Iowa Area Development Group: A partner powering growth

9 Jan 2020

Blog, Spotlight, Partnerships, Iowa Area Development Group

The same statewide community development organization that recently helped a local business secure $2 million in low-interest financing from the federal government and captured several hundred thousand dollars to support construction of a spec building in Spirit Lake, also routinely brings industrial development prospects to the region, offers expert guidance on ag business, advertises vacant properties in our area, and even assists our tiniest towns in filling critical service gaps such as dental health care.


Given all of that, how is it that the Iowa Area Development Group sometimes goes unnoticed?


Based in Des Moines, IADG is sponsored by more than 220 electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and independent telephone companies scattered across the state. To quote from the organization’s website: “IADG is committed to providing consultation and assistance to help businesses and communities achieve their project development goals.”


Since its founding in 1985, IADG has racked up some impressive stats:

  • 2,100+ projects
  • $12 billion+ investment
  • 53,000+ jobs
  • 74 spec buildings
  • 95 industrial parks


Among local sponsors are Estherville Utilities, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, and Spencer Municipal Utilities. Rick Olesen, President & CEO of ILEC, credits IADG for bringing tremendous economic development expertise to the cooperative’s service territory, particularly about programs and services that benefit rural areas.


Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative is one of approximately 900 rural electric cooperatives across the country and one of 46 electric cooperatives operating in Iowa,” Olesen said. “We are small in size when compared to our Investor-Owned Utility counterparts. However, we are part of a big network, and that network allows us to achieve economies of scale and levels of expertise that we cannot achieve individually. IADG is a key partner in that network and one that Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative leverages for the benefit of our member-owners. When you broaden your network with organizations like IADG, you expand your opportunities.”


Rand Fisher has helped IADG for the past 23 years. A former Spencer resident and economic development wizard, he remains unwaveringly committed to the future of Northwest Iowa and the Corridor.


“Economic development success relies on partnerships and IADG is fortunate to work with strong partners including the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Spencer Municipal Utilities, Estherville Utilities and many others,” Fisher said. “Working proactively with our partners delivers results in many areas including industrial park and site development, securing funding for projects, honoring existing companies, marketing the assets of the region, and supporting local government and the non-profit sector.”


For all of those reasons and more, IADG is among the Corridor’s most POWERFUL PARTNERS.