State economic officials recognize Charles City development group’s world accreditation
By Bob Steenson, [email protected]
The Charles City Area Development Corp. learned in November that it had earned hard-sought accreditation from the International Economic Development Council, but it celebrated that feat Thursday, with a couple of the state’s top development executives on hand to sing the local group’s praises.
The CCADC became the 69th economic development organization to become an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) through the international council, said Debi Durham, who is director of both the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority.
She noted that wasn’t the 69th in the state, or the 69th in the country.
“That is in the world,” she said. “It’s a big deal.”
Durham was accompanied to Charles City by Beth Balzar, business development manager with the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Durham said the International Economic Development Council’s process to become an AEDO “is a comprehensive peer review process that measures economic development organizations against commonly held standards in our profession.”
Earning the AEDO tells the community, business prospects and local stakeholders that the area development corporation “has obtained a measure of excellence, assuring that their trust is well placed and their business is in good hands,” she said.
“I hope everyone in the room realizes what a really big deal this is,” Durham said to the people gathered at the Charles City Public Library’s Zastrow Room Thursday morning.
“Charles City is a great local example of our statewide strengths,” she said, citing the presence of global companies such as Cambrex and Zoetis in the community, attracting businesses back to Main Street, the whitewater course and other community programs and projects.
“That is why we are not surprised that AEDO has bestowed accreditation to the Charles City Area Development Corp. Under the leadership of (Executive Director) Tim Fox, … the CCDC has delivered on its commitment to create new opportunities for your citizens here in Charles City and the entire county, and I would say the state,” Durham said.
“IEDA’s evaluation of CCADC and its efforts has shown that the organization is meeting and quite frankly, in my estimation, exceeding its goals to drive business development and a thriving, strong economy,” she said.
“Receiving accreditation distinguishes the economic development organization as a leading authority on economic-related issues within your community. It is a testament that the community is strategically anticipating opportunity, thinking innovatively and embracing change, and transforming challenges into opportunities,” Durham said.
Fox said he had submitted 83 documents as part of the accreditation process, including budgets, policies, rosters, financials, bylaws, articles of incorporation, strategic plans, marketing plans and meeting minutes.
After passing the first review, the community hosted an onsite visit by two members of the International Economic Development Council, who “adored Charles City and thought very highly of the work Charles City Area Development is doing,” Fox said.
Fox listed some of the people who had played significant roles in the CCADC over the years, including J.R. Dick Herbrechtsmeyer, one of the original incorporators of the organization who Fox called “a giant in economic development in Charles City and Floyd County over the past 50 years”; the late Lyle Schlader, who Fox called a natural at economic development and a natural-born decision maker; and the late Jim Erb, a former mayor who Fox called “an analytical marvel” and “the hardest working person at economic development.”
He also thanked Cathy McGregor, who retired last year after 25 years as a project facilitator with the CCADC — “the last 23 of them having to put up with me.”
“I am not naive enough to contend that CCADC earned this accreditation on its own,” Fox said. “The entire community supports us. Floyd County Board of Supervisors, city of Charles City, the business community and our financial institutions. This is a celebration to be shared by the entire community, of which I am exceedingly proud to represent.”