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Greater FD Growth Alliance event is Thursday

Celebrates the multifaceted effort to enhance our community’s future

April 15, 2012
Messenger News

The Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance is making progress in many areas. This year, in place of an annual dinner, we will host a reception that will have a number of events.

The speaker this year is Charlie Wittmack, sponsored by both Fort Dodge Ford Toyota and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

Charlie Wittmack is an American explorer who has been organizing major expeditions for more than 15 years. As an adventurer, Wittmack is best known for having survived a remarkable ascent of Mount Everest - reaching the summit during some of the worst weather in the recorded history of the mountain - and only after making two back-to-back summit attempts and spending three days without food or water.

In addition to standing atop peaks during dozens of expeditions to the Andes, Alps, Africa, Alaska and the Himalaya, Wittmack has trekked across East Africa with the Maasai, sailed the Indian Ocean in a handmade boat, and participated in a 5100-mile bicycle ride across the United States. Wittmack is also an accomplished marathon swimmer and has completed numerous ocean marathon swims including a first-place finish in the notorious 12.5 mile Swim Around Key West and a 2008 attempt on the English Channel.

When he is not on expeditions, Wittmack is a practicing attorney with the Davis Brown Law Firm and an adjunct professor in the Department of Global Health at Des Moines University.

Wittmack has received numerous awards for his expeditions and the related humanitarian and educational programs he has developed. A few of these honors include being admitted as a Fellow in the Explorers Club, receiving an Executive Proclamation from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, recognition as one of the "Iowans of the Decade" and admission into the "Forty Under 40."

Fact Box

Upcoming events

Market on Central - Registrations are being accepted for vendors and entertainers for the 2012 Market on Central. Please visit Market on Central will be held the second and fourth Saturdays, June through September, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Central Avenue.

Spring Clean Up/FOD Walk is Tuesday - The GFDGA Image Committee is also sponsoring the annual FOD Walk (Foreign Object Debris)/Spring Clean Up. This will take place on Tuesday at two locations. Each will last approximately one hour.

  • Crossroads - meet in the Wal-Mart parking lot at 4 p.m.
  • Kenyon Road - meet at the AmericInn at 3:30 p.m.

Committee members will lead teams of volunteers to pick up trash. Trash bags will be supplied. It only takes about an hour. All businesses, nonprofit organizations and families are encouraged to participate. Please contact Amy Bruno at or 955-5500 to participate. Or, everyone is welcome to just meet in the Wal-Mart parking lot and we'll put you on a team.

April 24: Gavin Jerome, "The Morale Mechanic: Managing Your Energy in the Chaos Culture" is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Willow Ridge, $25/person. Jerome is back by popular demand. His presentations are entertaining, enlightening and educational. Please contact 574-1293 to register.

April 25: Service Sector Workforce Summit - In partnership with Iowa Central and Iowa Workforce Development, the GFDGA Workforce Committee will host a summit/workshop for all service sector member businesses. The goal is to update owners/managers/HR personnel about Cargill and CJ America's timelines, how it affects our community and how we, as a region, can prepare for the growth that is just around the corner. It will be held at the Quality Inn from 7:30 9 a.m. A light breakfast will be served, sponsored by the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. Please contact or 955-5500 to register. There is no charge to attend.

April 27: Social Media Workshop - 9 to 10:30 a.m. Workshop titled "Making Facebook Pages Work for You." The focus of this presentation is to help local businesses with tips on how you can make Facebook work for your business by learning about best posting practices, having your business information on Facebook and tips for gaining fans. It will also cover the basics of how to create a page on Facebook. Presenters will be Regina Smith Suhrbier and Dave Jakeman. Cost to attend is $10. Register by contacting or calling 955-5500.

May 8: Marketing Cues Workshop - Cheryl O'Hern will provide a workshop to provide businesses and nonprofits groups with winning angles into developing a marketing plan in today's world when budgets are tight and markets are global. It will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at Iowa Central's Career Education Building, Room 108. Register by contacting Heather at 574-1293. Cost to attend is $35.

Wittmack is 33 years old and is married to Cate Wittmack from Charlotte, N.C. They live in Iowa with their son, James Wittmack.

Wittmack's message is that of creating a plan, executing the plan, adjusting your plan along the way and finally, successful completion of the plan. Very similar to the business plans created by most organizations today.

The message is especially timely for the members of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. The hard work and planning that have been done by the board and its members is paying off; however, we still have many things left to accomplish. We are on the journey and have very lofty goals in sight.

The Small Business of the Year, Rookie Business of the Year and Catalyst Award winners will be announced. Board members and important milestones will also be recognized at the GFDGA reception. This event will be held at the Best Western Starlite Village. The social hour will be from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., with the program beginning at 6;15 p.m. There will be a slightly different format this year - it is the 110th annual meeting of this event; we will serve heavy hors d'oeuvres.

For more information, please contact the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance at 955-5500 or

Amy Bruno is director of community development at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.



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