Culver: $12 million to create hundreds of new jobs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Culver: $12 million to create hundreds of new jobs

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DES MOINES (Gov. Chet Culver News Release)- Green conversion of a Dubuque building for the huge IBM project received a stimulus award today from the Economic Development Board and the Iowa Department of Economic Development as did four manufacturing expansions. 

IBM is the largest information technology project of its kind for Iowa. New manufacturing vitality is evident from the stimulus awards in Cedar Rapids, Cherokee, Colfax, and Decorah. Further actions today will finance entrepreneurs and small businesses; promote Iowa exports, film and video productions; and develop Iowa's future technology workforce.

"Today's announcement is about three things:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs," said Governor Culver.  "Iowa is building momentum, not only with IBM's new multi-million dollar project in Dubuque, but with a broad range of initiatives to strengthen the economy and provide good paying jobs for Iowans.  We are moving forward to develop the full promise and unlimited opportunities that Iowa has from our talented people and their innovations."

Michael Tramontina, Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, noted that "IBM's impact will begin right away, benefiting other businesses and employees because of immediate new construction and purchases of services and supplies."

Preparing the way for IBM

IBM's new technology services center in downtown Dubuque was awarded $12,150,000 from the Physical Infrastructure Assistance Program (PIAP). Part of the award ($450,000) will be used by the city of Dubuque to purchase the existing Roshek building. Most of the award will be used by the City of Dubuque, Dubuque Initiatives and IBM to renovate the building with industry-leading, energy-efficient technology. The IBM project creates 1,300 high skill jobs in information technology. IBM will begin hiring this spring. The $93 million launch includes capital investment of $6.5 million. The Iowa facility will provide technology services to U.S. clients with IBM outsourcing agreements. Operations will include systems management services and operations, database management, and project management services

Decorah sees Acument expansion

Acument Global Technologies, Camcar LLC, a leading manufacturer of fasteners, is planning to make a capital investment of $2.6 million in Decorah to expand an existing building for a hardening furnace. Purchase of a generator to convert the waste heat into electricity is also part of the project. The Economic Development Board awarded $45,000 from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA) and tax benefits from the High Quality Jobs Creation (HQJC) program for the creation of 15 new jobs. Construction is expected to begin in March. Acument produces metal screws and bolts for electronics, construction, commercial and automotive uses.

Manufacturing returns to Colfax

The New Monroe Table Company LLC is purchasing the assets of the old Monroe Manufacturing Company, which closed in November 2007, and restarting the business in downtown Colfax to manufacture laminated and plywood tables. The Economic Development Board awarded the project $50,000 from the Community Economic Betterment Account (CEBA) to create 16 of the 29 jobs at the new company. Operations are expected to begin within 30 days.

Managers form new Cedar Rapids Company

Cedar Crest Manufacturing is a new company going into the promotional products business in Cedar Rapids as a supplier of pens and other writing instruments. The company is being founded by two former managers at Norwood Souvenir, which closed its Cedar Rapids site last year. Cedar Crest was awarded $25,000 in technical assistance from the Entrepreneurial Ventures Assistance (EVA) program and Enterprise Zone tax benefits to create 38 jobs.

New park equipment jobs in Cherokee

RJ Thomas Manufacturing Company, Inc. is planning to construct a 24,000 sq. ft. addition in Cherokee to house a new thermoplastic coating system. The company was awarded tax benefits to create 11 new jobs and invest more than $1 million in an Enterprise Zone. Family-owned RJ Thomas produces Pilot Rock© grills, picnic tables, benches, waste receptacles and other amenities for parks, campgrounds, and recreational areas.

Building the workforce, fueling innovation

The Economic Development Board gave IDED's Innovation and Commercialization Division approval of targeted industry awards to build the future workforce, commercialize a new medical device in Davenport, and develop tools to improve the effectiveness of Iowa's economic development activities. The four awards approved today were recommended by the Department's Technology Commercialization Committee.

From the Targeted Industries Student Competition Fund, the Board approved:

  • $50,000 to partially fund this year's I-T Olympics for high school students at Iowa State University on April 20-21. The event has a goal of involving 500 students from 50 Iowa high schools in competitive computer activities in cyber defense, robotics and game design programming.
  • $25,000 to the State Science & Technology Fair of Iowa to further develop the interactive capabilities of its web site for educational training of students and teachers associated with the fair. The annual science fair involves more than 450 students in grades six through twelve in science research competition.

From the Iowa Demonstration Fund that helps entrepreneurs commercialize new products, the board awarded $150,000 to IOP 4 LLC, a start-up company in Davenport. IOP 4 is working toward the manufacture of a new medical device for better diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Sensors of the device continuously collect, store and evaluate eye pressure and blood pressure data from the patient. Over 65 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma, which is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

The Board approved $265,000 to Iowa State University for Iowa asset mapping, a project to develop and demonstrate tools to incorporate geographic information system (GIS) and other database technologies into economic research and analysis. The first phase ($86,270) of the project for the Iowa Department of Economic Development will test Iowa asset mapping for the wind energy and machine tool industries. The project could produce new competitive advantages for Iowa's economic development.

In addition, IDED Director Michael Tramontina approved the following applications:

  • Nine Iowa companies are awarded grants from the Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) to participate in international trade missions and trade shows.
  • Five applications are approved for the Iowa Film, Television and Video Project Promotion Program--four feature length films and one TV series.
  • Five Targeted Small Business (TSB) loan applications are approved for women, minority or persons with disabilities owned businesses in Council Bluffs, Des Moines (2), and Hiawatha.
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