By Cassie Evers, Business Services Coordinator
There are many pieces to the puzzle when it comes to economic development. This complexity is what makes it exciting—but it can also be a bit ambiguous and tough to put together at times.
Each year, the Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) hosts a workshop for economic developers either new to the profession or new to Iowa. Throughout the workshop, participants gain an understanding of how those pieces—statewide organizations, small business development centers, utility companies, chambers, local economic development organizations, colleges, universities, and government councils—work together.
Given I walked the stage at the University of Northern Iowa a couple of months ago, I attended the workshop as someone new to the economic development profession. The workshop provided a chance for me to meet other economic developers and partners of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, and understand available resources.
To start off, I put faces to names, including the partners who led the workshop:
- Sandy Ehrig, Economic Development Administrator at Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
- Mark Reinig, Economic Development Program Manager at Iowa State University, CIRAS
- Kim Didier, Economic and Workforce Development Leader at DMAAC
- James Hoelscher, Program Manager of Institute of Decision Making
- Beth Balzer, Manager of Business Development at the Iowa Economic Development Authority
What a great opportunity to gain insight from people who have poured years into making our state as strong as it is for business. Seeing each of these partners’ passion when talking about their work got me even more excited about starting off in the field.
After this conversation, I feel better equipped pick up the phone and know who to call about an initiative or question.