Talent, talent, talent  

The results from Area Development Magazine’s 32nd annual corporate survey/14th annual site consultants survey are in! It should come as no surprise that once again talent is the talk of the town. The availability of skilled labor ranked in the top three site selection factors for both corporate executives (#3) and site consultants (#1). In fact, 98 percent of site consultants say that the availability of skilled labor is impacting clients’ plans or current operations. A company won’t consider a community if they know there isn’t adequate workforce available to fill their jobs.  

As a community we need to work together to provide solutions. It isn’t just about attracting more workers to our region. It also includes making sure those already here have access to and are trained in the latest technologies required for evolving industries. Educational institutions can develop workforce training programs, but they need companies working hand-in-hand to communicate needs as well as provide support to fill them.  

It’s also worth noting that while site selectors care more about things like workforce, accessibility, and available sites, corporate executives ranked quality of life #4 in importance, a jump of six spaces up from last year’s results. One possible reason is that a site selector’s job is to make sure a region has the buildings, access to suppliers, and labor for a facility. The corporate executive also needs to pay attention to what’s available to retain talent and keep its workers happy after-hours.  

Studies also have shown that Millennials use quality-of-life factors when deciding where to locate. Tapping into groups like Young Professionals Quad Cities to leverage their knowledge and perspectives to better inform our community development efforts will be increasingly important.         

In the immortal words of Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  

Sincerely,   Liz Murray Tallman, Chief Economic Development Officer

Economic Development Services Agreement Update

Throughout June we will bring a resolution of support for the economic development services agreement to the seven Quad Cities First Board public sector entities. The agreement’s intent is to provide clarity to the economic development services provided to both the cities and the counties by describing them in a contract, which goes into effect July 1.     

Beginning then, all business attraction and expansion economic development services provided by the Chamber will be consolidated under Quad Cities First. Each of our private and public sector organizations serves as a piece to a very important puzzle in helping this region thrive. We’re excited for this next chapter to begin!
The Quad Cities entrepreneurial community is receiving statewide attention once again after four teams from the region competed in a pitchoff competition at the Surge Summit at the Hawkeye Innovation Expo. Four teams from the Quad Cities Venture School cohort competed, with one team winning 2nd place and $2,000. In addition, two Quad-Cities alumni teams competed and placed in the alumni category. There have been 37 teams of Quad Cities entrepreneurs that have completed Venture School since its launch in early 2015. Read more about the place winners here.  

The next YPQC/Ignite Quad Cities Open Coffee on June 14 will feature Lisa Strzoda, owner of LS Wellness/social media coach, and Madie Hart of Those Social Butterflies who will show attendees how to leverage Facebook Live to enlarge exposure on social media through real connections and word-of-mouth, all without buying Facebook ads! The June 28 event will feature Brendan Iglehart of altSTATES Travel, who will provide some powerful tips to help entrepreneurs take full advantage of business and personal spending though rewards and loyalty programs.  

Many thanks to the panel of East Moline-based founders who talked about the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur and business owner, and the resources and tactics they have used to carry them through at the May Ignite Quad Cities Entrepreneurial Community Spotlight! The panel included Larry Kerr of EBE Technologies, Christina Sanchez-Lopez of Country Style Ice Cream, Mike Crotty of KVF Quad Corporation, Michelle Horton of Respect Abilities, and, Jade Blick of Jaded Java. And thank you to Adam Guthrie, Tim Knanishu of REDEEM, and Darin Girdler of City of East Moline for sharing how you can help businesses start in East Moline!  

Please spread the word and let any potential startups know about these valuable resources! Questions? Contact Julie Forsythe
Proudly Supporting our Defense Industry  

The Quad Cities Chamber and the Illinois Defense Network (of which the Quad Cities Manufacturing Hub is a part) served as the presenting sponsor for the National Defense Industrial Association’s Small Business Government Contracting Symposium held May 23 and 24 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Representatives from the Hub and the Economic Development team networked with numerous attendees between sessions at the booth, where the Hub offered the chance to win a scholarship to attend a two-day intensive course on DFARS cybersecurity requirements and the compliance process. Defense contractors handling certain levels of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) must maintain compliance or risk fines or exclusion from defense contracts.
Business Retention & Expansion Assistance  

When you think of concierge services in any other industry, it’s someone who serves as a point of contact whenever you have a need. For example, if you were at a hotel and wanted to know how to get tickets to a nearby venue, the concierge could help you. This is a similar concept utilized with Business Connection calls to our area businesses; it’s one-stop-shopping where we identify what needs they may have and connect them with resources and entities that can help.  

We appreciate working with our city economic development partners to conduct the calls, which are in-person with company decision-makers. The goal is to identify the issues they may be dealing with, connect them with resources to help, and look for any opportunities to help them expand or innovate. Michelle Lewis Director, Regional Business Development, sat down with CBS4-QC to explain more.  
Economic Development Projects Update  

During April and May, our region responded to the following business attraction requests for proposal.  

Project DCEO Trigger – Advanced Metals & Materials

This project was referred by the state of Illinois on behalf of a company in need of a 10-15 acre, shovel-ready site or a 30,000 square-foot build-to-suit option. The project represents a $12.2M investment for 10 jobs. We submitted an Aledo site and Rock Island building. This needed to be within a 60-minute drive of an engineering school.  

Project DCEO Forte – Advanced Metals & Materials
State of Illinois, 60-80 acres or 400k sf building, onsite rail required. 300 jobs, $50m capital investment. Submitted Aledo site.  

Project Vermont – Other
This project is for an international investment company that specializes in the EB-5 Immigrant Investors Visa program and bringing students from abroad to study in local high schools and universities. They are looking to open a business in the Quad Cities metro area requiring a 3,000-10,000 square-foot existing building. We submitted 18 buildings: Moline (5), Rock Island (2), East Moline (2), Davenport (7), and Bettendorf (2).   We also began working with two local companies on expansion and technical assistance projects:  

Project IEDA Texas – Logistics
This company is looking for a relocation of its existing capabilities. The ED staff is providing technical assistance to the company and community.   Project Utah – Advanced Metals & Materials This project is for an existing company looking to expand into a 100,000 square-foot building with a need for 100 truck spaces. The ED staff is working with the company to determine next steps.
News of Note  

Opportunity Zones:
As of May 18, nine total sites in our six-county region have been designated by the U.S. Treasury as Qualified Opportunity Zones, a new tax program aimed at encouraging private investment in low-income areas. Two areas in Davenport as well as two sites each in Muscatine and Clinton have been officially designated. Two sites in Rock Island County and one in Henry County, including a portion of Kewanee, also have been officially approved. The list of designated Qualified Opportunity Zones can be found on the U.S. Treasury’s website here.  

Transportation updates:
Recently the Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority announced Seattle-Tacoma International Airport executive Ben Leischner as its new executive director to replace long-time Quad-City International Airport Aviation Director Bruce Carter. The airport has seen its share of both encouraging news (a possible direct route to Charlotte) as well as challenges (tax base expansion fails) within the past month, but the focus on new leadership has once again pushed the importance of a vibrant, growing airport to our local economy into the spotlight.  

Quality of place:
As mentioned above, when companies locate or expand, they want to know the region they're choosing has attractive quality of place amenities. This river-to-river trail work is a great example of that! Kudos to City of Moline for securing this grant!
In Case You Missed It!   Here’s a brief round-up of headlines highlighting growth in our region:  
New role for the Rock Island Arsenal? New Army Futures Command could have huge impact
Army plans $30 million investment in Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center
Exciting week for evolving Moline riverfront Davenport Costco to open in October
TBK Bank sports complex heads to finish line TAG expansion will grow downtown Davenport housing stock
Grace Engineered acquires Michigan tech firm
Bettendorf's Bridges lofts construction accelerated
Coal Valley approves 91-acre subdivision
Newbury lands critical funding for Hilltop housing
Pershing Hill Lofts round out warehouse district
Bustos and Loebsack seek Arsenal designation I-74 work back on track after spring flood delays
Gamble: Arsenal future on solid ground
Bettendorf council approves agreement for new hotel at Lodge site
With Costco development construction underway, Davenport revisions
Group Schumacher opens ag equipment production facility in Durant
East Moline REDEEM celebrates ongoing development, elects officers Ascentra Credit Union
Bettendorf headquarters to be anchor of downtown
Crawford expands brewery business
Aledo entrepreneurs know the value of others' help
Aledo approves alternative energy study
HNI Corp announces change in leadership
For Your Consideration ...  

While we focus on growing our region, we know that there are still issues to keep on our collective radar that could impact that growth:   QC labor force shrinking; employers scrape for workers Q-C commercial market strong, but inventory shortage is a challenge
Quad Cities Chamber News  

New CEO outlines what brought him back to lead the Quad Cities Chamber:
 Recently Paul Rumler, the Quad Cities Chamber’s new CEO, sat down with the Rock Island Argus to talk about what’s on the horizon for business in our area. “Mr. Rumler returned to the Quad-Cities for what he sees as an opportunity to lead an organization he knows and believes in. He said it was the chamber's regional vision -- the integrated economic development and the two sides of the community, Iowa and Illinois, working well together -- that played a major role in his return.” Read the entire interview here.  

Mark your calendar!
The Quad Cities Chamber’s annual golf outing is just around the corner on Wednesday, June 13. A few spots remain in the morning flight; register your foursome by clicking here. The Chamber also is a proud sponsor of the United States Army 243rd Birthday Ball on Friday, June 15. Help show your support for the Rock Island Arsenal, a major economic engine for our region; get tickets here.

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