News Archive

Kirkwood Business Partners Workshop Series

Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services (KTOS) is partnering again with WEDG, the Washington Chamber, and Main Street Washington to bring a collaborative, high quality, professional training series to the Washington County area. All workshops will be held at the new Kirkwood Washington Regional Education Center

The series of seven monthly workshops costs about $500 ($71/4-hour workshop) for a season pass or "seat". There is a 10% discount for members of WEDG, the Washington Chamber, and Main Street Washington. Some employers (like manufacturers) may also be eligible for Iowa's 260E or 260F job training programs to defray some or all of the cost.

This is a great opportunity for great training content, with great instructors coming to Washington. For more info or to register, please contact a Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services program director at 319-398-5623 or complete this simple on-line form

To see a complete PDF brochure on the workshops and facilitators, click here.


  • Wednesday, June 21, 1-5pm: Skills and Expectations for New and Emerging Leaders - Heather Woody
  • Wednesday, July 19, 1-5pm: Getting it Together: Organizing for Success - Terry Whitson
  • Wednesday, August 16, 1-5pm: Effective Performance Review and Development Meetings - Patti Seda
  • Wednesday, September 20, 1-5pm: How Social Media can Support your Business - Alex Rose
  • Wednesday, October 18, 1-5pm: Assessing Different Personality Styles - Carrie Scroggins
  • Wednesday, November 15, 1-5pm: Critical Conversations - Karen Schumacher
  • Wednesday, December 20, 1-5pm: Buddy to Boss - Dr. Celina Peerman

To join the training consortium, you simply invest in a “season pass” for the 2017 training sessions. Your seats can be filled with different staff members based on the content of each individual training session. 

For additional information or to register, please contact a Kirkwood Training & Outreach Services program director at 319-398-5623 or visit We are also planning a webinar on May 24th at 9am for an interactive discussion with our presenters. More details to follow.


Washington's Growth Century & Annual Dinner

The Washington Economic Development Group, Washington Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street Washington celebrated their 2017 Annual Dinner on March 27th with 289 friends at the Events Center at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. Its a great networking event for local and Creative Corridor business and community leaders. Check out the event photo album on FaceBook.

WEDG was pleased to award its 2016 Harvey Holden Special Service award to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. Since 2006, the Riverboat Foundation has awarded over $38 million through over 1,000 grants. They have made a big impact across Washington County and the Creative Corridor.

WEDG also honored Dan Franz for his leadership as WEDG Board President in 2016. Franz is the General Manager at the Riverisde Casino and Golf Resort. Washington County Hospital CEO, Dennis Hunger, is the 2017 WEDG Board President. We also welcomed new board directors, Lynn Koch of Federation Bank, and Amanda Russell of Bazooka Farmstar. Click here for a full 2017 board director list.

Ed's Remarks at the Annual Dinner

Washington County has seen a lot so far this 21st century. We've experienced ups and downs including a deep recession, and just last quarter Modine Manufacturing closed for good. But there are actually over 1,600 more jobs in Washington County in 2016 than in 2001. In fact, there has never been a year with more jobs in Washington County than 2016. We peaked in the summer with over 8,500 non-farm jobs.

Those job gains are primarily because of growth within existing business and industry, and from entrepreneurial startups.

People come from all over to work those jobs in Washington County. But even those that commute out are bringing their money back. Over $100 million in annual payroll from Johnson County jobs comes back to Washington County residents.

Washington County's population is growing too. We've added over 570 people since 2010, a 2.6% increase. That is why our labor force keeps hitting record highs too - 12,900 this fall. People are moving to Washington County. We're also growing the old fashioned too (more births than deaths...).

Many of our rural neighbor and peer counties in Southeast Iowa or in the Creative Corridor are not so fortunate. 

Something else has changed in Washington County over the last 20 years. Our retail sales are climbing, and have been for a decade. In the late 1990s, Washington County was at the bottom of retail sales compared to our neighboring peer counties.

Since 2006 (pre-recession even), Washington County's retail sales have rocketed from $124 million to $194 million in 2016. That is a $70 million increase, a 56% increase. And the increase isn't just in Washington; the increases are also in Kalona, Wellman, and Riverside. Those vibrate economies in Washington County's small communities is one of the most special things about our area.

Today, Washington County is at the top of the heap in retail sales compared to our surrounding peer counties. Why? People move here. People come here to shop. They shop at big stores, new stores, old stores, downtown stores. (it is worth noting that Main Street Washington's focus on improving downtown began in 2008.)

Mostly though, Washington County and area residents are spending more of their retail dollars in Washington County. Shopping locally.  

Don't forget that retail sales impacts local cities and the County. Big growth in retail sales has resulted in big growth in Local Option Sales Tax revenues. For example, in FY2005, Washington County received just $656,000 in LOST revenues. In FY2016, Washington County received over $1.1 million in LOST revenue.

WEDG's mission is to create and promote an environment for economic development. Slowly and frequently behind the scenes, WEDG is helping to create the place that you want to be.

Now we need your help. WEDG is beginning our 2017-2019 Pledge Drive. When we reach out to you shortly to renew your pledge or to ask you to make a new pledge, we hope that you will help us.

We appreciate your support.


Washington Laborshed 2017 updates

A year ago, we provided data about the 2016 Laborshed analysis for Washington, Washington County, and the Creative Corridor.

Iowa Workforce Development has updated many of those reports for 2017.


Reports to view or download:

The employment sector reports include maps, benefits, and wage information broken down by Mean, Entry, Experienced, and Median wage, along with Mean Annual Salary. Great stuff.

If you're an employer, this is some great info to review to better understand the employment scene in greater Washington County and Southeast Iowa.

To search for Laborshed full reports across Iowa, visit this page at the IWD Labor Market Information.

This data is also listed on the WEDG Data webpage.


Don't forget to Register to attend our Monday, March 27 Annual Dinner at the Riverside Casino. Tickets are $40 until March 14th (then $50).


Annual Dinner - March 27

Please join us on Monday, March 27th for our Annual Dinner at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. This is a fun networking celebration with 280+ community leaders from around greater Washington County. 

Be there with the Washington Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Washington, and the Washington Economic Development Group on Monday, March 27th!

  • Ticket Price: $40 per person ($50 after March 14)
  • Tables of 10 can be reserved for your business/organization $400
  • Two meat buffet!
  • Cash Bar(s)
  • Guilt-free raffle with great prizes!
  • Special hotel rate of $64.95 for Monday night. Call 319-648-1234 and request the room block for Washington County Annual Dinner.

Our guest speaker is Aaron Thomas, son of Coach Ed Thomas from Aplington-Parkersburg. He is a special, dynamic speaker that gets rave reviews. Don't miss him! This special program is brought to you through a sponsorship by the Washington County Hospital & Clinics.

Thanks to our event sponsors!



Apply to Serve on a State Board or Commission

There are many boards and commissions in Iowa, appointed by the Governor, that help to advise and administer on a wide range of topics, issues, and areas of service.

Currently, there are 11 individuals from Washington County serving on Governor-appointed boards and commissions. Kudos to them for getting involved. The Governor did not select them because they are FaceBook friends - they completed an application and asked to be considered.

Washington County appointed Commission members

Berger, Steve Judicial Nominating Commission, State 4/30/20
Cobb, Mark Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Board 4/30/19
Kiene, Kevin Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board 4/30/19
Kleese, Amanda Early ACCESS, Iowa Council for 6/30/18
Latcham, Sarah Libraries, Commission of 4/30/19
Lipski, Patricia Civil Rights Commission, Iowa State 4/30/19
Lynn, Trevor Juvenile Justice Advisory Council 6/30/18
Marek, Larry Agricultural Education, Council on 6/30/18
Reuss, Michelle Latino Affairs Commission 4/30/20
Schneider, Mark Developmental Disabilities Council 6/30/19
Unternahrer, Shannon Child Advocacy Board 4/30/17


In the surrounding area, there are many other appointed Commissioners serving, including 9 from Henry County, 20 from Iowa County, 5 from Jefferson County, 46 from Johnson County, 3 from Keokuk County, 73 from Linn, and 4 from Louisa County.

Governor Branstad will make appointments to 97 of the 160 State boards and commissions in March, 2017 during the Legislative Session. Browse through this list, and click through to any that interest you to learn more. Don't wait until February to get started. Do it over the Holidays.

State law requires most boards and commissions be balanced according to gender and political affiliation. Geographical location and diversity is also considered. Sometimes, this means that your gender, party affiliation, or geographical location make you a good fit for a particular commission, but sometimes, your background may not be what they're seeking at this time. Really, this balance is one of the best things about Iowa.

Accountancy Examining Board 2
African Americans, Commission on the Status of 1
Aging, Commission On 4
Agricultural Development Board 1
Alcoholic Beverages Commission 1
Architectural Examining Board 3
Athletic Training, Board of 3
Autism Council, Iowa 4
Banking Council, State 2
Barbering, Board of 3
Behavioral Science, Board of 3
Blind, Commission for the 1
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board 3
Capital Investment Board, Iowa 1
Capitol Planning Commission 3
Child Advocacy Board 4
Chiropractic, Board of 3
Civil Rights Commission, Iowa State 4
Community Action Agencies, Commission on 3
Corrections, Board of 2
Cosmetology Arts and Sciences 5
County Finance Committee 3
Credit Union Review Board 1
Deaf Services, Commission of 3
Dentistry, Board of 3
Dependent Adult Protective Advisory Council 4
Dietetics, Board of 2
Drug Policy Advisory Council, Iowa 1
Early Childhood Iowa State Board 4
Economic Development Authority 7
Education, State Board of 1
Educational Examiners, State Board of 4
Electrical Examining Board 4
Elevator Safety Board 4
Engineering and Land Surveying Examining Board 3
Enhance Iowa Board 5
Environmental Protection Commission 7
Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, Iowa 2
Finance Authority Board of Directors, Iowa 4
Flood Mitigation Board 2
Grain Indemnity Fund Board, Iowa 2
Great Places Advisory Board, Iowa 4
Health Facilities Council 5
Healthy and Well Kids In Iowa Board (HAWK-I) 2
Hearing Aid Specialists, Board of 2
Higher Education Loan Authority 1
Human Services, Council on 5
Interior Design Examining Board 2
Interoperable Communications System Board 6
Iowa Innovation Corporation, Board of 1
IPERs, Investment Board of the 2
Judicial Qualifications, Commission on 1
Landscape Architectural Examining Board 5
Law Enforcement Academy Council, Iowa 4
Libraries, Commission of 3
Massage Therapy, Board of 4
Medicine, Board of 3
Mental Health and Disability Services Commission 7
Mental Health Risk Pool Board 3
Mid-America Port Commission 1
Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) 2
Mortuary Science, Board of 3
Native American Affairs, Commission of 6
Natural Resource Commission 3
Nursing Home Administrators, Board of 2
Nursing, Board of 3
Optometry, Board of 3
Organic Advisory Council 1
Parole, Board of 3
Parole, Board of - Alternate Members 3
Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund Board 2
Pharmacy, Board of 3
Physical and Occupational Therapy, Board of 4
Physician Assistants, Board of 2
Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board 3
Podiatry, Board of 2
Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council 2
Property Assessment Appeal Board 2
Psychology, Board of 4
Racing and Gaming Commission, State 2
Real Estate Appraiser Examining Board 2
Real Estate Commission 4
Regents, State Board of 4
Respiratory Care, Board of 2
School Budget Review Committee 1
Sign Language Interpreters and Transliterators 2
Social Work 3
Soil Conservation Committee, State 5
Speech Pathology and Audiology 2
Technology Advisory Council 4
Telecommunications and Technology Commission 1
Title Guaranty Division Board 2
Tobacco Use Prevention and Control, Commission on 3
Transportation Commission 2
Utilities Board, Iowa 1
Veterinary Medicine, Iowa Board of 2
Watershed Improvement Review Board 4

Get the Application!

If you find one that fits your circumstances that you are interested in, go to the Governor's on-line application page. You can apply by creating an online profile and completing an on-line application. If these don't fit you, think of someone you know that you could forward this to that might find a good fit. Go to the Governor's home page for Boards and Commissions for more info.

And if none of these fit you, don't despair. Look around for other volunteer opportunities where you could make an impact. Your city, county, school district, and non-profit organizations are routinely in need of interested and knowledgeable community members to contribute their time and expertise. Look around and get involved! Feel free to contact me or the Washington Chamber of Commerce if you want some advice on what organizations you could connect with.

Don't delay. Start today. Make getting involved in your community or your state a New Year's resolution if you need to. It is very rewarding.