Showcasing the community

Growth Alliance invites newcomers to Fall Into FD

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Shayna Brockbank, left, speaks with Vicky Vinchattle, a dance teacher who also owns Vicky's Dance in Gowrie, and Morgan Mills, a gymnastics coach, at the Hollingsworth School of Dance and Gymanstics Wednesday night at Fall Into Fort Dodge. That event was conducted by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance to introduce people who are new to the community to various businesses, churches, organizations and activities.

Moving, even across town, is a stressful experience and those who move to a different community may feel that they are lost in a strange place.

To combat that feeling locally, the Workforce Committee of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance gathered representatives of some 50 businesses and organizations at the Webster County Fairgrounds Wednesday evening and then invited people who have recently moved to the community to visit.

The event was called Fall Into Fort Dodge. More than 200 people were expected to attend, according to Kelly Halsted, the economic development director of the Growth Alliance.

Shayna Brockbank was one of those who came to Fall Into Fort Dodge. She, her husband Wyatt, and their family moved from Utah to Fort Dodge in July so that he could take a position as a Spanish teacher at Fort Dodge Senior High School.

“We were happy to come and see what’s available,” she said in between visiting the various booths set up in the main building at the fairgrounds.

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Representatives of New Covenant Christian Church at left were among those who set up booths Wednesday night for Fall Into Fort Dodge, a an event sponsored by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance to introduce newcomers to various businesses and organizations in the community. About 200 people were expected at the event, held at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Melissa Meisgeier, who just started her new job as manager of the Koch Fertilizer plant east of Fort Dodge on Monday, brought her family to the event.

“We figured it was an opportunity for some activity, meeting some people and finding what Fort Dodge has,” she said.

Meisgeier and her family moved to Fort Dodge from Rosemount, Minnesota. However, she had some previous knowledge of Fort Dodge because she had served as an intern at the local Koch Fertilizer plant in 2009.

She was not the only new manager of a major local industrial facility on hand Wednesday evening. Chris Stopczynski, the plant manager of Georgia -Pacific, recently moved from Arthur to Fort Dodge. He, his wife, and their six kids made the move, plus his parents moved from North Dakota to be close to them.

Stopczynski said Fall Into Fort Dodge was an “opportunity to get the kids out and see what’s around.”

“I really appreciate what the Growth Alliance does for Fort Dodge in general and what they do for newcomers,” he added.

He said that soon after moving to Fort Dodge he and his family took a tour of Fort Dodge conducted by the Growth Alliance and learned about “things we wouldn’t have picked up on without an introduction to them.”

The various businesses and organizations offered pens, note pads, magnetic clips and other freebies, but United Bank of Iowa may have had the most unique giveaway. The bankers were giving away bags of money.

Well, kind of.

Mike Biedenfeld, the bank’s vice president and office manager, was giving out plastic bags full of shredded paper that was the familiar green shade of United States currency. He said the bags contained the shredded remains of various bills that were destroyed by the federal government because of printing errors.

Biendenfeld said the bags were “conversation starters.”

New Covenant Christian Church was also represented at Fall Into Fort Dodge.

“We just wanted to be out in the community and get to know some people and welcome them to town,” said Josh Carmody, the church’s lead pastor.

The Fort Dodge Country Club was represented at the event by Steve Fuller, its golf professional.

“Like any business, we’re always looking for new people,” he said. “We want to get our name out there and we’re always looking for new ways to do that.”


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