Coralville, IA - December 18, 2014 - West Music, with headquarters in Coralville, IA, was recently named to Internet Retailer Magazine's Hot 100 List, a list of websites that are recognized by the industry as e-commerce influencers. West Music was honored in the "Specialty" retail category, focusing on retailers that are unique enough to defy classification within traditional merchandising categories. According to Internet Retailer Magazine, "The merchants in this year's Hot 100 specialty category have discovered compelling ways to emphasize what makes them or their products different from those available elsewhere." To read the full article about West Music, please visit internetretailer.com/Hot100.

West Music was recognized by Internet Retailer magazine due to their continued focus on customer service and finding new and innovative ways to service a diverse customer base that includes local and national customers. West Music has continued to focus on establishing business processes that can provide extraordinary service to both general consumers in the B2C space as well as schools and institutions that rely on West Music for their experience in music education products. The customer experience requires a mix of tools to service both the B2B and B2C customer base.

"We are proud of our newest recognition and proud of what our website can offer to our customers on a regional and national level. We offer strong business-to-consumer elements with a lot of B2B elements in the background." said senior vice president Ryan West.

West Music launched their first website in 1996 and continues to refine its capabilities, search functions, and web platforms to better serve customers locally as well as reaching out to a national audience of music educators.

About Internet Retailer

Internet Retailer Magazine was launched in March 1999 by Faulkner & Gray, a unit of Thomson Reuters. It was purchased in 2000 by F&G CEO Jack Love and some members of his management team, who left Thomson to form Vertical Web Media. Starting with the monthly Internet Retailer Magazine that began in 1999, Vertical Web Media has launched on average a new publication or information service every year since. It now operates a monthly magazine, two web sites, two e-mail newsletters, three conferences and trade shows, and five research guides - all directed to various aspects of the e-commerce business.

By: Carl Edwards, MBA, ChFC®

Wow, what an amazing market ride over the last few years!  Running on tracks laid by an unprecedented Federal Reserve monetary easing program, the market has once again run to new all-time highs and appears to still have some steam. Or does it?

While no one really knows the answer to this, it is important to remember history as a guide, and to think about the future -- your future.  It wasn't all that long ago that the world's financial system was shaken to its core, leaving many retirees running for shelter from the Ebola-like symptoms displayed by world financial systems.  Fear over which institution or country would next display the almost certain deadly symptoms ran rampant.

I am certainly not echoing the calls of the past and screaming it's time to get your guns and gold.  I am, however, pointing out to consumers the recent and vivid reminders of the importance to get back to the basics with your financial planning this New Year.  If we fail to remember the past, we repeat it.  You have worked too hard preparing for this time in your life.

Let's review three vital elements you should implement in your retirement plan this New Year.

•  Get your annual financial check-up. How can we possibly forget to do this?  Annual check-ups are the number one preventative care tool at our disposal.  While many individuals should be meeting more regularly with their financial advisor, everyone should have at least the minimum of an annual visit.  Problems creep up and this is often the best way to catch them before it is too late.

•  Don't forget to diversify. Are you working with a broker who always wants to sell you mutual funds full of stocks and bonds?  Does your annuity guy think every dime you have should be stuffed into insurance products?  The reality is they are probably both wrong.  Find an advisor this year who knows the benefits of each of these products, but who also knows the value of how they work together.  Diversification is important and it may include each of these products along with other assets such as individual stocks and bonds, Certificates of Deposit (structured and fixed), Business Development Companies, Real Estate Investment Trusts, precious metals, and numerous other investments.

•  Rebalance, Rebalance, Rebalance. With the great equity run up we have encountered since the lows of March 2009, it is vital to remember that we must continue to evaluate our investment portfolios.  While equity portfolios have risen significantly since that time, other areas of our portfolio may not have fared so well, leaving our risk levels in need of adjustment. It is often a good idea to capture some of those hard-earned gains.  You never know -- the next major pullback could be just around the corner.  Be prudent, not greedy!

About Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards, MBA, ChFC®, is a Chartered Financial Consultant® and is the owner of C.E. Wealth Group, (http://www.cewealth.com). He has passed the Series 7, Series 66 and Series 63 securities industry exams. In addition, he has passed the Series 24 principal exam. He represents High Street Asset Management as an Investment Adviser Representative and Calton & Associates, Inc. as a Registered Representative.  The views expressed in this article reflect the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Calton & Associates, Inc. or High Street Asset Management. Information contained in this article is not a recommendation, solicitation, or offer to buy or sell securities.  Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results.  Individuals should consult a financial professional before making investment decisions.  Edwards is also a licensed insurance agent in Life, Health, Medicare Supplement and Long Term Care insurances. Edwards received a master's degree in business administration and is currently completing a second master's degree in finance from Penn State University. He also is a member of the American MENSA.

This year's  Lunch and Learn Recap Series will be held noon to 1 p.m. on January 16, 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:  
January 16th - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
February 20th - Simon Sinek
March 20th - Henry Cloud
April 17th - Andy Stanley

Cost of each Leadercast Lunch & Learn Recap session is $15 and includes a complimentary Chick-fil-A lunch. Register for all four sessions in advance and pay only $45 - a savings of $15. 

Capacity for each session is 60 attendees and seats are filling quickly.
To register or for more information, call Todd Ashby of Results Marketing at 563-322-2065 or email todd@resultsimc.com, follow us on Twitter at @leadercastqc or join our discussion group on LinkedIn - search Leadercast Quad Cities.
Thank you for your support of Leadercast Quad Cities!

ICAD Group's Workplace Culture Initiative Wins Economic Development Award
TEAM Centered Workplace Concept Gaining More Members

The Mid-America Economic Development Council presented its annual Economic Development awards at the 2014 Mid-America Competitiveness Conference & Site Selector Forum, held December 7-9 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago, and the Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) Group Received First Place in the Business Retention and Expansion Category for their entry "Making Iowa City and Iowa's Creative Corridor a Hub for Workplace Culture."

Mark Nolte, ICAD Group's President, said this initiative stems from data collected through its annual existing industry survey.  "As we came out of the recession, we started to see a greater divide among area companies struggling for workers, losing workforce, and those who had unfavorable opinions on local workforce, versus companies that were seeing year-over-year growth," said Nolte.  "In fact, we noticed that companies that were showing high value and low risk scores were also receiving accolades as some of the "fastest growing" and "best places to work" in our region, so workplace culture became a priority."

In June of 2013, ICAD Group launched a series of workplace culture programs to help employers realize that today's workers have a choice in companies, locations and communities, and culture plays a key role.

Included in that programming were visits from Hagie Manufacturing, an agriculture implement manufacturer in Clarion, Iowa, to share their story of transformational culture and rethinking the work environment to attract talented people; promoting World Blu's "Democtratic Workplaces" certification for companies in the region (3 area companies were certified this past year); and the full-day Workplace (R)evolution conference, held this past summer in Cedar Rapids, that attracted attendees representing more than 70 companies from throughout Iowa's Creative Corridor.

Plans are in place for Workplace (R)evolution 2015 in Iowa City and a workplace culture educational series at Kirkwood Community College. Additionally, a workplace culture coalition has since formed in the region known as TEAM, a concept promoted by ICAD Group and Diversity Focus.  With TEAM, companies declare their intent to become TEAM Centered Workplaces and work toward greater internal collaboration and employee autonomy, through Trust, Enjoyment, Accountability and Managing the Whole Person.

Linda Barnes, Vice President of Organizational Agility for Geonetric, says creating a great workplace culture is critical to attracting and retaining top employees. "ICAD Group's TEAM concept brings that to life," said Barnes. "Being part of a coalition that meets monthly to share ideas and practices is invaluable as we grow our company here in the Corridor."

The TEAM Centered Workplace coalition currently consists of 24 regional employers and continues to add new members monthly.  Participating employers are in varied disciplines, from banking to educational testing, software design to advanced manufacturing, with operations/offices in all seven counties of Iowa's Creative Corridor.

"When MediRevv first learned about the TEAM initiative founded by our partners at ICAD Group, we immediately saw the value to our organization as well as the opportunity to our Creative Corridor community," added Brad Baldwin, Vice President of Operations at MediRevv.  "The ideals of the TEAM initiative are foundational to building the human capital it takes to win in our business.  While our mindset at MediRevv was already geared towards these principles, the TEAM initiative has allowed us to continue our momentum and share the ROI of our investments we experienced internally with our community partners."

Companies looking to learn more about TEAM Centered Workplaces can visit www.icadgroup.com/team.

Allows company for first time to fly unmanned aerial system (UAS) commercially for data collection

DAYTON, Ohio, December 10, 2014 ? Woolpert, Inc., a national geospatial, infrastructure management and design firm  specializing in high-tech mapping and imagery collection services, has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly its unmanned aerial system commercially in Ohio and Ship Island, Miss. This exemption comes after years of research and development as well as close coordination with the FAA. This grant of exemption by the FAA marks the first for a surveying and aerial mapping company to be approved to fly a UAS commercially in designated airspace.

"Woolpert has been providing surveying and mapping services for more than 50 years, with a focused commitment on the advancement of related technologies and processes. UAS technology will enable a revolutionary leap in terms of capability, repeatability and efficiency when it comes to monitoring and mapping services," said Jeff Lovin, Woolpert senior vice president. "UAS will change the way we conduct some of our existing business in the not-too-distant future, but more importantly, will create completely new and world-changing applications we haven't even thought of yet."

The data applications with a UAS are far reaching and range from rapid damage assessment and emergency response to surveying and mapping of energy and transportation corridors, construction monitoring, environmental studies andprecision agriculture, which could be impactful national disaster recovery to individual farmers. "The data we will be able to collect in Ohio through this exemption will serve as the foundation for a proof of concept on a number of national applications for UAS," said Matt Hutchinson, Ph.D., Woolpert associate and research scientist, "and we look forward to offering this new technology and its applications to benefit organizations across the U.S."

This exemption marks a significant milestone for the state of Ohio. With its aviation heritage, Ohio has made huge strides to lead the charge in developing training centers, technologies, data processing techniques and advanced applications related to UAS. By securing the exemption from the FAA, Woolpert contributes to this effort by advancing Ohio and the Dayton region as a leader in developing exciting new uses for UAS with the potential for substantial industry growth.

To date, the FAA has received 167 requests for exemption.

About Woolpert

Woolpert, ranked by Engineering News-Record as a top national design firm, provides professional design, geospatial and infrastructure services to clients in the public and private sectors. Founded in 1911, and with more than 600 professionals in 22 offices located throughout the U.S., Woolpert's collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is driven by great people, great clients and great projects. For more information on Woolpert, visit Woolpert's website.

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Is it ever too late to plan for retirement? No, as long as you're willing to be thrifty and extend your working years and be mindful of your individual and employer-based retirement savings options. Building a successful, comfortable retirement depends on a variety of individual factors, including where you live, how long you plan to work, your health and your other investments and assets.

The IRS recently announced an update for your options, including cost-of-living adjustments that will give many taxpayers the advantage of putting more away during 2015. Here's a summary:

  • Regular contribution limits for 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal employee Thrift Savings Plan. Increased from $17,500 (for tax year 2014) to $18,000 (for tax year 2015). The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 in these plans is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. Contribution deadline: Dec. 31.
  • Annual contribution limits, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). For both traditional and Roth IRAs, the annual contribution limit is not subject to a cost-of-living adjustment and remains at $5,500. The over-50 catch-up contribution amount is $1,000. There are particular restrictions (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p590/index.html) based on income levels, workplace retirement plan coverage among other issues. Contribution deadline: April 15.
  • Higher 2015 income phase-out levels for traditional IRA contributions. For singles covered by a workplace retirement plan, the 2015 cutoff is now increased to a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) between $61,000 and $71,000. The IRS website details other significant increases and updates in phase-out levels for married couples and singles.
  • Higher 2015 income phase-out levels for Roth IRA contributions. The IRS website also updates higher phase-out levels for married and single taxpayers on its website. For married couples filing jointly, the 2015 level is now $183,000 to $193,000.

Here's what you can do if you're in your 50s and you haven't yet saved much for retirement:

  • Get qualified financial advice. Organizations such as the Association for Financial Counseling Planning and Education (http://members.afcpe.org/search), Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards list qualified financial advisors, and your state CPA society can suggest tax professionals in your area.
  • Budget and downsize. Want to retire? Start living like a retiree while you're still working. Most experts believe late starters (50 and over) need to put away at least 10 percent of gross income to start making headway. Create a realistic budget, trim debt and consider cheaper housing, transportation and lifestyle options.
  • Take advantage of "catch-up" contribution limits. Retirement savers over the age of 50 have the option to put more away not only in traditional and Roth IRAs but also 401(k) plans - not including SIMPLE 401(k)s, 403(b) plans, SARSEP and 457(b) plans (see Annual contribution limits, IRAs above).
  • Keep working...strategically. If you're lucky, you love your work or are in a position to change careers to one with better retirement savings options. If so, consult an expert on ways to keep earning and investing effectively.

Bottom line: The government's cost-of-living adjustments will allow you to save more for retirement in 2015, but don't wait until then to evaluate your goals to set - or reset - your retirement planning going forward.

Newly opened retail boutique L&D15 brings a bit of exclusive celebrity bling to the Quad Cities for the holidays with a stunning jewelry collection from New York designer Me&Ro.

Me&Ro has developed a strong celebrity following throughout the years including Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Kate Moss, Sheryl Crow, and Mary-Louise Parker among others. Me&Ro can be seen on the pages of many magazines including W, InStyle, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, Town & Country, and Vogue.

The Me&Ro collection at L&D15 consists of men's and women's jewelry in sterling silver and 10K gold, adorned with rubies, black diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones.  We have selected pendants, rings and cuff links with a lot of character for the guys, while the women's pieces are more delicate, and include earrings, bracelets and pendant necklaces stamped with floral and lotus petal motifs.

Me&Ro's art is inspired by the human need both to adorn and to communicate through jewelry. Equally important is the power jewelry has to express the human values of strength, love, and faith. Me&Ro emphasizes the wear-ability of its designs, even when working with materials that verge on excessive. Known for its stackable rings, hammered bangles, personal amulets, and hoops of all sizes, Me&Ro pursues an aesthetic of simple beauty.

L&D15 brings a new style of retail to the Quad Cities, highlighting both local and international artists and designers. L&D15 has exclusive retail arrangements with a number of high profile designers, including Me&Ro, NYC clothing designers Peter Hidalgo and San & Soni and fashion illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari.

Me&Ro is a New York City based jewelry design company founded in the summer of 1991. Inducted into the CFDA in 2008, designer and CEO Robin Renzi continues to express herself through the art of making jewelry. All Me&Ro jewelry is 100% made in New York City.

L&D15 is located at 520 West 2nd St. in downtown Davenport, and is open daily from 10am - 7pm. For more information, visit us at http://landd15.com. More information on Me&Ro is available at http://www.meandrojewelry.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Several Iowans, including leaders of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and Iowa Soybean Association, are in the nation's capital today drumming up support for the biodiesel tax incentive.

The National Biodiesel Board organized a Washington, D.C. Fly-in to lobby for reinstatement of the $1-per-gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit, which expired on Dec. 31, 2013. The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a package of tax incentives retroactively for 2014 on Wednesday night that includes the credit and other deductions that would benefit farmers and Iowa's economy.

The measure now moves to the Senate. NBB officials say if the one-year package passes, any 2015 discussions will be punted to next year.

Biodiesel supporters say the fly-in couldn't have come at a better time to help ensure passage. State soybean leaders and biodiesel advocates met with their U.S. senators and representatives or key aids to explain why the biodiesel credit is needed, along with other provisions in the bill.

"We had good meetings. Everyone is supportive," said Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director. "While we were hoping for a multi-year extension, something is better than nothing. But there's still uncertainty going forward.

This is the fourth time in the last six years the credit has expired for America's Advanced Biofuel.

"Federal policy is important to compete in an established industry," he said. "Otherwise, it's hard to make investments and grow."

Kimberley, Karey Claghorn, ISA chief operating officer and T.J. Page of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association led the Iowa delegation. Others include Bill Horan, Jeff Johannesmeyer and Denny Mauser of Western Iowa Energy and Tom Brooks of Western Dubuque Biodiesel.

Even though Iowa lawmakers support renewable fuels and agriculture, Kimberley said it's important to thank them for their support and arm them with information so they can talk to colleagues about why the credit is important. Recently elected lawmakers were sent letters on the topic, he said.

"With the uncertainty of the RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard) and low commodity prices, it's absolutely critical Congress moves forward with the extenders bill to help biodiesel continue to diversify the nation's energy supply and provide economic benefits," Kimberley said. "We do know that Iowa biodiesel plants aren't running at capacity and some have reduced staff. We're not maximizing our potential."

The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a nonpartisan state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

QCAJobs.com is the newest way to find your next job or employee in the Quad Cities Area. In an effort to provide an affordable service for businesses in the area to post jobs, manage applications and search for qualified applicants, with the combination of a strong social media presence, QCAJobs.com is redefining the way job seekers and employers find their dream job or candidate. QCAJobs.com just launched on Monday, and job openings have begun to fill up the site. With the largest social media presence for employment services in the area numbering over 1100 followers, and great engagement between job seekers and employers on the website, QCAJobs.com is helping to connect Quad City Area residents to great jobs. "Like" them on Facebook at Facebook.com/qcajobs or "follow" on Twitter/qcajobs.com QCAJobs.com -- Search for your next job here.
DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DomiKnow, Inc.® (OTC:DMNO) announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Mark White, the company's CFO, and Jeff Jensen, an experienced financial industry executive, to its Board of Directors.

Mr. White joined the company in May of 2014 and has helped to lead a financial and business restructuring of the company over the past several months.

Mr. Jensen brings a wealth of business experience in the mortgage financing market in senior management leadership positions and is expected to take an active role in the restructuring of the company business model.

Mr. White and Mr. Jensen replaced Brian Webber and Brenda Webber (formerly Brenda Brenmark), each of whom resigned from the board in October of 2014.

Commenting on the board changes, Mike Kemery, CEO, said, "I have worked with and am familiar with the work of both Mr. Jensen and Mr. White. They are both extremely talented individuals with extensive business leadership experience. We at DomiKnow, Inc. are thrilled to have them on our Board of Directors."

Mark White: Mr. White, currently CFO of DomiKnow, Inc., is an experienced entrepreneur and executive in the consumer goods manufacturing, renewable energy and technology spaces. He holds an undergraduate economics degree from the University of Michigan.

Jeff Jensen: Mr. Jensen has over 29 years of financial services industry experience including several leadership roles, most recently as President of Mortgage Compliance Advisors, Inc. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa.

About DomiKnow, Inc.

DomiKnow, Inc. (OTC:DMNO) is a digital marketing company serving small business by deploying sophisticated tools and tactics using big data normally only affordable by large companies. It is based in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information: http://domiknow.com

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