Ankeny Economic Development Corporation

Economic Development Newsletter

Second Quarter 2021 Newsletter


Welcome new members ETHOS Design Group and Edward Jones - Brian Herbel.


Brian D Herbel, Financial Advisor | Edward Jones


Smart Asset Ranks Ankeny #8 in Most Livable Small Cities 

SmartAsset studied 300 cities with populations between 65,000-100,000. This ranking is a reflection of our lower cost of living and our high quality of life as compared to other small cities around the country.  


Reality-Based Leadership Development Day Set for August 27

With COVID cases declining and vaccination rates increasing we are moving ahead with the Reality-Based Leadership Development Day. It will feature Alex Dorr of the Cy Wakeman Reality-Based Leadership Organizations. Learn more and register on our Leadership Development page.  

Ankeny Virtual Development Tour

If you missed this tour following our April meeting, grab your coffee and join us Thursday morning on Zoom. We will highlight commercial and industrial development in the area.

It is Thursday, May 20, 10:00-11:00am. No registration required.


Ankeny Leadership Institute Class Project

The 2020/2021 ALI Class project is Walk for Awareness: The Fight Against Human Trafficking. It is a family friendly event on Saturday, June 5, 11am-1pm at Sawgrass Park (2200 SW 36th St, Ankeny).

Public Transportation Survey

The City of Ankeny has contracted with a consultant to study the public transportation needs of our area and review options to meet those needs. In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing the survey and asking AEDC members to complete the survey and share it with your coworkers and employees. 


First Quarter 2021 Newsletter

Student Shark Tank 

Thanks to a grant from Polk County, we hosted the second annual Student Shark Tank. This grant allowed us to challenge students ages 14-24 to pitch a business (for profit) or a community (non-profit) idea.  

Creating, developing, and presenting an idea is a lot of work. It also takes a lot of courage. The talent and ideas presented were nothing short of inspiring. A total of 18 pitches were presented including eleven business ideas and seven community projects. The presenting students came from four different school districts, five colleges and one trade school.  

The judging panel included Chris Murray of Denny Elwell Company, Trent Murphy of CJM Financial, Kerry Walter-Ashby of Ankeny City Council, and Mike Mertz of Ankeny Schools. The event was held at Accumold with help from Aaron Johnson, VP of Marketing and Customer Strategy. Participants were judged on their idea, return on investment, presentation and execution plan. 

Below are the results based on judges scores. This press release also provides additional detail about this great event. 

Vaccine Distribution in Iowa

The Iowa Dept of Public Health (IDPH) is working to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines the State of Iowa is allocated. They understand the health and economic impact of wide and efficient distribution. To do this they are working through the County Health Departments and local medical providers.  In a recent webinar for employers, IDPH emphasized the need for patience. Patience is hard given all we’ve been through but we can see the light from here and Spring is around the corner.  

School District Budget Assumptions 

The funding of K-12 school districts is a complicated formula made up of multiple income sources. Local property taxes are just one of these sources. It is important to understand that sharing information on one source is only looking at a part of the picture -- thus it is dangerous. That said, we know our members are smart and will not take it out of context.  

The school district aims to set their budget in a way that provides stability for a 5-year time period. This not only helps the district’s operations but the community as a whole.  

For the first time in 35 years, 2020 enrollment in the Ankeny School district declined. Of course, it is expected to rebound and continue to grow going forward. Given the surge in homes being built this is a logical assumption.   

The increases in tax base for the school district budget year 2022 is 6.3%. The school district’s average growth rate for the past 30 years has averaged 7.87% according to the budget assumptions FY2022 document in the Jan. 19, 2021 school board agenda.  Polk County Assessor expects residential values for 2021 to increase 6-7 percent. Variations between commercial real estate sectors make general estimates difficult given the market disruptions of 2020.

State SAVE funding requires the District rerun the Revenue Purpose statement election to continue use of SAVE funding for major building projects that would otherwise require funding from local property taxes. This election is scheduled for March 2, 2021. You can learn more about it on the District's website.   

Meeting Logistics and Calendar Invites 

Many have asked that we send meeting invites and reminders for our bi-monthly lunch meetings. This will make it easier for you to manage your calendar and allow us to update meeting details. We will also use your acceptance/tentative/decline as our means of gathering RSVPs. Meeting dates and details will also be listed on our website under Current Events should the calendar option not work for you.  

We appreciate your understanding as we make this transition and welcome your feedback as we do. As always, meetings will be 12-1pm on the following dates: Feb 18, Apr 15, Jun 17, Aug 19, Oct 21 and Dec 16, 2021.  

Broadband availability in our area will be the focus of our Feb 18 meeting at Courtyard and online. We will have a panel of broadband experts moderated by Dave Nelson of Pratum.  

Thank you for supporting local businesses these last few months. It is a simple way we all have to making a positive impact in our area. From takeout, to curb-side shopping, to giving a little cheer, it all adds up to local jobs. Let's keep it going. 


Fourth Quarter 2020 Newsletter

We took the leap and attempted a double hybrid. No, a double hybrid is not an athletic move performed at the Olympics. It was the combination of a virtual and in-person meeting that also combined a regular lunch meeting with our annual Salute to Industry event. Our measurements of success are different this year, but we think we found a way to stay safe and stay connected.  

In case you missed it or can’t get enough of this good news, below are the videos highlighting two award recipients and Ankeny – Quality Attracts Quality.

Commercial Investment Award winner Kreg Tool is moving their headquarters from Huxley to the Crosswinds Business Park just east of I-35 and south of Corporate Woods. Kreg employs 230 people currently. The new building will hold up to 300 employees. Todd Sommerfeld shared that access to a strong workforce was a key factor in the decision to move to Ankeny.  

ETHOS Design Group received a Commercial Investment Award for their new building in Ankeny. ETHOS is an architecture and interior design group currently based in Polk City. They have grown consistently for years so decided to buy and build at the corner of SE Shurfine and Cortina Drive. They selected this location because it was centrally located and will give employees access to a number of area amenities including restaurants and shops. 

From Inc. 5000 to the fortune 500, the opportunities are endless in Ankeny. This short video highlights the strength of our community and the resilience of area businesses. It also highlights some of the key challenges of 2020. 

2021 Property Assessments

Polk County Assessor Randy Ripperger sees significant challenges in determining commercial property values for 2021. The changing demands with COVID-19 are driving commercial property values in very different directions. Values for hotels and restaurants are down while warehouses, home improvement and grocery store values are up.

Ripperger reports that multi-residential properties continued to sell well and expects valuations to increase more than 10 percent. Noticeably not mentioned was office space.

The residential side, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of Ankeny's total tax base, is expected to increase 6-7 percent countywide.

Membership Map

Do you know someone looking for a job and you want to point them to some great employers? Or maybe you just want an easy way to find other AEDC members? Now you can with our custom AEDC Membership Google map

Leadership Lessons From Larry Zimpleman

Communicate even when you don’t have all the answers and keep as much of your normal routine as possible were two crisis management lessons Larry Zimpleman shared at the  August meeting. Being in key leadership positions at Principal during the 1993 floods, 9/11 and taking the company public just weeks later and the market crash of 2008, Larry has  navigated many rough waters. “Even when you don’t have all the answers you have to communicate," Zimpleman shared. It wasn’t until years after the 2008/2009 market melt-down that  Larry learned just how important his candid communications to employees were during those rough times. They didn’t have the typical company polish of a crafted message coming out of  the communications department. They were just raw messages from the company president sharing what he knew and often what he didn’t know. According to Larry, you can’t over  communicate when times are tough. Another lesson he learned was to keep as much of your routine as possible. In the middle of the economic crisis, he almost gave up his routine of  running during his lunch hour but found it not only helped him personally, but that it silently gave others around him permission to take care of themselves.

Student Shark Tank is Back!

We are looking for young people with a business or community project idea. With support from Polk County we will award students ages 14-24 with funds to support their projects. You can learn more and register at

Third Quarter 2020 Newsletter

Student Shark Tank Success 


Since receiving his Student Shark Tank award money London Schuchant has expanded his marketing efforts with such great success, he is now tracking revenue by country. Here are a few of the business stats he recently shared. 

- 4th Lane Running now has over 2,575 followers 

- In the last month started recording the number of sales and dollar amount per country 
- Expects to hit $10,000 in total sales this summer 

- Starting discussions with athletes from Kenya   




New Location 


Thanks to board members Tim Malloy of Northstar Power and Randy Munson of Karl Chevrolet we got moved. We are leveraging a combination of a home office and the Blue Bean co-working space at 110 N Ankeny Blvd. (old Palmer’s location). You can always find us at, 964-0747 and   


In addition to our new location, AEDC established its own employer identification number, cloud-based computer system and insurance. If you have any questions, contact Joey Beech or someone on the executive board (Trent Murphy, Melissa Johnson, Todd Sommerfeld or Rosalind Fox).  


Reality Based Leadership 


Given continued health concerns of group gatherings the executive board feels it is best to postpone the Reality Based Leadership Development Day. When discussing options, the group felt strongly that much of the benefit comes from the in-person interactions not only with the presenter but with the other leaders from attending/sponsoring companies.  


We are committed to holding this event. Alex Dorr, our speaker from the Cy Wakemen Reality Based Leadership Team, is willing to work with us to reschedule as soon as it is safe to do so. We greatly appreciate the patience of the following sponsors of this event 


Bayer, Casey's General Stores, City of Ankeny, CJM Financial, Community State Bank, DMACC, DRA Properties, John Deere Des Moines Works, Kreg Tool, Midwest Insurance Company, Pratum, Snyder & Associates, SPAL USA and The Lauridsen Group 


“Our circumstances are the reality in which we must succeed,” Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership. 


New Roads  


Did you know in the last five years over 75 miles of new roads have been constructed in the City of Ankeny? SW Prairie Trail Pkwy now runs from Irvinedale to Ankeny Blvd and meets-up with Shurfine going to Delaware. SE Hulsizer will soon jog west to allow for better traffic flow onto SE Oralabor Rd (between Olive Garden and Perkins).