BOARD ACTION: Board Approves Awards to Five Established and Four Startups

May 17, 2019

For more information contact: 

Jacque Matsen, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Phone: 515.348.6245
Economic Development Board approves projects from five established and four startup companies located across Iowa 

May 10, 2019 (DES MOINES, IA) – Today, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board approved projects for five legacy companies, which will assist in the creation of 340 jobs, retention of 406 jobs and will result in more than $632 million in new capital investment for the state. These projects are located in Altoona, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Pella and rural Butler County. The board also approved innovation funding in support of four startups located in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Davenport and Prole.  

Facebook expands presence in Iowa 
Siculus, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook, Inc. Siculus operations involve storage and transfer of large amounts of transactional data. Siculus plans to construct a large data center facility adjacent to its current footprint in Altoona. At the request of the City of Altoona, the board authorized a local property tax exemption through the High Quality Jobs program (HQJ). This enables the city to provide the 20-year tax abatement approved by its City Council on May 6, 2019. No new state incentives are planned, but the project will result in $400 million in new capital investment and create 31 jobs at a qualifying wage of $30.32 per hour. 

Vermeer to rebuild and expand in Pella 
Vermeer Corporation, a family owned and led manufacturer since 1948, produces large agricultural and industrial equipment in Pella. Two of Vermeer’s plants sustained significant damage in the July 19, 2018, tornado that hit the area. The company plans to leverage emergency provisions within HQJ to rebuild and position itself for growth. The board awarded disaster relief assistance for this $118.3 million capital investment project in the form of tax benefits, which will support retention of 406 jobs – 240 at a qualifying wage of $21.61 per hour.  

Manufacturer to construct new facility in Cedar Rapids 
Future Line LLC provides comprehensive small and large fleet truck solutions. Specializing in truck beds, Future Line offers dump, service, flat-bed and its own Flex Body solutions. The company plans to construct a new 30,000 square foot facility to accommodate its current manufacturing and position itself for future growth. The board awarded this project, which will result in $3.8 million in new capital investment for the state, tax benefits through HQJ. Future Line LLC is expected to create 14 jobs, of which 10 are incented at a qualifying wage of $21.61 per hour. 

Food manufacturer to expand in Mason City 
Kraft Heinz Company manufactures and markets food and beverage products including condiments and sauces, cheese and dairy, meals, meats, refreshment beverages, coffee and other grocery products. The company plans to launch new innovative desserts in the Ready-to-Eat segment. This project includes an expansion of their facility and an investment in new processing and packaging equipment to accommodate the new portfolio of products. The board approved tax benefits through HQJ for this project, which is expected to result in $61.3 million in capital investment and create 32 jobs incented at a qualifying wage of $17.87 per hour. 

Manufacturer expands in rural Iowa 
Trinity Rail Maintenance Services, Inc. (TRMS) is a division of TrinityRail, specializing in railcar manufacturing. TRMS performs comprehensive railcar services, including railcar repairs, maintenance, modification and complete railcar manufacturing rebuilds and retrofitting. The company plans to expand in Butler County by constructing a 230-acre railcar maintenance, retrofitting and re-manufacturing facility. The board awarded tax benefits through HQJ in support of this project, which will generate $48.9 million in capital investment and create 263 jobs, of which 28 are incented at a qualifying wage of $21.43 per hour. 

Awards made to four startups 
KinoSol SBC, based in Ames, has developed a solar-powered food dehydrator with Mylar food storage bags designed for farmers in developing countries to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, grains and insects using solar energy. KinoSol plans to improve the functionality of the dehydrator and continue market research to identify the best sales strategy. The company was awarded a $25,000 Proof of Commercial Relevance (POCR) loan for product refinement, market planning and key personnel. 

TuitionFit, based in Davenport, is an online platform that allows the public to share college financial aid offers and create a transparent catalog of prices offered to students organized by different economic and academic profiles. With this information, students and families seeking a college option that they can afford are now able to shop and compare by actual price. Additionally, colleges can improve enrollment by inviting students to apply based on the price. The company was awarded a $25,000 POCR loan for market planning and market entry. 

Based in Prole, Ag Manufacturing & Technology (AMT) is an ag-tech company that develops, manufactures, sells and services aftermarket ag machinery equipment that eliminates overseeding on all types of agriculture terrain. The patented motorized manifold hardware is controlled and monitored by custom software through an integrated touchscreen display in the tractor cab. The company was awarded a $250,000 Propel loan from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund for additional manufacturing capacity, market expansion activities and hiring key personnel. 

Coralville’s VIDA Diagnostics is a provider of patented, clinically validated pulmonary imaging diagnostics software that uses big data and imaging analytics to help fight lung disease and improve the quality of pulmonary care, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and asthma. VIDA’s LungPrint is artificial intelligence-powered advanced imaging analysis for patients with, or at risk for, pulmonary diseases. The company was awarded a $500,000 Expansion loan from the Iowa Innovation Acceleration Fund for hiring key personnel, market planning and product refinement. 

Award recommendations for these funds are made by the Technology Commercialization Committee to the IEDA Board for approval. 

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