Business & Economy
Gov. Branstad names Joe Cortese Workers’ Compensation Commissioner PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 10:14

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today appointed Joe Cortese Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Cortese will replace Michelle “Miki” McGovern, who had been serving as the acting Commissioner since September 2014. A photo of Cortese can be found here.

“With over thirty years of experience in workers’ compensation, I’m confident Joe Cortese will serve as an independent and fair commissioner,” said Branstad. “I appreciate Miki’s service to the department and the state in the interim.”

The Workers’ Compensation Commissioner is the head of the Division of Workers’ Compensation which is part of Iowa Workforce Development. Workers’ compensation has the responsibility of administering, regulating, and enforcing the workers’ compensation laws. Though the workers’ compensation commissioner’s office cannot represent the interests of any party, the agency provides information regarding the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law, the rights of the parties, and the procedures the parties can follow to resolve their disputes.

Cortese practices workers’ compensation law at Huber, Book, Cortese & Lanz, where he is a partner. He has been with the firm, formerly Jones, Hoffman & Huber, since 1981. He has been a partner since 1985. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and earned his J.D. with honors from Drake Law School. He is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Polk County Bar Association, Iowa Association of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, Iowa Defense Counsel Association, Defense Research Institute and a founding member of the American Academy of ADR Attorneys.

Cortese will assume the role of Commissioner effective February 16, 2015. His appointment is subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.


Iowa City International Task Force Pursuing Translation, Ambassador and Housing Projects PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Eric Hanson   
Friday, 30 January 2015 15:55

Hills Bank and Trust First to Include Mandarin Chinese on ATMs

(Iowa City) – Building upon its designation as an “International Welcoming City” last March, Iowa City officials and businesses continue to improve their offerings for immigrants and international students who now call Iowa City “home.”

Kate Moreland, director of collaboration and community relations at the Iowa City Area Development Group, says an ICAD Group led task force has been working on projects aimed at improving communication with the international community.  “Translation is always an area of focus and we continue to work with local entities on how to better reach out to our international community and be more welcoming,” said Moreland.  “This includes translating the Convention and Visitor Bureau’s welcome guide into multiple languages and working with area banks to add Chinese to their ATMs.”

Most recently, Hills Bank and Trust Company became the first area bank to offer Mandarin Chinese as an ATM language option.

“We have been long time supporters of the International Community and we were pleased to have been able to work with the Shazam network to incorporate multiple languages into our ATM network,” said Marty Maiers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking for Hills Bank. “We updated the ATM in the lobby of our Old Capitol Town Center location in mid-December and will install Mandarin Chinese on other ATMs campus wide as part of software upgrades.”

Suyun Ma, Global External Relations Coordinator for International Programs at the University of Iowa, sits on the International Relations task force at ICAD Group and says these accommodations help new, international students adapt to a new life during their not-so-easy transitional period.  “I have been in their shoes.  Immersed in a totally different culture and language, most new international students feel overwhelmed and even scared at some point,” said Ma.  “I appreciate the importance of having this kind of convenience and assistance in local ATMs.”

Ties will continue to strengthen between the public and private sector, the university, and the international community as more projects come online.

Tom Markus, City Manager for Iowa City, says the task force is looking next at improving housing and international relations.  “We’ve started communications with the university about how to improve temporary and permanent housing options for new international students who arrive on campus,” said Markus.  “Also, there is initial discussion on developing an ambassador program to help students, visitors and new residents navigate our community and share in our culture.”

“These basic resources serve as a gateway to our welcoming and diverse community, which is one of reasons that some international students choose to study at University of Iowa and fall in love with the city,” added Ma.

Leadercast Lunch & Learn Series: February Session PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Leadercast Quad Cities   
Friday, 30 January 2015 10:47
Thank you to everyone that was able to join us for our first Leadercast Lunch & Learn Session on January 16th.  We came together to learn from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and each other, how to incorporate leadership concepts like "A person, is a person, through other persons. You are you, because of others." into our daily lives.
For those of you that have already registered for February's session, we look forward to seeing you again on February 20th, when we will hear from Simon Sinek and discuss his  leadership concept "Leaders Eat Last".

If you haven't already already registered for February's session, we have room and would love for you to join us!  Information about the remaining sessions can be found below and for any additional questions, phone calls are always welcome.

This year's remaining  Lunch and Learn Series sessions will be held noon to 1 p.m. on  February 20, March 20, and April 17, at DHCU Community Credit Union, 1900 52nd Ave., Moline, IL.
During the Lunch & Learn Recap sessions, videos will be shown of the top four 2014 Leadercast speakers, as determined by attendee survey results. Everyone at the Lunch and Learn events will have a chance to discuss the valuable concepts being presented as they enjoy a delicious Chick-fil-A lunch.
Speakers for the Leadercast Lunch & Learn Recap series will be:  
February 20th - Simon Sinek
March 20th - Henry Cloud
April 17th - Andy Stanley

5 Innovation Killers That Lurk Within Businesses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 30 January 2015 10:09

The work of innovative thinkers is why the world has smartphones, laptop computers, toaster ovens and numerous other gadgets and creative approaches to problem solving.

Yet groundbreaking ideas aren’t always welcome in the corporate world or within other institutions.

Instead, those who suggest a different approach often find their ideas shot down by co-workers or blocked by an organizational system that is unwelcoming to change, says international speaker and innovation consultant Dr. Neal Thornberry.

That doesn’t mean innovation can’t happen, though.

“The innovator needs to know how to operate in these less than friendly cultures without waiting for some miraculous transformation in corporate policy,” says Thornberry, author of the book “Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks and Blockheads on the Way to Creativity.” (

He says there are five innovation “killers” within organizations that a person with ideas can expect to confront.

•  People. Sometime it’s an individual, sometimes it’s a group. Regardless, people often resist innovation, and many times for illogical reasons. “The more rigid people reject innovation simply because they are uncomfortable with the new or don’t want to spend the energy to try something different,” Thornberry says. They may be quick to point out flaws in your ideas.

One way to counteract that, Thornberry says, is to be your own worst critic. Discover those flaws first and highlight them yourself. Then you can address how you plan to mitigate them, thus stealing the critics’ thunder, he says.

•  Politics. You can usually get around one or two individuals who try to block your idea, but it’s more challenging when the organization is rife with politics. “I hate working in highly politicized organizations,” Thornberry says. “They make work a lot harder and make you spend considerable time on non-value-adding activities.” In fact, Thornberry devotes an entire chapter in his book to “Right Mindedness” so that innovators practicing his seven secret judo skills are not seen as innovating for personal gain or exploitation, but as enablers of company success.

•  Organizational design. An out-of-whack organizational design usually is not generated on purpose or with malice, Thornberry says. Instead it develops over time, with one well-intentioned move after another leading to unintended consequences. Often the result is a proliferation of controls, along with structures and processes that create barriers to innovation.

When an idea is blocked by layers of decision-making, one solution is to use leverage, Thornberry says. Enlist the aid of a customer who would benefit from the innovation, he says, because paying customers have huge leverage.

•  Company values. Here the innovator has both a challenge and an opportunity. Many companies articulate their values, but don’t always live by them. “The upside for innovators is that values can be used as leverage for innovation even if they aren’t true,” Thornberry says. For example, if the company declares, “The customer is No. 1,” then it becomes difficult to ignore an innovation that is positioned as being for the customer.

•  Corporate culture. The corporate culture essentially is how the people, politics, organizational design and values interact. “The greatest challenge to any innovator, and to embedding and sustaining innovation over the long term, is culture,” Thornberry says. To make it even more challenging, often organizations have micro-cultures within the culture. That means, he says, you will need to adapt the use of innovation judo principles depending on which micro-culture you are dealing with at any given moment.

“Innovators throughout history have faced both roadblocks and blockheads on their path to creativity,” Thornberry says. “And so will you.”

But with a little courage and some counterbalancing skills, he says, these challenges can be overcome.

About Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.

Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of IMSTRAT, LLC a consulting firm that specializes in helping private and public sector organizations develop innovation strategies that create economic value by increasing an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency. A respected thought leader in innovation, Thornberry is a highly sought-after international speaker and consultant. He  also serves as the faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Thornberry, author of “Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks & Blockheads on the Path to Creativity” (, holds a doctorate in organizational psychology and specializes in innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership and organizational transformation.

Selecting Your Investment Advisor PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:11

Changing How You Perceive the Role of Your Investment Advisor
By: Jeff Bucher

On the surface, when people think of an investment advisor, financial planner or retirement planner, what they think of is someone that’s going to assist them with making the selections of their stocks, bonds and mutual funds. As you transition into the retirement stage there are many other important areas of retirement that also need to be considered.  Selecting the right retirement guide that will be able to help in all of these areas is crucial for you to have a fulfilling retirement.

We call ourselves many different things, Financial Planners, Investment Advisors, or maybe even Retirement Planners.  Regardless of the title, you probably go to us all for the same thing – to use our knowledge and expertise regarding the financial markets to invest your funds for you. On the surface, this describes the role of the advisor.  However, we feel that this limited role of the advisor specifically covers one period of your investment lifetime, the accumulation period, when you are trying to build and grow your wealth.  As you transition into retirement (the portfolio distribution phase), it’s important that the advisor begin to take on a larger role when it comes to your financial well-being.  As an advisor that specializes in the distribution phase, the investment selection must be complimented by a strategy of when best to file for Social Security Benefits, a plan to minimize the amount of taxes that will be due, and a sustainable withdrawal strategy to ensure that your needs will be met for the remainder of your lifetime.

Fiduciary vs. Suitability

When it comes to the investment selection, it’s very important to understand what type of advisor with whom you’re working. There are two different types of advisors that plan within two different sets of rules. There’s the investment advisor, who is held to a fiduciary standard, and then there is the registered representative, or an insurance professional, who is held to a suitability standard. Understanding what standards that they’re held to and how they’re compensated is part of the investment selection process that, as the consumer, you need to be aware of. The differences are crucial.

A fiduciary standard is a legal obligation where the advisor must act in the best interest of their client and puts the client’s best interest ahead of their own.  It is the highest standard of care available under law.  Fiduciary advisors can be regulated by the SEC or state regulators.  An example to explain this standard is an advisor with two identical products that have different fees, who must recommend the one that is lower in cost.  They can’t recommend the product that makes more money for them or their company.  A fiduciary advisor is often paid by a quarterly fee that is calculated as a percentage of assets.

According to the FIRNA Industry Professionals manual, the suitability standard requires that a registered representative or insurance professional must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer.  This is based primarily on financial objectives, current income level and age, in order to complete a commissionable sale of a financial product.  There is no requirement to find the best investment for you, only ones that are seemingly suitable for you.  They offer a range of products for sale carried by the company he or she represents.  The way that someone with a suitability standard gets paid is by commissions calculated as a percentage of money invested into the product.

Which type of advisor would you like to work with after hearing the differences between the two?

What to expect from a retirement planner

As we transition into retirement, the investment selection is still part of the process, but there’s more to expect from a retirement planner.

Important questions we need to ask include:

• How are we going to create an income/distribution plan of these assets that’s going to be reliable and sustainable for as long as you live?

• How do we select a social security filing strategy that will best meet our needs it?

• How are we going to protect your standard of living from inflation?

• How are we going to reduce your tax obligations?

• How are we going to position these assets in a way that you still have the liquidity that you need for all kinds of emergencies and related discretionary spending?

• How can we position things in such a way that you have the income stream you need and, at the same time, have the flexibility to handle life’s unknowns?

• How can we help protect you from the risks of a long term illness?

• How do we select the right health care plan to best meet your needs and resources?

• How do we protect the legacy that you want to leave behind for your heirs?

Transitioning into Retirement

Again, as we transition into this retirement phase, investment selection is part of the process. But now we need to focus more on an income plan, which encompasses social security planning, tax planning, planning against inflation and health care planning – all of these things are added into the picture. So, during this transition, the perception that you have of your investment advisor needs to take on a new role. Often, with new clients, we find that there hasn’t been a transition, which means the client is being greatly underserved.

At Citizen Advisory Group, (, our program offers a much more comprehensive approach to the retirement planning side of things. We pull in the investment selection with an income/distribution plan that includes planning for social security, longevity and taxes. We unify all of these different pieces to create a very well-rounded plan. This allows people the safety and security to go out and enjoy their retirement lifestyle and spend their money without the fear associated with running out of money during their lifetimes.

About Jeff Bucher

Jeff Bucher is president of Citizen Advisory Group, (, and is an Investment Advisor Representative of AlphaStar Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. He has a life and health insurance license with the state of Ohio. His membership affiliations include the exclusive Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group™, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA) and the Forum 400. He has earned Top of the Table honors through the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).  Jeff has been featured on the Toledo, Ohio television affiliates for NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC. Bucher is a former standout wrestler at The Ohio State University, where he earned an athletic scholarship and honed his leadership skills en route to earning four varsity letters.

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