Utility Companies: An invaluable resource for Community Development

Utility Companies: An invaluable resource for Community Development Main Photo

2 Dec 2022


Utility companies can play a positive role in shaping a state’s business environment. The Iowa Area Development Group is committed to assisting communities in the state of Iowa and helping them achieve their goals.

There are several inherent advantages that utility economic development platforms provide that make them an invaluable resource. For one, they can often offer more technical expertise due to their financial resources and internal exposure to electrical-related issues.

Further, although constrained to their service territory, electric utilities tend to work the “regional approach” to economic development better than their state and local counterparts.

Utilities can play an essential role in whether a company relocates to an area or expands its current presence. The most innovative ones have developed effective programs that help businesses with site selection, workforce analytics and sustainability efforts. The result for employers and the communities is additional jobs, improved infrastructure, and cleaner energy.

The Iowa Area Development Group: A community development leader

Founded in 1985, Iowa Area Development Group is the business and community development leader for over 220 member-owned electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and independent telecommunication companies throughout the state.

IADG is committed to providing consultation and assistance to help businesses and communities achieve their project development goals. Its team of economic development professionals is knowledgeable, supportive and accessible. The group provides a wide range of services, including available site and building identification, financial incentive packaging, marketing, community resource assessment and other tools vital to development success.

Over the years, the Iowa Area Development Group's member systems have been instrumental in partnering with Iowa communities to establish over 7,200 acres of prime industrial ground while making significant investments in their communities and building over 2.2 million square feet of speculative industrial space. Its inventory consists of buildings in Iowa, from 10,000 square feet to more than 150,000 square feet in communities straddling all sizes.

IADG: Making development projects easier to execute

Bruce Hansen, Vice President of Business Development at IADG, stated, “We have about 220 electric and telecommunication utility members that fund our organization. From a business and community development standpoint, that is a big commitment for the state and for these utilities to come together to fund business and community development efforts that we do on their behalf.” He added, “About 14 years ago, we entered into a partnership with independent telecommunication companies or ITCs. So, from a utility standpoint, we look at account development not only to sell electricity or telecommunication services but also to attract capital investment and encourage job creation in the rural area. And that is exactly what our utility companies have done by investing in and supporting our group all these years.”

Bruce Hansen went on to add that IADG also participates in incentive financial packaging. Their other activities are the marketing of sites & buildings and technical support for programming. “With the support of USDA Rural Development, for the last 25 years, we have been successful in attracting and capturing over 120-130 million dollars in the state of Iowa for various commercial and community, industrial and community projects,” he said.

From a marketing standpoint, IADG addresses inquiries and works on projects to meet its goals. A number of its utilities have partnered with local communities on buildings and have also partnered with communities on establishing industrial parks. Both these components are essential to attracting business and industry.

For many businesses, energy is a top consideration in where they locate, as it may be their most considerable expense or the focus of their sustainability goals. When it comes to choosing a business location in Iowa and addressing varied touchpoints like leveraging funding opportunities, locating available sites and buildings, providing technical assistance and information and working through unforeseen developments, IADG staff and partners will stand by a business every step of the way.

The Winnebago and Worth Counties Betterment Council (Winn-Worth Betco) is here to support all businesses and developers looking to grow in our 14 communities. We invite you to discover all that our communities have to offer. Contact us for more information here. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter!

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