"We could not be happier to have Mark on board,"
Kittrell, who still spends part of each week in the
Kittrell has been involved with multiple tech startups, real estate development and economic development initiatives. He is founder of
TEAM operates three data centers in
Kittrell also is co-founder and CEO of
"I feel like there's an awful lot of effort that's being put into statewide initiatives from people in the
One of the newest projects the IIC is involved with is the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Cedar Valley TechWorks.
It also likely will provide a nice spark for the TechWorks project.
He offered a couple of examples in his reasoning.
"First, what we're trying to do is coordinate a lot of state activity through TechWorks," he said. "No. 2 is if we put smart people and state-of-the-art equipment someplace, we're going to get a lot of interest from industry. We think people will want to put staff there, develop their own labs, and we may see new development around there and inside the building."
Kittrell said there is a "large federal push" behind state, private and local economic-development initiatives such as TechWorks.
"That can move the needle quite a bit in manufacturing," Kittrell said. "We think the Iowa Advance Manufacturing Center can be a real magnet for that."
The IIC is the "private" portion of the state's private-public partnership for economic development, Kittrell said.
"As a not-for-profit organization, we have flexibility that the state does not have," he said. "Working with private venture and angel funding folks is a priority with us."
Local programs that encourage entrepreneurship and the development of tech-related businesses -- TechBrew, for example -- get considerable statewide attention, Kittrell said.
"TechBrew is one of the most vibrant programs in the state," he said. "We're really pleased to see a lot of entrepreneurism there. UNI has a ton of entrepreneurship activity. We'd like to try and bring a lot more private funding opportunities to those kinds of entrepreneurial ideas. So. if we could get more angel (funding) activity and more venture capital in this area, that's another big priority."
The outlook for such funding is bright, Kitrell said, using state tax credits and other incentives. The goal is to put together
"We're also working with a group in
There is reason to expect good things on the entrepreneurial front in 2014, Kittrell said.
"The state is in very good shape, financially. That's wonderful," he said. "I would say the question that is going to be in front of an awful lot of people is with a good economy, do we have the wisdom to make some smart investments. We are the kind of state that understands you have to plant and tend and harvest. The best time to do that sort of planting is now, when we have a good solid budget."
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