By Stacie LoVan, PDI President
The Iowa SMART Conference and PDI Spring Event are next week! An excellent agenda with high caliber speakers has been planned for both days. This is also a great time to pick up some best practices and to network with your peers.
At this year’s event, PDI will once again award communities for successful business retention and expansion programs. As economic development professionals, we know and see our business leaders regularly; however, we have to make a concerted effort not to take these relationships for granted. We cannot assume these executives will automatically think to discuss with us a business issue they are facing in our community. You may see the executive at a chamber event, a school function, or other community meeting, but in that moment, they are not necessarily connecting you as a resource to solve a particular issue. On the flip side, when you visit an executive at his/her office for the purpose of inquiring about the state of their business, they are more apt to share successes or issues they are experiencing. You are also in a better position to respond accordingly and share about the resources you bring to the table. It is important that you build a strong relationship with your local executives, both at the community and the professional level. Business retention and expansion programs bring the necessary formal aspect to the relationship.
During the opening session of the SMART Conference, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor will join PDI to present the 2014 Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Awards. This is a great opportunity to honor those communities who have had a significant retention or expansion project during the past year or who have developed an outstanding program to stay in contact with their local businesses. Presenting the BRE awards at the SMART Conference allows us to raise the profile and value of existing industry programs to volunteer and professional community leaders.
PDI received many outstanding BRE applications this year. While the award winners will be announced at the event, I want to congratulate all the applicants on their efforts in BRE over the past twelve months. Keep up the good work! The dividends that these efforts bring to your community are innumerable.
See you May 1st and 2nd!