From the Desk of Director Durham- 4/1/2016

From the Desk of Director Durham- 4/1/2016

Congratulations on making it through another Iowa winter! The calendar says that spring has sprung, and just like we’ll soon see daffodils and tulips growing, the season also brings with it another opportunity for growth – the Iowa SMART Conference.

Now in its 31st year, the SMART conference is Iowa’s largest event devoted to economic development. For both community and personal growth, the agenda never fails to impress — and this year is no exception. Great breakout sessions will focus on important topics, such as attracting skilled workers to your community, growing technical talents and startups, and building corporate culture. You’ll also be inspired by the messages you’ll hear from two amazing keynote presenters – one a visionary community builder and the other a serial entrepreneur and well-known speaker trusted by global brands to challenge thinking and accelerate personal and business growth.

There will be celebrations as well, as we honor this year’s best-of-the-best in local business and retention initiatives from across the state, and recognize the 2016 SBA Iowa Small Business Person of the year. Plus you’ll hear a special message from Governor Terry Branstad about Iowa’s growing economy.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend the SMART Conference, 2016 is the perfect year to start. And if you’ve attended in the past, you’ll definitely want to make this a repeat event. Please consider this your personal invitation to join me and hundreds of your peers in Des Moines on April 28th for a day filled with networking and great ideas. I encourage you to check out the website at for more details and to register. I also ask you to engage with your board members, local elected officials, community leaders and area businesses and invite them to join you at the conference. You can each takeaway some new tools to implement in your community or organization.

Right on the heels of the SMART Conference, there’s another event you should mark on your calendars – this is an occasion to help celebrate YOU, the economic development professionals in your community. The International Economic Development Council has designated for the first time, Economic Development Week, to be held May 8-14. This is an ideal time to bring supporters together for an economic development event in your community to showcase the beneficial work you do.

As IASourceLink Resource Partners, you are devoted to the growth and success of businesses in your region. Attending learning events, such as the Iowa SMART Conference, provides you with the information and tools you need. And promoting your organization through a gathering during Economic Development Week helps build understanding in your community of the long-lasting benefits economic developers help to achieve.

Thank you, again, for your continued dedication in helping to make Iowa’s business climate strong.

Until next time…

Debi Durham, Director, Iowa Economic Development Authority

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