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Friday AM Daily | September 7, 2018
Iowa Index of stocks up slightly in August
By Joe Gardyasz | Senior Staff Writer
Three Iowa-based companies recorded tidy double-digit stock price gains in August, but most of the 22 companies with Iowa headquarters had modest price gains or declines last month.

Leading the pack was Renewable Energy Group, whose stock was up 58.06 percent in August. Workiva’s share price increased 45.94 percent over July, while KemPharm shares were up 26.83 percent over the previous month. Nine of the Iowa stocks gained in value for the month while 12 declined and one company, Art’s Way Manufacturing Co., remained unchanged.

The Iowa Index, an unweighted average price of 22 Iowa-based public companies, increased by 0.97 percent from July and was up 3.91 percent on a year-over-year basis, the Business Record's monthly snapshot of Iowa companies shows.

The Dow Jones industrial average had a stronger showing in August, gaining nearly 550 points in value, a 2.16 percent gain during the month and up 18.3 percent from August 2017.  

The Iowa-based companies that make up the Iowa Index are in bold in this list of companies with sizable operations in the state.

See the full Iowa Index

 
Is Greater Des Moines’ fast growth slowing down?

The next Tomorrow Plan Speaker Series guest has all the data you’d need to see that Greater Des Moines’ growth has outpaced many other cities lately, but James Chung also has this startling message: Growth may be slowing.

Chung, a Wichita native who has a Harvard MBA, is the president of Reach Advisors, a strategy, research and predictive analytics firm. He works with cities that want to use deep data sets to improve various operations to compete better for business.

Chung has found that Greater Des Moines could break out in the war for talent much as Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Boulder have. But to get there, the city will have to make sure it keeps growing, and there are early signs of some leveling off, he told the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The MPO says Chung will raise related questions: "Can Greater Des Moines protect its recent growth from another recession? Should future growth be slow and steady? Or does Greater Des Moines want to turbocharge its growth and seek out new frontiers to pioneer, even if new challenges emerge?"

Chung will appear Oct. 4 at the State Historical Building. A lunch and historical presentation by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the State Historical Society of Iowa will begin at 11:30, with Chung following at noon. A question and answer session follows.

Here’s more on the speaker series.

 
NEWS BRIEFS

Mandelbaum joins LWBJ
Certified public accounting firm LWBJ announced that Cyril Mandelbaum has joined the firm as part of her succession plan. Mandelbaum’s career spans more than 45 years of business and community leadership. In addition to her CPA practice, she has served numerous civic and charity organizations, among them the Des Moines Public Library Foundation, the Des Moines Symphony board, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Iowa Environmental Council. She was named a Woman of Influence in 2002 and Woman Business Owner of the Year in 2007 by the Business Record. "It was important to align with a high-quality firm that was a good fit for my clients, as well as myself," Mandelbaum said. "LWBJ provides excellent tax advice, and my business valuation and litigation support practice complements theirs. The two firms are developing significant synergies."

ISU receives $1.4 million STEM grant to prepare community college teachers
A new grant from the National Science Foundation will help Iowa State University researchers continue to develop programs that help graduate students prepare to teach science and technology courses at community colleges. Iowa State will receive $1.4 million of the five-year, $10 million grant as one of four partner universities. The grant is from the foundation’s Includes program, which is designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Craig Ogilvie, an assistant dean for Iowa State’s Graduate College and a Morrill Professor of physics and astronomy, will lead Iowa State’s effort. Details of the program are in this ISU release here.

GrapeTree Medical Staffing among fastest-growing U.S. staffing firms
A northwest Iowa company has been named among the top 10 fastest-growing staffing companies in the nation. GrapeTree Medical Staffing in Milford was ranked No. 8 on the 2018 List of Fastest-Growing U.S. Staffing Firms by Staffing Industry Analysts, a global adviser in the industry. GrapeTree was among 94 staffing companies that qualified this year for the list, which ranks firms by compound annual growth rate of revenue from 2013 through 2017, excluding acquisitions. The firm, which was founded in 1999, posted $48.9 million in revenue in 2017 and had a compound annual growth rate of 81.2 percent from 2013 to 2017. It was also ranked fifth-fastest-growing among U.S. medical staffing firms, and the No. 1 medical staffing firm for growth in Iowa. "We are very excited about our growth as a company," said Steve Heeg, CEO of GrapeTree. "Our health care providers and client facilities are the best around and are dedicated to improving health care on a daily basis."

THE INSIDER NOTEBOOK
Top Insider notebook items: Aug. 31

In case you missed it, here is a look at some of the top notebook items featured in our Aug. 31 issue of the Business Record.

1. An implausible trivia team
2. Going up? New smart elevators get you there more efficiently
3. Top post?

MORE NOTEBOOK ITEMS: Read more Insider bits and bites of the finer side of Iowa business online.
NEWS BRIEFS

Indiana company poised to buy Younkers, revive as online shopping site
Des Moines Register: The return of the Iowa-born Younkers department stores, at least as an online retailer, may happen soon. An Indiana-based tech company called CSC Generation Holdings is poised to buy the Bon-Ton stores, including Younkers, Bon-Ton, Herbergers, Boston Store, Bergners, Carsons and Elder Beerman, USA Today reported. Most of the new company's sales would be online.

Job growth surges; annual wage gain largest since 2009
Reuters: U.S. job growth accelerated in August and wages notched their largest annual increase in more than nine years, strengthening views that the economy was so far weathering the Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China. Nonfarm payrolls surged by 201,000 jobs last month. Average hourly earnings increased 0.4 percent, or 10 cents, in August after rising 0.3 percent in July. That raised the annual increase in wages to 2.9 percent in August, the largest gain since June 2009.
ONE GOOD READ
25 jobs that might not be around anymore

PERRY BEEMAN: Workandmoney.com in "25 Dying Professions You Should Avoid" reports that automation and market changes over the next decade will sharply reduce the number of workers in some fields. Sadly, newspaper reporting is one of those jobs. The article, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, projects that 1 in 10 reporters will lose their jobs in the next decade in a field that has seen 17 straight years of circulation drops and the lowest employment level since 1945, when the U.S. population was much smaller. Even farmers may give way to technology, with an 8 percent drop from 2010 levels by 2020. Others in trouble: low-rung financial planners, middle managers, fast-food cooks, data entry clerks, postal workers and even floral designers.
KCCI TOP STORIES

Police officers patrol Dunkin' Donuts rooftops for a good cause
Police officers from across the state were headed to Dunkin' Donuts today, but it's not just to get their morning coffee. Central Iowa police staked out on Dunkin' Donuts rooftops all morning across the metro to raise money for Special Olympics Iowa. KCCI's Tommie Clark stopped by the Dunkin Donuts on East 14th Street in Des Moines to learn more. Read more
KCCI WEATHER
Today:
Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. High 68. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Tonight:
Cloudy with occasional showers. Low around 55. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Get the latest KCCI weather.

MOBILE SPEED UNIT LOCATIONS

Today:
700 Block of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
1400 Block of 19th Street
1700 Block of University Avenue


See the full week's listing on the Des Moines Police Department's Facebook page.

BUSINESS RECORD IOWA INDEX

The Iowa Index is an unweighted average of all 22 Iowa-based public companies. Below is a live look at those 22, plus 15 additional companies with large operations in Iowa.
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