Fiscal Responsibility is Good for Iowa Businesses

According to 24/7 Wall St., Iowa is the fourth-best managed state with a perfect credit rating and a state budget that is balanced each year per state law. Iowa’s fair regulatory environment allows for CEOs to confidently invest in R&D, hire additional employees or expand into new international markets. There’s also a high-level of collaboration between government, business and educational institutions – this white paper outlines how this leads to economic prosperity and diverse industry growth.

Below, you can hear from HNI Corp, President & CEO, Stan Askren, as to why this is a vital benefit to his company. Based in Muscatine, HNI is the second largest office furniture company in the world and is the parent company of several leading office furniture manufacturers including The HON Company, Allsteel and Gunlocke. HNI employs more than 3,500 members in Iowa and sustainable design and manufacturing is a major part of its culture.

Be sure to visit our C-Suite webpage to get insights from some of Iowa’s most successful CEOs about today’s business challenges and how locating in Iowa makes all the difference.

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Iowa Universities – Juggernauts of Discovery

With renowned research capabilities at Iowa’s three public universities — the “Interstate 80/35 innovation corridor” generates advanced technologies that impact the world. One such recent discovery will improve the rescue efforts after earthquakes.

The University of Iowa and the U.S. Geological Survey discovered that GPS and satellite data can measure movements of the ground surface within 24 hours of the quake, producing three-dimensional maps that can help rescuers estimate the extent of damages and injuries. The information also will allow rescuers to pinpoint and respond to the hardest hit areas faster or determine the scope of damage in remote or mountainous regions.

<strong>Satellite radar image of the magnitude 6.0 South Napa earthquake. Satellite data like this can now be used to give researchers an understanding of an earthquake and its impacts within days. Photo courtesy of the European Space Agency.</strong>
Satellite radar image of the magnitude 6.0 South Napa earthquake. Satellite data like this can now be used to give researchers an understanding of an earthquake and its impacts within days. Photo courtesy of the European Space Agency.

William Barnhart, assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the UI, led a research team that used the GPS and satellite data to create a 3D map of the area affected by the Napa, Calif. Earthquake last August. The findings were published in the March/April issue of Seismological Research Letters.

He said the technique should be especially useful in developing countries such as Haiti, where as many as 160,000 people died in the aftermath of a magnitude 7.0 quake in 2010, and where real-time seismographic information was unavailable.

“On an international scale, it dramatically reduces the time between when an earthquake happens, when buildings start to fall down and when aid starts to show up,” Barnhard said in a UI news release.

Iowa’s collaborative approach to R&D and technology transfer ensures that discoveries with great societal impact are efficiently leveraged and commercialized. Click below to read comments from Iowa Innovators – Steven Leath, President, Iowa State University, Paul Schickler, President, DuPont Pioneer and Mary Andringa, Chair of the Board, Vermeer Corp discuss how Iowans are discovering solutions to the world’s most pressings issues.

Custom Training Helps Cottingham & Butler Employees Excel

Iowa’s current economic growth and prosperity are the result of its quality education and collaborative training programs offered by its network of community colleges and three public universities.

One company that has leveraged the state’s skilled workforce is Cottingham & Butler. Founded in 1887 in Dubuque, Iowa, the 37th largest insurance broker in the U.S. has experienced 11 percent organic growth consecutively for the past 25 years. In February 2015, Cottingham & Butler announced the creation of 90 new jobs. Chief Executive Officer, David Becker, attributes much of the company’s sustainable growth to their talented and committed workforce, plus the customized programs they have leveraged with area schools.

Cottingham & Butler specializes in transportation and trucking insurance and employs more than 430 people in Iowa — many of them right out of college. As the industry has demanded advanced analytical skills, Cottingham & Butler has built strategic partnerships with local colleges to remain competitive and elevate the skills of its workforce.

Loras College in Dubuque has custom-designed its MBA Business Analytics program with the guidance of college alumnus and Oracle Corporation analyst, Rich Clayton. Clayton recently remarked that “for every job there are 21 applicants in the U.S., but in the analytics field, there is one applicant for every five jobs.” Several area businesses, including Cottingham & Butler have taken advantage of this specialized training to compete globally. To challenge its senior sales executives and keep their skills sharp, the company turned to the sales program at the University of Northern Iowa. Professors are in discussions to develop a formalized ongoing sales curriculum specifically for Cottingham & Butler associates.

“Over the course of five years, we’ve leveraged nearly half million dollars from Iowa’s workforce training tax credit program,” said Becker. “It has been significant and incredibly valuable to our business.”

Learn how Iowa’s highly-qualified insurance workforce and a network of community colleges can push your business forward.