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Monday PM Daily | March 20, 2017
Better Business Bureau
ISU's Leath explains change of heart, decision to take Auburn job
Business Record Business Record

When Auburn University approached Steven Leath about becoming president at the Alabama university, he begged off at first.

As he told the Business Record in an interview last year, Leath told the recruiters that he had bought a retirement home in north-central Iowa, loved his role at Iowa State University and had no plans to leave. "I love Iowa State, and the Iowa State students, faculty, staff and Cyclone family are wonderful; I am not looking to leave," Leath told recruiters.

But shortly after the Auburn trustees voted to hire him Monday morning, Leath and his wife, Janet, issued a letter to the ISU community indicating, "We now realize our destiny is in Alabama and leading one of the nation's great land-grant universities to even greater prominence."

Leath had led a five-year growth spurt at ISU, which overtook the University of Iowa as the state's largest university, with 36,660 students (Auburn, another land grant school, is about 28,000). He helped build a nationally prominent basketball program and oversaw a large expansion of the ISU Research Park along with a dedicated effort to tie ISU more closely to economic development efforts. But he also faced controversies over racism and sexual assaults on campus, the end of the long-time, violence-marred VEISHEA festival, his use of university planes and the land deal for his retirement home, which was aided by his boss on the Board of Regents.

He took the high road in his official comments today.

"I leave with a promise fulfilled, and that was to leave the university better than I inherited it," Leath wrote. "I leave with Iowa State achieving record enrollment, retention rates, graduation rates, job placement rates as well as records in fundraising and research funding, and numerous other metrics. I am proud of the many accomplishments that we achieved in economic development and community engagement."

"Janet and I have made lifelong friends here in Iowa and have had many great experiences," Leath said in the statement. "We will always consider ourselves Cyclones and have great affection for this university and its beautiful campus; it is a very special place. Our appreciation for the Cyclone family is beyond words, and we found this extended family of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to be the greatest joy of our time at Iowa State."

The Leath-to-Auburn story was broken by reporters Jim Little and Cynthia Williford of the Opelika-Auburn News, which last weekend cited unnamed sources as saying Leath's land-grant and agricultural street cred had made him a stop candidate for the job.

Leath, who takes the new job July 15, looked back at his five years as ISU president in the Business Record interview.

Lincoln Savings Bank
Waukee, Boone in new state STEM program
Business Record Business Record

The state has launched a new program to get students at four school districts ready for registered apprenticeships.

The new offering will include Waukee's APEX program in which high school seniors learn advanced skills in manufacturing, construction and technology fields with the help of MidAmerican Energy, Weitz Co., Master Builders of Iowa, Neumann Bros. Construction, Remodelworks, Pillar, LightEdge Solutions and Accumold. Boone's project-based program in plumbing and electrical fields was added to the "quality pre-apprenticeship program," as were offerings in Muscatine and Spencer.

"These four STEM BEST partners continue to make strong connections with the local businesses in their communities," Kemin Industries President and CEO Chris Nelson, co-chair of the STEM Council, said in a statement. "This new pilot opportunity will build on what they've already established and will help students earn applicable credentials when they graduate high school to further their education in some of the most in-demand careers in our state."

In their proposals, the four school districts showed proven partnerships and agreed to deliver a manual for other schools and partners on how to create the programs.


Grinnell Mutual launches new branding
Grinnell Mutual, a century-old property and casualty insurance and reinsurance firm, unveiled its new brand identity today. The new theme is "Trust in Tomorrow." Along with a new primary logo for Grinnell Mutual, the evolution in brand identity features a new name and logo for its reinsurance unit, Grinnell Re. It also includes a new member logo, Grinnell Mutual Member, which replaces the longstanding FarMutual logo. The new brand identity is Grinnell Mutual's first major update since 1963.

Public meeting set to discuss Des Moines real estate inspection program
The city of Des Moines Community Development Department will host a public meeting to discuss implementation of the point of sale real estate contract inspection compliance program. The meetings is 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Richard A. Clark Municipal Service Center, 1551 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

Northey notes Iowa efforts to help wildfire victims
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said Iowans are helping their neighbors to the west and south who have been victims of wildfires. Gov. Terry Branstad eased hauling rules to make it easier to get forage to ranchers in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Seven people have died in fires covering more than 2,300 square miles, and thousands of cattle have been lost. Northey said volunteers are arranging hay shipments, and the Iowa Cattlemen's Foundation, Iowa Cattlemen's Association and Dream Dirt have arranged an online auction to raise funds for victims of the recent wildfires. See auction details and a list of organizations taking donations.

Broadlawns Medical Center
Iowa Realty
Record number of participants attend Ready to Run workshops

Organizers of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics' Ready to Run program are touting a record number of participants attending this year's workshops. Now in its 10th year, Ready to Run is a campaign training program designed to encourage women to run for elective office, position themselves for appointive office, work on a campaign or become involved in public life as leaders in their respective communities. Read more

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Iowa State University MBA
Business Record

Credit card applications drop at Wells Fargo in February
Reuters: Wells Fargo & Co saw a drop in consumers opening checking and credit card accounts in February, the bank said today marking the sixth straight month of decline since a sales scandal rocked the bank last year. Consumers opened 3 percent fewer checking accounts from January, and 43 percent, or 0.3 million, fewer compared with February 2016, according to a company statement.

David Rockefeller, banker and philanthropist, dies at 101
CNNMoney: David Rockefeller, the famed banker and philanthropist, died Monday at age 101, according to a spokesperson for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Rockefeller had served as chairman of what is now JPMorgan Chase. But he was also born into great wealth as a grandson of John D. Rockefeller, who was the founder of the Standard Oil empire and America's first billionaire. According to Forbes, David Rockefeller was worth $3.3 billion at the time of his death, making him the world's oldest billionaire.

Innovation Iowa 2017
dsm Magazine
What I wish I knew about my first pay check 
FAST COMPANY: From 401(k)s to stock options, professionals reveal what they wish they knew about money early in their careers. Read more


April 7: Downtown Affordable Housing Walking Tour
Host: Polk County Housing Trust Fund and Capital Crossroads
About: The tour will showcase downtown affordable housing options and discuss housing's role in building a stronger economy in Central Iowa. You will also learn more about Capital Crossroads 2.0, including its new focus on housing.
When: 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Insurance Exchange Building
Learn more

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KCCI Top Stories

'Hamilton,' full Civic Center lineup announced 
Des Moines Performing Arts has unveiled its anticipated 2017–2018 Season. The announcement includes dates for Des Moines' premiere engagement of Hamilton, which will take the Des Moines Civic Center stage during Independence Day 2018, and the expansion of the traditional five-show Willis Broadway Series Season Ticket package by one show. Read more

KCCI's Mollie Cooney announces retirement plans 
Mollie Cooney, KCCI 8 News at Noon anchor and reporter, is preparing to sign off one last time. On Friday, April 21 she will end a television career spanning more than 40 years, nearly all of them at Iowa's News Leader. Read more

MORE KCCI: Get more local news from our partners at

Weather Forecast
Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 39. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. 

Cloudy with occasional rain showers. High around 45. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent. 

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The Iowa Index is an unweighted average of all 23 Iowa-based public companies. Below is a live look at those 23, plus 14 additional companies with large operations in Iowa.
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