Site of the Month:  Norris Lot Enterprise Drive - Independence

Buchanan County Leadership:  Still Time to Sign Up!

Buchanan County's Unique Engineering Company

Free Google Basics for Business Workshop

BankIowa Lenders Recognized 

Move Slow in a Crisis: Article

Regional Job Board

SBDC Visit to Buchanan County

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Norris Lot - Enterprise Drive

A prime 1.02 acre building lot located by Wal Mart in Independence is our site of the month for February.  This lot is situated in a highly visible location just off the intersection of Highways 20 and 150. Nearby businesses include banks, restaurants, gas station and Walmart. This lot is zoned C-2 and has tremendous potential being located in a growing commercial area.  

Make a difference in your community and organization!

Leadership is invaluable to any business, organization or community and fostering new community leaders helps individuals stay on top and advance in their respective fields.  Communities and businesses will continue to grow and flourish with the development of new leaders

The Buchanan County Leadership Development program will teach the skills needed to encourage and support individuals who want to make a difference in their communities. 

Register Now! Registration is due Monday, February, 12th by end of day.
Register by going to Buchanan County Leadership Development Program, on our website or contact George Lake at, 319-334-7497. You may also stop by the BCEDC office 112 at 112 First Street East, Independence and pick up a form.

Below is the schedule and list of presenters for this year Buchanan County Leadership Program.

Buchanan County’s Unique Engineering Company

(Buchanan County, IA)-Buchanan County is home to one of the few female engineering firms in the State of Iowa.  Monica Smith is the owner and President of Robinson Engineering Company located in downtown Independence.  She moved the firm to Buchanan County from Cedar Falls in January of 2013 because in her words it was a “perfect fit”.   “There is easy access to Highway 20 and Interstate 380.  I also have access to high speed internet which is vital to my company,” said Smith.

Smith, who has lived in Buchanan County most of her life, said she had no idea she wanted to be an engineer until she took an aptitude test her senior year of high school.  “It was like a lightbulb came on.  I loved the idea of combining the math with creating and designing projects,” said Smith.  Smith went to the University of Iowa and was accepted into their engineering program.  She was one of only 5 or 6 women in the entire Engineering program at the time she graduated. 

Smith graduated from Iowa in 1995 and began her career with Robinson Engineering In November of 1995.  At that time it was owned by Kris Murthy who was originally from India.  Because Murthy was considered a minority he was able to qualify for several different programs.  His involvement made Smith aware of the programs available to minorities, which helped when it came time to purchase the business. 

As a woman, Smith qualifies for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  According to the DOT website the program aims to increase the participation of minority and women owned businesses in state and local transportation projects that are funded by the Department.  Through this program, projects that are federally funded have to use a certain percentage of the dollars allocated to Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participants.  Over 50% of Smith’s business comes through this program.  She has worked for the DOT, UNI and a number of housing developments in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.  Often she is the only woman on a construction site.

Smith commented that Buchanan County Economic Development completing the Housing Survey was huge for the area.  Most of her contracts are outside of the Buchanan County area, but the housing survey will hopefully open up opportunities for her in the area.
For more information about Robinson Engineering Company go to their website at
Google Basics For Business Workshop

Google is everywhere! If you want to use Google as a way to enhance your business, where do you even begin? BCEDC is offering a free workshop on using Google Tools to successfully promote and operate your business. Topics covered will include:
1. Google My Business (Including Analytics) - what it does and how it works 
2. Advertising Options from Google 
3. Business vs. Personal Google & what I would use Google for 
4. How to's, question and answer, order based on need - sites, calendar, hangouts, forms, drive, etc.

Michelle Cowell, the Instructional Technology Consultant at Central Rivers AEA and a Google Certified Trainer will be the presenter for this hands on workshop.

 Preregistration is required by Monday February 19th Due to space limitations, we ask that no more than 2 people per business attend. Cancellations are due by February 19th. No shows will be billed $10. You must establish a Google account prior to the workshop.  Please bring your own laptop computer. Computers will be provided if you do not have a computer.

To register, contact BCEDC Director George Lake 319-334-7497.  We will need your name, business/organization and let us know if you can bring your own computer or if you need one provided. 
BankIowa Lenders named IFA Preferred Partners
The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) announced that a total of 40 lenders and Realtors have earned the organization's 2018 Preferred Partner designation
IFA Preferred Partners are experts for Iowa home buyers seeking assistance with the homeownership process and are expertly trained in IFA mortgage and down payment assistance programs.
IFA offers mortgage and down payment assistance programs for eligible homebuyers through a network of hundreds of Participating Lenders across the state. Local lenders assisted 2,300 Iowans in purchasing a home using IFA programs in fiscal year 2017.
BankIowa lenders included as an IFA’s Preferred Partner include Brian Bockenstedt, and Mark Sillman.
[Photo: Flickr user VictorMadison Grooms/Unsplash]

This Is the Real Reason Leaders Fail in a Crisis
By: Larry Robertson
Original Article on
Everything from your gut instinct to legions of disaffected employees might be telling you to move fast to fix what’s wrong. You should perhaps do the opposite.  In accounting for why some leaders handle crises better than others, it’s easy to blame the usual suspects–the industries involved, the market at the time, the management models concerned. But there’s one deceptively simple rule that can prove decisive despite how often leaders overlook it: Just slow down.
Consider the common path organizations take during a crisis. When a leader typically takes over a new team, it’s because something in the existing team or organization isn’t working–and hasn’t been working for a good while. These conditions alone cause fears to speed up and good, clear thinking to atrophy.
Why? Because when things aren’t working, they spawn noticeable symptoms: falling sales, missed deadlines, deteriorating morale and trust, constant tension in the air (to name a few). These easy-to-discern factors quickly become the focus of attention, obscuring whatever actually caused them. Symptoms have a way of generating a snowballing urgency to “just fix it right now!” That frenetic, narrowly focused atmosphere quickly dictates the conditions under which new leaders enter the fray and set to work–often only to fall short.
Ideally, prescient leaders can see these conditions brewing and self-correct. When organizations have an objective, engaged, and effective board, that can sometimes spur the necessary change early enough to avert a crisis. Absent that, it’s the new leader’s job to see the larger pattern above and beyond the symptoms that are poisoning the environment they’re stepping into. But too much speed in troubled times can silently nullify everything from good thinking to good intentions. Newly brought-in leaders, like those they replace, too easily succumb to the organization-wide desire to alleviate the symptoms–and hit the accelerator rather than tapping the breaks.
What’s usually needed but often gets lost during a crisis is to balance “thinking slow” with “thinking fast,” as Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman famously termed it. The best leadership decisions under any conditions are born of a combination of these two forms of thought; merely recognizing that high-pressure moments opens you up to the power of the pause (and like so many things, awareness is a simple and powerful first step).
Regional Job Site
Buchanan County Companies are Hiring!!
Looking for a job close to home?  Looking for a way to find new employees? Look no farther than the Regional Job Site!   The regional job board covers the 6-county Cedar Valley Regional Partnership (CVRP). The CVRP area includes Buchanan, Black Hawk, Bremer, Chickasaw, Butler and Grundy counties.   The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC) has a dedicated link to regional job board on the Grow Buchanan website.

Jobs website:

Companies can easily post a job without having to register, get a password or pay any fees. 

Job seekers can search for jobs by county and category…no registrations or passwords.
This site enables companies to more easily post jobs and the site will make it easier for those looking for work to find local companies that are hiring.

Click here to access Buchanan County Businesses that are hiring NOW!!
Please contact George Lake, Director, BCEDC if you need additional information. 319-334-7497
Starting or growing a business? Meet with the SBDC in  Buchanan County!

(Buchanan County, IA) Are you thinking about starting or expanding a business, but you’re not sure about how to proceed?   Do you need help in deciding how best to market or improve your business? Not to worry! Help is available through the UNI Small Business Development Center (SBDC)!
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be setting up shop in the board room of Buchanan County Economic Development (BCEDC) on Tuesday, February 13th.  If you are interested in starting a business and don't know the best way to go about it, the SBDC can help.  If you currently own a small business and are considering expanding or you want to review financial options, the SBDC can help.  

Contact George Lake of BCEDC at 319-334-7497 or email to to make an appointment. The BCEDC offices are located at 112 1st Street East in Independence. You can also set appointments in Cedar Falls for other days of the month by calling the SBDC at 319-273-4328. We’ll see you on Tuesday, February 13th.
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The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)
P.O. Box 109
Independence, IA  50644

Street address: 112 1st St. East, Independence,  IA  50644

Contact: George Lake, Executive Director
or Lisa Kremer, Communication Manager 
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Buchanan County Economic Development Co. · P.O. Box 109 · Independence, IA 50644 · USA

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