By Jeremy Voss
Business Development Specialist, Untamed Equity
Waterloo, Iowa hosted the 2022 Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference. The conference is the largest civil leadership and city officials meeting in Iowa, bringing together nearly 500 attendees for three days of education and networking. It was a fantastic event with a HUGE expo floor with an overwhelming number of booths and sponsors. The breakout sessions were widely varied, and the ones we attended (anything TIF or incentives) were excellent.
The Dorsey & Whitney firm, one of the leaders in the legal aspects of the Iowa TIF program, provided an excellent ‘Outside the Box’ financing program. The room, packed with attendees, learned about TIF, RUT, LOST, and other bonding options for municipalities. Though an introduction to the pros and cons of the varied bonds in Iowa, the information was well presented for seasoned leaders and those new to municipal financing.
Other mid-day sessions included a group from Fort Dodge working on a redevelopment of a mall and other large spaces and the role of Arts and Culture in Community building. And, as a light-hearted finish to the day, there were two events. First was a ‘Newlywed’ game where the participants were elected officials and their city employees. And the second was titled. ‘The Craziest Thing You Have Ever Heard!’ Here city officials shared some of the craziest things they have heard from community members and how their city handled those unique issues.
The enormous expo floor was full of municipality service organizations for a single state organization and a niche conference. So many exhibitors that the central hallway outside the conference room was also full of booths. As an exhibitor at other events, I appreciate that the Iowa League of Cities gave enough time and plenty of incentives for those attending to explore the expo.
All and all, it was a very well-attended and well-thought-out conference. The details made this one of the best conferences of the year. Free downtown parking for those attending, drawing door prizes in between sessions (rather than at the end of the day,) and hosting brunch rather than breakfast were small but impactful benefits.
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Jeremy holds two Master of Business Administration degrees and has served as the Executive Director of a non-profit Economic Development organization in Nebraska and Project Manager for a Des Moines Metro Economic Development group, totaling over ten years of experience in Rural Development.