It has been approximately nine months since the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance was formed by merging the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce and the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County. I was employed by the GFDGA six months ago and moved into the GFDGA quarters four months ago.
The purpose of the merger was to better define purpose and goals, avoid duplication and become a more efficient and effective organization, that is truly accountable to the memberships and the entities of the region. Our goal is to work on improving the local economy, which includes the prerequisites of providing an adequate work force, and the quality of life factors causing workers to desire to live and work in the region. Our goal is to enlist "anyone in charge of anything" in that mission. We currently have a membership of slightly under 600 area business and other entities, as well as government and nonprofits. Thirty-five of these members are new since the merger on Jan. 1. We have reorganized and merged the previous committee structure into 12 new committees that center on the four capital areas of our strategic plan. The areas are Business Capital, Human Capital, Physical Capital and the Quality of Life Capital.
The committees all have a charter, a purpose, and a defined makeup where members are experienced and knowledgeable relative to the committee purpose. The committees and chairmen are as follows:
1. Finance - Tim Burns, Decker Truck Line
2. Governance/Legislative - Teresa Naughton, Lifeworks
3. Housing - Tom Chalstrom
4. Human Development - Randy Kuhlman, Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way
5. Image - Rhonda Chambers, Fort Dodge Regional Airport
6. Infrastructure - Chad Schaeffer, City of Fort Dodge
7. Marketing - Linda Lauver, Friendship Haven
8. Membership - Kraig Barber, First State Bank
9. Primary Sector - Don Woodruff, Woodruff Companies
10. Program Development - Dena Sample, Trinity Corporate Health
11. Retail - Matt Johnson, Fort Dodge Ford Toyota
12. Workforce - Shelly Blunk, Iowa Central Community College
Having specific goals, a timeline in which to meet these goals and individuals who are actively participating and who have the expertise to facilitate accomplishing the goals will enable us to realize the unique opportunities our region has today and to create a more prosperous and desirable place to work and live.
I would like to thank these people for their commitment toward the improvement of our region and would entertain others, whether members of GFDGA or not, to provide ideas or work with the committees. I'd especially like to also thank Webster County, the City of Fort Dodge, the City of Manson and the Gowrie Development Corporation for their membership and support of our mission.
An individual recently said that if we don't like change, we'll like irrelevance even less. Today, that is probably truer than ever. The GFDGA is committed to and was created as a result of the change that is occurring. So again, our hope is that together we can operate from the same playbook and realize our expectations as well as any community in Iowa.
Dennis Plautz is chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.