All Posts By

Erin Dammen

Amazon chooses Wisconsin, creating up to 1,500 jobs

Amazon recently announced it will locate a 3.4 million-square-foot, five-story distribution center in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, a small village east of Madison. The $200-millon facility will sit on nearly 150 acres and create up to 1,500 jobs.  

According to Jason Field, CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), adding 1,500 warehousing jobs to the area could create an additional 1,650 indirect jobs and roughly $77 million in earnings. The facility will be the largest distribution center in Wisconsin, strategically located to serve the two largest cities in the state, Milwaukee and Madison.  

Trammel Crow, the developer on the project, worked with Alliant Energy for months. This new facility will include electric vehicle and truck charging. It will be one of the first distribution centers in Wisconsin to incorporate electric truck charging.  

“This is a great win for the village of Cottage Grove, MadREP, the state of Wisconsin and Alliant Energy,” said JP Brummond, vice president of customer and community engagement at Alliant Energy. “The future of electric vehicles and renewable energy is bright, and we look forward to a strong partnership with Amazon as we work together on this incredible project.”  

The facility will be one of the largest facilities in Amazon’s real estate portfolio. According to Warehouse Automation Canada, Amazon is involved in nine of the 10 largest industrial facilities currently under construction in the U.S. This facility will also mark the third Amazon facility to come to the Madison area since 2020. Amazon currently has distribution centers in Madison, Beloit, Oak Creek and Kenosha.  


(Rendering of the planned 93-foot-tall, 3.4 million-square-foot distribution and warehouse facility.)

This investment represents an ongoing shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping. Area Development predicted new opportunities in e-commerce and greater developments in small and mid-sized markets two years ago. Matt Powers, executive vice president of retail and e-commerce at Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, cited two specific reasons:

  • Competition for warehouse workers and stronger competition for labor in larger markets.
  • The significant demand for fast shipping.

The global shutdown due to coronavirus also forced many consumers to change their shopping habits. In the U.S., online shopping increased by 30 percent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. This surge put pressure on retailers like Amazon to bolster their distribution network. E-commerce retailers now invest in hub market locations to access the last mile of distribution and develop warehouse space across primary and secondary logistic markets, like Madison.

Camso announces investment in its Iowa manufacturing facility

Camso Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Camso Holding USA LTD, which is a subsidiary of Michelin North America, plans to spend $20 million to upgrade its equipment and add more than 33 new jobs to the current staff of 175 at their plant in Peosta, Iowa.  

Camso is a leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems to serve material handling, construction, agricultural and powersports industries. The company supplies its products to leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) under the names Camso and Solideal and distributes its products in the replacement market through its global distribution network. 

The Peosta location manufactures undercarriages for heavy equipment. It plans to rework its existing footprint and purchase new equipment to implement a wheel line. This will allow it to process rubber or polyurethane molding on the outside of midrollers used in undercarriages. 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded Camso $600,000 in tax credits for upgrades at the facility. The company plans to have its facility ready for the new line by the end of 2023 and to purchase the equipment by 2025. Camso will receive $120,000 of its tax credit award annually over a five-year period, beginning this year. The credits come from the state’s High Quality Jobs program, which provides assistance to businesses to offset costs to expand facilities. 

Michelin North America said the plan is consistent with its commitment to accelerate advanced manufacturing. 

Iowa Premium to construct new facility

The state of Iowa has committed $14 million to Iowa Premium to expand its Tama beef processing plant and add nearly 400 jobs.  

The company plans to replace its current slaughtering and processing facility with a larger one, doubling its capacity. Iowa Premium plans to spend $561.9 million on the planned 800,000-square-foot plant, according to Iowa Economic Development Authority documents. The state-of-the-art processing facility is expected to open in late 2024. 

The incentives are part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s High Quality Jobs program. Through the program, Iowa Premium will receive $6 million in investment tax credits and just over $8 million in sales or service tax refunds paid during construction in exchange for a commitment to create a number of high-quality jobs.   

Community spotlight: North Iowa

North Iowa is home to Mason City and Clear Lake. As a regional hub for shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation and employment, the two cities enjoy a unique blend of world-recognized architecture and music, and a diverse local economy fueled by a variety of industries. 

North Iowa is ideally positioned on Interstate 35 halfway between Des Moines and Minneapolis with access to a strong transportation network to major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Omaha. With access to two Class I railroads plus two commercial short-line railroads, and serviced by a commercial airport with daily flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the North Iowa region provides one of the richest transportation networks for its size in the country. 

Certified site 

Indianhead South consists of 145 acres of certified development-ready property in one of the state’s largest labor sheds. The property has all major utilities, with capacity, abutting or adjacent. With metro-amenities and main street appeal, the north Iowa corridor is excited to work with any new businesses interested in making and calling the region home. The region includes companies such as McKesson, Kraft-Heinz, Serta, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, ASSA ABLOY-Curries, Masonite and many other well-respected companies. 

Indianhead South is an excellent location for growing industries such as: 

  • Biofuels and renewable chemicals. 
  • Advanced manufacturing. 
  • Value-added agriculture. 
  • Food processing. 
  • Logistics and warehousing. 

Opportunity zone 

The Mason City Opportunity Zone is ready for investment. In 2018, the state of Iowa identified the Mason City Opportunity Zone as an area that shows potential for growth, and encouraged long-term investments that will allow it to thrive. Created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones offer tax incentives to groups that invest and hold their capital gains in zone assets or property. By investing in opportunity zones, investors stand to gain a temporary deferral on their capital gains taxes if they hold their investments for at least five years, and a permanent exclusion from a tax on capital gains from the opportunity zone’s investments if held for 10 years. 

The Mason City Opportunity Zone has already drawn considerable investment interest and is a prime location for complementary development.  

Incentives and economic development resources 

Local leaders work closely with the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation and the state of Iowa to help companies relocate in north Iowa.  

Depending on a company’s specific needs and plans, available programs include small business assistance, EB-5, tax increment financing, workforce training programs, redevelopment tax credits, innovation funding, corporate tax credits, research activities credits and other business incentives. State programs such as the Iowa Registered Apprenticeship program and the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training program also help companies prepare workers to meet their needs. Award-winning North Iowa Area Community College is in Mason City and serves as a key partner for customizable training programs and as a talent pipeline to serve the needs of our employers.  

Do you want to learn more about the north central Iowa business environment? 

Contact Jim Bowman, senior business attraction manager. 

Photo caption: Bushel Boy Farms 16-acre greenhouse is located in Mason City, Iowa.

Hormel to expand production in Dubuque, Iowa, creating 38 new jobs

Hormel logo

Progressive Processing, LLC, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., is expanding its Dubuque Iowa plant. The $43 million investment will increase capacity for Spam production and create 38 jobs. 

Hormel intends to begin construction at its facility in early 2022 and begin expanded production by February 2023. 

The 38 jobs qualified for the Iowa Economic Development Authority High Quality Jobs incentive program. Through that program, the company receives state investment tax credits totaling $1.1 million and a $180,000 sales tax refund. Hormel also plans to borrow $200,000 for the project from East Central Intergovernmental Association through its local revolving loan fund. 

The manufacturing plant opened in 2010 and produces microwave meals, canned chunk chicken, Spam and bacon bits. It currently employs about 440 people. The latest project will mark the third time Hormel has grown its food production in Dubuque. In 2015, the company introduced Spam and bacon bits production to the facility. In 2019, the company spent $13 million and added 58 new positions to expand its Spam production. 

“We are proud to call Dubuque home and are excited to continue our growth in the community and provide quality job opportunities for this area,” said Joe Muzik, plant manager at Progressive Processing. 

The expansion of Spam production comes as sales of the meat product continue to increase. Last year, Hormel announced that it had garnered record sales of Spam for the seventh year in a row. 

Wisconsin’s economic future

Future Wisconsin Project logo

Future Wisconsin Project logoIn early 2022, the Wisconsin Manufacturing Chamber Foundation (WMC) released a long-term strategic plan. The report identified why the state faces a workforce shortage, how Wisconsin contends with both a “skills gap” and a “people gap,” and pursued potential solutions to grow the working age population.  

To address the workforce need, the state must take aggressive action to attract and retain talent. A recent Wisconsin Employer Survey found that nearly three-quarters of businesses support a taxpayer-funded talent attraction campaign aimed at drawing more people into Wisconsin. As a result, lawmakers in Wisconsin have already taken the first step. The 2021-2023 Wisconsin State Budget requires the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to expend at least $3 million from its state appropriations for talent attraction and retention initiatives.  

Proposal: Eliminate the personal income tax 

Marketing and attraction efforts are not nearly enough to meet the workforce demand of current and future businesses. WMC argues that the state’s current tax environment deters working age professionals from coming to Wisconsin. A recent analysis by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage firm, shows that between 2013 and 2020, Americans have shifted population away from high tax states toward lower tax states. Data from the U.S. Census supports this.  

To compete, WMC has proposed lawmakers eliminate the personal income tax in Wisconsin to help attract workers. In return, the state would increase the sales and use tax from 5% to 8%. This increase would be in line with other Midwest states. Agricultural and manufacturing companies in Wisconsin often receive sales and use tax exemptions for products utilized in manufacturing. 

Regardless of which approach the state implements, Wisconsin is getting aggressive with its efforts to attract and retain workers and fill the people gap. The state’s ability to bring in talent will have a direct impact on the state’s ability to attract, expand and retain business.  

To read the full report, visit Wisconsin 2035: A Vision for Wisconsin’s Economic Future. 

Business Facilities Magazine selects Alliant Energy as one of the top utilities of 2022

2022 Business Facilities Top Utility seal

2022 Business Facilities Top Utility sealThanks to partners like you, Business Facilities magazine has acknowledged Alliant Energy as a “Top Utility” in its February issue. Each year the publication salutes the top utilities across the country, recognizing excellence among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives.  

In 2021, we partnered with our community and state economic development professionals to help drive growth across our Iowa and Wisconsin service area. Here’s a snapshot of what we accomplished together:  

  • 58 industrial and warehouse projects. 
  • Over $2 billion in new capital investment. 
  • 4,444 new jobs. 

“We are proud to be honored as a top utility and we share this achievement with the over 1,300 communities we serve,” said John Larsen, chair, president and CEO of Alliant Energy. “These projects were brought to life through partnerships. They were successful because they were collaborative. Economic development opportunities are just another way we serve our customers and build stronger communities.”  

We are proud to share this award with all our community economic development partners. We realize that our success is directly linked to the strength of our associate organizations and the communities they represent. 

We also appreciate all our site selection partners we worked with this past year. Put simply, this acknowledgement would not be possible without you. We certainly do not do this work alone. Thank you for partnering with us. 

Community spotlight: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

Beaver Dam is a picturesque community located in south central Wisconsin on Beaver Dam Lake. Surrounded by rich farmlands, Beaver Dam is situated just 40 minutes northeast of Madison, 90 minutes northwest of Milwaukee and 2.5 hours north of Chicago. This central location provides businesses in Beaver Dam with a great opportunity to transport product to over 55% of the U.S. population in just a one-day truck drive. It also allows them to resource products from various supply chains and get the products they need to meet customer demands.  

Labor 

Beaver Dam has a current population of 16,214 people but pulls from a much larger labor shed. Beaver Dam attracts workers from an eight-county labor basin resulting in access to over 223,000 available workers. Of those 223,000 people, over 80 percent have a least some college experience and almost 100% have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. This education is based on a strong K-12 state system and leading technical college system. Moraine Park Technical College, one of the state’s 16 technical colleges, has a physical campus in Beaver Dam helping train the workers of tomorrow. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers more than 500 associate degree, technical and short-term certificate options. The system is a major provider of customized instruction and technical assistance for Wisconsin employers. Businesses in Beaver Dam have no problem finding talented and eager workers looking to start and grow their careers in the industrial and commercial markets.  

Business park 

To accommodate business growth in the community, Beaver Dam has two state-certified industrial parks with available land to assist new and expanding businesses. The 151 Business Park is located on the city’s far north side, with four-lane US Highway 151 as its east border. The site offers 130 contiguous acres not affected by wetlands, topography issues or utility easements. It is zoned heavy industrial. State certification ensures all preliminary development plans and documents have been completed and there are no potential issues with development.  

The second state-certified industrial park in Beaver Dam is the Beaver Dam Commerce Park. Located just a few miles northeast of the 151 Business Park, the Commerce Park is a 520-acre, 350-contiguous-acre, state-certified industrial park. The park can accommodate buildings from 100,000 square feet up to 2.8 million square feet. With ample electricity, gas, water and sewer, Beaver Dam Commerce Park is the ideal location for a heavy manufacturing company looking to take advantage of the site’s central Wisconsin location.  

Do you want to learn more about Beaver Dam business environment? 

Contact Coleman Peiffer, senior business attraction manager. 

Transitioning to a clean energy future

sun shining on solar panels

We continue to move forward with our energy mix goals through several exciting community partnerships. Our goal is to eliminate all coal from our generation fleet by 2040 and achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity we generate by 2050. 

Learn about two of our most recent projects that help advance our sustainability and energy goals.  

Iowa State University participates in Alliant Energy® Customer Hosted Renewables program 

The Iowa Board of Regents approved a request from Iowa State University to proceed with the development of the solar farm and enter into a lease agreement with Alliant Energy. The solar farm, in development as a part of our Customer Hosted Renewables Program, enables customers with available land to host solar facilities and receive lease payments and renewable energy credits. Alliant Energy will design, construct, own, operate and maintain the solar farm. 

“This new collaboration is the latest in our long-standing partnership with Alliant Energy to prepare our communities, state and nation for the future of energy and power,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. “The public-private partnership represented in the new solar farm will be a significant step in making progress on our mutual renewable energy and sustainability goals.” Learn how this project fits into the University’s five-year plan for sustainability in operations. 

Microgrid project set for Richland County, Wisconsin 

Village of Boaz residents in Richland County, Wisconsin, will soon see enhanced energy reliability as part of our new community-based microgrid system. The small-scale utility grid includes an “islanding” capability and dedicated power source that allows us to supply energy to the community in the event of an outage or service disruption on the central power grid.

“At Alliant Energy, we constantly look for ways to improve reliability and deploy cutting edge technical solutions to our customers,” said Mike Bremel, director of engineering and customer solutions. “This innovative project is one of several research pilot projects Alliant Energy will implement as we develop our renewable energy portfolio and energy storage solutions.”

To learn more about this exciting project read our news article: Project will improve reliability for Village of Boaz customers and advance Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint. 

Second consecutive year: Alliant Energy named to Newsweek’s America’s Most Responsible Companies list

Newsweek best places to work 2022 logo

Newsweek best places to work 2022 logo

As in 2021, Alliant Energy has been named to Newsweek’s 2022 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies. This prestigious list is presented by Newsweekand Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry-ranking provider.  

Ranked as a top 30 company overall in the social category, Alliant Energy was recognized for its strong devotion to good causes and support of diversity in its workforce. Newsweek’s ranking also acknowledges Alliant Energy’s environmental efforts and its efforts centered on creating a better tomorrow. This includes accelerating their transition to generating cleaner energy, as outlined in the company’s Clean Energy Blueprint, and working toward achieving many goals, including net-zero emissions for the energy it generates.