By PETER KASPARI
The members of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance celebrated their first year with a program honoring their successes and looking to the future.
Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Growth Alliance, said it was also a night to ask questions and to make suggestions to the organization.
He said the group has much to be proud of a year after its merger with the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.
"I think probably our greatest accomplishment has been our organization base settled," he said. "We're looking to build on our integration and collaborate with our members, the city of Fort Dodge, and our county supervisors."
Plautz said the group is also working with Manson and the Gowrie Development Commission.
He told other members that their involvement is key to making the Growth Alliance successful.
"If you don't know what we're doing, you're not as involved as you should be," he said.
Tim O'Tool, Growth Alliance board president, highlighted some of the accomplishments of the past year.
"We've got just under 700 jobs in the pipeline, with about a $169 million investment," he said, adding the pipeline refers to jobs that are expected to be coming.
O'Tool said the organization needs to make itself known to the community.
"As an organization and business, it's critical to communicate," he said. "It's a tough task, but it's important for us at the Growth Alliance, and it's important for the city and the county."
He added the Growth Alliance is already making plans for the future, which include a new location for the organization.
"It's all about unifying this region so we can be more efficient," O'Tool said. "We're hoping to have an announcement on that within the next 45 days."
O'Tool also stressed the importance of the committees within the organization.
"It's really important we get the right people on these committees," he said. "They help to elevate our organization."
Those committees will help with housing and expanding the Growth Alliance to more places, according to O'Tool.
The Growth Alliance has also created a video that they will eventually get out to the community.
Plautz said he feels the group can improve on its successes in the years to come.
"Any community can be successful in economic development," he said. "Anybody in charge of anything should be involved in the process."