Cedar Graphics announces acquisition of J & A Printing
• St. Luke's to begin modernization project this spring
In the CBJ: Reading between the headlines
IWD launches new podcast to communicate with Iowans
CBJ invites Coolest Places to Work nominations
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
Cedar Graphics announces acquisition of J & A Printing
Cedar Graphics Inc., of Hiawatha, has acquired select business assets of J & A Printing Inc., currently under the ownership of Scott Cadwallader, according to a news release from Cedar Graphics.

Printing, finishing and mailing services for J & A customers will transition immediately to the Cedar Graphics plant in Hiawatha. J & A’s production facility in Hiawatha is not part of this acquisition.

Cedar Graphics is a family and Iowa-owned business focusing on offset and digital printing, packaging, and direct mail for the education, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and banking industries.

Cedar Graphics’ unique mix of advanced UV offset presses, digital printing and marketing services will make for a smooth transition for J & A’s customers who will now have access to these increased print capabilities.

“J & A Printing and Cedar Graphics have been mutually respectful competitors for many years in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Corridor,” Cedar Graphics’ CEO Hassan Igram stated. “It’s unfortunate to see any Iowa family-owned business close its doors, but we are certain that J & A’s valued customers will experience a smooth transition into our family and will be excited to explore the opportunities and capabilities that Cedar Graphics provides”

“Making sure our customers continue to receive the same level of quality and satisfaction moving forward as they always have in the past is our immediate goal. Cedar Graphics has one of the best reputations and most current technology in the printing industry so we are certain that they will not only meet our customers’ expectations, but exceed them,” said Mr. Cadwallader.

Cedar Graphics’ nearly 100,000-square-foot facility in Hiawatha houses full-service printing, bindery and mailing services, as well as traditional and online fulfillment.
St. Luke's to begin modernization project this spring
UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Hospital announced today that it will begin a $14 million inpatient modernization project this spring that will result in an improved environment of care for its medical and surgical patients.
St. Luke’s will begin renovation of its third floor in May. The project will replace its current medical/surgical inpatient units, which were built in the 1950s and '60s.
When complete, the hospital’s third floor will have large private rooms with plenty of space for family members and visitors, private bathrooms, bariatric rooms, additional negative pressure rooms, and advanced technology to meet the needs for different levels of care. Other improvements will include a new, more efficient call-light system and wider, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant doorways to each patient’s private bathroom.

“This project represents a significant capital investment, especially during a challenging time in health care,” said Carmen Kleinsmith, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital senior vice president and chief nursing officer, in a news release. “We are pleased to see this project move forward and believe these improvements will provide greater flexibility, improved efficiency and enhanced patient care.”

“St. Luke’s Foundation is supporting the modernization project, starting with a $1 million donation from the Stephen Benda estate,” said Mary Klinger, St. Luke’s Foundation president, in a release. “Additional funds will be raised through the Foundation’s new capital campaign, Because of You.”

The project is expected to be complete in July 2022.
In the CBJ: Reading between the headlines
Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic set off a battery of panicky headlines about the future of office space and senior living facilities, but if Jessica Ballou had one message for attendees of the CBJ’s Commercial Real Estate Symposium March 4, it was this: Don’t believe everything you read.

Ms. Ballou, vice president of Denver-based National Valuation Consultants and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, said COVID-19 has put properties that were struggling before the current crisis under the microscope. But those that were in a strong position pre-crisis likely remain in a strong position today, she said, although the pandemic has sped up trends that were already underway.

“A lot of the headlines are sensationalizing what’s been going on for the past year, the focus being on a lot of negative items,” Ms. Ballou said. “So we need to figure out what’s not being said, and we have to decide what is temporary and what is permanent.”
Office space
To illustrate her point, Ms. Ballou pointed to three real estate headlines from February: “Sobering Report for Landlords: 59% Of Businesses Expect Office Square Footage to Shrink,” “‘It’s A 100-Year Storm’ – The World’s Biggest Workspace Operator on Why Offices Have Changed Forever,” and “U.S. Office Market Weakens, Yet Still Holds Appeal for Long-Term Investors.”

Ms. Ballou said it is hardly news that office space demand is shrinking, but argued it is a trend that predates the COVID-19 crisis as companies looked at ways to reduce costs and minimize expensive real estate footprints. Shared, collaborative office spaces have taken something of a temporary hit due to health and safety concerns, but even employers who make a permanent shift to partial work-from-home will probably not be significantly altering square footage or doing away with collaborative space.

“Not everybody is going to be working from home, not everybody can work from home,” she said. “I think the main focus here is that the psychology is shifting from [the office being] a place to grow a career, where you go in every day from 9 to 5, to more of a teamwork focus. And we were seeing that pre-COVID, a lot of new buildings that were being built had collaborative space and even had shared collaborative space amongst the tenants.”

Read the full members-only story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ.

PHOTO: Jessica Ballou
IWD launches new podcast to communicate with Iowans
Iowa Workforce Development has launched a new podcast called “Mission: Employable." 

The podcast will include interviews with thought leaders in business and industry, workforce stakeholders and economic developers among others. The interviews will include discussions about key workforce programs, initiatives, innovations and resources available to Iowans as well as discussions about the impact of the pandemic on workforce and steps parties are taking to minimize the impact. 

“Connecting with Iowans is more important than ever and this podcast will help Iowa Workforce Development communicate with students, parents, employers, job seekers, community leaders, educators and other important workforce stakeholders,” said Beth Townsend, director of Iowa Workforce Development, in a news release. "Future Ready Iowa has demonstrated the success we have when we work together to solve workforce issues. I believe the new podcast, Mission: Employable, will be a valuable new tool for us to promote more collaboration while also providing Iowans with the key information about new opportunities, resources and assistance as they return to the workforce."

The inaugural guest for the first podcast is Gov. Kim Reynolds, who will share her thoughts about Iowa's economic recovery, Future Ready Iowa and challenges and opportunities Iowa has as a result of the pandemic. Other scheduled guests include Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham and the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NEWBOCO) Executive Director Aaron Horn. 

A new episode will be released every Tuesday morning with plans to increase the release as the guest list grows. Episodes can be downloaded from the Apple Podcast App, Spotify App or from the Iowa Workforce Development podcast page.
CBJ invites Coolest Places to Work nominations
The Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) is seeking nominations for its 2021 Coolest Places to Work. 
Honorees will be recognized at a Sept. 1 awards banquet and featured in the Sept. 6 issue of the weekly CBJ. 
Coolest Places to Work identifies and honors local companies that have created the most engaging and rewarding work environments. Self-nominated companies in Kirkwood’s seven-county region will be selected based on the results of a Worker Satisfaction Survey. 
There is no cost to apply. To submit a nomination, visit Nominations are due March 25. After the nomination period has closed, the Skywalk Group will email applicants information to distribute the Worker Satisfaction Survey. At least 60 percent of employees must complete the survey to qualify. 
Honorees will be ranked in three categories based on total number of employees – small company (1-20 employees), medium company (21-99) and large company (100+). For more information, contact Lisa Guge at (319) 743-9830 or  
Honorees will be notified in July. The top 24 companies’ rankings will be announced at the Coolest Places to Work event Sept. 1 at the Coralville Marriott. The program will feature videos on each company, and the CEO from the No. 1 Coolest Place to Work will share his or her story. For details, visit
Connect with the CBJ

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Thank you for your continued support of the Corridor Business Journal.
Short Term Event Planner

March 18
Succession Planning for Your Business, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 8:30-9:30 a.m., online. Learn how to be prepared when someone announces they are planning to leave the company or when there is an unanticipated departure. Free. To register, visit

Building a Business Startup Canvas, by SCORE of Iowa Central Iowa, 11 a.m.-noon, online. Learn how to develop a strategic plan for a new business by using the Business Model Canvas. Free. To register, visit

The Pandemic and Mental Health, One Year In: What We've Learned and What Can Help Us Move Forward, by UI Tippie College of Business, noon-1 p.m., online. Kristin Wurster, the Tippie College's embedded psychologist, will talk about the impact of the pandemic on mental health and strategies to help people continue moving forward with self-compassion. Free. To register, visit

March 19
Speed Networking: Work the Zoom, not the Room, by Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, 8:30-9:30 a.m., online. Join this networking opportunity to connect with others. Free. To register, visit
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Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 

The Iowa City Council voted 5-2 in favor of a resolution to temporarily suspend its Truth and Reconciliation Commission during Tuesday’s meeting. The council voted to suspend the commission until April 15, when the commission and the city council will have a joint meeting. This comes after a third of the commission resigned last week. Royceann Porter stepped down from her position as chair during a meeting March 4, but originally planned to still stay on the commission. Over the next week, Porter officially resigned from the board, along with Vice Chair T’Shailyn Harrington and commissioner Tony Currin. The commission’s newly elected facilitator, Jesse Case, also resigned. The commission was formed last September as one of the major commitments from Iowa City council in response to the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. The nine-member-board was elected in November, with the goal of combating systemic racism in Iowa City. Read the full story here.

The thousands of people who have been training and looking forward to the RUN CRANDIC race were, once again, going to be without an event because of the pandemic.
“It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly,” Jim Dwyer, co-president of the nonprofit Corridor Running, said. “It was disappointing, but it was the stark reality of the situation.”
They said the reason they can’t host the event was because of how many people run, the race of the length, and how many different municipalities would be touched. “We need to get more needles into arms,” Dwyer said. “Get some vaccinations out there. The quicker we can do that and get the numbers lower, the quicker we can get back to racing.” The Shamrock Shuffle was still going virtual, a group ran that race over the weekend. However, Dwyer said virtual races were not drumming up as much support as they did at the beginning of the pandemic. “I think the virtual concept of races has gone by the wayside,” Dwyer said. While Dwyer and his group were disappointed about once again having to cancel the RUN CRANDIC, they were still working with cities to host the Fifth Season Races in July.

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Our next system is set to arrive in the middle of the week. The radar will take on a green color not because it is St Patrick’s Day but because rain will be falling. Rainfall will be most common during the afternoon into Thursday morning. Over an inch of rain is possible, especially the farther south you go. The backside of the system on Thursday could bring some rain/snow mix before ending. Looking ahead the weekend looks great with a mild high in the 60s for Sunday.