Western Iowa Target Industries Part Two: Advanced Manufacturing and Data and Information Technology

Western Iowa Target Industries Part Two: Advanced Manufacturing and Data and Information Technology Main Photo

23 Jun 2021


Not only is Iowa a leader in agriculture and ag-related industries, it is also a center for manufacturing and a safe and advantageous location for data and information technology companies. Iowa is a right-to-work state and these target industries are vital for Iowa’s ongoing and anticipated economic development.

Advanced Manufacturing

With over 6,000 businesses employing nearly 223,000, a full 14 percent of the state’s total workforce is employed in advanced manufacturing. These businesses include VT Industries, Pella, GOMACO, EVAPCO, Midwest Industry, Scranton Manufacturing, Collins Aerospace, American Athletic, Inc./Spaulding, Continental Carbonics, Leer Inc. Carroll Ops, Petersen Manufacturing, Power Lift, Toynes, AMANCO Audubon Manufacturing Corporation, B&D Manufacturing, Bowie Manufacturing, Dobson Pipe Organ, Lundell Plastics, Quality Machine, TNT Industries, Inc., and Volquartsen Firearms.

Western Iowa’s entrepreneurial startup culture, access to an abundance of raw materials, and a market of over 25 million people within a day’s drive make it a natural and lucrative location for industries. The Western Iowa region has a high concentration of the following manufacturing industries: 

  • Wood Window and Door 
  • Ethyl Alcohol 
  • Motor Vehicle Body 
  • Construction Machinery  
  • Heating Equipment 
  • Other Metal Container  
  • Air-Conditioning, Warm Air Heating Equipment, and Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration Equipment 
  • Sporting and Athletic Goods  
  • Farm Machinery and Equipment 
  • Measuring, Dispensing, and Other Pumping Equipment

Learn more about the demographics, wages, and opportunities here.

Data and Information Technology

Often referred to as Silicon Prairie, Western Iowa is home to a number of data and national information and data technology companies. Global leaders such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft also have data centers in Iowa. Iowa’s low natural disaster risk is important for data centers. With virtually no earthquake activity and manageable storms in summer and winter, disruptions in business activity are few and far between.  

Lightning fast internet is a priority in Western Iowa, and while offerings vary from county to county, high-speed connectivity can be found in just about every corner of the region. Area providers offer excellent bandwidth, redundancy, network monitoring, security, virtualization, disaster recovery, desktop and mobile communications, and technical support. Providers also offer a host of value-added services including managed IT services. 

Uniquely, Western Iowa has The Forge by Accenture Technology. The Forge is the only rural technology hub in Iowa and is being used to attract “satellite” technology locations for major tech companies located in Silicon Valley and other parts of the country. High school students have the opportunity for jobs and additional training in computer coding and other technologies as part of this unique partnership.

Tech industries and call centers located in Western Iowa include American Home Shield, Aureon, Biokenimetrics, Inc., First American Home Warranty, ICE Technologies, and Professional Computer Solutions. Available well-paying jobs include:

  • Information Security Analysts
  • Computer Programmers
  • Software Developers
  • Database Administrators
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Computer Network Support Specialists

Learn more about the demographics, wages, and opportunities here.

Advantages of Doing Business in Western Iowa

Quality of Life Advantage: The low cost of living, high air and water quality, and recreational opportunities are just a few of the advantages of living in the region. With crime ratings well below the US average, surrounding states, and even Iowa as a whole, Western Iowa offers a safer environment for you, your family and your assets.

Education Advantage: The number of people with a two-year degree in the Western Iowa region is 2.5% higher than for the U.S. as a whole. The three community colleges that serve the region offer a variety of programs in agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural technology, biotechnology, livestock and crop production, and veterinary technology: Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa Central Community College, and Western Iowa Tech Community College. In addition, Buena Vista University and University of Northern Iowa provide advanced degrees. Nearby, Iowa State University and University of Iowa both have world-renowned undergraduate and graduate agricultural degree programs. Several school districts throughout the region also have Career Academies that offer training in advanced technology for agriculture, manufacturing, and business.

Workforce and Work Ethic Advantage: According to employers in the region, the work ethic and productivity of employees in the Western Iowa region are higher than their counterparts in other locations across the U.S. The workforce is skilled and educated with a labor pool of 999,479 within 50 miles. Iowa is a right-to-work state.

Access Advantage: Western Iowa is at the center of it all. Access to an abundance of raw materials and a market of over 25 million people are within a day’s drive (500 miles). Located at the crossroads of I-80 and I-35, the region is served by four interstates highways and has excellent air and rail infrastructure. Companies in Western Iowa can get goods to market from coast to coast with ease, giving them a distribution and supply-chain advantage.

Utility and Water Infrastructure Advantage: Utilities in the Western Iowa region are easily accessible, inexpensive, and reliable. Gas and electric are supplied by 10+ utility companies, providing reliable service at competitive prices. There is a mix of investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and municipal providers. In addition, Iowa is second in the nation in wind energy as a percentage of total power output (AWEA, 2018). Access to clean water is plentiful and affordable. Fiber broadband is available in the region and expansion is underway. 

Tax Advantage:

  • No Sales and Use Tax on machinery & equipment purchases 
  • No Property Tax on new industrial machinery and business equipment  
  • No Personal Property Tax, including corporate inventories of goods-in-process, raw materials, and salable goods 
  • Iowa Corporate Income Tax: 
    • 50% deductibility of federal taxes from Iowa corporate income  
    • Single-factor, non-unitary based only on the percentage of total sales income within the state  
    • Iowa corporate income tax may be reduced or eliminated by the New Jobs Tax Credit 
  • Research and Development Tax Credit for increasing research activities: up to 6.5% of a company’s allotted share of qualifying research expenditures in Iowa
  • Iowa information and data technology companies may be eligible for 50 or 100 percent refund on the Sales and Use Tax for: 
    • Electricity purchased for use in data centers 
    • Power infrastructure equipment 
    • Computer purchases 
    • Temperature control equipment 
    • Racking systems and cabling

Incentives Advantage: 

State and local incentives: 

  • RISE/Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy – DOT road improvements  
  • Rail Revolving Loan and Grant – DOT rail improvements 
  • EDSA/Economic Development Set-Aside Program – IEDA assistance (CDBG) for businesses  
  • PFSA /Public Facilities Set-Aside Program – IEDA assistance (CDBG) for public infrastructure 
  • High Quality Jobs Program – IEDA tax credits 
  • 260E and 260F – Job training & retraining through community colleges 
  • Revolving Loan Funds/RLF (both regional and local) 
  • Tax Increment Financing/TIF (local) 
  • Tax abatement (local)

Western Iowa Advantage

Western Iowa with its committed workforce, strong sense of community, and quality of life, should be high on the list for companies looking to grow and relocate. Contact us today and see how easy it can be! Western Iowa Advantage 712.792.9914 or info@westerniowaadvantage.com

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