5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought
posted on Friday, August 25, 2017 in Blog
One: Yes, the Cedar Valley Was Considered for Apple's New Data Center
So, I was walking through the office early Thursday afternoon, and Director of Communications Dorothy de Souza Guedes asks, “What's your big item to accomplish the rest of the day?” “Getting over the depression of hearing the Governor and Tim Cook announce the Apple data center in [deleted] Des Moines,” was my immediate response.
The Cedar Valley was a strong competitor when this was a 300- to 500-acre project. When Apple discovered it could have a 2,000-acre site with similar features, the competition was, practically speaking, over.
The Apple project has spurred Vice President of Economic Development Lisa Skubal and our Economic Development team to work with our regional partners to discover and work to control two mega-sized sites — one with rail and one without. Why two? The data center mega site has much different requirements than, say, a Toyota plant.
These mega sites are not anomalies. Requests are returning to the market after a fairly long absence of demand with a few exceptions – mostly auto assembly plants throughout the United States and Mexico.
The link is to the article discussing the project and the embedded video reviews the incentive package offered.
Apple’s billion-dollar data center ‘puts Iowa on world stage’
Two: VGM Group Took My Blues Away
At the end of the day Thursday, August 24, my blues were chased away by an Alliance & Chamber's ribbon cutting.
An open house and ribbon cutting celebrated the newest expansion of the VGM Group's campus at Ansborough and US 20. Wow! Thank you, Jim Walsh, Mike Mallaro, and team for delivering such a stunning new office building to the Cedar Valley market.
Designed to give new amenities to the growing VGM team that now numbers 760 in the Cedar Valley, the building is a $20 million investment that brought the complex to over 190,000 square feet.
Celebrating the opening of this amazing office with a ribbon cutting ceremony, I laughed through Jim Walsh's “welcome and thank you” remarks. Talking with the VGM team and their VIP guests — many Alliance & Chamber investors — reminded me how grateful we should be for the loyal, growing, investing, employers we have in the Cedar Valley. Thank you, again, VGM.
VGM shows off latest addition at Waterloo complex
Three: Editorial on Job Skills to Fill the Gap
If you are an employer, you know the employability and job-specific skills gap is real. If you're not a hiring manager or owner, believe us, the issue is real.
It's troubling when research expresses that vocational training is too specific and stymies older workers from progressing in or to a new career ladder. There are times when we must say “get over it.”
We cannot afford to have a valuable contributor leave the workforce just because they prefer not to be retrained. The incentives that permit that preference need to lead back into lifelong learning and retraining. That's particularly painful for boomers who love what they've done for 30 years. We as a society can't let these valuable workers slip out of the workforce: the incentive must be to keep learning and keep working through the reasonable career span.
And I almost refuse to give credence to the idea presented in the article below about young men with less than a bachelor's degree working fewer hours each year because of video games. I know the data is real, but good grief.
This is an editorial of The Courier, which is absolutely on point with the issues of job skills to fill the gap. Thank you, Roy, Nancy, and The Courier team for a very good piece on a critical issue.
Learning job skills is no game
Four: Critical Few Behaviors and Organizational Culture
We're all looking for ways to make our workplace a place where people are productive for the firm and our clients. There are a lot of people writing and saying stuff about culture. Strategy+Business is a good business journal and accompanying blog with solid content on a broad range of topics.
This short article helps employers and leaders identify keystone behaviors that will contribute to achieving our strategic and operational objectives. It is worth the time to read to get a start prioritizing culture-building activities in terms of implementation and impact.
Getting to the Critical Few Behaviors That Can Drive Cultural Change
Five: The Robot Apocalypse
Investment Advisor Kevin Wilson makes the case I have advanced since 1981: automation is an improvement in our careers and businesses, not a revolutionary challenge to our intellect. Yes, of course, we can conjure a Jetson's and HAL-lific artificial intelligence tragedy. But let's back up to where we are in advancing technology, how we're using it, and how it can leverage our scarce American human capital. Instead, think about how we quickly ramp up from here. That's what this lengthy, chart-rich SeekingAlpha.com article does.
Much Ado about Nothing: The Robot Apocalypse Is Actually an Economic Renaissance In Disguise
What are you reading that would help me do my job for you? Email me at SDust@CedarValleyAlliance.com.