WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2020 | IN THIS ISSUE

Heartland Express earnings hold up in first quarter
Tech-based COVID-19 testing initiative launched in Iowa
EntreFEST going virtual for 2020
Tippie College of Business dean finalists to visit UI online
Amergint reaches deal to buy Raytheon optics business
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
Heartland Express earnings hold up in first quarter
Although the Heartland Express is bracing for the coming effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the company reported first quarter earnings on Tuesday that beat analysts’ expectations, spurred by increased revenue.

The North Liberty-based truckload carrier reported earnings of 16 cents per share, compared with 21 cents per share in the first quarter of 2019. The results beat the Zacks consensus estimate of 13 cents per share.

Operating revenues for the quarter climbed 19.2% to $166.3 million, from $139.5 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Chairman, President and CEO Mike Gerdin credited the hard work of Heartland’s drivers for delivering consistent revenue growth during the last four consecutive quarters. In a news release, he said the results “showed strength in terms of profit and overall operating efficiency during these challenging times we face currently as a company and a country.”

Mr. Gerdin emphasized Heartland’s financial resources to weather the challenging market conditions. Heartland had $64.2 million in cash on hand after making payments to complete its Millis Transfer acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2019 , and recent investments of $21.6 million in terminal locations and $18.1 million in fleet equipment.

The good news for Heartland may not last long, as the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the trucking and logistics industries hard as it has disrupted manufacturing supply chains and shut down entire sectors of the economy.
 
“For about five or six weeks, since this thing began, [trucking companies] had been operating just like every other day,” said Brenda Neville, president of the Iowa Motor Truck Association, told the CBJ in an interview for this week's edition . She added that though trucking initially saw a boost thanks to a frenzy of activity, including panic buying, freight volume was now headed “toward a cliff.”
 
“Iowa truckers have stepped up to deliver the products everybody needs,” Ms. Neville said. “But the truth is that, because of buying habits and businesses closing, there’s going to be a very noticeable slowdown.”
 
According to Iowa Department of Transportation figures, the slowdown has already begun. After registering roughly 5% increases in state truck traffic between March 13 and April 2, Iowa DOT reported just a 1% increase for the week of April 3-9.

IMAGE: A Heartland Express truck shown in an undated photo. PHOTO Heartland
Tech-based COVID-19 testing initiative launched in Iowa
Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday launched a new Test Iowa Initiative to expand testing capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Des Moines Business Record reports .

Iowa is partnering with Utah-based Nomi Health and its subsidiary, Domo, which has already launched a similar initiative in Utah, Ms. Reynolds said in a news conference. 

"Iowa is now the second state in the nation to deploy this ambitious initiative, and starting today I am encouraging Iowans to go to testIowa.com to complete their own health assessment," Ms. Reynolds said in a statement. "This type of information will help Iowans assess eligibility for testing and further inform the state’s response to COVID-19."

The test, which uses a computer algorithm to recommend whether someone should be tested, is part of a COVID-19 Crisis Command Center that Domo has set up for the state. The "robust data-driven solution" will enable state officials to get a single view of critical data from multiple sources, the company said in a news release.

According to Domo, the command center will provide officials with critical data such as testing capacity and processing times, infections, transmission and recovery data, current hot spots for active cases, and entry tracking into the region.

The Test Iowa Initiative includes an assessment that was developed in coordination with the Iowa Department of Public Health to better inform Iowans of their current health status, whether or not they should get a COVID-19 test, and instructions on how to get tested. The assessment asks about existing symptoms and occupational considerations.

Find more Corridor business and community updates regarding COVID-19 at the CBJ's coronavirus updates page, available here .
EntreFEST going virtual for 2020
EntreFEST, June's two-day conference celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation, has announced it will now be held online this year.
 
While speaker sessions, networking events, concerts and other activities had been planned to take place on June 4-5 across a variety of venues throughout Cedar Rapids, they will now transition to a live online format.

“We’re all eager to see the faces of colleagues and friends, but I think a lot of us are also missing the familiar sights and sounds of places we can’t be right now,” NewBoCo Events Director Jill Wilkins stated in a release. “Even though we’re moving online, this year’s events will give us all a chance to feel like we're back where we belong.”

Attendees will be able to ask questions and interact with speakers directly during their sessions. And this year, popular networking hotspots will each get their own on-location “Zoom Lounge” that guests can visit to chat with others and get advice from experts in their fields. 

Scheduled activities like concerts, happy hour events and a live comedy stream will get the same virtual treatment, but will offer a chance for attendees to unwind with entertainment. 

Attendees who purchase their tickets at least a week in advance of the conference will receive a mystery care package in the mail filled with resources, surprise swag and a preloaded lunch gift card to choose their own curbside, delivery or drive-through option.

“We’ve put a lot of work into making sure EntreFEST 2020 will be more than just a webinar,” Ms. Wilkins said. “Now more than ever, we want to keep the entrepreneurial community connected and invigorated so they can share ideas and support one another through this crisis.”
 
EntreFEST ticket prices have been reduced by $100 to make the conference more accessible to entrepreneurs and companies impacted by the pandemic.
Tippie College of Business dean finalists to visit UI online
Candidates seeking to become the new dean of the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business will now visit campus virtually over the next three weeks, beginning tomorrow, the university announced.

The four candidates selected by the search committee will participate in online public forums and meet with faculty, staff, students and leadership in Tippie through online channels.

The open forums will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on the following days:


For additional security, the Office of the Provost is asking those who wish to participate in an open forum send an email to provost-office@uiowa.edu and indicate the forum in which they would like to participate. Participants will be given an access password.

The name of each candidate will be announced the day before they are scheduled for an open forum. At that time, the candidate’s curriculum vitae will be made available on the Tippie dean search website .

Amy Kristof-Brown, senior associate dean and Henry B. Tippie Research Professor of Management in the college, began serving as interim dean on March 1, 2020, when former dean Sarah Gardial left the UI to become dean of the Massey College of Business at Belmont University in Nashville. Ms. Gardial had served as dean since 2012.

The committee has selected the search firm Witt-Kieffer to assist with the process. A new dean is expected to be in place for the fall 2020 semester.
Amergint reaches deal to buy Raytheon optics business
Amergint Technologies Holdings Inc. on Monday announced a definitive agreement to acquire Raytheon Technologies Corp.'s space-based precision optics business, headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut.

The business, which is part of Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies business unit, is a leading technology provider of precision electro-optical systems for National Security Space missions and defense survivability needs. It's one of several that were required to be divested in the merger of United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon Corp., which formed Raytheon Technologies on April 3. 

"We are thrilled to work with Andreas Nonnenmacher and the team at Danbury," Amergint CEO Larry Hill said in a news release. "For as long as the United States has recognized the need to observe the Earth from space, this business has delivered technological breakthroughs to do so. We are proud to bring together their preeminent electro-optical capabilities with Amergint's next-generation solutions for capturing, processing, transporting and exploiting mission critical data."

Amergint is a leading provider of software-defined technology for military, intelligence and commercial space missions. Founded in 2008 by Mark McMillen, Randy Culver and Sean Conway, the company is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

IMAGE: Raytheon Technologies is developing a wide range of space-based sensors for missile warning. CREDIT RAYTHEON
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Short Term Event Planner

April 22
Iowa's Governor's Conference on Public Health , by Iowa Public Health Association, noon-1 p.m., online. Hear from national, state and local experts in public health as part of this webinar series that continues through May 1. Free. To register, visit  bit.ly/2XS9F15 .
 
How Has COVID-19 Broken Your Customer Experience? , by Technology Association of Iowa, 1 p.m., online.This session will look at the rapidly evolving landscape of online business from the customer experience lens, and explore some best practices and considerations for UI/UX design that every company should consider in a COVID-19 world. Free. To register, visit  bit.ly/3asmVMt .
 
The Ins and Outs of PPP Loan Forgiveness , by CLA and NAIDA, 1 p.m., online. This webinar will discuss the latest surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the used car industry. Free. To register, visit  bit.ly/2XUzRrS .

State of the Community Webinar: Education , by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Iowa City Downtown District, Think Iowa City and ICAD Group, 2 p.m., online. Hear updates on local school districts, the University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College and ACT. The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot join live. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2KoZdq2 .

Coronavirus Updates Webcast , by RSM US LLP, 3 p.m., online. Learn more about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to mitigate your company's risk. Free. To register, visit  rsm.us/39kOfvA .

April 23
COVID-19 Relief Programs for Foreign-Owned U.S. Subsidiaries , by CLA, 6-7 a.m., online. U.S. subsidiaries of foreign organizations may be eligible to participate in U.S. government coronavirus-related programs centered on small businesses. Learn more about the programs and their requirements. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2VpbocL .

3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family Discussion , by NewBoCo, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., online. Discuss key concepts from Patrick Lencioni’s “3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family,” and learn how to best integrate business tactics with your family in this time of transition and change. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/34Shp4Y .

COVID-19 Impact on the Construction Industry , by CLA, 11-11:45 a.m., online. Get the latest updates on COVID-19 and its impact on the construction industry. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/34SUUNb .

Owning the Pivots: Loan Forgiveness and the PPP , by BerganKDV, 11 a.m., online. Join BerganKDV’s Gary Hawkins and Jim Stelten for a discussion on planning for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2xQKscL .

MEDCO Engagement Lounge , by Marion Economic Development Corp., 11:30 a.m., online. Get answers and find resources for your business-related questions and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Free. To join the Zoom meeting, visit bit.ly/2XQIkfT .

PWN General Meeting, by Professional Women’s Network, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., online. Patti Seda will present on her book, “Job Joy.” Free. To register, visit conta.cc/2V3YO2u .

Create a Winning Website, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, noon-1 p.m., online. Learn how to create a website that will draw potential customers. This session will cover the importance of messaging, Google ads and search engine optimization (SEO). Free. To register, visit bit.ly/2yhzEUT .

Corridor Rising 2.0 Business Support Series, by Corridor Business Journal, noon-1 p.m., online. Local nonprofit leaders will discuss how nonprofit organizations throughout the Corridor are operating differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch live on Facebook or participate on Zoom. Free. To register, visit corridorbusiness.com/events .
 
Washington Business Hangout , by Washington Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Washington, 1:30 p.m., online. Washington Chamber members are invited to a Google Hangout to address ways to proactively promote community businesses. Hangouts will be held each Tuesday and Thursday. Free. To join, visit meet.google.com/fiu-sfok-daq or dial in to (219) 401-0636 (PIN 264113127#).

Community + Connection in the Midst of Social Isolation, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, 4-5:30 p.m., online. This virtual LINC meeting will include several breakout groups that will discuss how to stay connected in the business world, things to do alone and with your family, and how to stay healthy and happy during these difficult times. Free. To register, visit bit.ly/3b9Lgb3 .
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Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9  
 
Cedar Rapids police said one man is dead following a shooting early this morning. Just before 12:25 a.m., police responded to the 200 block of 15th Street NW for a report of multiple shots fired. When crews got to the scene, they found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. The man died at the scene, police said. The police department there are no arrests at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.

AFSCME Council 61 announced 10 more inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Iowa Medical Classification Center. This comes after reports of the first inmate in the state's prison system tested positive at the prison in Coralville on Saturday, April 18 . AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan said in a Facebook post that he is concerned and scared for correctional staff all across the state of Iowa.

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Scattered showers from the morning go away, giving way to more sunshine for the afternoon. However, an approaching disturbance will spark scattered showers and thunderstorms later this afternoon into the evening. That's most likely north of Highway 30, while areas farther south have a lower chance and it wouldn't happen there until closer to sunset or later. Highs are mild today in the lower to middle 70s, but that also comes with a southwest breeze that gusts over 30 mph. We'll deal with cloudiness tomorrow morning, but those should break in the afternoon. It'll be cooler with highs in the lower to middle 60s.