MONDAY, AUG. 27, 2018  |  IN THIS ISSUE  
Story1Clickstop crowned as 'Coolest of the Cool' for second time
As a perennial fixture on the CBJ's Coolest Places to Work list - it has made the list a record six times, and earned its second "Coolest of the Cool" title at the CBJ's Coolest Places awards dinner on Thursday - Clickstop now faces the challenge of sustaining and growing its progressive workplace policies.
"It definitely takes intentional effort and discipline," said Clickstop's Monica Steffeck. "Our business strategy is to grow and engage our people, so they grow our business and engage our customers."
Ms. Steffeck is chief talent enrichment officer for the Urbana-based e-commerce company. Her unusual title reflects Clickstop's core values and their priority in day-to-day operations.
"We've kind of separated out some of the traditional duties of human resources," Ms. Steffeck said. Functions such as benefits, payroll and administration are handled by the company's finance department, allowing Ms. Steffeck and her colleagues to focus on "the more culture-focused pieces of HR."
It's the sort of organizational detail that might seem radical in a more traditional workplace but makes sense at Clickstop, where everyday practices emphasize the company's core values:
* Be adventurous! Embrace and drive change
* Communicate openly with confidence and respect
* Expect greatness in yourself and inspire it in others
* Promote a winning team spirit
* Think big and make it happen
* Make time for fun and family
"We're really fortunate in that we have people from our front line all the way up to our CEO who are really engaged in our core values," Ms. Steffeck said.
"Our core values set individuals up for success," one employee wrote in their survey for this year's Coolest competition. "They are the guiding principles."
"We have core values that are not only talked about, but employees are rewarded for living them out each day," wrote another.
Part of that reward includes the company's generous benefits, which stack up well against the Corridor's largest employers: 10 weeks paid maternity leave, 100 percent company-paid medical premiums and an employee stock ownership program (ESOP).
Read the full story, and see the rest of this year's Coolest Places to Work, in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ. See the videos shown by each of this year's honorees at the CBJ's annual awards dinner here.

Jim Haddad 
The GO Cedar Rapids board of directors has named Jim Haddad, of Haddad Consulting Services Inc., as its interim CEO, just one week after firing its former chief executive in the wake of the costly newbo evolve festival.
Mr. Haddad has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in operations and finance. A lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids, he most recently served as CFO of Yellowbook USA from 2002-2010. Before that, he served as COO of McLeodUSA Publishing for six years, according to his LinkedIn page. He is also a board member with the United Way of East Central Iowa.
The GO Cedar Rapids board of directors will work closely with Mr. Haddad to continue its review and audit of newbo evolve, as well as ensure the organization's core services will continue to be delivered, GO Cedar Rapids leaders said in a statement.
"Based on his strong financial and community-minded background, I have full confidence in Jim's ability to lead the daily operations of GO Cedar Rapids and work through the financial challenges facing the organization," Board Chair John Myers said. "As someone with no prior association with GO Cedar Rapids, Jim can provide independent analysis and the leadership necessary to move forward in a transparent way."
Mr. Haddad's arrival follows the firing of former CEO Aaron McCreight, as well as Scott Tallman, the event's primary organizer, after it was revealed that newbo evolve, held Aug. 3-5, lost about $2.3 million - more than three times the expected loss for the first-year festival.
Compensation figures for Mr. Haddad were not disclosed. Mr. McCreight was paid $120,213 in salary, with $22,475 in other compensation,   according to the IRS Form 990 for 2017 filed by GO Cedar Rapids.
Read more about the financial fallout from newbo evolve in this week's print and digital editions of the CBJ.  

Iowa's economy could see "extremely significant damage" from the Trump administration's burgeoning trade war, including international retaliation against an estimated $1 billion in exports, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Retaliatory tariffs include $660 million from Canada, primarily on Iowa-made herbicides and metals; $140 million from China, on pork and soybeans; $126 million from Mexico, on pork; and $87 million from Europe, on metals and corn.
The chamber, an ardent trade proponent, notes that the retaliatory tariffs were put in place after the U.S. imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports. The administration has also imposed tariffs on imported solar panels, washing machines and $50 billion in products from China.
To date, the Trump administration has imposed roughly $105 billion of import taxes across the three large trade blocs and supply chains, according to an analysis by RSM US LLP. "Since retaliation in the early portion of the trade spat has been tit-for-tat, the additional $105 billion in global retaliation brings the early total hit on the U.S. economy to $210 billion," writes Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas.
"Tariffs imposed by the United States are nothing more than a tax increase on American consumers and businesses, including manufacturers, farmers, and technology companies, who will all pay more for commonly used products and materials," the U.S. Chamber argues in a release. "Retaliatory tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. exports will make American0made goods more expensive, resulting in lost sales and ultimately lost jobs here at home. This is the wrong approach, and it threatens to derail our nation's recent economic resurgence."
The chamber's analysis places Iowa in the most severe category of "extremely significant damage," joining a dozen other states including Illinois and South Dakota. The next lowest category, "very significant damage," covers most of the rest of the Midwest and South.
RSM's analysis says that if the administration's tariff policy is fully implemented, costs to the U.S. economy could "likely exceed $1.3 trillion with risk of a much greater hit to the U.S. economy than many are currently anticipating, and a premature end to the business cycle."
The state of Iowa exported about $13.4 billion in 2017, an increase of 10.5 percent from 2016.
The Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) announces the speaker lineup for its Manufacturing Conference, to be held Sept. 28 at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.
The event invites industry leaders to network, learn about best practices in the region, and build a stronger pipeline to engage the next generation.
Attendees will gather for a morning keynote on "Manufacturing's New Digital Divide," delivered by John Brandt of The MPI Group, before dispersing for three rounds of breakouts. Breakouts are organized into three tracks: Leadership, Workforce, Technology & Operations. Speakers and topics include:
  • Effective Strategic Plan Development- John Donald of Iowa State University, CIRAS
  • Predicting Safety Risks using Wearable Tech - Mark Frederick of MakuSafe
  • Hiring Good Middle Managers & Employee Engagement- Tim Guenther of Clickstop
  • Untapped Workforce Panel - Moderator: Amy Lasack of Kirkwood Community College
  • Attracting, Compensating & Keeping Talent- Kevin Paulsen of Newport Group
  • How Data can Predict the Future of Your Business -Jim Thebeau of Annex Analytics
  • Theory of Constraints- Mike Willett of Iowa State University, CIRAS
  • And much more
Following the breakouts, attendees will gather for a luncheon keynote on the "Economic & Manufacturing Outlook," presented by William Strauss of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and a manufacturing leaders panel. Van Meter Vice President of Automation Jeff Spadaro will moderate the discussion.
After the panel has concluded, attendees are encouraged to network with speakers, high school guidance counselors and each other over cocktail hour.
Tickets are $95. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information or to register, visit The reservation deadline is Sept. 21.
The Palmer Group, a West Des Moines-based staffing and hiring firm, has opened its newest office in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Located in the Town Centre building, at 221 Third Ave. SE, Ste. 100, the 20-year-old firm will offer a range of services including direct placement, temporary and contract role, and outplacement services.
The firm's stated areas of expertise include accounting and finance, IT, office administration and customer service, mortgage and banking, engineering and manufacturing, HR, sales and marketing, and insurance.
Chairman and founder Austin Palmer in a release said the new offices will allow the firm to provide better service to clients and candidates in Eastern Iowa. President Dave Leto added the decision to open the a new office in the Corridor "makes great sense for our continued growth as a company."
"We have talented individuals from our West Des Moines office with roots in Eastern Iowa, so we are thrilled they have moved back to open this office. I have no doubt they will hit the ground running with the focus of doing business with a high level of trust and integrity."
The Palmer Group currently employs more than 60 employment professionals in central Iowa, and contract and temp employees throughout the state. Learn more about the company at its website.
Aug. 27
Coralville Roundtable, by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, noon-1 p.m., Fuzzy's Taco Shop, 201 E. Ninth St., Coralville. Roundtables are social lunches over the noon hour. All are invited to network and keep up-to-date with chamber and community events. Free for members. Call the chamber at (319) 337-9637 if interested and not a member.
Aug. 28
China IP Roadshow, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and UI College of Law, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Boyd Law Building, 130 Byington Road, Iowa City. This full-day event brings the expertise and knowledge of the USPTO's China specialists to local businesses and attorneys. This edition will include a component focusing specifically on the Iowa experience with intellectual property issues relating to China. Free. For more information and to register, visit
Intrapreneur Academy Info Session, by NewBoCo, 1-4 p.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Intrapreneur Academy is a year-long training program where organizations of all types learn how to be innovative in a rapidly changing world. Attend an info session to learn more about the program and meet with NewBoCo's Director of Innovation Mandy Webber. Free. For more information and to register, visit
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Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
Less than a week after her body was found, more than 1,000 friends, family and people who prayed for her safe return gathered in the Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcolm High School gymnasium for the funeral of Mollie Tibbetts. Bishop Thomas Zinkula presided over the funeral. In the front row sat Mollie's parents Laura Calderwood and Robert Tibbets, brothers Jacob and Scott Tibbetts, boyfriend Dalton Jack and stepmother Kasey Auston-Tibbetts. The gymnasium was filled with people sitting on both sets of bleachers on either side of the room and hundreds sitting on chairs on the court. Outside of the gymnasium, rows of chairs were lined up in front of televisions streaming the funeral. Jake and Robert Tibbetts, as well as one of Mollie's high school teachers and another family member, gave eulogies up front. J.R. Glenn, Mollie's high school teacher whose children she occasionally watched, recalled Mollie as being someone who always looked to get better. "Living like Mollie means to try - try without fear of failure. Mollie was a trier. Mollie was courageous," said Mr. Glenn. Jake Tibbetts' message mirrored Glenn's: live like Mollie. Robert Tibbetts was the last to speak before the funeral came to an end. He spoke on behalf of the family when thanking the people of Brooklyn, law enforcement, and the media. To Dalton Jack, who was dating Ms. Tibbetts and is referred to as "the love of her life" in the funeral's program, Mr. Tibbetts deemed himself "honored" to have Jack as a son. As for some of his final words before he finished his part, Mr. Tibbetts asked for everyone to keep Mollie alive. "Let's do what Mollie would do and say would Mollie would say."

T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

Showers and thunderstorms will move through this morning, up until about 11 a.m., and then we'll dry out for the afternoon. Temperatures will climb into the mid to upper 80s and it will be muggy. Heat index values will be in the mid 90s to 100 degrees today. It will be breezy at times with strong winds out of the south. A cold front will move through Minnesota tonight. As it draws further south, some scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible in far northern Iowa late tonight. It will be dry to start Tuesday and temperatures will climb into the mid 80s. The aforementioned cold front will then move into Eastern Iowa and scattered showers and thunderstorms will break out in the afternoon. Some storms could be strong with gusty winds, hail and heavy rain.