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Sue Beach Joins Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is pleased to announce that Sue Beach has joined the Alliance & Chamber as Director of Investor Relations.

The Director of Investor Relations is responsible for investor recruitment and retention. Beach will work collaboratively with Bette Wubbena, Director of Investor Services.

 “Sue has served as a volunteer on Alliance & Chamber committees and as an Ambassador for both the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and the Waverly Chamber,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President of Community Development, “Her knowledge of our services and the return on investment available to investors will be a major benefit to our existing investors and to other businesses and institutions in the Cedar Valley economic area looking to give their operations a competitive advantage through the Alliance & Chamber.”

Beach has over 20 years of sales, marketing, fundraising, and management experience. Most recently, Beach led the Cedar Valley through the adoption and implementation of the Blue Zones Project of Waterloo and Cedar Falls as the Program Manager.

Beach is a graduate of North Iowa Area Community College and Hamilton College.

“Sue is a respected leader in the community with extensive expertise in building relationships and generating revenue, volunteer support and action,” says Alliance & Chamber CEO Steven Dust, “Her business and non-profit experience is a good match for this new role in the Alliance & Chamber. Our investors can expect the same kind of enthusiasm and energy to ensure they’re receiving maximum return on their Alliance & Chamber investments.”

Beach resides in Cedar Falls with her husband Sean and has an adult daughter Cheyenne.  She will begin her duties with the Alliance & Chamber on May 12,2014.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development.  Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com.

Public Leaders Host 7 Habits Session in Step Toward Collaborative Service Cedar Valley

The Alliance & Chamber presented a 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE ® Local Government Informational Session On Thursday, February 13. The session was Hosted by Mayor Crews, Mayor Clark, and Board of Supervisors Chair White at the Cedar Falls Utilities headquarters.

The hosts and other public leaders initiated the informational session to take the next step in collaboration to better serve Cedar Valley residents. It also served as an opportunity to learn how the principles that are positively impacting our schools and businesses across the area can also be applied to the public’s service.

Covey facilitator Gary McGuey along with Leader Valley Program Directory Melissa Reade gave brief presentations about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Leader in Me, ways in which the utilization of The 7 Habits might enhance personal effectiveness, and encouraged the group to consider how these tools can assist our local governments to collaborate even more in service to Cedar Valley residents.

Approximately 50 representatives from the area governments and agencies were in attendance.

Career Opportunities in Economic Developement & Investor Developement with Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chambe

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has two positions available:

Job Title: Director of Investor Relations

Description: This person will be responsible for achieving revenue goals through the creation & execution of investor recruitment & retention programs. Bachelors degree with at least 3 years related experience preferred. Competitive salary with incentive structure and benefit package available.

Job Title: Director of Business Retention

Description: Seeking candidates to plan, develop and implement regional economic development initiatives for business retention and expansion. Bachelors degree required with at least 3 years related experience. The successful candidate will be part of a results driven, fast pace work and collaborative team.

Full descriptions are available at here and at  www.workthevalley.org

 

CEDAR FALLS ACHIEVES CERTIFIED BLUE ZONES COMMUNITY STATUS

City Successfully Implements Wide Range of Improvements to Achieve Higher Well-Being

Cedar Falls, Iowa – January 22, 2014 – Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) and Blue Zones, LLC, today announced that Cedar Falls, Iowa, has been named a certified Blue Zones Community®. Certification recognizes Cedar Falls’ successful implementation of the Blue Zones Project®, a first-of-its-kind population health program that focuses on making long-lasting upgrades to the living environment. It brings the world’s best practices in food policy, built environment, purpose and social networking to participating cities.

Community leaders, volunteers and organizations throughout Cedar Falls have been working to reach this milestone since May 2012, when the community was named one of the first Blue Zones Project demonstration sites in Iowa. As a result of their efforts, Cedar Falls can celebrate the following outcomes:

  • Completion of a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge, Mayor’s Bridge, across Highway 58, connecting the industrial park, where approximately 7,000 people work, with the approximately 5,000 residents who live on the other side of the bridge.
  • Approximately $500,000 spent to expand sidewalks and trails, connecting more of the community than ever before. New sidewalks were completed along Angie Drive from 3rd Street to Crescent Drive, making it safer for students to walk to and from school.
  • Cedar Falls Community Schools earned a second Physical Education Program Grant valued at $1.3 million in part through its implementation of Blue Zones Project principles and other initiatives.
  • Local businesses increased their revenue by adopting Blue Zones Project principles. For example, the Hy-Vee College Square location noted an increase in sales of healthy items:
    • Healthy beverage sales associated with Blue Zones Project checkout lanes increased by 4,840 units, or 122%, in a three-month period.
    • Produce sales increased by 15.8%, with weekly sales of fruits and vegetables sold at the salad bar increasing up to 25%.
  • The University of Northern Iowa increased the number of water stations on campus from two to 45, with more than 350,000 water servings dispensed during the 2013 fall semester. Local employer John Deere PEC installed three new stations and has dispensed 86,000 servings.
  • Cedar Falls in collaboration with Waterloo saw more than 9,500 residents volunteer in 2013, an increase of 700 volunteers from 2012. The volunteers contributed more than 49,000 volunteer hours.

“Cedar Falls has enjoyed excellent economic performance in the last year, including a reduction in unemployment to less than 3 percent, the creation of more than 200 new jobs – many of them high tech, nearly $80 million in building permits and the sale price of single family housing up 8.6 percent. We feel strongly that this performance trend will only be enhanced by the continued Blue Zones Project work in Cedar Falls. A healthier community makes us a more attractive place to live and work,” said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews.

“Cedar Falls is the consummate example that an American city, given the right tools, can dramatically increase its own quality of life by taking an environmental approach to well-being improvement,” said Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner.

All community members are invited to celebrate the success, hear from leaders in the community, and recognize the hard work completed towards improved well-being in a Certification Celebration:

Thursday, January 30

4:30 p.m. – 6:00p.m. (Program at 5 p.m.)

Cedar Falls Community Center

528 Main St.

RSVP: BlueZonesProject.com/events

All day Thursday, Jan. 30: “Better with Blue Zones Project Day” – wear your Blue Zones Project t-shirt or anything blue to celebrate!

Cedar Falls achieved Blue Zones Community status after the city made well-being improvements across the community, reaching the following key milestones:

  • 50% of the top 20 identified worksites became designated Blue Zones Worksites®.
  • 25% of schools became designated Blue Zones Schools®.
  • 25% of restaurants became designated Blue Zones Restaurants®.
  • 25% of grocery stores became designated Blue Zones Grocery Stores®.
  • 20% of citizens committed to the Blue Zones Project and completed at least one well-being improvement action.
  • The community successfully completed the Blue Zones Community Policy® bundle.

 

“Cedar Falls has done a tremendous amount of work to transform their community and make living healthy a way of life,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark executive vice president. “This achievement is no small task.  Cedar Falls should be commended for leading and inspiring other Iowa communities to take care of their citizens now and into the future.”

The Blue Zones Project is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative, designed to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016. This status is measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® (WBI), the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark in collaboration with Healthways and Blue Zones, the Blue Zones Project initiative encourages all Iowa communities to change their built environments to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

While Cedar Falls has one of the highest WBI scores in the country, the community showed an increase in well-being from 2012 to 2013 of nearly one point. Each point in well-being improvement equates to a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood of hospital admission and emergency room visits.

For a community, the achievement of higher well-being for its citizens yields competitive advantage for economic development and job creation. For employers, it means greater productivity and better health in the workforce and dependent families, resulting in better business performance. For individuals, it simply means living well, longer.

“Clearly, Cedar Falls has demonstrated its dedication to improved well-being and is well deserving of Blue Zones Community certification,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and chief executive officer. “The policies and programs implemented in the community have already resulted in immediate, tangible benefits, and the Blue Zones Project will also lead to sustained, long-term well-being transformation for individuals as well as the broader Cedar Falls community.”

 

Fifteen Iowa communities are currently part of the Blue Zones Project and are positively influencing statewide WBI measurement outcomes to date. For more information please visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Blue Zones

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company’s work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive – both published by National Geographic books.  In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%.  Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach.  For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities.  We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.  Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 45 million people on four continents.  Learn more at www.healthways.com.

Learn more about us here:

www.bluezonesproject.com

www.healthways.com

 

Take the Pledge today at www.bluezonesproject.com

Transformational 7 Habits training offered by the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, in partnership with Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association, is offering 7 Habits Cedar Valley leadership training to their investor/member organizations and the Cedar Valley area. Two separate, 2- day sessions will be held, one session for Cedar Valley businesses and the other for nonprofit organizations.

7 Habits Cedar Valley  is based on the work of Dr. Stephen Covey’s best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Incorporating the techniques taught at the 7 Habits Cedar Valley helps organizations achieve and sustain superior results by increasing the effectiveness of its individual employees. Participants gain hands-on experience, applying sound principles that yield greater productivity, improved communication, strengthened relationships, increased influence, and laser-like focus on critical priorities.  At the request of the Alliance & Chamber, the sessions will be lead by the talented and highly regarded Franklin Covey facilitator, Gary McGuey.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Business will take place on January 21-22, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Windridge, Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls. The cost is $450 per person for Alliance & Chamber investors and $550 for others. A 10% discount is being offered to businesses who register by December 15, 2013.

7 Habits Cedar Valley for Nonprofits will take place on January 23-24, 2014 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Allen College – Unity Point, Waterloo. The special nonprofit rate is $225 for Alliance & Chamber investors and Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association members. The cost for other nonprofits is $300.  No other discounts apply.

Leader Valley Program Director, Melissa Reade of the Alliance & Chamber points out what a unique opportunity this is for the Cedar Valley as the training has not been offered  locally. She stresses the huge savings available to Cedar Valley employers planning on sending their employees to the sessions. The cost for similar sessions is typically is between $1,700 -$2,200 per person, plus travel expenses to the training location.

 

“The 7 Habits are transforming Cedar Valley schools and building our business leaders of tomorrow through The Leader in Me. We have the opportunity to create stronger leadership cultures by applying these same principles in the workplace today,” offers Melissa Reade.  She adds, “This training can have the same dramatic impact on organizations and move the needle for employers. We encourage every business and nonprofit to take advantage of this rare opportunity and tremendous value.”

Registration can be made through the end of December on the Alliance & Chamber website at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com/7habitscedarvalley  or by calling 319-232-1156.

Sponsors include Advanced Systems, Allen College – Unity Point, CUNA Mutual Foundation, and Western Home Communities.

7 Habits Cedar Valley is brought to this area by the Leader Valley initiative of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. Leader Valley is a conduit for business and education to collaborate and provide leadership and soft skill development opportunities, enhancing our workforce, and moving the Cedar Valley economy forward.

More information on 7 Habits Cedar Valley and other ways Leader Valley is impacting the Cedar Valley can be found on the Alliance & Chamber website or by contacting Program Director, Melissa Reade by email at mreade@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

 

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Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

CEDAR FALLS, IA  The countdown is on for launching a project to expand classroom learning across town and across the globe for K-12 students at the Cedar Falls Community Schools.

Beginning in January, the schools’ digital learning initiative will put web-connected notebook computers in the hands of every high school student, opening up access to learning tools and experiences outside the classroom walls. For grades 3-6, one notebook will be available for every two students, and pre-K through grade 2 students will share iPads on a three-to-one basis. Notebooks will be distributed to all  junior high students at the beginning of the 2014 fall semester.

Plans to take digital learning tools to the next level as a “one-to-one” school have been in the works for about two years. Cedar Falls teachers, administrators, technical staff, school board members and parents have all been part of the planning effort through the District Technology Committee.

“Truly, the most important thing is that we aren’t doing this for the sake of having more technology in the classroom,” said Dr. Andy Pattee, Superintendent of Schools. “We are undertaking this very large initiative to help students learn and showcase their learning at greater levels, by providing much more access to tools for that than we’ve had in the past.”

“A lot of work by many, many people has been done over the past couple of years to be sure that we’re doing this the right way, focused on student learning and student achievement, with all the professional development behind it for our staff to insure that it’s implemented with fidelity in the classroom,” Pattee said.

At each school building, a team of teachers is offering peer training to help everyone get familiar with the new tools so they can be used effectively for better student outcomes.

The school’s technology staff have worked over the past three years to improve the district’s internal network and beef up wireless access points at every building to get ready for increased web traffic during the school day.

 

“Up to now, a lot of work has been done behind the scenes,” said district Information and Technology Services Supervisor Shane Paige. “In January we’ll start rolling out Chromebooks for every student at the high school, and within 10 months our integration will be complete at every building throughout the district.”

Paige explained that the Chromebook laptops the District is deploying are easily interchangeable between students. That’s because software applications and document storage are “in the cloud” and tied to the student’s unique user identity, rather than on the hardware.

A key piece of preparation is happening this week, as the Cedar Falls School District switches its primary internet connection to gigabit service from Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU).

“Early in the planning, we knew that if we were going to get the benefits of a cloud-based system, we had to have a rock-solid internet connection,” Paige said. “That’s really why we’re making the move to CFU, for the reliability and the local support that we can call on if we need it.”

The school system operates its wide area network over fiber optic cable that CFU installed several years ago at no cost to the district. The schools will maintain a back-up internet connection through the Iowa Communications Network, or ICN.

“Serving the schools in this way is a perfect example of why we upgraded our entire system to fiber-to-the-premises,” said CFU Network Manager Rob Houlihan. “It’s meant to be a community asset that supports innovation in business, in education and in local government in Cedar Falls.”

Earlier this year CFU completed a city-wide upgrade of its communications network, bringing a fiber optic connection to every home and business in Cedar Falls. In May, CFU added service plans at one gigabit per second to its full range of internet products for home and business users.

How will connecting students to the world change learning outcomes?

“Really the possibilities are endless when you focus on student learning and enable that with technology,” says Pattee. “The world is shrinking, and we all know that. Now, with technology we can open it up for collaboration that happens across town or across the world, and give students a broader range of classroom learning experiences that can happen instantaneously and seamlessly. That’s exciting for our teachers and our students.”

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Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks Director of Business Services

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber seeks candidates passionate and skilled in helping businesses become more successful in the Cedar Valley economic area to become our Director of Business Services. This person will plan, develop and implement economic development initiatives for business retention & expansion; including create, lead and execute workforce development initiatives and events that promote job creation, and workforce recruitment & retention in basic industry sectors and related value-added industries. Also, this person will help businesses overcome barriers to expansion in the Cedar Valley, collect and report information regarding the plans, opportunities and barriers for growth of our wealth creating businesses and targeted institutions as well as deliver “economic gardening” services to growth-oriented basic businesses. They will also provide a critical feedback from business into programming and government relations.

Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree with specialization in economic and community development or business and at least 3 years of related experience; computer skills, including Microsoft Office; and social media knowledge. Knowledge of Synchronist and client management software helpful. Comprehensive knowledge of business development, factors affecting business and community vitality, as well as community and economic development required. Problem solving in ambiguous situations, ability to maintain confidentiality and a passion for the success of free enterprise are all required skills and talents for success in this role. The successful candidate is expected to be part of a fast pace work and collaborative team that is results driven. Competitive salary and benefit package included. Please send cover letter, resume and references to:

SSommerfelt@cedarvalleyalliance.com. Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, 10 West Fourth Street, Suite 310, Waterloo, IA 50701.

To see the full description and instructions click here.

Alliance & Chamber Seek Investor Input to 2014 Legislative Policy Agenda

As the Government Relations Committee begins deliberating on the 2014 GCVAC Legislative Policy Agenda, I want to extend a special invitation to an Investors’ Legislative Issues Forum on Monday, September 16, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls from 8:00-9:00 am. This year, the Alliance & Chamber is offering an opportunity for investor involvement in legislative priority identification through this forum. Please come to hear from other investors what is on their minds as we begin crafting our 2014 agenda. Our hope is that this forum will give us an important head start and strengthen our efforts in identifying and prioritizing issues important to business in the Greater Cedar Valley as we build the Alliance & Chamber’s legislative agenda for the next session.

The October 11 Friday Forum will be at the Five Sullivan Bros. Center and the November 8 event will be at the Waterloo Center for the Arts.

Alliance & Chamber encourages voters to renew Hawkeye Community Collge Maintenance Levy

Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber resolve to support the approval of the renewal of the Hawkeye Community College  Maintenance Levy, and encourage the voters within the 10-county HCC District to approve the renewal on September 10, 2013.

Hawkeye Community College (HCC) delivers educational opportunities to students from all over the Cedar Valley Economic Area, and beyond. HCC serves as an important bridge into higher education for high school students wishing to advance their technical and general education, and presents educational options to high school students at a critical point in their educational experience. Further, HCC delivers 50 specialized career training programs developing a broad range of skills that are important to the continuing growth of the Cedar Valley economy and contribute to increasing the incomes of talented Cedar Valley people. These include such areas as health care technicians and nursing, teacher preparation, advanced manufacturing and basic industrial operations, green and sustainable construction and energy technologies, logistics and large vehicle drivers training, web design and information technologies, and more. HCC also collaborates closely with the University of Northern Iowa, Allen College, and other schools to ensure that higher educational programming is coordinated to deliver maximum productivity in the student’s experience, shorten the time the student must be in the formal educational setting as they seek to get into the job market quickly, and employers seek students to acquire basic skills to fill immediate openings in well paying, skill-based jobs.

To deliver these economy-building educational programs both efficiently and effectively, HCC must continuously maintain and improve its physical facilities. Since the primary programs of HCC are focused on the fast changing industries, continuously investing in more advanced technologies and methods, so too must HCC continuously invest in state of the art educational and training facilities to fully prepare the students to maximize their income when they enter the job market. For instance, Hawkeye has recently delivered facilities that, using advanced virtual technologies, reflect modern hospital and clinical conditions for healthcare technologist training; a center housing advanced driving simulators for logistics and large vehicle training; and are preparing to open, this fall, an advanced manufacturing center to ensure our production-oriented operations are receiving new employees with needed skills to advance the productivity and profitability of Cedar Valley industrial employers, as well as ensuring graduate building and energy technicians are well prepared to deliver the highest levels of expertise in energy efficiencies in construction and energy generation.

HCC has proven to be a good steward of the existing Maintenance Levy funds. The Levy has been authorized for nearly 50 years. The funds generated by the small levy have been used to continuously modernize and maintain the efficient campus.

HCC is highly beneficial to the Cedar Valley economy. It has an enrollment of over 6,000 students in college-credit programs. HCC also plays a significant role in establishing the Cedar Valley as an

ideal location to build a “second career” through lifelong learning and adult education courses. HCC is very efficient for Iowa: fully 94% of graduates stay in Iowa to contribute to our economy and participate in our communities. Cedar Valley businesses benefit from HCC’s $106 Million in annual economic benefits delivered, including over 1,300 jobs.

The impact of the extended levy of $.2025 per $1,000 of assessed value will cost the average district homeowner less than $11 per year, yet deliver over $1.7Million of revenue targeted to facilities improvements on the HCC campuses only.

Based on the high levels of reliance the Cedar Valley businesses have on the success of HCC, and that HCC’s role in skills training and higher education is increasing as talent and skills are what drives economic growth, that HCC has proven itself a good steward of the Maintenance Levy funds, and it is to the benefit of the Cedar Valley in greater skills delivered, converting to higher incomes and stronger communities throughout the economic area, delivered to students who primarily work at Cedar Valley businesses and institutions and live in the Cedar Valley, and the levy is a continuation of an existing levy that is well managed, the Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber resolve to support the approval of the renewal of the HCC Maintenance Levy, and encourage the voters within the 10-county HCC District to approve the renewal on September 10, 2013.

Further, the Board of Directors asks the CEO and his representatives to distribute its reasoning and action to the investor-members and general public through appropriate means and media.

Resolved unanimously by the Directors present at the Board of Directors meeting on July 21, 2013.

 

Tom Penaluna, Chair of the Board

 

Steven J. Dust, President & CEO, Secretary of the Board

 

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Announces New Roles, Promotions

“It helps a very talented professional team do our jobs more effectively and increase the competitive stance of the Cedar Valley in a global economy.” This is how Steve Dust,  CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber describes his motivation for announcing recent promotions within that economic and community development corporation.

The announcement describes a realignment of existing staff. No new hires were made, and no compensation adjustments were included in the process, Dust emphasizes. “We did this to operate more efficiently as a combined economic development, redevelopment, and community development organization, he says.  Team members who do similar things are grouped by related functions, yet it allows us to remain flexible to very quickly attack any opportunity or issue in our economic area.”

In the new alignment, Dust is supported by four vice presidents, including Lisa Skubal, CEcD, who was named Vice President of Economic Development. Lisa oversees all business expansion and recruitment programs, marketing and project management, talent recruitment and retention, and business and economic information gathering. “Lisa enjoys a statewide reputation as one of the best in our field. Her professional growth has given her the skills to lead the team that helps wealth creating businesses and institutions locate and expand in the Cedar Valley of Iowa,” explained Dust.

Dust also named Cary Darrah as Vice President of Community Development. “Cary was brought into the Alliance & Chamber structure to manage the TechWorks Campus redevelopment, in large part because of the marvelous job she did in Cedar Falls Main Street organization, said Dust. “She has the Campus on a good trajectory with The Green @ TechWorks project getting underway in Tech II, and several good manufacturing technology-related opportunities exploring space commitments in Tech I. As I looked at the skills necessary to deal with our Competitiveness and Amenities work, which includes things like networking and events, local issues management, improving our infrastructure for business growth, and Leader Valley educational programs, it matched up nicely with Cary’s organizational skills and interests,” concluded Dust.

“In many regards, the Alliance & Chamber is a growing, entrepreneurial small business,” explains Dust. “We’re growth-oriented, and focused on doing what’s expected of us by our customers and clients, our investor-members, and this team faces the same kind of challenges our investor-members do in handling all the human resources, IT, facilities, and administrative tasks, and holding each other accountable for the wise use of our talents and resources. We take this very seriously, and to oversee the administrative components of the Alliance & Chamber, we have elevated Sandi Sommerfelt to Vice President of Operations. Sandi was in a similar VP role at another business, and she’s demonstrated that she can effectively lead and keep us well organized.”

At the same time, the CFO role held by Sue Hansen, CPA, becomes a part-time position. “Sue has worked very hard to bring us to an even higher level of management reporting and compliance with changing requirements. Sue will remain focused on our financial reporting and major HR issues, where she also has deep experience and knowledge, while having more time for family pursuits and personal interests.” said Dust.

“As we looked at the goals we expect to accomplish for  the Cedar Valley business community and economic area this fiscal year (which began on July 1), and the number of complex and sometimes new challenges we’ll face, it became obvious to the senior team a realignment was necessary to get it all done effectively. It also permits me to spend more time on strategic business development, regional issues, and investor relationships.  We’ll still be stretched, but this arrangement of duties and leadership will help relieve that challenge”, claimed Dust.

Dust concludes, “I think the most important thing to communicate to our investor-members, the business community in general, and all of the partners we rely on in accomplishing our work is that there is a team of highly talented, motivated and enthusiastic economic and community development professionals working every day in the Alliance & Chamber to increase wealth and economic vitality in the Cedar Valley economic area.”

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation whose investors include businesses, institutions, local governments and professionals dedicated to continuously improving the economic environment and quality of life in the Cedar Valley.  The Alliance & Chamber works to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.

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Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees