NORTH LIBERTY– North Liberty Development (NLD) board has named new leadership for the 2009-2012 term.
Dennis Tallman, owner of AlphaGraphics, will serve as the group’s President, while Brent Kimm of Legacy Financial Group was elected Vice President for the new term.
The two will replace outgoing President Karen Fesler of Fesler’s, Inc., and current Vice President Richard Anderson of ViraQuest, Inc.
The group of business owners and representatives of the economic environment in North Liberty has been advocating for business growth in the community since the 1970s, before North Liberty hit its housing and development boom. The organization was revitalized in earnest about three years ago, its purpose to support and help promote commercial and industrial progress in the community, and make themselves available to consult with prospective business owners hoping to locate here.
Fesler said the NLD has come a long way toward that end.
“We have accomplished a lot in the last few years,” Fesler said. Some recent, short-term projects for which the NLD was responsible include sponsoring a candidates’ forum for the 2007 City Council election, helping promote the Hotel/Motel tax, hosting a community welcome reception for the new City Administrator in 2007 and organizing a morning business mixer, an opportunity for local business persons to network and introduce their products and services.
“I think one of the biggest things the group has helped with is opening the dialogue between the City of North Liberty and the business owners along Highway 965 about the highway project,” Fesler added.
NLD has also served in a collaborative, consultative role to the formal economic development organizations of Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) and Priority One in Cedar Rapids, who work to bring larger businesses and industries to North Liberty. Cole’s Foods is one result of that collaboration, said Fesler, owed in part to the positive relationships between Cole’s management team and NLD board member Larry Pacha, a retired North Liberty business owner.
Pacha said the NLD has made positive business connections a priority.
“The group has reached out to businesses in the community, and even making personal calls to ask business owners how they have felt about the business climate here,” said Pacha.
Anderson, who has served the NLD for six years and will continue to be a member of the board, said he has witnessed shifts in the business environment of North Liberty over time, and thinks North Liberty has withstood them well.
“We have had a few new companies start in the past six years, and we have had a few close,” he said. “I think that is what we will continue to see as the economy shuffles itself out. No doubt it is tough to run your business when the times are good, but the truly successful companies are able to weather the tough times also. I think if you look around North Liberty, you will see good, tough companies that will survive.”
Both Fesler and Pacha, who committed a collective 20 years to NLD, have decided to step away from the organization, if only slightly.
“Being on the board has given me an opportunity to learn new things about the business community,” Pacha said.
“It’s time to bring in new blood,” added Fesler. “It gives the group opportunity for a fresh perspective.”
Kimm and Tallman, both of whom have businesses that are relative newcomers to North Liberty, are up to the task.
“I am excited to get involved with North Liberty Development,” said Tallman. “I want to continue the work that has been done, and I look forward to promoting economic development in the North Liberty area.”
Kimm said his goal is to create opportunities for and draw new businesses to the community.
“Our focus and energy is on North Liberty,” Kimm said. “It’s a great place to live, and it can only be made better by attracting high quality businesses to our area.”
For more information about the North Liberty Development organization, visit their website at www.northlibertydevelopment.org .