From the CEO: Growth Requires Effort of Scores of People

12 Jul 2018

Success Stories, Partnerships

The region captured another recruitment win this month.

The story began when a small business owner from outside the Iowa Lakes Corridor made what was presumably a routine stop at a Spencer establishment.

As the transaction ended, an employee of the local company asked, “Is there anything else you need?” (In case you doubted, customer service is alive and well in Northwest Iowa.)

The businessman said off-handedly that what he really wanted was a few thousand square feet of production space; demand was rocketing and he was plumb out of room at his current shop.

The local employee might be expected to smile politely and let the matter drop. He or she could have said, “We’ll see what we can do,” without really meaning it, or even worse, ignored the comment and turned away.

Instead, this worker relayed the conversation to a boss. The boss, in turn, called Spencer Municipal Utilities, and SMU contacted the Corridor.

So it was that less than 24 hours after the initial exchange in Spencer, a member of our team was sitting down at the prospect company’s headquarters to discuss real estate.

It gets better.

The Corridor invited the business owner to Spencer the next day to tour a couple of buildings. Neither was ideal, but one of the property owners, rather than clinging jealously to a potential tenant, suggested a building owned by another landlord on the edge of town.

Soon enough, a deal was struck. Equipment is now moving in.

Why tell this story? It shows, yet again, that economic development is a team game.

Next month the Corridor will release results for FY 2018. Without giving too much away, it was a very good year: Hundreds of new jobs and hundreds of millions in investment. In our annual report, we intend to highlight a few of the many partners who made each victory for our region possible.

Certainly, it’s essential to have a professional, results-driven organization such as the Corridor, but sustained growth in a rural economy requires a cohesive effort of scores of people, of city administrators and county supervisors, nurses and linemen, teachers and retailers.

And, yes, of anonymous workers willing to ask, “Is there anything else you need?”