer; and Phil Akin, chief<br />

marketing officer. August also saw the promotion of Tad<br />

Cooper to president and chief operating officer of Acterra<br />

Group, a full-service energy services and development<br />

firm based in Marion.<br />

In September, Aaron Horn was named the new chief<br />

operating officer of NewBoCo, the Cedar Rapids-based<br />

innovation and entrepreneurial hub, while Dennis Murdock,<br />

executive vice president and CEO with Central Iowa<br />

Power Cooperative (CIPCO), retired after nearly three decades<br />

in his role.<br />

In October, the University of Iowa named J. Brooks<br />

Jackson to lead UI Health Care, which includes the Roy J.<br />

and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, the UI Hospitals<br />

and Clinics and UI Physicians. Dr. Jackson comes from the<br />

University of Minnesota, where he served as the vice president<br />

for health sciences and dean of the medical school.<br />

In November, Kimberly Maes was named to lead CRST<br />

Logistics Inc., one of CRST International’s eight operating<br />

companies, after most recently serving as president of<br />

Swift Logistics LLC.<br />

Local leaders moving on or retiring include Lee Belfield,<br />

the general manager of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, Iowa’s<br />

only teaching hotel, and Syniverse President and CEO<br />

Steve Gray, who announced that he will retire from the Orlando-based<br />

telecommunications tech company in February<br />

<strong>2018</strong>. Mr. Gray, of Cedar Rapids, has invested in and led<br />

a series of successful startups in the Corridor through his<br />

venture firm, Gray Venture Partners.<br />

- Adam Moore<br />

accelerates.<br />

Review of "Superfandom:<br />

INSIDE: Analysis and expert<br />

and Who We Are."<br />

24 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

opinion on the challenges<br />

and opportunities ahead.<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWS QUIZ<br />

PAGE 21<br />

Test your comprehension with the<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> News Quiz, compiled from stories<br />

appearing over the last month. How<br />

we l have you been fo lowing the news?<br />

PAGE 23<br />

Coming Up

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news@corridorbusiness.com<br />

IOWA CITY—Grubhub, the mobile food<br />

ordering and delivery giant, has been gobbling<br />

up the competition in recent months,<br />

leaving some restaurateurs wondering<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

The decision, announced last week, to<br />

phase out the full-time MBA program<br />

that the University of Iowa’s Tippie<br />

College of business had offered for 56<br />

years made big headlines, and it wasn’t<br />

an easy one, Tippie Dean Sarah Fisher<br />

Gardial said.<br />

Nevertheless, the day after the Aug.<br />

22 announcement, Ms. Gardial’s inbox<br />

received a stream of emails from other<br />

deans and academic professionals,<br />

many of them praising the UI for making<br />

a tough but smart move.<br />

Academic leaders have seen full-time<br />

MBA enrollment slipping for years, Ms.<br />

Gardial said, but have been reluctant<br />

to drop the programs because they are<br />

highly visible in national rankings of<br />

business schools by publications such<br />

as U.S. News & World Report and the<br />

Princeton Review.<br />

“We have finally decided the trends<br />

are undeniable, and rather than continue<br />

to put resources into a program<br />

that’s in decline, we need to prepare for<br />

the future,” Ms. Gardial said.<br />

The UI’s full-time MBA program enrollment<br />

has fallen from 140 in 2010<br />

to 100 in 2017, and makes up only<br />

one-eleventh of this year’s record MBA<br />

enrollment of 1,101. The remaining<br />

students are in evening and weekend<br />

programs like the growing Professional<br />

MBA and Executive MBA, which are designed<br />

to enable students to complete<br />

their studies while they continue working<br />

full-time.<br />

“The market’s not demanding less<br />

MBAs, especially for people who want<br />

to ascend to the top ranks of leadership,”<br />

Ms. Gardial noted. “What has<br />

changed is the demand on the part of<br />

students and the workplace.”<br />


MBA phaseout<br />

a tough call for UI<br />

Those pursuing MBAs are increasingly<br />

taking evening and weekend programs<br />

because they don’t want to put their careers<br />

on pause or run up as much college<br />

debt, said Ms. Gardial,<br />

who arrived at the UI five<br />

years ago. The UI and other<br />

universities have also seen a<br />

weakening in full-time MBA<br />

applications from international<br />

students – a trend<br />

some attribute to the Trump<br />

administration’s tougher<br />



8.28.17<br />

stance on immigration.<br />

“You could call it the<br />

Trump effect or the Brexit<br />

effect,” Ms. Gardial said,<br />

noting that she first experienced<br />

it during a visit to England<br />

after its vote to leave<br />

the European Union. Soon<br />

after the vote, she said it became clear<br />

to business colleges in England that foreign<br />

interest in attendance was waning,<br />

apparently due to concerns about how<br />

welcoming the country would be to foreign<br />

nationals.<br />

Ms. Gardial said the constraints of<br />

state education funding in Iowa – a decades-long<br />

trend that has led to sizable<br />

tuition hikes – were one of the factors<br />

in the decision, but noted that discontinuation<br />

of the program had been<br />

discussed even before her arrival, and<br />

long before current university funding<br />

shortfalls. If it appeared that the fulltime<br />

MBA program was worth saving,<br />

she said she was willing to go the fundraising<br />

route to help sustain it.<br />

The UI will instead redeploy faculty<br />

and staff associated with the full-time<br />

program to its Professional MBA and<br />

Executive MBA programs,<br />

and to specialized offerings<br />

like a new master’s<br />

degree in finance that will<br />

be launched in the fall of<br />

<strong>2018</strong>. No faculty or staff<br />

layoffs will result, Ms. Gardial<br />

said.<br />

The UI offers MBA courses<br />

not only on campus, but<br />

in Davenport, Cedar Rapids<br />

and Des Moines. It also<br />

Sarah Fisher offers international MBA<br />

Gardial programs in Hong Kong<br />

UI Tippie Dean and Italy.<br />

If the Iowa Board of Regents<br />

concurs after a presentation<br />

on the decision scheduled for<br />

Sept. 6, the UI’s last full-time MBA students<br />

will graduate in May 2019.<br />

If the Tippie College of Business’<br />

reputation does suffer from the move,<br />

it may be because it will no longer<br />

appear in some rankings of MBA programs.<br />

Ms. Gardial said the UI’s MBA<br />

programs have typically scored best in<br />

measures of value to students, which<br />

compare the gain in salaries before and<br />

after graduation.<br />

Still, she said most publications now<br />

rank business colleges on a variety of<br />

degree programs, not just full-time<br />

MBAs, ensuring the UI won’t be overlooked.<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong><br />


Eating the competition<br />

Cargofy hits the road<br />

Iowa Startup Accelerator participants Stakh<br />

and Natal ia Vozniak look to launch their<br />

promising logistics app in the U.S. market.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

MBA<br />

phaseout<br />

Announced last<br />

week, to phase out<br />

the full-time MBA<br />

program tha the<br />

University of Iowa’s<br />

Tippie Co lege of<br />

business.<br />

PAGE 6<br />

UPDATE<br />

Tippie leads<br />

the way<br />

The decision by UI’s Tippie College<br />

of Business to end its full-time MBA<br />

program turned out to be in the vanguard<br />

of a trend that in October saw<br />

King’s College in London become<br />

the first leading British university<br />

to open a business school not offering<br />

the degree and the University of<br />

Wisconsin’s briefly consider closing<br />

its own full-time program.<br />

UW leaders reversed their proposal<br />

to temporarily stop admissions<br />

into the program for a review<br />

less than a week after it became<br />

public, following complaints from<br />

students and alumni, according to<br />

a news report.<br />

The question facing business<br />

schools is, “do we stay in a shrinking<br />

market with ever-decreasing<br />

payouts, or do we move out to areas<br />

that represent growth?” Tippie<br />

Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial asked in<br />

a conference call with reporters earlier<br />

this year.<br />

Students, and schools like Iowa,<br />

Wake Forest University, Virginia<br />

Tech and Simmons College, are increasingly<br />

answering that question<br />

“no.” According to a report by the<br />

General Management Admissions<br />

Council (GMAC), only 40 percent<br />

of full-time, two-year MBA programs<br />

in the U.S. reported receiving<br />

an increase in applications in 2016;<br />

48 percent reported a decline. And<br />

an October Fortune Magazine article,<br />

“What’s Killing U.S. Business<br />

Schools?” argues that trend is likely<br />

to continue<br />

Tippie, which moved up two<br />

spots in the U.S. News and World<br />

Report ranking of business schools<br />

to No. 31 this fall, has shifted its<br />

focus to specialized master’s programs,<br />

like its new master of science<br />

in business analytics, and plans to<br />

increase investment in its MBA programs<br />

for working professionals,<br />

according to a recent press release.<br />

- Katharine Carlon<br />

26 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Grubhub’s purchase of OrderUp leaving<br />

some IC businesses with a bad taste<br />

By Steve Gravelle<br />

Running the Roost<br />

The Tin Roost opened this month on one of<br />

North Liberty’s busiest roads, and promises<br />

to have enough room for the whole gang.<br />

PAGE 5<br />

where they fit in the company’s strategy.<br />

On Aug. 1, Chicago-based Grubhub<br />

served by Groupon subsidiary OrderUp,<br />

which arrived in Iowa City in the summer<br />

of 2015. Three days later, Grubhub bought<br />

Eat24, Yelp’s food-delivery service.<br />

When Grubhub announced the OrderUp<br />

acquisition, a company spokeswoman<br />

said OrderUp’s brand would be phased<br />

out. The company's Iowa City webpage is<br />

rants in Iowa City under the Grubhub brand<br />

and are working with Groupon to transition<br />

a l of the restaurants over to our ecosystem<br />

in the coming months,” Grubhub spokeswoman<br />

Katie Norris wrote in an email. “OrderUp<br />

diners will also join the Grubhub<br />

platform and be able to order from new and<br />

Taste of Iowa City<br />

completed a deal to acquire all 27 markets<br />

still active, although that will change.<br />

“We intend<br />

existing Grubhub restaurants.”<br />

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of business at Mount<br />

Mercy University,<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

The retirement of the baby boom generation<br />

is playing out in various ways<br />

in the Corridor, but none more visible<br />

than the current surge in senior living<br />

developments.<br />

More than a half-dozen senior living<br />

projects totaling more than $55 million<br />

in investment have been completed in<br />

the past year, and nearly a dozen more<br />

are in progress. When those additional<br />

projects are completed over the next two<br />

years, the total investment will approach<br />

a quarter of a billion dollars.<br />

The projects will bring at least 1,359<br />

new living units onto the market by the<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong>’s count, producing ripple effects in<br />

everything from demand for workers<br />

and development services to municipal<br />

property taxes.<br />

As one project after another unfolded<br />

in 2016, it began to seem like overbuilding<br />

was imminent. But experts say that<br />

virtually every project has been based<br />

on careful market analysis, and that even<br />

more development could be coming.<br />

“This is historic in nature – there’s<br />

never been anything close to this,” said<br />

Scott Olson of Skogman Commercial,<br />

who has served as a real estate advisor<br />

to about half of the new senior living<br />

projects under development in the Cedar<br />

Rapids metro.<br />

The reasons include a demographic<br />

shift with the retirement of the huge<br />

baby boom generation (see page 4), and<br />

the strong financial returns being generated<br />

by senior living facilities built in<br />

recent years.<br />

Iowa’s senior population is forecast<br />

to grow by 26 percent, or 218,000<br />

people, from 2010-2020, according to<br />

a 2012 study conducted for the Iowa<br />



9.4.17<br />


Senior Lifestyles<br />

A golden<br />

opportunity<br />

Inside the Corridor’s senior housing boom<br />

Senior Lifestyles<br />

A golden opportunity<br />

Inside the Corridor’s senior housing boom<br />

28 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

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

after touring the facility during an Aug. 10 grand opening event. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE<br />

Finance Authority. Seniors between the<br />

ages of 65-75 are forecast to comprise 88<br />

percent of that growth.<br />

The report projects 27,000 additional<br />

housing units will be needed over that<br />

time period, with demand in the East<br />

Central region – encompassing much of<br />

the Corridor – expected to average 410<br />

units annually.<br />

The boom in senior housing is happening<br />

in all parts of the country. In<br />

the second quarter of 2017, 6,600 new<br />

senior housing units hit the market, according<br />

to the NIC MAP Data Service,<br />

the largest number since it began tracking<br />

the market in 2006.<br />

Development projects include both<br />

profit and nonprofit ventures; many involve<br />

partnerships between senior living<br />

operators and real estate developers. They<br />

are backed by senior living chains, local<br />

investors and seasoned real estate investors,<br />

and sometimes receive gap financing<br />

assistance from local governments<br />

and federal loan guarantees.<br />

Projects include<br />

a broad range of<br />

facility types, from<br />

New ISA teams<br />

Startups focused on easing some of life's<br />

less-enjoyable decisions are joining the<br />

Iowa Startup Accelerator.<br />

PAGE 12<br />

NewBoCo<br />

hires COO<br />

Aaron Horn to step<br />

into newly created<br />

role as NewBoCo<br />

gears up for next<br />

stage of growth.<br />

PAGE 8<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

Nathan Klein,<br />

associate professor<br />

affordable senior living apartments to independent<br />

living, assisted living, skilled<br />

care, and continuum of care communities.<br />

One of the most telling signs regarding<br />

the momentum in the Corridor’s<br />

senior housing market is that some of<br />

the area’s oldest and most established<br />

communities are still expanding. The<br />

Oaknoll Retirement Community, one of<br />

the largest in the Corridor, completed its<br />

70-unit Spring Street Addition in 2015.<br />

In Cedar Rapids, Meth-Wick Community,<br />

one of the state’s oldest and largest<br />

senior communities, will complete the<br />

addition of 18 large independent living<br />

units this fall.<br />

“This is a little unique for the whole<br />

Corridor,” Meth-Wick CEO Robin Mixdorf<br />

said. “There’s been a real uptick in<br />

new construction, which leads you to<br />

believe that these developers have identified<br />

a demand for senior housing. This<br />

is probably the largest uptick I’ve seen in<br />

my [18-year] time at Meth-Wick.”<br />

Developers like Ewing Development<br />

of Pella are scouting sites, and city planners<br />

in several Corridor communities said<br />

they’ve fielded inquiries from others.<br />

SENIOR PAGE 46<br />

UPDATE<br />

The boom<br />

continues<br />

The largest senior housing buildout<br />

in the history of the Corridor<br />

rolled on as 2017 came to a close,<br />

with an assortment of large projects<br />

under way, one starting and<br />

one more reaching completion.<br />

Meth-Wick Community announced<br />

in October it had completed<br />

construction of Oakwood,<br />

its newest condominium offering<br />

in the 68-acre Cedar Rapids<br />

senior living community.<br />

The three-story building has six<br />

condominiums on each floor,<br />

ranging in size from 1,116-1,822<br />

square feet.<br />

The high-end condominiums<br />

offer as much space as many<br />

single-family homes and afford<br />

a higher degree of privacy than<br />

most senior living alternatives,<br />

Meth-Wick President Robin Mixdorf<br />

said, but also offer access to<br />

on-campus dining, programs and<br />

services.<br />

A groundbreaking was held<br />

Nov. 17 for Stoney Point Meadows,<br />

a 95-unit, $19 million assisted<br />

living and memory care facility<br />

at 16th Avenue and Stoney<br />

Point Road SW in Cedar Rapids<br />

developed by Bob Samples with<br />

a large group of local investors.<br />

Construction on the facility,<br />

which will include a mix of 67 assisted<br />

living and 28 memory care<br />

units, is expected to be complete<br />

in November <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

Major continuing care communities<br />

under development<br />

through the winter months will<br />

include Grand Living at Bridgewater<br />

in Coralville, Grand Living<br />

at Indian Creek in Cedar Rapids,<br />

and two projects in Marion: Terrace<br />

Glen Village and The Views<br />

Senior Living of Marion.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

talks leadership and<br />

world travel.<br />



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Who said retirement is a time to slow down? Not us.<br />

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

attention of the media and analysts.<br />

than it was worth<br />

United Technologies (UTC)<br />

agreed to pay $30 billion for<br />

Rockwell Collins, the global avionics<br />

manufacturer based in Cedar Rapids,<br />

earning it the title of the largest aerospace acquisition<br />

in history by the Wall Street Journal.<br />

The offer of $140 per share for Rockwell was an 18 percent premium<br />

over the company’s trading price before news of the deal broke in<br />

Dana Larson, executive director of<br />

communications and marketing a the<br />

University of Iowa Foundation, talks about<br />

the power of giving back.<br />

A new kind of competition in Iowa City<br />

is aiming to explore the intersection of<br />

technology and fashion.<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

United Technologies (UTC) agreed to<br />

pay $30 billion for Rockwell Collins,<br />

the global avionics manufacturer based<br />

in Cedar Rapids, earning it the title of<br />

the largest aerospace acquisition<br />

in history by the Wall<br />

Street Journal.<br />

The offer of $140 per<br />

share for Rockwell was an<br />

18 percent premium over<br />

the company’s trading price<br />

before news of the deal<br />

broke in August, and drew<br />

criticism from some analysts<br />

that UTC was overpaying.<br />

The Connecticut-based<br />

conglomerate expects to<br />

borrow about $15 billion of<br />

the purchase price, possibly paying off<br />

the debt by selling off other business<br />

units, and earned some minor credit<br />

rating downgrades as a result.<br />

For Rockwell shareholders – most<br />

of them large institutional investors – it<br />

felt more like Christmas. They would<br />

be able to sell their stock for 67.7 percent<br />

more than it was worth on Oct.<br />

24, 2016, right after Rockwell Collins<br />

announced its own $8.6 billion acquisition<br />

of B/E Aerospace.<br />

UTC CEO and Chairman Greg Hayes<br />

said the strategic benefits Rockwell Collins<br />

could bring made the price worth it.<br />

“When you’re buying beachfront<br />

property, I think it’s a pretty good deal,”<br />

Mr. Hayes said on CNBC’s “Squawk on<br />

the Street.”<br />

Another number may be more important<br />

to Rockwell Collins employees<br />

and shareholders in the Corridor,<br />

however: $500 million. That’s UTC’s<br />

estimate of the cost synergies expected<br />

to result from the merger in the fourth<br />

year after it is finalized, and Rockwell<br />

M&A<br />

The $500M question in<br />

UTC’s Rockwell deal<br />

As Wall Street digested the deal announced Sept. 4 for United<br />

Technologies Corp. to buy Rockwell Collins, one number in particular<br />

grabbed the attention of the media and analysts.<br />

Kelly Ortberg<br />

Collins is reorganized into a new Collins<br />

Aerospace Systems business unit, to<br />

be run by Rockwell Chairman and CEO<br />

Kelly Ortberg.<br />

Cost synergies are the gravy that Wall<br />

Street analysts savor from big mergers,<br />

and can come from things like combining<br />

headquarters, closing<br />

or selling excess factory<br />

space and trimming sales<br />

forces. But a number of academic<br />

studies find that big<br />

mergers usually fail to deliver<br />

the benefits promised to<br />

shareholders through higher<br />

earnings and stock price performance.<br />

“The question is, are the<br />

synergies great enough to<br />

justify the price being paid?”<br />

said Amrita Nain, a University<br />

of Iowa associate professor of finance<br />

who has reviewed the literature and published<br />

some of her own studies on the<br />

outcomes of acquisitions and mergers.<br />

Ms. Nain said acquisition synergies<br />

include both cost synergies and revenue<br />

synergies. She described the latter as “2<br />

+ 2 = 5” enhancements that can come<br />

from things like cross-selling products,<br />

or innovations that combine the advantages<br />

of products from both companies.<br />

Those synergies tend to be more difficult<br />

to quantify and achieve, Ms. Nain<br />

said. In fact, UTC did not try to quantify<br />

them in announcing the merger.<br />

In such large company mergers, Ms.<br />

Nain said most do not produce the<br />

big shareholder advantages promised.<br />

Roughly 20 percent are significantly<br />

harmful to shareholder value, and<br />

about 60 percent result<br />

in no significant<br />

change, despite the<br />

oft-promised improvements.<br />

When they fail<br />

to boost shareholder<br />



9.11.17<br />

value as promised, she said, it’s usually<br />

because the synergies they expected<br />

weren’t realized.<br />

A synergy shortfall could affect<br />

Rockwell Collins shareholders because<br />

one-third of their payment for the deal<br />

will be in UTC stock, Ms. Nain said. It<br />

could become an issue for employees<br />

if the synergies in expected areas don’t<br />

materialize, forcing UTC to look for<br />

other ways to reduce costs.<br />

In a conference call with analysts on<br />

Sept. 5, Mr. Hayes expressed confidence<br />

UTC can achieve its synergy target<br />

through a reduction in public company<br />

and SG&A (selling, general and administrative)<br />

costs, greater efficiencies in<br />

procurement and increased productivity<br />

in factories.<br />

The acquisition “is not about closing<br />

a lot of factories,” Mr. Hayes said during<br />

the CNBC interview – a theme reflected<br />

in a statement that came directly from<br />

Rockwell Collins.<br />

“United Technologies’ announced<br />

acquisition of Rockwell Collins is expected<br />

to have minimal impact on the<br />

company’s overall presence in Iowa,”<br />

read the statement, released through<br />

spokesman Josh Baynes. “The majority<br />

of jobs in the state are driven by design,<br />

engineering and manufacturing of<br />

our products and systems, and there is<br />

virtually no overlap between our work<br />

done in Iowa and UTC’s portfolios.”<br />

The overlap is “only a couple hundred<br />

million dollars” of product sales,<br />


The $500 million question in<br />

UTC’s Rockwell Collins deal<br />

By Dave DeWitte | dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

As Wall Street digested the deal announced Sept.<br />

4 for United Technologies Corp. to buy Rockwell<br />

Collins, one number in particular grabbed the<br />


Cutting costs<br />

Former Marine Capt. Aaron Serrano<br />

discusses the growth of Military Cost<br />

Cu ters and its recent move.<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q<br />

PAGE 3<br />

UPDATE<br />

Uncertain<br />

future ahead<br />

United Technologies Corp. (UTC)<br />

remains on track to close its acquisition<br />

of Rockwell Collins in the third<br />

quarter of fiscal <strong>2018</strong>, with plans to<br />

create a new Collins Aerospace Systems<br />

business folding in its Aerospace<br />

Systems businesses, including<br />

components suppliers Goodrich<br />

and Hamilton Sundstrand.<br />

The next hurdle is a vote by Rockwell’s<br />

shareholders, expected in February.<br />

At least five lawsuits seeking<br />

class-action status have been filed<br />

against the merger in U.S. district<br />

court – a common occurrence in<br />

most corporate transactions – although<br />

share-price moves since the<br />

deal’s announcement suggest that a<br />

majority of shareholders expect the<br />

deal to pass as planned. No vote is<br />

required of UTC’s shareholders.<br />

The bigger challenge could be securing<br />

regulatory approvals in timely<br />

matter. UTC and Rockwell will need<br />

17 different approvals from global<br />

regulators, including China and the<br />

European Union, and some analysts<br />

have suggested that the company’s<br />

final size – at an estimated $68 billion<br />

in annual sales – could make<br />

it a target for regulators concerned<br />

about the accelerating pace of consolidation<br />

in the aerospace industry.<br />

While corporate leaders have emphasized<br />

the fact that there will be little<br />

product overlap between Rockwell<br />

and UTC, EU regulators are expected<br />

to raise concerns over the combined<br />

company’s overall size and its ability<br />

to apply leverage on suppliers. That<br />

argument was used to scuttle GE’s<br />

proposed purchase of Honeywell in<br />

2001, Reuters reported.<br />

“If there is an issue, we expect<br />

it would be in Europe and/or China,<br />

because scope, rather than just<br />

scale, matters,” Sanford C. Bernstein<br />

& Co. analyst Doug Harned told the<br />

Journal.<br />

- Adam Moore<br />

PAGE 22<br />

30 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

Fashion Lab<br />

August, and drew criticism from some analysts that UTC was overpaying.<br />

The Connecticut-based conglomerate expects to borrow about $15 billion of<br />

the purchase price, possibly paying off the debt by selling off other business units,<br />

PAGE 9<br />

and earned some minor credit rating downgrades as a result.<br />

For Rockwell shareholders – most of them large institutional investors – it felt<br />

more like Christmas. They would be able to sell thei

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dealerships, and many others like it, they’re invaluable.<br />

Recent public filings reveal what Rockwe l<br />

Co lins leaders are being told abou the<br />

$30 bi lion deal to sell their company.<br />


UFG sells United Life<br />

for $280 million<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Spending $280 million to acquire the life insurance business<br />

of Cedar Rapids-based United Fire Group is part of a Chicago<br />

startup’s ambitious growth plans.<br />

United Fire Group (UFG) and Kuvare US Holdings announced<br />

on Sept. 19 that Kuvare will buy United Life Insurance<br />

Company next year for $280 million. UFG,<br />

which started the life insurance business in 1955,<br />

will sharpen its focus on its core property and<br />

casualty business, using the big capital infusion<br />

for share repurchases, shareholder dividends and<br />

potentially acquisitions.<br />

Spurring Kuvare’s interest in the deal is a vast<br />

opportunity to deliver more annuity and complex<br />

life insurance products to retiring baby boomers<br />

and other middle-market consumers, CEO Dhiren<br />

Jhaveri told the <strong>CBJ</strong> after the announcement.<br />

“What we like about United Life is that it enables<br />

us to deliver solutions throughout our customer’s<br />

life cycle,” Mr. Jhaveri said. “Particularly<br />

when you’re younger and just starting a family,<br />

you tend to look at protective products like the<br />

fantastic life insurance products United Life offers. As you get<br />

older, you look at more accumulation-oriented products, like<br />

annuities and more sophisticated life insurance policies.”<br />

Kuvare offers the latter kinds of products through Guaranty<br />

Income Life Insurance Co. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,<br />

which it acquired six months ago.<br />

As baby boomers stop earning a steady paycheck at retirement,<br />

Kuvare sees opportunities to sell them annuities<br />

that can provide a stream of predictable income from their<br />

retirement savings. Beyond that, Kuvare sees opportunities<br />

to sell them insurance products that will provide tax and<br />

convenience benefits for transferring wealth.<br />

The acquisition will bring “great cross-pollination from<br />

a product standpoint,” Mr. Jhaveri said, along with distribution<br />

synergies. United Life is sold exclusively through a<br />

network of independent insurance agents and brokers, while<br />

Guaranty Income Life is sold through community banks<br />

and independent marketing agencies. Kuvare’s ownership<br />

will allow both insurance companies’ sales channels to sell<br />

all of its products.<br />

Carlos Sierra, chief operating officer of Kuvare, will be<br />

a key architect of the integration of Guaranty Income Life,<br />



9.25.17<br />

Randy Ramlo<br />

President and CEO<br />

of UFG<br />

United Life and a third Kuvare company, Kuvare Life Re,<br />

based in Bermuda. Although the United Life acquisition<br />

isn’t expected to close until the first half of <strong>2018</strong>, Mr. Sierra<br />

said the work is already beginning on how best to tap the<br />

synergies of the companies.<br />

About 46 employees of United Life, most of them working<br />

in Cedar Rapids, will be offered employment with Kuvare<br />

with no change in positions or salaries. Kuvare will sign a<br />

short-term lease agreement with UFG to enable<br />

them to remain in Cedar Rapids for a time, after<br />

which Mr. Jhaveri and Mr. Sierra said the company<br />

is committed to keeping a Cedar Rapids metro<br />

area presence.<br />

The 46 employees represent a small percentage<br />

of United Life’s 1,000-plus employees nationwide,<br />

of which more than 600 are in Cedar Rapids.<br />

Mr. Jhaveri said he’d been studying United Life<br />

over the past two years, becoming an admirer of its<br />

products and independent agent network. His interest<br />

in acquiring United Life aligned with UFG’s<br />

organizational plans, he said, and they worked<br />

through their respective advisors to develop a deal.<br />

The purchase works out to a roughly 20 percent<br />

premium over United Life’s book value, and<br />

will be paid in cash. The terms restrict UFG from reentering<br />

the life insurance business or soliciting any of its United Life<br />

employees for employment for two years after it is concluded,<br />

according to an SEC filing.<br />

UFG President and CEO Randy Ramlo said in a press release<br />

that the deal “establishes a solid future for our life insurance<br />

employees, insurance agents and customers, while<br />

allowing us to continue to build on the success of our property<br />

and casualty operations.” He said UFG plans to reinvest<br />

in its property and casualty business and surety operations,<br />

with initiatives such as a new technology platform to enhance<br />

underwriting decisions and productivity.<br />

The deal comes as UFG expands its downtown Cedar<br />

Rapids campus, a project including the construction of a<br />

new tower next to the American Building on First Avenue SE,<br />

and copes with a wave of property insurance claims resulting<br />

from hurricanes Harvey and Katrina.<br />

Mr. Jhaveri said the growth strategy of Kumare calls for<br />

both organic growth and more acquisitions that will add to its<br />

scale, but the company has no plans at present to go public.<br />

UFG shares rose on the deal, gaining nearly 3.5 percent before<br />

giving up some of the gains over the next two days. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />


Calling all customers<br />

Innovation EXPO<br />

If there’s waning interest in startups,<br />

you wouldn’t have guessed i touring the<br />

seventh-annual event.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

UPDATE<br />

On track for<br />

a <strong>2018</strong> close<br />

The $280 million acquisition of<br />

United Life by Kuvare US Holdings<br />

from United Fire Group (UFG) was<br />

on pace to be completed in the<br />

second quarter of <strong>2018</strong> as the year<br />

came to a close.<br />

“We’re working very closely with<br />

the leaders and management team<br />

on the transition plan that we will<br />

complete over the next two years,”<br />

CEO Dhiren Jhaveri said.<br />

Kuvare had completed its regulatory<br />

filings in connection with the<br />

acquisition at the end of October,<br />

Mr. Jhaveri said, and is awaiting<br />

regulatory approvals that could run<br />

into <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

No decisions were finalized regarding<br />

a separate office location<br />

for the employees of UFG in Cedar<br />

Rapids that will join Kuvare.<br />

Regardless of where the office is<br />

located, Mr. Jhaveri reinforced that<br />

“we expect to be a vibrant member<br />

of this community” and maintain a<br />

strong local presence.<br />

Chicago-based Kuvare US Holding<br />

continues to actively look at<br />

possible transactions that could<br />

add value and complement its existing<br />

businesses, Mr. Jhaveri said.<br />

UFG ended its third fiscal quarter<br />

with a loss of $17.9 million, or<br />

72 cents per share, but not due to<br />

its life insurance business. UFG incurred<br />

catastrophe losses of $30.7<br />

million resulting primarily from<br />

hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria,<br />

and said it experienced continued<br />

deterioration in its core loss<br />

ratio due to the increased severity<br />

of commercial auto losses. CEO<br />

Randy Ramlo said UFG is taking<br />

aggressive measures to bring those<br />

losses under control.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />

32 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

They’ve become a predictable part of purchases – those<br />

reminders via email, sales receipt or the voice of a friendly cashier<br />

to fill out an online survey. They’re called Voice of the Customer<br />

(VOC) surveys, and to the largest Corridor-based chain of auto<br />

Ortberg on UTC<br />

PAGE 5<br />

UFG deal<br />

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<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 33

Companies are leveraging mobile devices and apps in<br />

increasingly creative ways to keep customers engaged by<br />

pushing out information about new products or services,<br />

making shopping easier and tempting them with deals.<br />

less and use the internet for more purchases.<br />

Leadership trio at Central State Bank<br />

brings an entrepreneurial approach to the<br />

Corridor’s banking scene.<br />


Cardella & Associates plans<br />

largest expansion yet<br />

UPDATE<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Cedar Rapids-based Thomas L. Cardella<br />

& Associates (TLC) plans to add four new<br />

call centers and expand an Iowa call center<br />

in the next six months, marking the<br />

largest expansion in history for one of the<br />

Corridor’s fastest-growing companies.<br />

Founder and President Tom Cardella<br />

said the expansions will add 800 employees,<br />

most of them in the southwest,<br />

as the company increases capacity for<br />

about six new clients.<br />

TLC & Associates Founder Thomas Cardella, shown<br />

earlier this year. PHOTO DAVE DEWITTE<br />

“All these locations are already sold<br />

out,” Mr. Cardella said, adding that the<br />

company has its eye on one other expansion<br />

location in El Paso, Texas.<br />

The expansions currently planned are:<br />

• 75 additional employees and a<br />

4,000-square-foot building expansion<br />

at an existing call center in Keokuk. It<br />

will open in November.<br />

• A new contact center in eastern El<br />

Paso, with 150 employees. The center<br />

will complement an existing center in<br />

central El Paso and open in December.<br />

• A new contact center in Las Cruces,<br />

New Mexico, with 350 additional<br />

employees. It will open January <strong>2018</strong>.<br />

• A new call center in Marshalltown<br />

with 75 employees. It will open February<br />

<strong>2018</strong>.<br />

• A new call center at<br />

a soon-to-be-announced<br />

location in the southwestern<br />

United States with 150<br />

employees. It will open in<br />

March.<br />

The company provides<br />

a full range of customer<br />

contact services, including<br />

inbound calls, outbound<br />

calls, chat, email, business<br />

process outsourcing and<br />

fulfillment. It employs<br />

more than 1,500 at seven<br />

existing call centers in<br />

Iowa, Texas, Florida and<br />

the Dominican Republic.<br />

Mr. Cardella said the<br />

company gained new contracts<br />

partly by expanding<br />

its sales team late last year<br />

with some experienced<br />

talent, and partly because<br />

consolidation in the contact<br />

center industry has<br />

created opportunities to<br />

meet the needs of dissatisfied<br />

customers.<br />

The call center TLC will be opening<br />

in Las Cruces is in a former location of<br />

a Sitel call center that went dark after its<br />

operations were moved offshore to the<br />

Philippines, Mr. Cardella said. TLC is already<br />

receiving interest in jobs from former<br />

Sitel employees, he said, and is refurbishing<br />

the call center to its standards.<br />

Although much of the company’s<br />

past expansion has been in Iowa, Mr.<br />

Cardella said TLC has been forced to<br />

look elsewhere because the job market<br />

in Iowa has been so strong that the supply<br />

of personnel is now constrained.<br />

“It’s killing us – the unemployment<br />

rate has contracted so much,” Mr. Cardella<br />

said. TLC has been pleased with<br />

the supply of applicants and the work<br />

ethic of workers hired in New Mexico<br />

and Texas, he added.<br />

While expanding its call center capacity,<br />

Mr. Cardella said TLC will be<br />

moving its Cedar Rapids headquarters<br />

to 3735 Queen Court SW from 4515<br />

20th Ave. SW in April <strong>2018</strong> due to considerations<br />

related to a lease expiration.<br />

An announcement of the southwestern<br />

United States call center location<br />

that has not been disclosed is expected<br />

in the next two weeks, he noted.<br />

TLC has been honored multiple times<br />

in the <strong>CBJ</strong>’s annual Fastest Growing<br />

Companies recognition program, and<br />

was recognized this spring as the “fastest<br />

of the fast,” with a 919 percent two-year<br />

growth rate in 2010, during an event celebrating<br />

the program’s first decade.<br />

The company has been ranked as the<br />

ninth-largest integrated contact center<br />

operator in the United States, and Mr.<br />

Cardella said this spring that TLC’s revenues<br />

have grown sixfold since it won<br />

its first Fastest Growing Companies<br />

honor in 2010.<br />

Beyond the possibility of more call<br />

center announcements this year, Mr. Cardella<br />

said TLC is on the lookout for other<br />

call center companies to acquire. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Cardella’s<br />

expansion<br />

gets into gear<br />

Thomas L. Cardella & Associates<br />

held a ribbon-cutting on Oct. 27 for<br />

its new call center in Ottumwa and<br />

is making progress on its planned<br />

expansion of four more.<br />

“Everything’s going great,” said<br />

President Tom Cardella, who attended<br />

the ribbon-cutting with Gov.<br />

Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam<br />

Gregg. The new facility will eventually<br />

employ about 150 people.<br />

At the time of this writing, TLC<br />

was on track to open a new call<br />

center every month for the next<br />

four months. November brought<br />

a new 75-employee TLC call center<br />

in Keokuk, while December will<br />

bring a 150-employee call center<br />

in El Paso, Texas. A 350-employee<br />

call center in Las Cruces, New<br />

Mexico, is set to open in January<br />

and a 75-employee call center in<br />

Marshalltown in February.<br />

However, plans for a fifth call<br />

center at an undisclosed location in<br />

March <strong>2018</strong> have not solidified. The<br />

company has a site in mind, Mr.<br />

Cardella said, but has not been able<br />

to come to terms with the building<br />

owner, so the focus may shift to a<br />

different location.<br />

The search for new locations has<br />

been largely outside Iowa and primarily<br />

in the southwest. Iowa’s unemployment<br />

remained at a low 3<br />

percent in September, creating a challenging<br />

hiring environment, he said.<br />

- Dave DeWitte<br />



10.2.17<br />



Swipe for speed<br />

& savings<br />

Retailers turning to mobile apps<br />

Bankers Trust hits 100<br />

As the state's largest community bank<br />

marks its centennial year this month, it’s<br />

celebrating more than just longevity.<br />

PAGE 3<br />

Guaranty to CRBT<br />

Guaranty Bank ends its 83-yea run<br />

fo lowing its $44 mi lion sale to Cedar<br />

to lure and keep customers<br />

Rapids Bank & Trust.<br />

PAGE 4<br />

34 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017<br />

By Dave DeWitte<br />

dave@corridorbusiness.com<br />

Ed. note: This is the last part in the <strong>CBJ</strong>’s series on the Future of<br />

Retail. Find our past insta lments at h tp://bit.ly/<strong>CBJ</strong>FutureofRetail.<br />

The smartphone is increasingly the tie that binds consumers<br />

to their favorite retailers.<br />

Startup banking<br />

It’s a strategy driven by necessity, as consumers get out<br />

PAGE 8<br />

“Three years ago, we started to invest in all things mobile,”<br />

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during the<br />

company’s Investor Day presenta<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> 5Q

Celebrating 10 Years<br />

of Growth!<br />

We look forward to expanding two of our facilities<br />

and opening three new centers in <strong>2018</strong>!<br />

At TLC Associates, we offer our clients a unique combination of<br />

talent, experience and expertise in the sales and service environment.<br />

www.tlcassociates.com<br />

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

2017<br />


SURVEY<br />

We are excited to unveil the results from the<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong>’s inaugural Leaders Survey, a subscribersand<br />

members-only survey designed to gauge<br />

the sentiment of the Corridor’s business and<br />

community leaders.<br />

Since it’s our first year conducting the survey,<br />

our response numbers are far from a scientific<br />

sample. Nevertheless, we feel it provides<br />

an interesting snapshot of how the region is<br />

faring and what our readers are expecting in the<br />

months ahead. It’s our hope that as the survey<br />

grows, these first results will provide a base<br />

reading from which to observe the Corridor’s<br />

evolution and attitudes in the years to come.<br />

We are offering the overall survey results<br />

here, along with some selected verbatim responses<br />

from those who cared to leave them.<br />

We couldn’t have done this without the<br />

more than 75 leaders who took time to answer<br />

our survey and so we thank you for your input<br />

and time. Now onto the show.<br />

- Adam Moore<br />

How would you rate the Corridor’s business<br />

community and climate?<br />

How optimistic are you about the job market<br />

outlook for your industry?<br />


53%<br />


29%<br />

7.9 7.6<br />

19%<br />

22%<br />

19%<br />

4%<br />

0% 1% 0% 0% 0%<br />

3%<br />

1% 0%<br />

3% 3%<br />

19%<br />

5%<br />

8%<br />

10%<br />

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10<br />

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders are feeling very good about the region’s current business<br />

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

responses, most wrote that business opportunities are strong and consumers are<br />

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

be stronger.” Many cited workforce challenges as the primary reason for not rating the<br />

region higher.<br />

SUMMARY: Most respondents maintained their optimism of the first question, with 61<br />

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

everyone shared the positivity. Many described the Corridor as a “growing and vibrant<br />

community” with good job opportunities for motivated workers, although 12 percent<br />

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

and the difficulty of replacing employees who leave.<br />


Pam Tiedt<br />

Owner, PIP Printing & Marketing<br />

7 – I still think we are recovering from the<br />

recession. It is definitely getting better<br />

but still would like to see an increase in<br />

customer spending. The internet is our<br />

competition and with high property taxes<br />

and wage scale, it is sometimes hard to<br />

compete.<br />

Curt Heideman<br />

Market President, U.S. Bank<br />

8 — Unemployment is low. The economy<br />

has been stable, people are buying<br />

houses, cars, etc.<br />

Linda Kuster<br />

Director of Research Strategies, Vernon<br />

Research Group<br />

8 – We have an ethical, collaborative,<br />

productive and educated workforce, low<br />

property costs, low insurance costs, etc.<br />

Not a 10 because it is still very traditional<br />

in some industries and still not easy for<br />

women or minorities.<br />


Cathy Johnson<br />

Chief Administrative Officer and CFO,<br />

World Trend Financial/Terry Lockridge &<br />

Dunn<br />

8 – Accounting, business consulting and<br />

wealth management services continue to<br />

be growing segments.<br />

Nate Kass<br />

Branch Manager, Fehr Graham<br />

8 – With a large number of the workforce<br />

near retirement age, there will be a strong<br />

demand to fill those open positions.<br />

Anne Parmley<br />

SVP, Client Services/Iowa General<br />

Manager, Pearson<br />

6 – Pressures on price and margin impact<br />

our industry like so many others. There is<br />

a continuous drive to automate, increase<br />

efficiency and drive out costs. The<br />

pressure on assessments is to reduce the<br />

time spent testing, which puts volume<br />

pressure on our business.<br />

36 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

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What’s the biggest issue facing Iowa<br />

businesses right now?<br />

What major business or community story did<br />

you watch the most this year?<br />

60%<br />

Workforce availability/quality<br />

32%<br />

Federal health care/tax reform<br />

25%<br />

Health care costs<br />

31%<br />

UTC-Rockwell Collins merger<br />

9%<br />

Other<br />

18%<br />

Urban redevelopment in CR/IC<br />

4%<br />

Taxes<br />

6%<br />

Continued ag weakness<br />

SUMMARY: Surprise, surprise: Workforce concerns dominated voting, with three out of<br />

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

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

continues to eat away at profits and employees’ paychecks, and the ongoing confusion<br />

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

10 percent selecting it as an opportunity to air their disappointment about the current<br />

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

SUMMARY: <strong>CBJ</strong> readers were virtually tied on the $30 billion Rockwell Collins-United<br />

Technologies merger proposed earlier this fall and the ongoing drama over federal health<br />

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

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

that the uncertainty surrounding health care and taxation “has left businesses unsure of<br />

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

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

indicator of the overall [economic] climate.”<br />



Dana Gratton<br />

Marketing Manager, MediRevv<br />

HEALTH CARE – All of the above, but high<br />

health care costs ring true for many. Many<br />

employers can only offer high-deductible<br />

health care plans, and often the<br />

employees, when they become patients,<br />

struggle to meet those deductibles, which<br />

means health care organizations don’t get<br />

paid for the care they provided.<br />

David Tominsky<br />

ISA Managing Director, NewBoCo<br />

WORKFORCE – We need to be prepared<br />

for a complex future and lead the nation<br />

in areas like technical trade training and<br />

computer science education.<br />

Charlie Funk<br />

President and CEO, MidWestOne Bank<br />

WORKFORCE – Our headquarters are<br />

in Iowa City and it’s fairly easy to attract<br />

good persons to open positions. Outside<br />

of Iowa City, hiring capable persons to fill<br />

positions is extremely difficult.<br />

Gordon Epping<br />

Owner and Principal, Gordon Epping LLC<br />

LEADERSHIP – All you need to is read the<br />

newspaper – our budget is upside down,<br />

our Medicaid system is broke, our tax<br />

system is not working. Poor leadership.<br />

Brad Hart<br />

Attorney/Partner, Bradley & Riley PC<br />

ROCKWELL MERGER – Rockwell is<br />

such an important member of our<br />

community in terms of employment and<br />

its support of so many area nonprofits.<br />

Losing a corporate headquarters could<br />

reduce Rockwell’s ‘contributions’ to our<br />

communities.<br />

Dan Brown<br />

Marketing & Communications Director,<br />

Central State Bank<br />

CR/IC DEVELOPMENT – Iowa City’s urban<br />

redevelopment in the 1970s has carried<br />

an impact for nearly 50 years. What<br />

transpires over the next few years will<br />

change both places in a long-term way.<br />

Doug Neumann<br />

Executive Director, Cedar Rapids Metro<br />

Economic Alliance<br />


Uncertainty hampers business. Issues that<br />

get resolved with certainty can be factored<br />

into business plans. The long-lingering<br />

uncertainty of health care reform and tax<br />

reform has left business unsure of how to<br />

plan for the future.<br />

Steve Fangman<br />

President, Steve’s Roofing<br />

HEALTH CARE/TAX REFORM – The costs<br />

to taxpayers and individuals have just<br />

gotten out of hand.<br />

Take the over or under:<br />

Regulators and shareholders will<br />

approve the $30 billion United<br />

Technologies-Rockwell Collins merger.<br />

SUMMARY: A whopping 94 percent of survey respondents said they expect the<br />

Rockwell Collins-UTC deal to close successfully, citing a minimum of product overlap<br />

between the two companies and the scale it would create in the industry. A small<br />

but passionate group of voters indicated they already believed the deal’s close to<br />

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

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


UNDER:<br />


94%<br />

IT WON’T<br />

6%<br />

Darryl High<br />

Owner, High Development Corp.<br />

OVER – Those folks would not bet on a chance.<br />

Bart Floyd<br />

Eastern Iowa President, Great Western Bank<br />

OVER – Based on past precedent, I don’t think<br />

enough of a case can be made against it.<br />

HAPPEN<br />

Jim Tinker<br />

President Emeritus, Mercycare Service Corp.<br />

OVER – Only Europe and the existing<br />

competitors appear to oppose the merger with<br />

UTC. I wish it were otherwise for Cedar Rapids,<br />

but it will be hard to oppose.<br />

38 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

Pre-approve<br />

your mortgage<br />



Take the over or under:<br />

Congress will revisit and pass health<br />

care reform next year.<br />

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders were much less confident about the prospect<br />

of Congress revisiting and passing health care reform in <strong>2018</strong>, with<br />

two-thirds of respondents saying it won’t happen. Respondents cited<br />

“too much divisiveness”, “too much negative publicity” and the coming<br />

<strong>2018</strong> elections as reasons it won’t, although most agreed that health<br />

care is “unsustainable” in its current form and will likely force action in<br />

the years to come. Several saluted “reasonable Republicans” for voting<br />

against prior repeal attempts that could have “hurt real people” and<br />

caused chaos in markets.<br />


66%<br />

IT WILL HAPPEN 34%<br />

Aaron Warner<br />

CEO, ProCircular<br />

UNDER – There are enough reasonable people left in<br />

the Republican party to keep from passing something<br />

that would impact the people who keep them in office.<br />

Robert Downer<br />

Member, Meardon, Sueppel & Downer PLC<br />

UNDER – They are more concerned with slogans,<br />

e.g. repeal and replace Obamacare, than with<br />

accomplishing something substantive.<br />

Lynn Manternach<br />

Co-Founder and President, MindFire Communications<br />

OVER – This year’s chaos will force our elected<br />

leaders to find a middle ground. Too many Americans<br />

will be negatively impacted if this is not sorted out.<br />

Lee Kreger<br />

Manager (Retired), Intermec Technologies<br />

OVER – Somehow there has to be a compromise that<br />

corrects the faults of Obamacare.<br />

Rate the effectiveness of our political leaders:<br />

5.65<br />

5.38<br />

3.70<br />

3.51<br />

6.78<br />

5.90<br />

Gov. Kim Reynolds<br />

Iowa Legislature<br />

U.S. Congress<br />

President Donald Trump<br />

Corridor City Councils<br />

Corridor Boards of Supervisors<br />

Given the recent cyber attacks on businesses<br />

and individuals, how worried are you about<br />

online data security?<br />


7.96<br />

1% 0% 1%<br />

3%<br />

6% 4%<br />

13%<br />

27% 26%<br />

18%<br />

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10<br />

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

with respondents generally saving their best ratings for city and county governing bodies.<br />

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

the betterment of the whole Corridor,” although respondents had fewer kind words for<br />

their state legislators and federal representatives. Nearly 40 percent of respondents rated<br />

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

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

marks of 6-8.<br />


Kim Lehrman<br />

President, enTouch Wireless<br />

The rhetoric is more important than<br />

the vision and work that needs to be<br />

completed – ridiculous.<br />

Steve Gray<br />

Chairman, ImOn Communications<br />

Locally, leaders are quite good. What has<br />

Governor Kim Reynolds done? What is<br />

going on with the budget?<br />

Grant Westemeier<br />

Branch Sales Manager, Advanced Systems<br />

It seems as though the ‘right’ is way right<br />

and the ‘left’ is way left. I understand we<br />

all have different thoughts and ideas, but<br />

we need to get better at not separating us<br />

but bringing us closer together. It starts at<br />

the top, as always.<br />

SUMMARY: Corridor leaders are very concerned about online data security, it seems,<br />

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

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

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

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

another.” Others emphasized the importance of personal diligence among employees as<br />

the only way of truly securing business data.<br />


John Kenyon<br />

Executive Director, Iowa City UNESCO City<br />

of Literature<br />

9 – When one-third of the country is in<br />

danger of suffering identity theft, there is<br />

much cause for worry.<br />

Chris Hummer<br />

President, Don Hummer Trucking<br />

6 – “This is a hazard of the world that we<br />

live in. There are always things that can<br />

happen. This is no different than storms,<br />

tornadoes or illness.”<br />

Kim Becicka<br />

Vice President, Continuing Education and<br />

Training Services, Kirkwood Community<br />

College<br />

10 – It’s way too prevalent. I’m very<br />

concerned with where we are headed and<br />

the cost to small business.”<br />

40 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

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Yes or no:<br />

The creation of a joint regional venture,<br />

and the hiring of Jennifer Daly to lead it,<br />

will lead to improved regional cooperation.<br />

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

new joint venture to improve regional cooperation – but “maybe” was perhaps the<br />

more accurate thought for many. All seemed to welcome the prospect of greater<br />

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

the parochialism that continues to slow regional initiatives; others expressed concern<br />

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

different,” making it a challenge to bring the two communities together.<br />


Anne Parmley<br />

SVP, Client Services/Iowa<br />

General Manager, Pearson<br />

YES – This is a long time<br />

coming and if influential<br />

people don’t think it will<br />

lead the region in the right<br />

direction at this point in time,<br />

we are in trouble.<br />

YES: 83% NO: 17%<br />

Nancy Young<br />

Workplace Learning<br />

Coordinator, Workplace<br />

Learning Connection<br />

YES – I sure hope so - we<br />

are desperately needing<br />

workforce development<br />

strategies in this laborshed.<br />

There has been too much<br />

territorialism in the past.<br />

Erik Miles<br />

President, Miles Consulting<br />

NO – Regionalism can work<br />

for a while until smaller<br />

players are increasingly<br />

overlooked and begin their<br />

own initiatives out of selfpreservation<br />

or interests. I’ve<br />

seen it before.<br />

How stressed are you<br />

feeling at work?<br />


5.26<br />

14% 14% 14% 14%<br />

9% 9%<br />

6% 6% 6%<br />

5%<br />

Rate the overall quality of the Corridor’s arts,<br />

culture and entertainment scene.<br />


8.12<br />

0% 0% 0% 1%<br />

3%<br />

6%<br />

14%<br />

39%<br />

21%<br />

16%<br />

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10<br />

SUMMARY: The Corridor appears<br />

relatively distributed when it comes<br />

to stress levels at work, with the<br />

overall average falling just above<br />

the scale’s midpoint. Almost 30 percent<br />

reported light levels of stress<br />

(voting 1-3), while another quarter<br />

reported high levels (voting 8-10).<br />

The rest all fell into the middle,<br />

perhaps best exemplifying Midwesterners’<br />

steady, balanced outlook<br />

on life. “Overall I think life is pretty<br />

good, and some stress is a good<br />

thing,” one voter wrote.<br />


Sherri Proud<br />

Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Coralville<br />

7 – We have so many projects and initiatives,<br />

it’s sometimes just hard to keep up, but it’s also<br />

incredibly exciting to have so much going on and<br />

leading us forward.<br />

Dave Storey<br />

Principal, Rainbow Enterprises<br />

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

Naftaly Stramer<br />

Co-Founder, Oasis Falafel<br />

6 – Being a business owner is a stressful position,<br />

but very rewarding most of the time.<br />

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10<br />

SUMMARY: Corridorians are proud of<br />

their arts and cultural institutions, as<br />

evidenced by the solid show of support on<br />

this question. More than three-quarters of<br />

respondents gave the region a score of 8<br />

or higher, and many noted there are many<br />

opportunities “for a group of communities<br />

of our size.” The biggest priority for most<br />

voters was just to “keep doing what we’re<br />

doing” in terms of expanding the area’s diversity<br />

of offerings; others called for better<br />

local visibility for all of the region’s events,<br />

and several called for more mainstream<br />

and popular acts at the revitalized Hancher<br />

Auditorium.<br />


Ruth Paarmann<br />

Owner, Paarlance Creative Writing<br />

Now that Hancher is done, it would<br />

be nice to get the big shows that Des<br />

Moines gets.<br />

Lisa Gleason<br />

Administrative Director, Eastern Iowa<br />

Sleep Center<br />

Keep going! I love the improvements<br />

and culture.<br />

Brad Oppedahl<br />

Realtor, Skogman Realty<br />

Cedar Rapids needs to pay closer<br />

attention to what’s happening in<br />

Coralville and West Des Moines.<br />

42 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017

CASINO<br />


said, explaining why he’d rather see that license application<br />

approved than the smaller ones.<br />

But Mr. Corbett said he could support either CRDG<br />

proposal because each brings distinct advantages for the<br />

city. The Cedar Crossing Central proposal would give the<br />

city a large new parking ramp to replace the aging Five<br />

Seasons Parking Ramp, potentially saving the city about<br />

$35 million in borrowing, and would drive business to<br />

the city-owned DoubleTree by Hilton and U.S. Cellular<br />

Center via a connecting sky deck.<br />

The Cedar Crossing on the River proposal would<br />

spark a revitalization of the Kingston area in downtown<br />

Cedar Rapids that still needs investment to recover from<br />

the flood of 2008, and would also add a parking garage<br />

that would help meet the needs of the city-owned outdoor<br />

McGrath Amphitheater.<br />

The city council supported only the CRDG proposals<br />

at its Feb. 14 meeting, extending and expanding exclusive<br />

agreements with CRDG that were set to expire in October<br />

2019 until 2029. Those agreements allow for CRDG to acquire<br />

either of the city-controlled sites for the casino and<br />

provide approvals needed to satisfy license requirements.<br />

CRDG is obligated to make $75,000 annual payments to<br />

the city and satisfy other conditions, including payments<br />

of 1.5 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of the casino<br />

above $50 million.<br />

Beyond the willingness to provide the sites, the city<br />

guarantees it will offer tax increment financing and<br />

other forms of economic assistance typical for large<br />

projects.<br />

Wild Rose Cedar Rapids backers said in their application<br />

for a state license that they have not asked the city<br />

to back out of its exclusive agreements with CRDG. They<br />

said Mr. Gray declined an offer by Wild Rose to work together<br />

on a Linn County project.<br />

City Council Member Scott Overland, who’d received<br />

numerous calls and emails from citizens about the new<br />

proposals, had a message at the Feb. 14 council meeting.<br />

That message was essentially, it’s up to the state gaming<br />

commission, not us.<br />

A rendering of the Wild Rose Cedar Rapids, a “boutique<br />

casino” proposed by Wild Rose Entertainment for First<br />

Avenue in Cedar Rapids. IMAGE WILD ROSE<br />

“Regardless what their decision is, whatever group that<br />

is, we’ll work with whatever group gets the license to get the<br />

best project possible,” Mr. Overland said. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />



Mr. Hayes told analysts. He compared<br />

that to the $8-10 billion in product overlap<br />

that would have occurred had UTC<br />

had gone through with a merger of Honeywell<br />

International the two companies<br />

discussed last year.<br />

Rockwell Collins said it does expect<br />

some job-related impacts due to it no longer<br />

being a separate public company, but<br />

said the overall impact should be minimal.<br />

History as guide<br />

For an example of what cost synergies<br />

could look like in UTC’s Rockwell deal,<br />

one can look to a similar acquisition it<br />

made five years ago.<br />

In 2012, UTC paid about $18.4 billion<br />

to acquire Charlotte, North Carolina-based<br />

Goodrich, a maker of aerospace<br />

systems such as landing gear, aircraft<br />

wheels and brakes. The company had<br />

27,000 employees, compared to about<br />

30,000 at Rockwell Collins.<br />

UTC initially projected it would harvest<br />

$400 million in synergy savings from<br />

the merger, a target later raised to $500<br />

million and achieved ahead of schedule<br />

by the end of 2015.<br />

Those savings took place over a period<br />

of years and came from many areas of the<br />

business, but some of them resulted from<br />

job and plant reductions, and not all came<br />

from the Goodrich side of the business.<br />

The Hartford Business Journal reported<br />

in August 2012 that UTC planned<br />

to lay off 150 salaried employees in its<br />

newly formed UTC Aerospace Systems<br />

division, following the combination of<br />

its Hamilton Sundstrand subsidiary with<br />

Goodrich. About 70 were to come from<br />

the roughly 4,000 positions at a former<br />

Hamilton Sundstrand location in the<br />

Connecticut city of Windsor Locks. The<br />

company also said it was closing an intelligence,<br />

surveillance and reconnaissance<br />

equipment facility in Ithaca, New York,<br />

and moving some of the jobs to a UTC<br />

facility in Danbury, Connecticut.<br />

Some job cuts had already been in the<br />

works at both UTC and Goodrich before<br />

the acquisition, but they weren’t over,<br />

and rippled into succeeding years. A few<br />

were significant enough to make headlines,<br />

and just last year, 150 jobs were<br />

eliminated at a UTC Aerospace Systems<br />

plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.<br />

UTC did not respond to an interview<br />

request, referring all questions to Rockwell<br />

Collins.<br />

Not all the news was bad for the communities<br />

where Goodrich had operations.<br />

Charlotte landed the new UTC Aerospace<br />

Systems headquarters, and welcomed<br />

about 75 employees from Connecticut,<br />

according to Aerospace Manufacturing &<br />

Design magazine. UTC received an incentive<br />

package that included a $2.5 million<br />

grant from North Carolina, $2.5 million<br />

in local government grants, and up to<br />

$16.5 million in additional state grants<br />

over a 12-year period contingent on job<br />

and investment targets.<br />

Exactly where the Collins Aerospace<br />

Systems headquarters will be located after<br />

the merger of Rockwell Collins with<br />

UTC’s Aerospace Systems division is<br />

undecided, Rockwell Collins said in its<br />

statement, and will be determined over<br />

the next several months.<br />

Ms. Nain said the delivery of the synergies<br />

will be one of the most closely<br />

watched aspects of the UTC-Rockwell<br />

Collins deal, especially given the high<br />

price UTC is paying for the company.<br />

“Synergies for cutting costs are easiest<br />

to put a number on and argue in favor<br />

of,” Ms. Nain said. “If you have two companies<br />

in a very similar market, you might<br />

have a lot of redundancies to eliminate.”<br />

UTC and Rockwell Collins don’t make<br />

the same products, however, making it<br />

less likely that UTC can save a lot of money<br />

by doing things like consolidating production<br />

into fewer factories.<br />

“Clearly, United Technologies has<br />

something else in mind,” Ms. Nain said,<br />

mentioning possibilities like gaining<br />

market clout to get better volume pricing<br />

from suppliers, or to be in a better position<br />

to bargain with big customers like<br />

Boeing and Airbus.<br />

Turbulence ahead<br />

As is often the case, the UTC-Rockwell<br />

Collins merger announcement came out<br />

sounding like a fait accompli, subject<br />

only to regulatory approvals such as antitrust<br />

reviews, and a vote of Rockwell<br />

shareholders.<br />

In reality, the deal could still have to<br />

navigate some turbulent skies before<br />

reaching a safe landing. Some of the very<br />

customers UTC says the deal will help are<br />

not quite convinced, and that could spell<br />

trouble during antitrust reviews.<br />

Boeing, Rockwell’s largest customer,<br />

said it intends to “take a hard look” at the<br />

proposed combination.<br />

“Until we receive more details, we are<br />

skeptical that it would be in the best interest<br />

of – or add value to – our customers<br />

and industry,” Boeing said in a statement<br />

released to the <strong>CBJ</strong>. “Our interests and<br />

those of our customers, employees, other<br />

suppliers and shareholders are in ensuring<br />

the long-term health and competitiveness<br />

of the aerospace industry supply<br />

chain. Should we determine that this deal<br />

is inconsistent with those interests, we<br />

would intend to exercise our contractual<br />

rights and pursue the appropriate regulatory<br />

options to protect our interests.”<br />

Boeing added the first priority of both<br />

UTC and Rockwell Collins “should be<br />

delivering on existing cost, schedule and<br />

quality commitments for their customers<br />

and ours.”<br />

Airbus expressed no particular enthusiasm<br />

for the merger in a statement, but<br />

wasn’t outwardly skeptical, either.<br />

“Today, our total focus is on delivering<br />

planes and we hope that this M&A would<br />

not distract UTC from their top operational<br />

priority,” said an Airbus statement. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

Senior Business Reporter Dave DeWitte has<br />

previously provided contractual services for<br />

Rockwell Collins.<br />

<strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017 43

Top Deals and Projects of 2017<br />

(ranked by deal/project value)<br />


1 UTC-Rockwell Collins deal $30 billion Rockwell Collins<br />

400 Collins Road NE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52498<br />

(319) 263-7460<br />

www.rockwellcollins.com<br />

2 Rockwell Collins acquires B/E Aerospace $6.4 billion Rockwell Collins<br />

400 Collins Road NE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52498<br />

(319) 263-7460<br />

www.rockwellcollins.com<br />

3 Deere acquires Wirtgen Group $5.2 billion Deere & Co.<br />

One John Deere Place<br />

Moline, IL 61265<br />

(866) 993-3373<br />

www.deere.com<br />

4 MidAmerican Energy makes major wind investment $3.6 billion MidAmerican Energy<br />

666 Grand Ave.<br />

Des Moines, IA 50309<br />

(888) 427-5632<br />

midamericanenergy.com<br />

5 Alliant proposes major wind investments $890 million Alliant Energy<br />

200 First St. SE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401<br />

1 (800) ALLIANT<br />

alliantenergy.com<br />

6 Deere acquires Blue River Technology $305 million Deere & Co.<br />

One John Deere Place<br />

Moline, IL 61265<br />

(866) 993-3373<br />

www.deere.com<br />

7 UFG sells United Life for $280M $280 million United Fire Group<br />

118 Second Ave. SE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52407<br />

(800) 332-7977<br />

www.ufginsurance.com<br />

8 Heartland Express acquires Interstate Distributors Co. $113 million Heartland Express<br />

901 Kansas Ave.<br />

North Liberty, IA 52317<br />

(319) 626-3600<br />

www.heartlandexpress.com<br />

9 RISE at Riverfront Crossings project in Iowa City $102.5 million CA Ventures<br />

130 Randolph St.<br />

Chicago, IL 60601<br />

(312) 994-1880<br />

ca-ventures.com<br />

10 Millennium Housing project in Coralville $68 million Build to Suit<br />

2451 Oakdale Blvd., Ste. 201<br />

Coralville, IA 52241<br />

(319) 512-2322<br />

www.buildtosuitinc.com<br />

Industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. in September made its bid to acquire<br />

Rockwell Collins and roll it into a new Collins Aerospace Systems business unit.<br />

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

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

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

leader in road construction equipment.<br />

MidAmerican announced the location of its 170-turbine North English Wind Farm, the third<br />

and final wind farm in its massive Wind XI project.<br />

Alliant is seeking state approval to add another 500 megawatts of wind generation on top of<br />

the 500 megawatts announced in 2016 for its Whispering Willow Wind Farm.<br />

Deere & Co. acquired Blue River Technologies, a leader in applying machine learning<br />

technology, to expand its driverless and precision ag initiatives.<br />

UFG agreed to sell its United Life subsidiary to the Chicago-based life insurance startup<br />

Kuvare Holdings, which will keep its offices located in Cedar Rapids.<br />

Heartland Express acquired Interstate Distributor Co., a truckload carrier based in Tacoma,<br />

Washington, from Saltchuk Resources.<br />

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

this year, with completion expected next summer.<br />

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

Iowa River Landing by Build to Suit LLC.<br />

11 Squaw Creek Crossing project in Marion $50 million 13 & 151 LLC<br />

www.squawcreekcrossing.com<br />

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

way, and a convenience mart and hotel to be announced.<br />

12 The Chauncey in Iowa City $49 million Moen Group<br />

105 E. College St.<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

(319) 351-3900<br />

www.moengroup.com<br />

13 CRBT acquires Guaranty Bank $44 million Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust<br />

500 First Ave. NE, Ste. 100<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401<br />

(319) 862-2728<br />

www.crbt.bank<br />

14 Hieronymus Square mixed-use development in IC $41 million Hieronymi Partners<br />

152 E. Court St.<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

(319) 338-1294<br />

15 Grand Living at Bridgewater senior living development $40 million Grand Living<br />

7825 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 810<br />

Minneapolis, MN 55439<br />

grandliving.com<br />

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

include a hotel, bowling alley, office space, condominiums and movie theater.<br />

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

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

largest community bank headquartered in Linn County.<br />

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

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

by a vestibule.<br />

Ryan Companies and Grand Living are constructing this 170-unit senior living community off<br />

of First Avenue in Coralville.<br />

Noteworthy Unranked Deals of 2017<br />

Cargill buys Diamond V ND Diamond V<br />

2525 60th Ave. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 366-0745<br />

www.diamondv.com<br />

Motion Industries buys Apache Inc. ND Apache Inc.<br />

4805 Bowling St. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 365-0471<br />

www.apache-inc.com<br />

TrueNorth acquires DM-based insurance groups ND TrueNorth Companies<br />

500 First St. SE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401<br />

(800) 798-4080<br />

www.truenorthcompanies.com<br />

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

supplements, to meet growing market demand for healthy food ingredients.<br />

Genuine Parts, through its Motion Industries subsidiary, acquired Cedar Rapids-based<br />

Apache Inc. to broaden its line of belt and hose products for industry.<br />

CSB Insurance Group and Rowles Hayes Carney (RHC) were acquired by TrueNorth<br />

Companies, expanding its presence in the Des Moines area.<br />

44 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017


728 3 RD AVE SE<br />

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA 52401<br />




Crystal Group chose Primus Construction in part for<br />

its design-build capabilities. Design-build compresses a<br />

project’s timeframe by allowing design and construction<br />

to occur simultaneously. Crystal Group leaders worked<br />

with both Primus and lean consultants to maximize the<br />

efficiency and workflow of the building design.<br />

The company’s current headquarters was designed<br />

with windows in executive offices, but Mr. Kruger said<br />

the new design “flip-flopped” the lighting scenario to<br />

provide maximum daylight to the most employees. Executive<br />

offices will be in the interior of the building, and<br />

won’t have windows.<br />

An architect's rendering shows Crystal Group's planned<br />

headquarters plant.<br />

A total of 45 employees will be added once the new<br />

building is complete, including a mixture of sales and<br />

engineering staff. Crystal Group plans to keep its existing<br />

Kacena Drive facility and a smaller 10,000-square-foot<br />

CNC milling plant nearby.<br />

The Hiawatha City Council “did everything they could<br />

to keep us in Hiawatha,” Mr. Kruger said. He also credited<br />

Iowa Economic Authority Director Debi Durham and<br />

Jon Dusek of Armstrong Development for working closely<br />

with the company to make the project possible.<br />

Even more growth could be on the horizon for Crystal<br />

Group if the expansion project opens up new opportunities<br />

as is expected. Mr. Kruger said the new building is<br />

specifically designed to be extended by another 35,000<br />

square feet when needed.<br />

Although the process has gone well, Mr. Kruger said<br />

his advice to other manufacturers planning an expansion<br />

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

has been hired to oversee the new facility’s completion,<br />

allowing him to stay focused on quality and<br />

production issues. <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

SENIOR<br />


“The baby boomer market is just so<br />

big right now, and they’re constantly<br />

looking for a newer style of living than<br />

just a rental or a condo, we believe,” said<br />

Nick Crall, project analyst for Ewing.<br />

He noted the company’s 60-unit Vintage<br />

Cooperative senior living community<br />

that opened in June 2016 in Coralville<br />

is full, but added that Ewing has additional<br />

plans for a Vintage Cooperative in<br />

Iowa City – and possibly North Liberty<br />

and Cedar Rapids.<br />

Cedar Rapids got its first big taste of<br />

the senior housing surge in July, when<br />

The Gardens, a $15 million project undertaken<br />

by five local investors, opened<br />

its doors. With 40 beds, The Gardens<br />

represented the first new skilled nursing<br />

facility in Cedar Rapids in 21 years. It also<br />

has 30 assisted living units, 12 assisted<br />

living memory care units and physical<br />

therapy services, making it a continuum<br />

of care facility.<br />

Spokeswoman Angie McClure said<br />

the southwest location was chosen partly<br />

because that area of Cedar Rapids had<br />

no continuum of care facility, and partly<br />

because it’s easily accessible to smaller<br />

communities south and west of Cedar<br />

Rapids such as Fairfax, Walford, Newhall,<br />

Atkins and Norway, which don’t<br />

have such living options.<br />

Mr. Olson, who serves on the Cedar<br />

Rapids City Council and the Meth-Wick<br />

board of directors, said he’s not concerned<br />

about overbuilding. He cited data<br />

from Maxfield Research Inc. of Minneapolis<br />

that keeps tabs on housing market<br />

demand, noting that city officials also use<br />

the data to evaluate their investments.<br />

“Right now, there’s about 600 units of<br />

demand in our area, and though we’ve<br />

got a lot of construction, we’re not there<br />

yet,” he said.<br />

Ripple effects<br />

Many of the broader economic effects<br />

from the senior housing surge have not<br />

hit the market, but could become more<br />

apparent in the coming years. Ms. Mixdorf<br />

sees a variety of dynamics in play,<br />

including a strong housing market and<br />

more competition for nurses and certified<br />

nurse assistants (CNAs).<br />

“When the economic downturn happened<br />

[in 2008], we did see people stay<br />

in their houses longer,” Ms. Mixdorf said.<br />

“Now the housing prices have gone up, and<br />

they feel like they’re getting the real value of<br />

their home out of the real estate market.”<br />

The sales generated by seniors leaving<br />

their homes to move into senior living<br />

communities is expected to provide a<br />

much-needed boost to the tight inventory<br />

of existing homes available for sale in<br />

the Corridor.<br />

At the same time, Meth-Wick is finding<br />

itself competing for the same pool of nursing<br />

talent as large hospitals in Cedar Rapids,<br />

Iowa City and even Waterloo, as Iowa’s<br />

unemployment rate – 3.2 percent as of July<br />

– remains well below the national average.<br />

“We haven’t seen anyone leave yet<br />

[for the new senior living facilities], but<br />

there’s an awareness that these communities<br />

are going to come on, and they’re<br />

going to try to hire who we have,” Ms.<br />

Mixdorf said.<br />

The new communities and expansion<br />

projects in the Corridor will employ well<br />

over 500, with only four of the projects<br />

accounting for 310 of that amount.<br />

Grand Living will have more than 100<br />

employees each at the two continuum of<br />

care communities it is developing with<br />

Ryan Companies: Grand Living at Bridgeview<br />

in Coralville and Grand Living<br />

at Indian Creek in Cedar Rapids. Stoney<br />

Point Meadows has indicated it will employ<br />

at least 60 at its new facility in Cedar<br />

Rapids, and the Views Development has<br />

said it will employ 50 with a $2.8 million<br />

annual payroll when its new 104-bed<br />

continuum of care community opens on<br />

the south side of Marion.<br />

Finding construction talent to build<br />

so many senior living facilities has put a<br />

strain on contractors, although builders<br />

haven’t reached a crisis point yet.<br />

Members of Carpenters Local 308<br />

based in Cedar Rapids have been working<br />

on one of the largest senior living projects<br />

in development: the 170-unit Grand<br />

Living at Bridgewater project, located just<br />

north of I-80.<br />

“We’ve got pretty much full employment,”<br />

said Pat Loeffler, a Carpenters<br />

Union leader who is also president of<br />

the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building<br />

Trades Council.<br />

Although his local members are pretty<br />

much all employed, Mr. Loeffler said the<br />

union can send out calls to other union<br />

locals outside the area if contractors need<br />

more skilled labor.<br />

“The economics of these retirement<br />

communities are vast and very much unsung,”<br />

said Ed Raber, director of the Washington<br />

Economic Development Group.<br />

Mr. Raber said retirees almost always<br />

buy new furniture when they move into<br />

an independent living facility like Halcyon<br />

House in Washington, providing a<br />

boost to local businesses like Marshall’s<br />

Furniture. Seniors moving from outside<br />

the county almost always move their<br />

bank accounts, he added, and some create<br />

new relationships within the county<br />

for services such as insurance.<br />

Peer pressures<br />

David Heusinkveld is administrator of the<br />

Pleasantview Home in Kalona, which was<br />

organized by Amish and Mennonite ministers<br />

in 1957. He says the growing number<br />

of senior facilities, many of them under<br />

for-profit ownership, puts pressure on<br />

existing facilities to upgrade and compete.<br />

Skilled nursing facilities have to get a<br />

state certificate of need to open in Iowa,<br />

he noted, but for independent living facilities,<br />

“it’s whatever the market can bear.”<br />

“All these places are competing for<br />

staff, for nurses,” Mr. Heusinkveld said.<br />

“I honestly want everyone that is in this<br />

business to do well, because if they don’t,<br />

the quality of care goes down and the residents<br />

are the ones who suffer.”<br />

Developer Fred Timko of Cedar Rapids<br />

also has a mixed view of the new arrivals.<br />

He developed the Bridges Senior Lifestyle<br />

independent living facility, which opened<br />

in Waterloo in a former Holiday Inn well<br />

before the current housing boom.<br />

“It’s a tough market,” Mr. Timko said.<br />

“There are a lot of them out there.”<br />

He suggested that the success of the<br />

new senior developments could depend<br />

on their marketing skill.<br />

Still, Mr. Timko said he views senior<br />

living facilities as a good long-term investment<br />

once they are close to full occupancy,<br />

especially in a place like Iowa. Among<br />

all the states, Iowa has one of the highest<br />

percentages of its population over 65.<br />

“It [the senior housing market] should<br />

be getting better and better,” Mr. Timko<br />

said. “Iowa’s getting older and older.” <strong>CBJ</strong><br />

46 <strong>CBJ</strong> NEWSMAKERS DEC. 25 - 31, 2017



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