Corridor celebrates 20 years

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Members of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation reflected on their 20-year history and looked forward to the future during the entity's annual meeting at Gull Point State Park Lodge.

"There was a tremendous amount of vision, leadership and thoughtfulness that went into creating this organization 20 years ago," Corridor President and CEO Kathy Evert said. "I think many of the things that were going on 20 years ago are still showing up today and it just reminds us these are not easy things, these are not silver bullet things that we are working on."

Some of the original Corridor organizers were spotlighted in a video and honored at the meeting.

Bill Bumgarner, chairman of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation board, presents the Chairman's Award to Spencer Municipal Utility representatives Steve Pick, left, and Dave Hultgren. (Photo by Gabe Licht)

"It was these people's commitment and collaboration that helped us strengthen our region, both economically and in spirit, to persevere during the economic times that have challenged our country since 2008," Corridor board chairman Bill Bumgarner said.

From 2009 to 2012, the Corridor's TARGET plan resulted in 889 new jobs, 320 retained jobs, 33 new companies, $54.3 million in capital investment and $2.56 million in funds raised.

"Due to the diligent effort of the Corridor staff, our major goals were substantially achieved during one of the most difficult economic periods in a generation," Bumgarner said. "This important work could not have been accomplished without the financial support, leadership and encouragement of many companies, individuals and government entities in the four-county region. We thank you."

Now, new goals are being set for the 2013-16 C3 initiative, which stands for connect, collaborate and compete. Among those goals are creating 600 new primary jobs, creating 40 new start-up companies, using $100,000 to leverage $1 million for workforce training, assisting 120 entrepreneurial clients, involving at least 600 students in annual youth entrepreneurial programs and adding 100 new housing units.

Evert said the Corridor is excited for the new campaign and it's overarching objectives.

"We want to make sure the employers in this area have access to an adequate and well-trained workforce, that we have an infrastructure that's conducive to this development, that we create and maintain an environment for business development and job growth and enhance our entrepreneurial activity and new business starts in the region," Evert said.

In addition to celebrating past campaigns and laying out future plans, the Corridor granted the Chairman's Award to Spencer Municipal Utilities, which was represented by president Steve Pick and board president Dave Hultgren.

SMU was given the award for creating an office space for the Corridor, with a long-term lease, in the former RR Donnelly building.

"We're thrilled to work with the Corridor staff on a long-term lease and we look forward to the next 15 or 20 years," Pick said.

The Corridor also recognized past board members Tom Wonus and Curt Johnson, while welcoming new board members Valerie Newhouse, of Iowa Lakes Community College, and Mary Kay Bates, of Bank Midwest in Spirit Lake.

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