“Culture of no” has to go according to economic strategist

MASON CITY — Preliminary results of a program designed to help identify community needs and goals and to put together a strategy to achieve them shows north-central Iowans must overcome the “culture of no” that impedes its progress. Jeff Marcell is the senior partner for TIP Strategies, the consulting firm that’s been hired by the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation as well as the Mason City and Clear Lake Chambers of Commerce to work on the Vision North Iowa program.

Marcell says about 750 people took part in community surveys and workshops over the past six months. He says one of the findings of the survey was that there was a negative attitude revealed.  He says, “Part of this community, certainly not the majority, but a very vocal minority, is in opposition to a lot of things. Not everything, but to a lot of things. It was described as feisty, which I thought was a very polite way to say that. I think that born out of past economic development projects, certainly out of the economic downturn that happened recently. There is some distrust in the region.”

Marcell says while being cautious about what the community needs for the future, people need to focus on projects that can be agreed on by all.  He says, “I’m sure there are folks that are frustrated, but also folks that are very proud of this community and don’t want it to go the wrong direction. All of that, we are in complete alignment with that. But I think the trick here is to understand not what we’re all against or not what some of us are against, but what are we all for. What can we all say yes to, and that’s really trick as a part of this.”

Marcell says they’ll be delivering their economic assessment in the next few weeks as well as information gathered at two days worth of community workshops held earlier this week to put together what they are calling a “visioning document”.  He says it will allow people to understand what the people of the area care about and what they want the economy to look like in the future. “We’re going to capture that in a fairly brief document, and that will be our guidepost to set the course for this project. That will be our guidepost to start identifying strategies that will help realize that vision.”

Marcell has identified several strengths in the area, including: transportation infrastructure: North Iowa Area Community College: the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center: and enthusiastic, talented, eager young people. Marcell spoke yesterday at the EDC’s annual meeting and spoke this morning to the Clear Lake Chamber’s quarterly coffee. For more about the Vision North Iowa program, head to visionnorthiowa.com . You can see more of Marcell’s comments by heading to the 10:45 mark of the video below (Courtesy Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce)


Chamber Quarterly Coffee with CEO report from North Iowa Corridor EDC on Vision North Iowa. Tune in to hear what's new with our members!TIP Strategies: Economic Development and Workforce Consultants City of Clear Lake, Iowa Clear Lake Bank & Trust Company Alliant Energy Dean Snyder Construction Oakwood Care Center Opportunity Village Opportunity Village Children's Autism Center Clear Lake Arts Center Clear Lake RAGBRAI Central Gardens of North Iowa CLEAR Project American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa Matt Dodge Agency, Inc. – American Family Insurance – Mason City, IA Fieldhouse Blu Finn Interstate All Battery Center Underwater Solutions llc StudioB Clear Lake Keeling Wealth Advisors Thanks to Surf Ballroom & Museum for hosting and Cabin Coffee Co. – Clear Lake, IA for breakfast!

Posted by Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on Friday, June 16, 2017

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