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ICEDC looks for next director

By ANDREA FURLONG

The Iowa County Economic Development Commission’s (ICEDC) is continuing business as usual, despite the recent loss of its director-to-be.

Former Iowa County Extension employee Deb Collum-Calderwood left her leadership position with the ICEDC four weeks ago to accept an economic development director position in another county. Collum-Calderwood, who spent the past year establishing the ICEDC in her role as an Extension employee, said she accepted the other position because it offered guaranteed full-time employment. As the ICEDC director, Collum-Calderwood would have been paid full-time for only four months.

With Collum-Calderwood gone and no elected officers, commission member Iowa County Supervisor Linda Yoder temporarily headed the 20-member group at its Oct. 21 meeting.

Yoder emphasized the group will continue forward as planned, despite its lacking director.

“Absolutely not under any circumstances is (ICEDC) done,” she said.

LOSING IN-KIND SERVICES

Yoder said the ICEDC can only afford to hire a part-time interim director at this time. The position would continue through June 30. After that date, the ICEDC may change the salary and/or director, depending on available finances and the commission’s needs.

Yoder noted the salary of the director will be less than initially thought, with the $25,000 the Iowa County Board of Supervisors donated to the ICEDC funding office supplies, possibly office space and utilities, in addition to a part-time director.

The Iowa County Extension Council had offered to provide several services through February of 2010, including a laptop and mileage reimbursement for the director, an office, office supplies and paid utilities and communications. But, since Collum-Calderwood’s departure the Extension Council has withdrawn its offer, according to Yoder.

“Everything disappeared from them totally,” she said.

Regional Extension Education Director Gene Mohling declined to comment beyond the Extension Council’s meeting minutes on the subject. According to the minutes, the office space the Extension Council had offered the commission will soon be unavailable “due to the anticipated future hiring of a program coordinator for Iowa County Extension.”

Yet, despite the retracted offer, the Extension Council declared it “and Iowa State University Extension are firmly committed to economic development in Iowa County and supportive of the ICEDC.”

HIRING A DIRECTOR

The resume review and budget committee volunteered to develop a budget and director’s salary proposal for the next meeting.

Three individuals have already applied for the director position: Brad Erickson, Ladora; Theresa Heinichen, Marengo; and Candi Schmieder, Marengo. The resume review committee will narrow down applicants and present final choices to the commission.

Potential office locations posed by the commission included the Iowa County Farm Bureau office, Williamsburg, or a home office.

WEB SITE DEVELOPMENT

Yoder said one of the commission’s top goals should be establishing a Web presence to attract prospective business owners.

“We have rails. We have highways. We have the interstate. We have the perfect location, but when the businesses in the east and west and anywhere around are looking to relocate in Iowa, they don’t know we exist,” she said.

Yoder recommended setting up a Web site and setting up a membership with locationone.com, a Web site that cities and counties use to advertise available properties.

LEADERSHIP AND A LOGO

Commissioner members unanimously approved the ICEDC’s first officers: Craig Stallman as chair, Tony Hocamp as vice chair and Vic Rathje as secretary. The offices will take effect next month. Office terms will follow the fiscal year, July 1 to June 30.

The commission also unanimously agreed to develop its logo via a local logo design contest. Anyone, regardless of age or residence, may participate, excluding the immediate family members of commissioners. See “upcoming events” on page one for further contest rules.

COMMITTEES

The ICEDC has established the following committees:

• Marketing — Sandy Cronbaugh, Terry Heinichen, Shirley Messer and Frank Murphy.

• Publicity — JoLinda Schlesselman, Craig Stallman and David Quiram.

• Business and Industry — Lynn DeNeve, Kevin Healey, John Peterson and Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson.

• Finance — Tony Hocamp, Brent Nelson and Vic Rathje.

• Resume Review and Budget — Frank Murphy, John Peterson and Craig Stallman.

OTHER BUSINESS

• The ICEDC has two open seats — one for North English and one for Ladora.

• The commission approved designating the finance committee as the party to review bills and approve them. The ICEDC will receive the bills after their approval by the finance committee.

ABOUT THE ICEDC

The Iowa County Economic Development Commission is made up of 20 commissioners — two representatives from every incorporated town in the county, two from the Amana Society, two from Iowa County Farm Bureau and two representatives from the Iowa County Board of Supervisors. It serves as an independent entity that promotes the growth of new businesses in the county and provides educational support on economic development.

ICEDC financial records are located in the auditor’s office and are open to the public. Meetings are also open to the public.

The next meeting of the ICEDC will be held at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Kirkwood Learning Center, Williamsburg.

UPDATED October 28, 2009 11:52 AM

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