The Corridor Business Alliance gathered Monday, May 17, 2010 for a strategic update “report out” meeting at Cedar Ridge Winery. Our host, Jeff Quint provided a wonderful atmosphere for the meeting of regional leaders. Several photos are available here.
The event kicked off with updates from each of the three Task Force Groups. Highlights from each effort are summarized below:
1. Develop and Implement a Regional Brand—Chaired by John Lohman, Corridor Business Journal with support from Curt Nelson, Entrepreneurial Development Center and Pam York, University of Iowa Research Foundation. The task force has spent the last few months researching and reviewing firms that develop brands from across the country. A short list was developed of five national firms, the task force selected two to come to the area and present their proposals in person in April to the task force and a broader group of stakeholders. North Star Destination Strategies out of Nashville, TN was selected by the group as the successful firm. Don McEachern, CEO of North Star returned to the region and presented the process that will begin soon and took questions from the audience for the event. Chuck Peters, CEO of Gazette Communications, and Nancy Quellhorst, President of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, previewed the slide show that will be used to describe the need for the “brand print” exercise.
2. Achieve Full Flood Recovery–Chaired by Chuck Peters and Mayor Ron Corbett, City of Cedar Rapids. The task force met in January to share ideas and best practices. Organizations represented were from the City of Coralville, the University of Iowa and the City of Cedar Rapids. Efforts thus far have focused on maximizing funding, flood mitigation, project management and protection and prevention.
3. Develop and Implement a Regional Economic Development Plan—Chaired by Joe Raso and Scott Fisher with Iowa City Area Development Group and Mark Seckman and Barry Boyer with Priority One. The Task Force has focused their work on three areas of interest based on the needs of interstate commerce and are currently conducting SWOT analysis work in the following areas:
1. New Business Creation
2. Existing Industry Retention
3. Business Recruitment