This Week in the Corridor
The clubs in our 'Economic Development' golf bag
Some years ago, I read a book about golf. Before anyone makes fun of me, know that it was Golf for Dummies, and given my handicap, it didn’t work. I should have read Golf for Athletically Impaired Invertebrates.

There was one takeaway that stuck with me, though. The author, former PGA pro and announcer Gary McCord, suggested that amateurs match their swing tempo to their temperaments. If you’re relaxed and easygoing, swing slow and smooth like Freddie Couples, but if you’re wound tight, whirl that 3-wood like Nick Price.

The message, be who you are, is as applicable to life and leadership as it is to golf.
I would contend that communities also should follow McCord’s advice and play to their strengths. Over the past six and a half years, I’ve had the privilege to observe the Corridor region as an inside outsider, unencumbered by local rivalries or the baggage of “how things used to be.” Asked to name a few notable characteristics (my favorite clubs, so to speak) I might start with these:
Entrepreneurial – Maybe its the long winter months that afford plenty of time for hatching schemes, but people here in Northwest Iowa are always ready to try their hand as founders: Need a service? Start a business. Need a supplier? Start a business. Just plain tired of working for your boss? Why not start a business? In 10 years at the Corridor, new interim CEO Brian Dalziel has helped 104 startups. I suspect that’s only a smidge of the overall entrepreneurial activity.
Lacustrine That’s a five-dollar word for lake-y. It may seem obvious, but this area is best known for it’s 20+ lakes. I therefore find it strange how some communities don’t advertise their proximity to H2O. If we simply ignore the artificial constraint of county borders, every town up here is a lake—and river—town.

Agricultural – I had a local farmer tell me recently that such-and-such a town in the Corridor “has never wanted ag businesses,” only to have a politician from the same town say a few days later that the economy is becoming ever more connected with and dependent upon agriculture. The first is not apparent to me; the second certainly is. That’s why the Corridor’s five-year plan targets ag technology as a growth sector.

Lovely – When the sun glitters through hoarfrost on a December morning, I can do nothing but offer up a prayer.

Productive—With apologies to Johnny Cash, we make everything, man. We make motorcycles, grain trailers, guard rails, desk chairs. Pork chops, saddle broncs, horse stalls, sliding doors. Race wheels, tractor wheels, grain hoppers and chopped wire. Augers, conveyors, fire suits, elevators. Machined parts, cast parts, dried eggs and slide gates. (By the way, how cool is it that Spirit Lake gets a mention in “I’ve Been Everywhere.”)

Diligent – The midwestern work ethic might be exaggerated, but it’s still pretty dadgum good.

Proud – Enough said.

This list might seem obvious, but that’s kind of the point. This region’s strengths are easy to identify. I’m sure we could name many others: Economic, geographic, and social. Together they form the competitive advantage with which the Corridor will win through to a better and brighter future.

Are there also weaknesses? Sure, every course has sand traps and water hazards. But when you’re standing on the tee, you can’t worry about losing your ball. You line up with the flag, keep your eyes down, and swing away.

Then, if you’re me, you yell, “Fore!!!”
Thank you for everyone who joined us for Kiley's Send-Off on Tuesday! Whether in person or online, Kiley appreciated the well-wishes from everyone.

Kiley's last day at the Corridor will be February 3rd.

Pictured: Russ Dierenfield (Tyson) and Kiley Miller at Tuesday's event.
Featured Real Estate
18th St. & Central Ave.

Location: 18th & Central Ave.
Estherville, IA 51334

Sale Price: $75,000

Acres: 0.4

For more information visit the Corridor website!

1710 Central Ave.

Location: 1710 Central Ave.
Estherville, IA 51334

Sale Price: $65,000

Acres: 0.4

For more information visit the Corridor website!

IWRC Energy Reduction Assistance for Iowa Businesses Webinar

The Iowa Waste Reduction Center will be hosting its second free webinar in the IWRC Energy Efficiency Webinar Series on Tuesday, February 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Funded through a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s energy program, the goal of this webinar is to educate and assist Iowa businesses to reduce energy consumption and save money.

In this webinar, Bruce Dvorak and associates from the Nebraska Industrial Assessment Center will discuss partnerships for energy and cost savings. Patrick Rocco Brown, Senior Engineer with the University of Illinois at Chicago will be covering compressed air energy efficiency, and Jennifer Reutzel Vaughan from Iowa DNR will discuss industrial energy efficiency in Iowa case studies.

To read more about presentation highlights, and to register for this free webinar, please visit
Milford Council hears proposal for forgivable loan program to spur economic development

Corridor staff joined the Milford City Council to propose a forgivable loan program encouraging new businesses to locate in the community. The proposal included a suggestion for $25,000-50,000 be put in an account to be distributed as forgivable loans with clawback provisions.

Read more about the proposal here or here.
Estherville police officer honored with Enrique S. Camarena Award

Estherville police officer Captain Nate Dunlavy is being honored by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration with the Enrique S. Camarena Award. This award recognizes officers who go above and beyond for commitment to reducing drug abuse.

Learn more about the award.
Arnold Motor Supply names Johnson president, managing partner

Eric Johnson has been appointed to managing partner and president of The Merrill Company and Arnold Motor Supply following former managing partner Dennis Spooner's retirement at the end of 2020. Johnson has worked at The Merrill Company for 12 years. He also wrote a book about the company, "You Build a Business with People," back in 2013.

Investor Spotlight
Each week we want to feature and thank the businesses and individuals that have committed to economic development and growth in our communities. To learn more about these investors and others, visit our Business Directory!
Black Hills Energy
Sector: Communications & Utilities
Investor Level: Gold
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Description: Every day, Black Hills Energy wants to be “improving life with energy.” They produce, market and deliver the vital electricity, coal, oil and natural gas that customers need. Through their efforts, products and services, they also share personal energy to strengthen communities and support growth and development.
Boji Bay Entertainment Plaza
Sector: Business Services/Other
Investor Level: Silver
Location: Milford
Description: Boji Bay Entertainment Plaza in Milford is home to the Boij Bay pools and splash pad, as well as Bouncelandia. The Boji Bay swimming pools are operated by the Bedell Family YMCA with generous funding support in 2020 provided by the City of Milford and the Kinnetz Family Foundation.
See a listing that needs updated? Please contact Alyssa Petersen to discuss changes to your business listing.
Jobs in the Iowa Lakes Corridor
Post your jobs where quality candidates are already looking:

See current job openings here.
Job Title
Assistant Manager
Associate Design & Process Engineer
Family Therapist
Outpatient Therapist
MWI Components
MWI Components
Seasons Center
Seasons Center
Questions? Want to be featured in next week's newsletter?
Contact the Iowa Lakes Corridor at,
or call us at 712.264.3474.