Enjoying Iowa’s great outdoors

Cosgrove: Building strong relationships is key in his personal and professional life

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Matt Cosgrove, Webster County Conservation Board director, enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends any time he gets the chance.

What is important to you?

The most important things in my life are my family, friends, faith and the time I spend outside. My family and friends are the center of my world and any time we get the chance, we spend time together enjoying Iowa’s natural resources.

I think building quality relationships is an important skill that creates a strong foundation for living a successful personal and professional life. Investing time in developing relationships leads to successful partnerships and progress for our region.

I also believe it’s important to surround yourself with good people. I’m blessed to work with a talented and dedicated team that shares my love of the outdoors and a passion for Webster County’s natural resources.

How do you balance your work and family life?

I think balance in most things in life is important; however, if you ask my wife, she’ll tell you I still need work in this area.

I’m very fortunate to have been blessed with a career in the natural resource field which has allowed my family and me great opportunities to share some amazing outdoor experiences. We have always made time as a couple and a family to spend time hiking, biking, kayaking and traveling to beautiful places.

I hope I have taught my children the value of hard work and shown them the importance of playing together too.

What do you like best about Fort Dodge?

Fort Dodge is the place I call “home.” It’s the place where I was raised, played as a kid, met amazing friends, married my wife, raised my children and continue to choose as “home.”

Without a doubt, the best thing about Fort Dodge is the people. The people truly make this place great! Fort Dodgers have huge hearts, open arms and a “can-do” attitude. Thanks to our progressive city and county leaders, the community is growing and the Fort Dodge spirit is alive and well.

Fort Dodge is also the perfect size town to offer a variety of amenities, but still has that small town feel. Fort Dodge offers great recreational opportunities, education, music, theater and restaurants without the long commutes and high cost of living.

What are you building for our future?

I hope I’m building three future leaders in Iowa in my children. Fort Dodge has provided excellent opportunities for them and I’m excited to see what they accomplish.

I’m very fortunate to have supportive supervisors and board members that share a common vision to expand and improve the quality of life in Webster County. This support has allowed for the replacement of aging infrastructure in our park systems, expansion of our trail network, new access points on our water trails, and new overnight accommodation options in our park.

I’m also extremely blessed to work with a dedicated team that works hard every day to provide great facilities and service for the citizens and visitors of Webster County. Our board and staff are currently working on a strategic plan that will create a “road map” for Webster County’s natural resources and outdoor recreation for the next 20 years.

What are you working hardest on?

I think the answer to this question depends on the day, but I’d say my biggest priority is raising my three children: Leah, 20; Jillian, 18; and Thomas, 12, to be productive members of society.

As for Webster County Conservation, I’m working with staff on a variety of park improvement projects, including a new rental lodge at Camp Wa-No-Ki, rental yurts at Kennedy Park, tiny houses at Gypsum City OHV Park, trail improvements, water trail access areas and marketing of our regional assets. We continue to evaluate our balance between providing recreation opportunities and natural resource management.

I’m also working on building and maintaining the relationships that have helped the Conservation Board have success in the past and exploring new partnerships for the future. I’m excited about our planning efforts and look forward to charting a course for Webster County’s future.