Following a three year trial period with shared staff and a year of planning, the merger between the Butler County Development Corporation and the Grundy County Development Alliance is now complete with the new Butler-Grundy Development Alliance.
Discussions on the viability of bringing both non- profit economic development organizations together began early last year. Since 2013, the organizations have been sharing an Executive Director and officials expressed that with the success of the arrangement a formal merger was the obvious next step.
"This merger creates a stronger organizations that better servers both counties and brings more opportunities for growth through a unified effort." said Ryan Bingman, who was elected to serve as Board President for the new organization. Bingman is Director of Operations at Grundy County Memorial Hospital - Unity Point Health, and is a past board member for the Grundy County Development Alliance.
Executive Director, Jeff Kolb said, "in this mobile and web driven society, economic development efforts are no longer bound by geographic lines, especially county lines as it was in the past." Kolb has served as the Executive Director for the Butler County Development Corp. for the past 16 years, and will retain the position for the new two-county organization. Kolb adds "From the start we will operate more efficiently by eliminating duplication in operating costs, which will allow us to put more resources towards marketing our industrial parks, workforce attraction efforts, helping to retain and grow our existing industries, and assisting small businesses in the two county region."
The Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa was contracted to facilitate the merger, as well as for the development of a multi-year strategic plan for the new organization. The affairs of the new organization are managed by a Board of Directors, with three members from each county, and one at-large seat. Members represent a variety of public and private interests, including banking, local and county governments, utility providers, healthcare, agriculture, and major employers. The organizational structure includes various committees with non-board members serving to broaden the leadership to carry out the organization's mission. These include business development, business retention, tourism, and community development. The corporation's office will be in the former Butler County Development office in Allison.