Goals & Accomplishments

Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation attempts to set challenging goals each year by laying the groundwork for regional growth. PACEDC builds partnerships and encourages economic growth by providing assistance to businesses and communities in Palo Alto County.

We work to remove the obstacles and offer assistance programs that foster job creation and local investment. Palo Alto County offers Acres of Opportunity. Opportunities come to those who make them, and PACEDC is leveraging those opportunities for the benefit of all of us.

Stacking hands of young teen student, teamwork, togetherness and cooperation concept

Business Assistance

HyVee:  Provided site maps and specs of available property in Emmetsburg including information about the available Shopko building.  Worked closely with HyVee representatives and the City of Emmetsburg along with providing potential incentives.

Palo Alto County Revolving Loan Fund:  PACEDC established the Palo Alto County Revolving Loan Fund for small business development. The Palo Alto County Revolving Loan Fund Review Committee has approved $382,000 in loans to Picray Welding of Emmetsburg, Shear Illusion of Ruthven,  Creative Stitches of Emmetsburg, Graettinger Clinic of Chiropractic, Glamourous Paws of Emmetsburg, Robers Street Selft Storage in Graettinger, DejaBrew in Emmestburg, Swanson Hardware of Emmetsburg, Kampen Foods & Catering in West Bend, Northland Auto & Marine of Emmetsburg and Wash Away Bay Carwash in Emmetsburg.

K & W Electric:  Worked with Nick Steinkamp on his new construction project by providing potential incentives including tax abatement through the City of Emmetsburg.

Emmetsburg Industrial Park: Recently sold 3 lots to MidAmerican Energy in collaboration with the City of Emmetsburg, and one sale is pending.  Continue marketing the industrial park for business development projects along with updating the site map to include utility specs.

Home Town Convenience Store:  Connected with company representatives about available land and building opportunities in Emmetsburg.

Delta Dental FIND Program:  Have successfully located two dentists in Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties:  Dr. Tony Brantner and Dr. Matthew Merideth.  K/PACEDC is the administrator of the payment process and follow through commitment with the utility partners.

MidAmerican Energy Wind Farm: Assisted company representatives with supplying Palo Alto County data and information they requested on site development. Also provided housing/lodging information for their construction workers and contracted wind employees with Vista.

Dollar General: Provided informational community and county data for Graettinger location and potentially Ruthven.

POET DSM Biorefining / Project Liberty:  Worked with company representatives on their new $30 million dollar project to manufacture enzymes for Project Liberty production. Assisted with identifying financial assistance programs.

427B Partial Tax Abatement:  Worked with Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors, County Auditor, County Assessor, and County Attorney to reinstate 427B of the Code of Iowa.

Aluma:  Assisted with financial assistance programs through the City of Emmetsburg, County officials and Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.

Brookstone Lodge:  Worked with the owners and the City of Emmetsburg in assisting to locate Brookstone Lodge in Emmetsburg.  Supplied site maps and specs of available property.

Pro Cooperative:  Feed Mill Project in Ayrshire.  Capital Investment of $14 million.  Palo Alto County benefitted from Pro Cooperative’s growth since employment was maintained in Palo Alto County.

Country Maid:  Assisted with providing technical and partner information for financial assistance for their 40,000 sq. foot expansion project.

Woodford Equipment:  Worked with Woodford Equipment on their latest expansion project in Emmetsburg.  Also worked with them in 2010 to find a location/building for their new business to locate in Emmetsburg. Worked with Eric and Mary Woodford and Vermeer Manufacturing.

ITC Midwest:  Assisted company representatives with educating the public about their proposed transmission line project which would include 400 miles of 345 kilovolt electric transmission lines across north central Iowa to allow for optimal use of wind resources.

ILCC Job Training Dollars:  Worked with multiple companies on linking them with financial assistance programs available through ILCC Job Training Program.

POET Biorefining / Project Liberty:  Assisted with designating 601 acres under the Enterprise Zone for future tax credits and incentives. Amended existing enterprise zone.

Kerber Milling:  Worked with business owners on a potential expansion project.  Provided site maps of all available properties in Emmetsburg.  Viewed sites with business representative.   Market job opportunities.

Workforce Initiatives

Job Postings:  Continue to assist with Workforce Issues by broadcast emailing resumes to businesses in both counties for potential employment candidates.  We have had 100% success rate by emailing resumes to businesses.  Also post job opportunities on Kossuth and Palo Alto County Websites.

Social Media:  Continue to utilize social media to highlight businesses, promote business training workshops, advertise community calendar of events and community highlights.

Economic Impact Analysis:  Create annual snapshot which provides an insight into the impact a particular business has on the local economy.  Received the Business Retention & Expansion Award presented by PDI and Smart Solutions.

Palo Alto/Kossuth County Business Survey:  The information obtained from the Business Survey questionnaire is an integral part of Business Retention and Expansion for both counties.  The Survey helps to identify where multiple business locations are, projected expansions, business growth, modernizing business operations, employment and marketing trends.

Business Call Visits Held:  AGP, Aluma, Architectural Arts,  Country Maid, Creative Stitches, Cylinder Camper Sales, Cylinder Cement Plant, Daybreak Foods, Easy Energy Systems, Energy Panel Structures, Horizons Unlimited, Iowa Lakes Community College, K & W Electric, Kampen Foods & Catering, Kerber Milling, Martin-Mattice Funeral Home, MaxYield Coop, Montag Mfg, Northland Auto & Marine, Palo Alto County Health System, Picray Welding, POET Biorefining, Pro Cooperative, Protein Resources, Ruthven Care Center, Shavers Manufacturing, River Valley Communications, Shear Illusions, Soper Farms, Wild Rose Casino, and Woodford Equipment.

Leadership Development:  Facilitate training sessions for area leaders and community businesses which include Teaming Building, Communication Skills, Customer Service and Building Better Relationships in Careers.

Human Resources Networking Training:  An HR group has been established as a local network group for Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties. A list of job opportunities that businesses plan to have available in the next 3-5 years has been created.  The Job Projection spreadsheet is utilized to assist businesses with future workforce. Informational meetings are held for the HR Group with speakers that they have suggested.  K/PACEDC organizes and facilitates the meetings for area businesses to attend.

Previous Speakers:

Katy Thomsen, Coaching and Leadership Sessions

Brenda Clark Hamilton - Employee Retention

Serrano & Morris - Military Cost Cutters

Kathy Peterson - How to Become an Indispensable Employee

Molly Bates - Iowa Lakes Community College - (Connect @ Iowa Lakes)

Sara Dunnigan - How to use Social Medial in the Workplace

Dave Penton, Kossuth County Emergency Management (A.L.I.C.E. Training)

Jason Kemp, Home Base Iowa Website Training

Ann Smisek, Ahlers & Cooney Law Firm - Discussed Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Larry Graves, Northwest Communications, Discussed Current Cyber Security Risks

City Clerks Quarterly Educational Meetings:  City Clerks of both Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties meet quarterly for an opportunity to network and share ideas, community information, listen to educational speakers and review new programs that will affect their communities.

Previous Speakers:

Ted Kourousis, NW Iowa Planning

Joe Myhre, NIACOG

Kelly McCarty, Iowa SBDC

Chris Mercer, USDA Rural Dev.

USDA Representatives (Housing, Water & Sewer Representatives)

Mel Pins, Iowa Brownfield

Tim McCarten, CPA (City Audit Process and Internal Financial Procedures)

Julie Roisen, Iowa Department of Revenue (Property Tax Reform)

Ashley Jared, Iowa Finance Authority (Housing Program)

Karla Wetzler, Wright County (Housing Program)

Cindy Kendall, ISU Extension / Iowa League of Cities  (Capital Improvement Plans)

Karen Austin, Deputy State Treasurer

Karen Pfab - Iowa Division of Labor (Child Labor Laws)

Nathan Overberg - Ahlers & Cooney (Urban Renewal Updates)

Mary Mosiman, CPA, Iowa State Auditor

Abbey Lukehart – USDA Housing Programs

Intern Program:  “Celebrating 20 Years of Existence” – Over 50 Interns participate every summer.  Some of the businesses that have participated in the program include MaxYield Cooperative, Energy Panel Structures, Palo Alto County Health System, Iowa Trust and Savings Bank, StateLine Cooperative and Country Maid.  We are proud to say that we have the only professional development Intern Program in the State of Iowa.

  • Job Chart is displayed on the website so Interns can view job openings
  • Our goal is to market our area and to let students know that there are jobs available for them to come back to.
  • Events and Skill Building sessions are scheduled throughout the summer for the Interns to attend.
  • It was developed as a means of securing workforce.
  • Businesses have hired 250 Interns as permanent employees.

Synchronist Software:

Utility companies and the State of Iowa utilize Business Surveys and interviews from Business Call Visits along with Synchronist.  It is customized software with matrix analysis.  The information gathered is entered into the Synchronist software so customized charts and graphs can be created to show comparison statistics from year to year. Update over 95 businesses annually in Palo Alto County.

Location One Information System (LOIS): LOIS is an on-line searchable economic development database that provides detailed information on buildings, sites and locations for businesses looking to expand.  If you are in the market for an available site or building, search LOIS database to help you find the best location for your next expansion.

Submit Proposals to Business Prospects: Provide Community and County information such as building specs, site maps, workforce, financial assistance programs, demographics, utility specs, taxation, education, leading employers and laborshed analysis.

Ag Education Day  (March 13, 2019):  Educates and informs area crop and livestock producers and agricultural-based businesses about renewable fuels, stages of development, policies and environmental benefits. Speakers in 2019 included:  David Beurle, Dr. Dermot Hayes, Chad Hart, Crop Marketing Specialist and Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Ag.

Home Base Iowa:  Assisted with Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties to become a Home Base Iowa Designations to welcome transitioning military members and their families who are leaving military service and becoming residents in our communities. The Home Base Iowa initiative designates communities as centers of opportunity for military veterans and further highlights Iowa’s statewide commitment to welcoming and employing veterans.

Mid Iowa Growth Partnership – Member of 8 County Region:  Offer round table discussions that Palo Alto businesses attended to obtain information on housing projects and issues. Mid Iowa Growth Partnership (MIGP) has been giving back to the 8 counties through the Rural Innovative Grant (RIG Grant) by paying for the following documents for Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties: Palo Alto County and Kossuth County Laborshed Analysis Reports; MIGP 8 County Laborshed Analysis; Fringe Benefit Summary Report; Skill Shed Summary Report and Industry Specifics.

Laborshed Analysis:  Updated the Kossuth and Palo Alto Laborshed reports along with Industry Specific documentation.

Developed PACEDC Website: www.paloaltoiowa.com

The website advertises such areas as communities, calendar of events, attractions, tourism, business climate, Location One Information System (LOIS) information, available land and buildings and job opportunities.  Web presence allows us to feature recent news and highlights around the county as soon as they happen, keeping information fresh and exciting.


Received the 2019 Best of Iowa Excellence Award.  BEST of Iowa is a unique collaboration of local economic development groups working with Iowa’s utilities and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The mission is to meet with Iowa companies to identify local economic trends, business needs and opportunities. BEST of Iowa honors organizations that went above and beyond throughout the process. Kossuth/Palo Alto Economic Development Corporation was honored with the 2019 BEST of Iowa Excellence Award.

Maureen Elbert received the 2019 Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award through International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  This award recognizes an individual who has continuously led the same non-profit economic development organization with integrity, tenacity, and a philanthropic spirit for at least 15 years and plays a pivotal role in the continued success of their organization.

Received 2019 Business Retention and Expansion Initiatives Award through International Economic Development Council (IEDC) for a county with a population less than 25,000. 

Received 2019 Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) Overall Business Retention and Expansion Program Award for Outstanding Workforce Initiatives. The program includes an annual business survey, business call visits, economic impact snapshot, intern program, human resources networking committee, and Palo Alto County Leadership that are all critical programs and committees that address workforce issues to keep the region viable and assist with growing the workforce and future leadership pool.

Received 2017 National Rural Economic Development Assoc. Organization Excellence Award for implementing a successful rural economic development program for Kossuth and Palo Alto Counties.

Received 2017 MidAmerican Economic Development Council Award for the Intern Program under Workforce Initiatives.  The Mid-America EDC Annual Economic Development Awards program recognizes outstanding efforts in development of marketing materials, marketing events and economic development efforts in a 12 state region.