From the CEO: "Other duties as assigned"

8 Sep 2017


“Other duties as assigned.” The most dangerous four words in employment.Kiley Miller

So you think you’re an accountant? Don’t forget the boss’s dry cleaning.

Work in IT? That toilet needs scrubbing, buddy.

I discovered the perfidious majesty of “other duties as assigned” while still at the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance, my previous employer. It was July in southern Iowa, it was midafternoon, the heat index hovered between Amazon rainforest and spontaneous combustion, and I was pushing a lawnmower through foot deep weeds around a 50,000 SF industrial building. I distinctly remember thinking, between sneezes and swear words, “Shouldn’t I be further in life by now?” Then the engine died.

Organizations the size of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation depend for their success on another, less oppressive, formulation: “Other duties as voluntarily assumed.” There is too much to do and too few people doing it for any one person to say, “Hey, that’s not my job.”

Thus it was that Wednesday you could find Brian Dalziel, our Senior VP, at the Clay County Fairgrounds with a hammer in his hand and sawdust in his hair. He was building a pair of display walls to support two massive TVs at the Northwest Iowa Opportunities Hub.

As you no doubt have heard by now, the Hub is a partnership between the Corridor, IowaWORKS and Iowa Lakes Community College. Our goal is to show some 300,000 fairgoers just how many career and lifestyle opportunities are here in our corner of the state. There will be interactive displays, staff to help with job searches, and a follow-up marketing campaign bigger and better than anything the Corridor has undertaken to date. We encourage everyone to stop by.

The Hub is the creation of the Corridor’s Joanne Follon. She conceived the idea last year after experiencing a welding and heavy equipment operations simulator and realizing it would be a showstopper at the Fair. She developed a plan, orchestrated its implementation, identified partners, and pitched sponsors.

Every aspect of the Hub exceeds Joanne’s assigned duties. She simply is self-motivated to connect job seekers and employers.

Similarly, Tim Weideman, our administrative specialist, was not assigned to coordinate advertising. He stepped into that job as our in-house media guru, just as Brian took responsibility for those display walls because he’s the most mechanically adept of our team. (Or he has the most tools; I’m not sure which.)

Not that long ago, economic development in Iowa began and ended with recruiting manufacturers. Those days are gone. The Corridor coaches entrepreneurs, aids educators, facilitates community planning, assists homebuilders, lobbies lawmakers, and loves on families.

The Hub fits well into that long list, another duty voluntarily assumed. No doubt there will be more.

Just don’t ask us to mow your lawn.