Science & Technology
Facebook chooses Iowa for next data center location PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:23

Minimum $299.5 million investment coming to Altoona


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today joined Altoona’s Mayor Skip Conkling in officially welcoming Facebook to Iowa.  The social networking company, which helps more than 1 billion people around the world connect and share with each other, announced that it will build a new, state-of-the-art data center in Altoona.

“Today’s announcement further solidifies Iowa’s position as a destination for tech companies – from major data center operations like Facebook’s to the innovative start-ups we continue to see popping up around our state,” said Gov. Branstad.  “Our productive workforce and our overall cost of doing business help us to win great projects like this.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds added, “We are so proud to add Facebook to our list of world-renowned tech companies located in Iowa. Facebook’s investment continues sending the signal that Iowa is open for business and this administration is committed to attracting business and jobs here in all economic sectors."

Facebook will invest a minimum of $299.5 million in the project, which is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and dozens of full-time operations jobs. The company evaluated several other sites before choosing the Iowa location.

The first phase of the project will result in a 476,000-square foot data center that will be among the most advanced and energy efficient of its kind. The data center will feature an innovative outdoor-air cooling system and the latest in Open Compute Project server designs, and it will be built to LEED Gold standards.

"I welcome Facebook to the Altoona community,” said Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling. “Quality companies and development make our city and state an even greater place to do business and to live and play. I want to thank all parties for their endeavors in securing this project."

Earlier today the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board approved $18 million in tax benefits through the High Quality Jobs program to Facebook to create at least 31 new jobs at a qualifying wage of $23.12 per hour. The project will have a minimum capital investment of $299.5 million. Local incentives from the city of Altoona were also approved today.

“We’re thrilled to become a part of the Altoona community, and especially appreciative of all the partners who helped make this project happen,” said Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering for Facebook. “Facebook’s mission is to connect the world. Thanks to Iowa, we’re building the global infrastructure to bring the next billion people online.”

The 194-acre site selected in Altoona could accommodate up to two additional data center buildings that may be constructed in future phases of the project.

Other elected officials weighed in on the announcement today.

“I regret that I cannot be there in person today to join with Mayor Conkling, City Council members, and officials from Facebook to welcome the news of Facebook’s intention to expand into Iowa," said U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. "We have long known that Iowa is a great place to do business. Altoona in particular has been very focused on providing quality infrastructure at a fair cost to attract companies like Facebook, which add to our continued economic growth. So I welcome this announcement and I look forward to the improvements it will generate for our entire state.”

“America knows that Iowa is one of the tech-friendliest states in the country with an outstanding workforce to match, and Facebook’s announcement today firmly confirms that fact," said U.S. Congressman Tom Latham. "This new data center is unprecedented in scope and will bring jobs and economic development to Altoona, as well as further Iowa’s reputation as a top-notch place to innovate and do business. I congratulate the good people of Altoona for being a part of this exciting project, commend Facebook for pursuing it, and look forward to seeing the immense benefits it brings.”




Q&A on the Keystone XL Pipeline with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 19 April 2013 15:02

Q:        Why do you support the Keystone XL Pipeline?

A:        The crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast called the Keystone XL pipeline would provide 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day and help to counteract insufficient domestic oil supplies and reduce America’s dependence on less reliable foreign sources.  The way I see it, the energy and economic development benefits of this pipeline are too important to delay any longer.  Keystone XL contributes to a necessary, three-pronged approach for America’s energy policy.  We need to develop traditional oil and gas resources in America.  We need development, production and use of alternative renewable fuels.  We need to conserve energy.  What’s needed now is an increased supply of oil.  The Keystone XL pipeline would help maintain adequate crude oil supplies for U.S. refineries and let us decrease dependence on foreign crude oil supplies from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela.

Q:        What have you done to advance this pipeline?

A:        In March, I voted for an amendment offered by Senator John Hoeven to the Senate budget resolution.  The amendment expressed support for the approval and construction of the pipeline and passed with a bipartisan vote of 62 to 37.  It was mostly a symbolic vote because the budget resolution does not become law and isn’t binding.  But the vote demonstrates strong support within the Senate for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Q:        How has President Obama delayed the Keystone XL?

A:        Authority for siting oil pipelines generally lies with the states, but the construction of facilities at the U.S. border for exporting or importing petroleum or other fuels requires a Presidential Permit issued by the Department of State.  In this case, consideration has been drawn out, most likely to try to stop the pipeline from being built.  In 2008, TransCanada applied for a presidential permit from the State Department to construct and operate the pipeline.  In January 2012, the State Department recommended that the Presidential permit be denied.  The same day, the President stated his determination that the Keystone XL pipeline project would not serve the national interest.  This year, in January, the Governor of Nebraska approved a proposed reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline to avoid the Sand Hills due to the area’s unique soil properties.  So, TransCanada reapplied to the State Department in May 2012, along the new route through Nebraska.  This year, in March, the State Department released a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the new Presidential permit application.  The report basically found that the pipeline would not accelerate greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the environment along its route.  A final decision from the State Department and the Obama Administration on whether to grant the Presidential permit is expected after expiration of the comment period for the draft SEIS at the end of this month.

Monday, April 15, 2013

News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Brandy Welvaert   
Monday, 15 April 2013 15:17

DAVENPORT, Iowa—Waste Commission of Scott County’s Electronic Demanufacturing Facility has completed and passed its annual surveillance audit to the Responsible Recycling (R2) Standard.

The facility is the first public agency in the world and the only agency in the state of Iowa to achieve this certification. There are approximately 360 facilities in the world that hold R2 certification.

By adhering to the R2 standard, the facility assures its customers that any sensitive data and toxic materials inside their electronics will be managed in the most responsible way. Data-containing items are caged and locked, monitored through a security system, and ultimately destroyed. All potentially harmful materials inside electronics—such as mercury, cadmium and lead—are captured and recycled responsibly. No harmful materials are shipped to developing countries. All of these practices are verified by an independent auditor.

The Electronic Demanufacturing Facility, 1048 East 59th St., Davenport, accepts e-waste with a circuit board and/or cathode-ray tube. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. No appointment is necessary, and there is no charge for residents of Scott and Rock Island counties. For more information, call (563) 823-0119 or visit For more information about the R2 Standard, visit

Waste Commission of Scott County is an inter-governmental agency established in 1972 to provide environmentally sound and economically feasible solid waste management services for Scott County.


Demand for Computer & Software Jobs Offers 2nd Career Opportunity PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 08 April 2013 14:38
‘You Don’t Have to be a Math Whiz to Learn,’
Says Trainer/Programmer

There are plenty or good jobs to be found on sites like Monster and Craigslist, says Mark Lassoff, a self-described computer geek and founder of LearnToProgram, Inc. ( The problem is, the glut of unemployed, college-educated professionals available to fill them aren’t qualified, he says.

“American companies will post positions for jobs like developing mobile apps and video games – good, high-paying jobs with benefits – but there just aren’t enough qualified computer programmers out there so, after a few weeks, they send these jobs overseas,” says Lassoff, who has trained employees at the Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin and Discover Card Services.

Computer programming jobs are expected to grow by 12 percent by 2020, while software developer jobs are forecast to grow by 30 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2010, the median salary for software developers were earning more than $90,500.

There aren’t enough people to fill these jobs because technology and the job market are moving much faster than education in high schools and colleges, says Lassoff, who develops online courses, books and other materials for people who want to learn programming.

“People think you have to go back to school to learn programming and other computer skills, but you don’t,” he says. “There’s also the myth that you have to be some kind of math or science genius to learn it. Not true. You just need to learn the process, and then practice it. You can build a portfolio by doing volunteer work for a church or charity.”

What types of people are ripe for skills like web development through an online course – and landing a great new job?

• Career-hoppers with an IT background: Current and former Information Technology workers are fast learners when it comes to new computer skills. If their current job is in customer service or corporate support, getting the tools to unleash their creativity may be the ticket not only to better pay but to a more gratifying career.

• Retirees: The cliché is that older folks are so far behind on tech knowledge, they struggle with email. However, many retirees are highly motivated, curious and have plenty of time for the business of learning. They may even have worked with early computers in their careers. “I know seniors who learned programming later in life and they like staying stimulated and challenged, and having an in-demand skill,” Lassoff says.

• The kid who plans to study computer science: Junior high and high school curricula are still woefully behind when it comes to preparing kids for careers in computer technology. Ambitious kids who want to take their relationship with technology to the next level are thoroughly engaged by web, mobile and gaming code classes – and they do very well.

• The good-idea person: Very often, someone has a great idea for a mobile app, but no idea what to do with it. A basic understanding of mobile app coding can start turning that great idea into an entrepreneurial adventure.

Courses for these training programs do not have to be expensive – high quality yet affordable programs can be found for less than $200, he says.

About Mark Lassoff

Mark Lassoff is the founder and CEO of, Inc. Lassoff majored in communication and computer science in college, and later worked in the software and web development departments at several large corporations. While his contemporaries were conquering the dot-com world, Lassoff fell in love with training. He’s a top technical trainer whose clients including the Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Discover Card Services and Kaiser Permaente. For people who want to dip a toe into programming, he offers free tutorials on his website.

Is Your Organization Protected Against the Risks of Technology? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Janet Dufour   
Friday, 05 April 2013 10:04
Midland Communications  Explains the Right Way to Invest in Communications Technology Today

DAVENPORT, IA - April 4, 2013 - Making the right investment decision is critical, especially in challenging economic times. It can mean life or death for any small to mid-sized business (SMB). This includes the manner of investing in new technology, because technology brings with it two embedded risks - obsolescence and unforeseen cost.  Technology is a depreciating asset and business 101 teaches us to never pay cash for a depreciating asset. Plus, there is an ongoing and unknown cost to technology after it is implemented within a company. Midland Communications understands these risks and has a unique solution known as the Current Technology Assurance Plan (C-TAP) to overcome them.
C-TAP is designed to increase an organization's profitability and give it a competitive advantage. This technology investment vehicle fixes the cost of technology by bundling together hardware, software, unlimited training and all of Midland Communications' professional services. It's a method of acquiring technology that gives businesses a brand new element of flexibility that is much needed in today's world.
The biggest benefit of the C-TAP program is that businesses no longer face the frustration of paying cash for a depreciating asset. After purchase, it is only a matter of time before new technology becomes obsolete and this program has taken that into account.  Business owners have more control over their technology budget than ever before, because C-TAP allows businesses to add in new hardware, software, equipment, or installation without increasing monthly expense. In the traditional model, businesses do not have this flexibility. For example, if a business was stuck utilizing antiquated PCs and obsolete phone systems, the business owner would simply have to purchase all new equipment via a large capital expenditure. Under C-TAP, companies can add new computers, phones or other technology solutions, while keeping their monthly cost the same. Furthermore, Midland Communications waives any labor or installation fees that would normally be incurred.
"The growth of the C-TAP program is self-perpetuating," stated Jason Smith, Vice President of Midland Communications. "It's a much simpler way of acquiring technology, and our customers love that. Businesses are continually evolving and infrastructure needs to shift with these changes in order to remain competitive. When our customers are able to get the technology they need without being 'nickeled and dimed' and we are able to earn our customers' business month after month, both parties win. We firmly believe that the best way to win our customers over is to enhance their productivity and increase their bottom-line profitability. By partnering with our customers, we see them succeed and that turns into a positive result for everyone."


Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit


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