Community Spotlight

Community spotlight: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids from the air

Cedar Rapids from the air

Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in Iowa, is known as the “City of Five Seasons.” The fifth season affords residents and visitors time to enjoy all other seasons and life.  

As one of the largest corn-processing cities in the world, it makes sense that Cedar Rapids is also one of the leading bio-processing and food ingredient centers in North America. Located within a day’s drive of 72 million consumers, Cedar Rapids is home to many recognizable brands including Fortune 500 companies. Major employers include Collins Aerospace, TransAmerica, Nordstrom, Quaker Oats, General Mills, Geico, ADM, Cargill, Ingredion, Kraft Heinz, International Paper and more.  

Cedar Rapids is a long-established business hub with plenty of room to grow including the Big Cedar Industrial Center and South 33rd Avenue Industrial Park, which offer more than 1,400 acres of development-ready land with utilities and infrastructure already in place. 

Cedar Rapids is an excellent location for growing industries, including: 

  • Food processing and bioprocessing. 
  • Life sciences. 
  • Logistics and distribution. 
  • Manufacturing. 

Community resources 

Cedar Rapids has a consistent record of economic growth. In 2019 alone, the Cedar Rapids metro area saw 35 economic development projects that include $588.5 million in capital investment. The community has rich resources and an abundance of talent ideal for companies in food processing and production, as well as allied fields in the bio-agriculture sector. 

Beyond industry, SmartAsset ranked Cedar Rapids the #1 best place in America for children five years in a row! (2015 – 2019) and it remains in the top three for 2020. 

The Eastern Iowa Airport offers nonstop major carrier service to key business cities across the nation and serves as a major air cargo hub and foreign trade zone that handles more than 20,000 tons of cargo each year. With an 8,600-foot runway, the airport accommodates cargo jets and has a fixed-base operator equipped to handle the largest corporate jets. 


When looking at a U.S. map, you’ll find Cedar Rapids close to the center. Within a one-hour drive, there are more than 788,000 workers, many with the skill sets and educational attainment needed for today’s technical, creative, and research jobs. Local workers have long been known for being highly educated, hard-working and productive thanks in no small part to the longstanding work ethic woven into the fabric of eastern Iowa. In fact, national companies with operations here have said that our workforce is as much as 25% more productive than comparable workers in other cities. 

Incentives and economic development resources 

Local leaders work closely with Linn County and the state of Iowa to streamline processes and permitting and to create incentive programs that reward companies for making investments.  

Depending upon 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 Apprenticeship Program and the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program also help companies prepare workers to meet their needs 

Want to learn more about Cedar Rapids’ business environment? 

Contact Mary Meisterling, senior business attraction manager, or visit

Community spotlight – Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin

Walking on the FDL Loop Trail in Lakeside Park

Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, is home to 33 cities, villages and townships and features world-class amenities, companies and talent. The county, located between Milwaukee and Green Bay, has a worldwide reach that offers a low cost of operations and living for businesses and residents.  

Historically named one of the top 20 safest metropolitan areas in the nation, Fond du Lac County is home to many top U.S. companies. These include Mercury Marine, Fives Giddings & Lewis, J.F. Ahern, Wabash, Mid-States Aluminum, J.M. Smucker Company and Alliance Laundry Systems. Fond du Lac County offers 10 public and private business and industrial parks, representing a variety of options for new and expanding businesses. 

This area of Wisconsin is an excellent location for growing industries, including: 

  • Agriculture. 
  • Construction. 
  • Health care and social assistance. 
  • Manufacturing. 
  • Transportation and warehousing. 

Community resources 

Industry leaders in Fond du Lac County are committed to not only growing the area, but also investing in its future. Fond du Lac County Capital Resources invested a total of $752,000 in six local projects which leveraged an additional $11,906,670 in private investments just in 2020.  

The telecommunications industry has a strong presence in Fond du Lac County due in part to providers such as Spectrum who are headquartered in the city of Fond du Lac. They provide broadband access to residents and businesses alike and have pledged to invest additional dollars in expansion.  

In 2020, ranked Fond du Lac sixth in the nation of the best places to live and work in the field of manufacturing.  

The communities in the county have several business parks with large lots and access to the interstate, and one park with access to an airport runway.  


The county is an hour drive from Milwaukee to the south and Green Bay to the north, in the heart of Wisconsin’s heavily populated eastern corridor and industrial eastern half of the state. With a talented, skilled and eager workforce, Fond du Lac County consistently reports lower unemployment rates than the state, surrounding counties, and other Midwestern states. 

Incentives and economic development resources 

Communities across the county are proactive and responsive. Businesses that partner with these communities to make long-term investments develop win-win relationships. Envision Greater Fond du Lac, the combined Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce, has a rich history of community involvement, as well as access to resources such as community loan, grant, and development dollars and business retention services. 

How do I get started? 

Contact us at or visit 

Community Spotlight: Clinton, IA

Clinton, Iowa

Clinton, IowaClintonIowa, was No. 1 in Site Selection magazine’s 2020 rankings for the most per capita industrial projects along the Mississippi River Valley Corridor. Clinton also won a statewide award for business retention and expansion after assisting six local businesses with their expansion projects from 2020 to 2021. The projects are valued at over $270 million.  

“Our number one priority is to accommodate our businesses’ needs regardless of their size,” said Erin M. Cole, president and CEO of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation. “In the Greater Clinton Region, each company is treated like a VIP. We go out of our way to leverage all local, state and federal resources for the benefit of our employers.”  

Surrounded by corn and soybeans, Clinton is located in easternmost Iowa along the Mississippi River. Just two hours west of Chicagoland, Clinton draws workers and investors from neighboring Illinois. Its prime Midwest location along four-lane U.S. Highway 30 is in close proximity to Interstate 80 and Interstate 88. The region is served by three Class I railroads, and wet and dry barge transportation is available on the Mississippi River.  

In November 2020, Japan’s Spiber Inc. chose Clinton for its first U.S. production facility through a partnership with agribusiness ADM. The biotech startup converts corn-based dextrose into next-generation biomaterials for use in apparel, car seats and other products. In addition to Spiber, Naeve Family Beef chose the Greater Clinton Region for its new meat processing facility. And a renewable energy company has plans to announce Clinton as the site for its first production facility. These companies join dozens of existing manufactures in the area. 

Community resources 

Two business parks currently have land available for new projects. The Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park is an Iowa Certified Site with existing Union Pacific rail serviceThe Lyons Business and Technology Park is zoned for light industrial and commercial businesses. The rail park has over 350 acres available for development, and the technology park has an existing 18,000-plus square feet flex space building available for sale or lease. Both parks are outside of the 500year floodplain. The quality of life is high, the cost of living is low! 

Workforce development and attraction 

More than 470,000 potential workers make up Clinton’s labor pool. All employers can utilize three unique talent attraction programs. The manufacturing awareness workforce development certificate prepares displaced workers and recent graduates for jobs in the manufacturing sector at no cost to the student. The Clinton County community student loan assistance program helps new residents pay off their student loan debt faster. And the home base Iowa program for military veterans offers job search assistance and up to $6,500 toward the purchase of a home in Clinton County 

Incentives and economic development resources 

The CRDC is ready to welcome new employers to ClintonAlliant Energy supports new projects and facilitates meetings for new businesses at the local, state and federal level.  

How do I get started? 

Contact us at or visit  

Learn why Sheboygan County is where you can do more

boats in the water, Sheboygan

boats in the water, SheboyganSheboygan County, Wisconsin, is home to 11 cities and villages and features worldclass amenities, companies and talent. This small county, located between Milwaukee and Green Bay, offers businesses a global reach with a low cost of operations and offers their employees a low cost of living.  

The Sheboygan County greater metropolitan area contains one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing in the nation. Many companies locate their production facilities, company headquarters and research and developments facilities within the areaThese companies manufacture a surprisingly diverse range of products 

  • Bemis  Plastics product manufacturing. 
  • Johnsonville − Meat processing. 
  • Kohler − Enameled iron and metal sanitary ware manufacturing. 
  • Masters Gallery  Dairy-product merchant wholesalers. 
  • Sargento  Cheese manufacturing. 
  • The Vollrath Co.  Kitchen utensil, pot and pan manufacturing. 

This area of Wisconsin is an excellent location for growingindustries, including: 

  • Data centers. 
  • Food processing. 
  • Metal manufacturing.  
  • Paper and publishing. 
  • Plastic, polymers and resins. 

Community resources 

Area industry leaders are committed to growing and investing in this market, which creates unique amenities not typically found in a county of 115,000 people.  For example, a new U.S. Customs Facility at the local airport allows companies to land large jets which helps expedite international and area business operations.  Commercial passenger air service is not available here, 

Energy delivery is very reliable due to service providers such as Alliant Energy. The county is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, which makes it ideal for businesses seeking access to high volumes of water at low-cost.   

The county offers several new business parks with large lots and easy interstate access. A vibrant local housing market supports affordable housing solutions for investors.   


The county is located an hour drive from Milwaukee to the south and Green Bay to the north − at the heart of Wisconsin’s heavily populated and industrial eastern half of the state. The area’s industrial sector and several others help the county be the number one rated MSA in the nation for large employers as a percentage of labor force size.   

Incentives and economic development resources 

Communities across the county proactively respond to businesses and use available tools to develop win-win solutions to benefit long-term investorsThe Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation will launch a seed accelerator in 2021 as part of its newly adopted program of work.  

Longtime partners Alliant Energy and Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation have successfully assisted many companies to locate in this areaAsk our economic development team any questions you may have about this thriving community. 

Community Spotlight: Ames, Iowa

Ames, Iowa

Strategically located in the heart of America and Iowa, the opportunities at the 730-acre certified site, Prairie View Industrial Center (PVIC), are ideal for companies looking to expand to the Midwest.

Flexible site options of your choosing are site-ready with innovative infrastructure options, including strong technology connections. This ready-to-go land is bookended by Barilla, the Italian pasta manufacturer, and Verbio’s new renewable natural gas production facility. PVIC is an excellent location for growing industries, including:

  • Advanced manufacturing.
  • Animal health.
  • Biofuels and renewable chemicals.
  • Food production.

Community resources

Locating your business near Iowa State University (ISU) will give you access to innovation and a robust, educated workforce. ISU’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) and Alliant Energy created the Digital Manufacturing Lab to help businesses evaluate problems and find opportunities using innovative technology.

In addition to the Lab, ISU offers research agreements, business development services and student intern programs.


Access to talent and an abundant workforce are critical factors in deciding where to locate a new business. Prairie View offers access to a nearly 685,000 labor shed area, including the Des Moines metro area. Ames and Story County continue to grow rapidly, which will continue to increase workforce availability.

Incentives and economic development resources

Longtime partners Alliant Energy and Ames Economic Development Commission have a long and successful track record of assisting companies looking to locate here. Whether you need financial assistance, connections at ISU, or help navigating the city approval process, we will be with you the entire way through your project and beyond.

Contact our economic development team with any questions you may have about this thriving community and shovel-ready location.

Photo credit: