Taets is Catalyst winner
Keynote speaker Ady says Fort Dodge is ready
John Taets, chief executive officer of Northwest Bank in Fort Dodge, was honored Thursday night with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance’s annual Catalyst Award for his diverse efforts to improve the community.
It was presented during the alliance’s annual dinner at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites.
The award celebrates inspiration, charity, wisdom, leadership, volunteerism and commitment to the community and region.
Taets credits his community and his family.
“I’m humbled by it all,” he said. “I’m fortunate to be part of this community. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. I can look around this community and see a lot of people more deserving than I. I try to do what I do because my parents taught me to give back.”
Taets was presented the award by 2011 Catalyst Award winner Terry Allers, president of Allers Associates Architects.
“Top leaders in this individual’s organization have used words like high energy, strategic thinker and remarkable drive to describe this person,” Allers said.
“Many of us here in this room tonight have witnessed firsthand this individual’s community spirit and the widespread positive influence this person has across so many areas of the community,” he said
In addition to his leadership in the banking industry, Taets was recognized for his leadership roles with the Development Corporation of Greater Fort Dodge, Rotary International, Trinity Regional Hospital Foundation, Trimark Physicians Group Board, UnityPoint Health chair of the Board and Finance Committee member, UnityPoint Clinic Board, UnityPoint Heath Corporate Board for Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, Friendship Haven Foundation Board, Holy Trinity Parish Finance Committee,Webster County 4-H Foundation Board, St. Edmond School Board member and president, Fort Dodge YWCA Board of Directors, Trails Advisory Board, Fort Dodge REC Center Committee, American Bankers Association Ag Committee and serving as the Iowa Central Community College Bond Referendum Committee treasurer.
This year’s keynote speaker was Janet Ady, president and chief executive officer of Ady Advantages. Ady is an experienced business and marketing strategist.
Ady spoke about Fort Dodge being a community that’s ready to grow.
“What are successful communities doing?” she asked.
As it turns out, many things that Fort Dodge is already engaged in that are having positive local results and helping improve the local quality of life.
Improving quality of life is something she said is important for attracting businesses who want their employees to enjoy the community they will be moving to.
“Quality of place is a key factor in talent deciding where to live,” she said.
She cited things like creating murals and art in public spaces, increasing the amount and quality of housing available, and such things as reinventing downtown spaces to destination shops.
“Things like your Main Street program,” she said.
She said music events are also important.
“How do you do this?” she asked. “You’re already doing this with events such as Shellabration.”
She also stressed that successful communities have a plan.
“If there’s a plan,” she said, “it leads to getting things done.”
Fort Dodge has a plan called Re-Envision 2030.
Randy Kuhlman, chief executive officer of the United Way and Fort Dodge Community Foundation, gave an example of how various groups in the community came together to help a local family in need.
“The family we helped,” he said, “they got out of their van in the Walmart parking lot and went inside to brush their teeth, then went to school in the same clothes they slept in. We got them help. The father has a full-time job, we got them beds and furniture. They were homeless three months ago. With the help of three partner agencies, they’re now contributing to our community. That’s what United Way is all about.”