Ottumwa Set to Host 2021 PDI Fall Conference

Ottumwa Set to Host 2021 PDI Fall Conference Main Photo

7 Sep 2021


The city of Ottumwa was set to host the Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) 2020 Fall Conference before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, one year later, Ottumwa and PDI are just as eager to host the 2021 conference together.

“We are always looking for a partner to help make our conference an amazing event,” said James Hoelscher, president of PDI. “Ottumwa was incredibly gracious in understanding the necessities regarding the pandemic and they are geared up and ready to go in 2021!”

Ottumwa is hosting the PDI 2021 Fall Conference September 29 through October 1 at the Bridge View Center. The theme is “REIMAGINE: Yourself, Your Opportunities, Your Community, Your Organizations.”

Hoelscher said this fall is an excellent time to get people back together, especially after more than a year working remotely and independently.

“We need to get everyone back together, bouncing ideas off each other to address current issues,” he said. “But even more importantly, these professional developers also need to reimagine what economic development should be for the future of their communities.”

Professional Developers of Iowa Conference“This is a chance to welcome colleagues from all around Iowa to share the story of Ottumwa’s redevelopment and forward progress. Some may never have visited, and some may not have been here for a long while. There is so much to showcase and ways to demonstrate our theme of reimagination. That is what Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress has been doing as both leader and follower alongside other community collaborators through nearly a decade of transformation” says Sharon Stroh, VP of Industrial Development at GOPIP.

PDI is an organization of economic development professionals working to grow and develop Iowa’s economic base. With more than 310 members involved in disciplines ranging from county, regional and community development, utilities, education, legal, financial, engineering and construction, PDI is perfectly situated to strengthen communities and drive the long-term growth of Iowa.

The conference is three days of interactive learning, exploring Iowa communities and engaging networking receptions designed to to build new relationships and ideas to help Iowa economic developers succeed in today’s fast-changing environment. Registration is still open for the event, with a break on the fee through September 13. The three-day session includes several sessions helping economic developers take new looks at various community segments, including emerging opportunities, work after COVID-19, developing leaders and navigating through community challenges. The annual golf outing is Wednesday and a ‘sensory experience’ through downtown Ottumwa are just a few of the unique activities illustrated in the full agenda. The lengthy list of experienced speakers includes economic development organizations, professional associations and educational institutions throughout Iowa. 

Host Selection

Ottumwa, along with previous hosts were selected through a competitive process by a panel of reviewers. Interested parties submit an application designed to highlight their community and celebrate unique projects completed recently. Beyond a strong application and the capability of the Bridge View Center to host such an event, Hoelscher said Ottumwa was selected due to the considerable momentum it has built over several years. 

“Local organizations have received several economic rewards, along with visits from Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Gregg, Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Michael Wagler, Main Street Iowa Coordinator, all indicated something good is going on in Ottumwa,” said Hoelscher, who is also the Senior Program Manager at the Institute for Decision Making at the University of Northern Iowa.