by: Sandy Ehrig, Economic Development Administrator, Renew Rural Iowa/ Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
I have served several times in leadership roles in PDI over my thirty year career. It is an honor to work with peers and share the common need for professional development, policy development, and enhancement for Iowa's economic standing. Over the years these pillars for the organization have remained constant. Only the methods to accomplish this mission have changed.
The greatest changes are full-time professional staff for both organization and policy influence, along with new technology to improve and increase communication and timely education. The membership base has blossomed to include all economic development practitioners, so a richer perspective for PDI than once offered by only local pros. Scholarships are a huge incentive for PDI membership and career growth. Providing a workshop for folks new to economic development is now standard. The value of moving conferences around the state has continued as a subtle reminder of all that Iowa has to offer. Golf and other fun networking are never neglected! The board has consistently taken time to survey members and strategically plan and develop new leaders.
PDI has always tried to work most closely with the state agency for economic development and workforce development for coordinating messages and requests of the legislature. The "Grow Iowa Day" is an important newer addition to the PDI annual calendar and a way to bring all members to the Capitol in a unifying manner.
Financially the organization has been prudent and creative. Memberships, conferences, and sponsorships have evolved as the revenue generators with a threshold nearly reached. The leadership always seems to rise to the occasion for continuous improvement. How to provide such an effective, professional organization for the next 40 years will remain a topic on the board's agenda!