Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance: Targeted economic strategy, making the best of collaboration
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Leaders of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance have statistical evidence that their work in economic development is paying off.
Those figures show that wages have increased by 15.5 percent in Fort Dodge and Webster County over the last five years, according to Kelly Halsted, the alliance’s economic development director.
“We’re creating wealth and the ability of people to spend more money on food, housing and recreation,” she said.
It’s not just the work of the Growth Alliance that’s causing that increase, according to Dennis Plautz, the group’s chief executive officer. He said the secret to that success is enhanced collaboration between the alliance, the city of Fort Dodge, Webster County, the state government and local businesses.
Together, he said, those groups are using an approach to economic development that targets companies that are a good fit for the community.
“Economic development has become more focused and targeted to companies that have a reason to be here,” Plautz said.
“We’re getting companies here that are taking local inputs and we’re getting high economic multipliers because of that,” he added.
The upcoming expansion of CJ Bio America is among the economic successes listed by Halsted and Plautz. The company’s plant in the industrial park called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation will begin producing a second amino acid used in livestock feed starting in 2019. The company will invest $51 million and hire 18 more people.
Another success was at Josephson Manufacturing, 216 Central Ave. That company, which makes radiators and cooling systems for heavy equipment, completed an $8 million expansion last year.
There’s lots of work behind the scenes, perhaps years worth of work, to be done before a company moves to the area or expands here, according to Plautz.