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Iowa Economic Development Authority Board approves projects resulting in $71 million in capital investment

March 26, 2012 (DES MOINES, IA) – The Iowa Economic Development Authority board today awarded financial assistance to seven companies for job creation and expansion projects. Today’s awards will assist in the creation of 323 new jobs, retention of 214 jobs and will account for $71 million of new capital investment to the state.

“We continue to take advantage of every opportunity to create good, well-paying jobs and build a stronger economy in Iowa. Companies that received awards today represent not only successful and established businesses within the state but also new companies exploring innovative technologies,” said Governor Terry Branstad.

The board approved assistance for planned or proposed projects located in Oskaloosa, Polk County, Dyersville, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Urbandale and Sioux City.

“Today’s action by the board shows strong and steady movement towards our job creation goals,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “We continue to see companies choosing Iowa as the place to grow their business.”

Oskaloosa foundry and machine plant upgrades assembly machinery

Clow Valve Company, Division of McWane, Inc., operates a foundry and machine shop in Oskaloosa and produces valves and fire hydrants for water distribution systems. Products produced by Clow are marketed throughout the United States with some limited distribution in international markets. The company was awarded tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program to replace foundry machinery, automated machining centers and assembly workstations. In addition, pollution control equipment will be replaced and upgraded and new equipment representing additional capacity will be acquired. The project is expected to create six new jobs and represents a $7.9 million capital investment.

Packaging company expands Polk County facility

Curwood, Inc., a subsidiary of Bemis Company, Inc., is a manufacturer of packaging materials used in the food, beverage, household, industrial and personal care industries and supplies its products to companies worldwide. The company is proposing a $24 million expansion of its plant located in Polk County, which will include an additional product line. The board awarded Curwood $64,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits for this project which is projected to create 16 new jobs.

Australian manufacturer to locate in Dyersville

Digga North America, LLC, an Australian manufacturer of a wide variety of construction equipment attachments and gearboxes, plans to build a 30,000 sq. ft. plant in Dyersville. The board awarded the company $240,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits for the $2.2 million capital investment. The project plans include the creation of 30 new jobs.

Expense Reduction Analysts, Inc. to relocate to Cedar Rapids

Expense Reduction Analysts, Inc. (ERA-USA) started in the U.S. in 2003-2004 and is a franchisor company that supports franchisees that operate an Expense Reduction Analysts® Consulting Practice that helps organizations improve profitability through cost, purchase and supplier management. The company’s support services office is currently located in Carlsbad, California, and was awarded $40,000 in direct financial assistance to relocate to Cedar Rapids to meet the needs of its over 200 consultants nationwide. The project is expected to create 16 new jobs.

Cedar Falls’ Martin Brothers seeks assistance for expansion project

Martin Brothers Distribution, Inc. is a full-line, independent, family-owned foodservice distributor providing foodservice products and equipment to restaurants, schools, nursing care facilities and other institutional facilities. The company is a regional, independent distributor serving Iowa and seven surrounding states and plans to add approximately 59,000 sq. ft. to the dry goods, refrigerated, produce and frozen food areas to the company’s existing Cedar Falls Industrial Park distribution facility. The board awarded tax benefits to the company through the High Quality Jobs program. The project will result in a $5.9 million capital investment and is expected to create 12 new jobs, two of which are incented.

Urbandale company receives financial assistance

Retail Acquisition and Development (RAD) provides commercial inside sales and telesales for Interstate All Battery Center stores, internet support for online orders and distribution of products throughout the US, Canada and Central America. RAD also builds custom energy solutions. The company is planning to use the tax credits awarded by the board through the High Quality Jobs program to expand its business operations by relocating to an existing warehouse facility within Urbandale. The project will include construction of 17,500 sq. ft. for manufacturing, quality assurance and packaging and renovating existing office space. This project will have a $5 million capital investment and is expected to create 57 new jobs, seven of which are incented.

Sioux City manufacturer expands operations

Sabre Communications Corporation, founded in Sioux City in 1977, is a leading manufacturer in the tower, pole and components industries and is the largest tower provider in the U.S. The company serves customers worldwide and has a state-of-the-art steel fabrication plant and galvanizing facility in Alvarado, Texas. The company is planning to make a $25 million capital investment to accommodate the growth of its electric transmission and distribution structures and wireless communication structures businesses. The board awarded $960,000 in direct financial assistance as well as tax benefits. The project is expected to create 186 new jobs, 177 which are incented and retain 214 jobs, 151 of which are incented.

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

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

Avello Bioenergy, based in Boone, is commercializing technology using a proprietary process to convert renewable feed-stocks into materials, chemicals and fuels. The initial product, for which a pilot plant was financed by the Demomonstration Fund, was bio-asphalt. In addition, the bio-oil fractions have unique properties that can be used for other product applications. The company has identified applications in building materials and chemicals for sealants, coatings and water-proofing materials. The company proposes a project to design, construct and utilize a lab-scale biomass pyrolysis reactor to produce and optimize the bio-oil fractions. Once optimized, the company plans to use its larger demonstration plant to produce sufficient quantities of the end products to provide for commercial scale needs. The board approved a $150,000 loan through the Demonstration Fund to move this project forward.

Iowa Green Brick is in the process of commercializing a patented process for producing bricks comprised primarily of fly ash – the waste material that results from the burning of coal in power plants. The immediate focus is on the demonstration of the use of the material and process to produce pavers for the commercial market. The company plans to manufacture the product in an idle plant in Waterloo. The company has a U.S. patent for its proprietary process that has been exclusively licensed from the grantee. The board approved a $44,000 grant to the company via i6 project funds. i6 project funds are a result of a $1 million grant that was awarded to Iowa State University and the IEDA from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration last year. The Demonstration Fund program guidelines apply to this component.

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