Northwest Iowa Development 13th Partner Meeting features IEDA Director Debi Durham and Iowa strategies for future growth

Regional leaders from the four-county Northwest Iowa Development (NWID) region (Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux counties) and the city of LeMars representing economic development, business, city councils and boards of supervisors, with an interest in growing the region attended the 2023 Partner Meeting at the Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort near Larchwood on September 8.

Highlighting the event was Debi Durham, Executive Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) Durham spoke to the 116 attendees on positioning Iowa for future growth while addressing key challenges such as housing, workforce, population growth and innovative plans to address those challenges. Durham also explained the need for Iowa to be welcoming to workers and to promote the state as a safe place with a low cost of living and plentiful opportunities.

NWID Chairperson Carol Hoogestraat (City of Hawarden, Sioux County) and Vice-Chairperson Kiana Johnson (O’Brien County) stated, “We believe the Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort was the perfect location for this year’s event.” They also noted the importance of locally-driven economic development in building and growing our counties and communities.

Hoogestraat and Johnson also felt the award recipients this year were very deserving.

Receiving the Kirk Grau Business or Organization Innovation Award was the Fareway Meat & Grocery Store project in Hull. Groundbreaking for the Hull project was held last week with a grand opening slated for early spring 2024. The Beyond Expectations Economic Development Support Award recipient was Greg Popkes and family from Rock Rapids. Greg Popkes and his family operate many businesses in Rock Rapids and in recent years have been active in improving housing and residential development opportunities in Rock Rapids.

The 13th Annual Partners Meeting was sponsored by MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, Premier Communications, Northwest REC, Osceola Electric Cooperative and Lyon Rural Electric Cooperative.

Northwest Iowa Development is a regional economic development marketing organization focused on growing businesses and communities in northwest Iowa. It includes the counties of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien, Osceola and the city of LeMars. For more information, visit or contact your local economic development organization.

Photo Credit:  Lori Richards, Northwest Iowa Community College

Fareway Store Hull  Iowa

Fareway Stores Kik Grau Innovation Award

Fareway Stores received the Kirk Grau 2023 Business and Organizational Innovation Award. Pictured (L-R) are Back Row – Mike Broek, Hull Industrial Development Corporation; Philip De Koster, City Attorney; Cory De Wit, HIDC; John De Koster, HIDC; and Doug Anderson, Economic Development Director. Front Row – Arlan Moss, Mayor/HIDC; Nick Greiner, Fareway Stores; Debi Durham, IEDA/IFA Director; and Heidi Kramer, City Administrator.

Greg Popkes Family

Greg Popkes Beyond Expectations Economic Development Award

Greg Popkes and family were recognized with the Beyond Expectations 2023 Economic Development Support Award at the NWID Partner Meeting. Pictured (L-R) are Wyatt Beyer (son in-law), Melinda Popkes (daughter), Julie Timmerman (daughter), Dustin Timmerman (son in-law), Deann Matthiesen (daughter), Kristy Mickelson (daughter), Lori Popkes (wife), Greg Popkes, Katie Ranney (daughter), Kevin Ranney (son in-law), Debi Durham (Director IEDA/IFA), Micah Freese (Rock Rapids Development Corporation), and Emily Beyer (daughter).


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