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  • Back to News & Media
    Thursday, May 04, 2017
    Lee County EDG Receives State BRE Award
    2nd Consecutive Year
    The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) honored economic development organizations during the SMART Economic Development Conference held in Des Moines on May 4th.  Lee County EDG received the award for Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Overall Program for 2017 for their Grow Lee 2.0 program. 

    The award recognizes the outstanding efforts of local and regional economic development initiatives in supporting growth and expansion of existing Iowa companies. This is the second year in a row that Lee County EDG has received this award.

    “Supporting Iowa’s existing industry is a key priority for PDI’s membership,” stated Mark Reinig, PDI President. “The BRE Awards are intended to increase the focus on fostering Iowa business growth by economic development organizations and spotlight BRE programs and projects that have made a significant impact on Iowa communities.”

    Lee County EDG’s BRE program was created as a result of business, industry, and stakeholder interviews over the past two years. Data from these interviews determined workforce to be the No. 1 BRE issue facing Lee County industries. In 2015 Lee County EDG launched Grow Lee, winning the best BRE program in the state for 2016. The goal of the program is to ensure an adequate workforce that is trained and motivated to meet the current and future needs of Lee County employers.

    Lee County EDG CEO Joe Steil stated, “I’m very proud of the continued advancement of leadership and stakeholders’ active engagement achieving our unified goal through collaboration in providing a skilled and productive workforce in our future.” 

    The group then expanded on the Grow Lee program due to other areas of concern for future growth including, available housing, ease of doing business in Lee County, opportunities for leaders to share best practices, and Lee County’s image. Lee County EDG’s Grow Lee 2.0 venture is aimed at enhancing the economic climate of Lee County through partnerships with area manufacturers, businesses, education institutions and public and private enterprises.

    “Through our Talent for Today and Tomorrow meetings, we challenged our group of stakeholders to identify bold ideas that would drive us forward faster and make a bigger impact on the future of Lee County,” shared Dana Millard Marketing & Communications Manager of Lee County EDG. “Grow Lee is a great program, but we realized that bigger ideas and initiatives were needed if we are going to overcome some of our existing challenges.” 

    What started as 10 specific workforce initiatives has now morphed into a broader concept – Grow Lee 2.0 which also includes Future Lee and Lee County Image segments.

    Through Future Lee, Lee County EDG has been working with the cities on a county workforce housing study. The group has also created a rapid response team to assist companies who are looking to locate or expand in Lee County.

    Lee County EDG’s Image campaign, changing the narrative of the county to the positive and growth, recently celebrated a success by being inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for Most People Planting Flower Bulbs Simultaneously with 1,463 planters planting 8,000 flowers in 28 minutes. This major event brought together business leaders, employers, all of Lee County’s schools, and the different communities throughout Lee County.

    “The success of Grow Lee, and our programs, is a direct result of the collaborative effort of all of Lee County EDG’s partnerships and stakeholder participation” commented Dennis Fraise, Chief Operating Officer of Lee County EDG. “This award is a tribute to not only our work but those who have assisted with this process the past several years. Everyone has a voice in our initiatives and Grow Lee.”

    Grow Lee 2.0 will be a multi-year process that will require a range of individuals working together for a common goal; make Lee County better. To find out more about Lee County EDG’s initiatives, and how to get involved, contact Dana Millard at dmillard@leecountyedg.com.
  • Lee County Economic
    Development Group, Inc.
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