Some of the state’s captains of industry have agreed to serve on two new boards which will steer state government economic development policy.
Governor Branstad says the executives will help develop a “comprehensive economic development strategy” for the state, including marketing advice and tips about emerging markets around the globe.
“This is a new day for economic development in Iowa,” Branstad says. “I think it shows we are bringing together the best of the private sector.”
During the 2010 campaign Branstad called for creating a new public-private partnership to replace the Iowa Department of Economic Development and legislators agreed to the idea this past spring.
Executives from Rockwell Collins, Pioneer and Principal are among the 18 Iowa business leaders on the new “Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress” board and the “Iowa Innovation Corporation” board. Principal C.E.O. Larry Zimpleman says Iowa’s favorable regulatory climate gives Iowa-based financial services businesses the potential to expand into foreign markets.
“It’s interesting today, as many of you know, is the day that the seven-billionth person is born on the planet,” He says. “We have an exploding middle-income class all over the world who are going to want the same sort of financial products and services, frankly the same consumer products and services, that all of us here in the United States have grown up with, so there is a big opportunity for Iowa companies in markets like Brazil and China and southeast Asia.”
The Iowa Economic Development Authority serves as the over-arching operating structure for the new public-private agency and a new board of directors for that authority has met once and handed out state grants for businesses that promise to create new jobs in Iowa. Branstad says business secrets from the participating executives and the businesses state officials are trying to lure to the state will be handled “carefully.”
“I don’t know that there’s an easy answer to that. I mean, we’re going to follow the law and we’re going to avoid getting into any conflicts of interests,” Branstad says. “But when you have proprietary interests, I mean, each company is going to, obviously, look out to protect their own proprietary interest.”
Critics of the new public-private partnership charge with decisions about government grants and loans being made by private business leaders, it’s a “scandal waiting to happen.” The governor promises “transparency” in decisions made by the three new boards that are part of the new public-private partnership.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference, at which the membership on the two boards was announced.
Below is information released by the governor’s office this morning regarding the membership on the two boards.
The members of the IPEP board include:
Bill Fehrmann, President and CEO, MidAmerican Energy Company
Paul Schickler III, President, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business
Larry Zimpleman, CEO, Principal Financial Group
John Smith, Chairman of the Board, CRST International Inc.
Toby Shine, President, Shine Brothers Corporation
Mary Andringa, President and CEO, Vermeer Corporation
Marti Rodamaker, Banker, First Citizens National Bank
Ken Lockard, Chairman, Lockard Companies
Tom Aller, President, Interstate Power and Light, Alliant Energy
Roger Underwood, Co-founder, Becker-Underwood
Clay Jones, Chairman, President and CEO, Rockwell Collins
The IPEP board will be co-chaired by the Governor and Lt. Governor and will also include the director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the chair of the IEDA board and the chair of the Iowa Innovation Corporation.
The Governor also named the members of the Iowa Innovation Corporation board, the non-profit corporation that was established by the IEDA (as required by House File 590), that will serve as Iowa’s innovation intermediary. The Corporation will operate independently with funding from the private sector and Federal grants.
The members of the Iowa Innovation Corporation board include:
Robert Riley, Jr., President and CEO, Feed Energy Co.
Jamie Zanios, Vice President, North Iowa Area Community College
Peter Hempken, retired, DuPont
Scott Norvell, President and CEO, Master Builders of Iowa
Cara Heiden, retired, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Sarah Haskin, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, AY McDonald Manufacturing Company
Chris Nelson, President and CEO, Kemin Industries Inc.