MONDAY, AUG. 26, 2019  |  IN THIS ISSUE  
Link2Hawkeye Hotels expands portfolio with Pittsburgh acquisition

Hampton Inn & Suites, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. CREDIT HILTON.COM
Coralville-based Hawkeye Hotels has closed on the acquisition of the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in Cranberry Township, 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, in a move that expands its footprint in the northeastern United States.

With this acquisition, the company is positioned to develop additional hotels in the Pittsburgh area, across Pennsylvania and beyond. Hawkeye Hotels is also developing a 150-room Holiday Inn in Erie, which is under construction and expected to open in 2020.

"We are excited to explore further opportunities in Pittsburgh and surrounding markets as we continue to grow our development pipeline and hotel portfolio," said Om Patel, director of development for Hawkeye Hotels, in a release. "We look forward to developing new partnerships in this region."

Other notable Hawkeye Hotels properties in various stages of development include: the historic Hotel Fort Des Moines in downtown Des Moines, Iowa; three new hotels within one block of downtown Milwaukee; 14 hotels in the greater Minneapolis area; and two of the newest Moxy brand hotels by Marriott - in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, and downtown St. Louis.

The Iowa-based company is venturing into the northeast after developing, redeveloping and operating dozens of hotels in other regions of the United States. 

This particular Hampton Inn & Suites in Cranberry opened less than a year ago and includes a modern design, plus a fitness center, business center and indoor pool.  Located in central Cranberry, this Hampton Inn & Suites serves one of the fastest growing areas in the Pittsburgh metro area.

Hawkeye Hotels was founded in 1982 with one roadside hotel in Mena, Arkansas. Today, the firm owns and operates over 50 hotels across the country. Hawkeye Hotels employs over 1,500 staff across its portfolio of hotels and corporate offices. The firm maintains lasting affiliations with brands such as Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental and Starwood.

The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, a joint project with the  Iowa Department of Corrections, was one of five winning nonprofits for Iowa's Impact Challenge, Google announced Friday.

The Cedar Rapids-based organization is e xpanding its current coding boot camp to train incarcerated individuals to become software developers and find gainful employment opportunities upon their release. The partnership with the state department of corrections will be piloted in the Iowa Women's Correctional Institution in Mitchellville.

All five winning organizations will receive $175,000 and Iowans are invited to vote for the 'People's Choice' winner, who will be awarded an additional $125,000. In total, will contribute $1 million to Iowan nonprofit organizations through the Impact Challenge. The Impact Challenge supports 'Grow with Google,' the tech company's initiative to create economic opportunities for people across the country.

"Iowa is incredibly diverse and has talented nonprofit organizations working to create opportunities in each of their communities," said Dan Harbeke, head of public policy and external affairs at Google in Council Bluffs, in a statement. "We're excited to celebrate 10 years in Iowa by announcing the winners of the Impact Challenge in Iowa; we hope to help these organizations bring great ideas to life." 

Google selected a panel of Iowa judges to review applications from nonprofits across the state and chose five winners who proposed bold and creative ideas to create economic opportunity in their communities.

Other winners include:  Buena Vista University's Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation whose Match-Learn-Launch succession program for budding entrepreneurs features an app designed to match new entrepreneurs with retiring business owners;  Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center whose RefugeeRISE leverages the power of community by training emerging leaders from refugee communities to become work-readiness trainers;  Four Mounds Foundation whose youth HEART (Housing Education and Rehabilitation Training) program serves young adults who are disconnected from work; and  Iowa JAG, Inc., which is helping young Iowans with significant challenges uncover their innate power and resiliency by creating customized in-depth plans and connecting them with employers in high-demand industries. 

For the next stage of the Impact Challenge, visit to learn more about the nominees and vote for one organization to be named the 'People's Choice' winner. Voting ends Friday.
Story3Collins Aerospace joint venture awarded $22M contract

Collins Elbit Vision Systems, LLC (CEVS), a joint venture between Collins Aerospace Systems and Elbit Systems of America, was awarded a $22 million firm-fixed price contract for the production and delivery of Night Vision Cueing and Display (NVCD) systems for the U.S. Navy, and for the governments of Australia and Switzerland. 

Work for the systems will be completed by February 2021.

The NVCD works with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, extending many of the benefits of the original system for use in night operations. Those capabilities include innovative head-tracking technology and a helmet mounted display that shows mission critical symbology for aviators. NVCD also provides the ability to record video of what is seen by the aviator while using the system.

"We're pleased the U.S. Navy and others trust Elbit Systems of America and our joint venture partner, Collins Aerospace, to provide this sophisticated and innovative solution to warfighters," said Mark Mol, co-general manager of CEVS, in a release. "The Night Vision Cueing and Display system is the result of many years of development and our two companies' dedication to helping aviators fly smarter day or night."

Developers worked extensively with warfighters to create a system that improves aviators' situational awareness, easily adapts from day to night missions, and remains comfortable.

"Providing the NVCD means warfighters are connected even in less than ideal situations, such as during nighttime, keeping them safe and aware of their surroundings," said Dan Karl, co-general manager of CEVS, in a release. "It's this level of technical excellence that both companies, when working together, can bring forward as an industry leading solution."

The NVCD system is used by aviators flying the F/A-18 and E/A-18G platforms. The combined JHMCS/NVCD system was first delivered in 2014.

Grow Solar Linn County rolled past its first milestone last week, with over 50kW of residential solar contracted for Linn County. The milestone triggers a price break for all participants in the program, which remains open until Oct. 31.
The unique solar group buy model came to Iowa in 2017. Over a 4-month period, nearly 500 residents attended educational "Solar Power Hours" to find out if solar was a good fit for their home or business. More than 100 homeowners contracted through the program, which became the largest solar group buy program in the Midwest to-date-over 600kW of solar.  

The program moved to Johnson County in the summer of 2018 and broke that record with 180 installations. 
The program returned to Linn County this summer at a unique time for solar. The starting price for Linn County participants in this 2019 group-buy is more than $0.30/W lower than the record-breaking 2017 and 2018 programs. Additionally, the federal solar tax incentive decreases after this calendar year from 30 to 26 percent. The state tax incentive, half of the federal, also decreases. 
"There were a lot of companies to choose from," said Brandon Puccio of Marion in a release, "but the Grow Solar Linn County initiative helped make the choice very easy. The Grow Solar Program ensured high quality products along with high quality workmanship. Not only did the Grow Solar program offer great quality, they also offered a great price. Not one company I contacted could match the Grow Solar price."

Linn County residents can learn about the program by attending a Solar Power Hour, a one-hour educational session covering the basics of solar and the group-buy model. Attendees can ask the program's selected solar installer questions. If interest remains, get a free quote and site assessment.  Solar Power Hours are scheduled across the county through September:

Kalona SuperNatural's vanilla kefir won first place in the cultured dairy category at the Iowa State Fair. CREDIT KALONA SUPERNATURAL
Kalona SuperNatural continued its ribbon-winning ways at the Iowa State Fair for the third year running, taking home first place for its 100 percent grass-fed vanilla kefir and second place for its buttermilk, both in the cultured dairy category. Kalona SuperNatural also received second place for its lightly salted butter, in the butter category. 

The award-winning, nationally recognized organic dairy competed against more than 60 other products, earning them the top spot in the Iowa Quality Dairy Products Contest.

Based in southeastern Iowa, Kalona SuperNatural provides high-quality, organic, hormone-free milk and dairy products from select Midwest Amish and Mennonite grass-fed family farms. 

"At Kalona SuperNatural, we pride ourselves on our 'old-school' processing methods," said  Sara Rissi, Kalona SuperNatural sales and marketing manager, in a release. "This approach contributes to the reasons our products continue to win top accolades and awards each year. We're honored to work with a wonderful group of local, organic farmers who 'do things right' and take pride in the high-quality product they produce."

The Quality Dairy Products Contest panel of judges consisted of leaders in the grocery industry, food scientists and researchers from Iowa.  Notable judging remarks described Kalona SuperNatural vanilla kefir as, "the perfect aroma of butter and vanilla, very smooth texture on the palate, well-balanced." In addition, the panel gave top marks for the butter for its "clean aroma, soft, smooth, delicate flavor from pasture-grazed cows."

Aug. 28
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Geonetric, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join for community connections, free coffee and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit

1 Million Cups, by 1MC Iowa City, 9-10 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Join for community connections, free coffee and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit

Aug. 29
Search Engine Optimization, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., HyVee, 5050 Edgewood Road NE, Cedar Rapids. Learn how to optimize your business listing and other local search strategies. Cost: $10. To register, visit .
See and Be Seen

in the CBJ Book of Lists - THE definitive resource guide for business leaders. Ranked information on Corridor companies by sector, regional market facts and profiles of the most influential people under one cover. Don't be left out - Be Seen! For advertising information, contact Andrea Rhoades at .

Note: The CBJ is now observing summer hours through Aug. 30. The CBJ offices will be open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fridays, 8 a.m.-noon. 
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
The man who killed a Cedar Rapids teacher and his daughter in a deadly Thanksgiving day crash last year, has been sentenced to a total of 70 years in prison, according to  the ColoradoanThe Fort Collins newspaper reports Marcos Orozco was sentenced to 60 years for the deaths of 55-year-old John "Rick" Nees and his 38-year-old daughter Nicole Nees. Mr.  Orozco was given another 10 years for a second-degree burglary charge. Investigators say he drove a stolen truck through the wall of a pawn shop so he could steal several guns.  A few hours later, a witness reported a suspicious truck to police with a man sleeping inside. Officers tried to set up a perimeter around the scene using a BearCat, a special armored response vehicle. Mr.  Orozco rammed the vehicle and sped off, later running a red light and hitting the Nees' vehicle at more than 90 miles an hour.  The two died on impact.  Judge Susan Blanco said the crash scene "genuinely looked like an execution on Harmony Road." Mr.  Orozco didn't have alcohol in his system but a blood test came back positive for meth.

University of Iowa Police issued a Hawk Alert late Saturday night after receiving a report about a male carrying a gun near the pharmacy building on campus.  The report came in about 11:29 p.m. and the alert told people to stay away from the area.  Officials later located the subject and determined he had been "misidentified as handling a gun." UI Police say no crime was committed and no arrests were made.  In a release, UI officials say the start of the semester is a good time to refresh your memory about free safety tools they offer. For more information about the tools, click here.

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

Fall weather will largely dominate the weather over the next week. There will be a few moments of summery weather with higher humidity and scattered storms.  After some rain this morning it will be cloudy and muggy with temperatures in the mid-70s this afternoon. A cold front will move through this evening and will lead to a few scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 5 p.m. Rain will move out quickly and dry air will file in tonight. Skies will clear and temperatures will drop into the mid- to upper 50s by Tuesday morning.