Newton leaders won national recognition from President Obama on Earth Day, showing off how two wind energy companies are filling some of the void left when Maytag closed.
Now, other Iowa communities are hoping to learn from Newton’s success. Several Newton officials spoke Thursday in Webster City in a meeting organized by Reverend Richard Graves, of Webster City.
Reverend Graves says, "We thought it would be wonderful to bring leaders from our region to an event where they could begin to think proactively and creatively about the future and what happens if we have a major economic dislocation in the community — the big plant closes."
He says many ideas were exchanged about the importance of a grassroots movement involving public and private enterprise, an effort driven by people who know how to access resources locally and globally.
"That’s the kind of thing that every community and region in Iowa needs to be thinking about," Graves says. "We have to think creatively and collaboratively. We have to be driven by a vision so that all the arrows are pointing in the same direction and we’re not duplicating resources."
Webster City, Fort Dodge and Clarion have all seen recent job cuts. Kim Didier, director of the Newton Development Corporation, commended the other communities’ efforts to help displaced workers and to look forward. Didier says Newton leaders are glad to offer advice.
"We tried to share what were some of our key learnings out of our own transformation and now our regional innovation movement that I’m helping with implementing a plan that we developed so that our region never finds ourselves in that position again," she says. For more information, visit " www.newtontransformation.com ".