SMART Economic Development Conference
On May 7, 2009, three students attended the SMART Economic Development Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Sponsored by the Iowa Utility Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the conference featured Marci Rossell, former chief economist with CNBC and formerly with Deloitte and Touche and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Donovan Rypkema, Principal of Place Economics, an expert in sustainability, downtown and neighborhood revitalization, and historic rehabilitation; and Robert D. Atkinson, Ph. D., an expert on workforce and economics who discussed the new strategic direction of economic development and workforce based on findings from the 2008 State New Economy Index.
"As a resident of Iowa I really enjoyed hearing from different speakers about the local economy and about how Iowa compares to the rest of the nation. The work being done on sustainability in Dubuque was particularly fascinating. I was also very pleased with the positive tone of all of the speeches. The passion and practicality that these speakers were able to fit into their takes on different aspects of the economy was nothing short of impressive. I also really enjoyed the opportunities that we had to network with business leaders and members of the community."
"In conversing with community leaders, I was able to learn the value of networking, a truly essential skill for landing internships as well as expanding knowledge on various issues. As a first year student my understanding of economics is still fairly limited, but I found this as a great way to reinforce the concepts that I have already learned, to be introduced to new and interesting ideas, and truly come to question everything (leaving nothing to be assured)." -- Mike Johnson '12