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Smith To Be Named Chamber Director

The Mahaska Health Partnership Executive Board and Leadership Team met Monday evening to discuss business as usual. As the reports rounded the table, Jacky Bresnahan, Director of Human Resources, informed the board of various hires and resignations.

Bresnahan had gone through the listing of new hires, including a  Polysomnographic Technologist, and the listing of 13 other open jobs. She also noted that the Community Wellness Coordinator, Ann Smith, had given her resignation.

“We are looking at what that would look like, are we or are we not going to replace that at this time,” said Bresnahan.

She continued on to notify the board that Smith will be moving on to be the new Chamber Director.

“We are very excited to have Ann on board as the Chamber Director. She is an excellent communicator, and has proved herself to be driven and diligent in her work. She will undoubtedly be an asset to our organization,” said Carri Vander Ree, OACDG Board President.

Executive Director. Smith will be responsible for leading the Chamber’s efforts in community development, membership, tourism and events. Smith will fill her position on November 6.

Smith most recently served as the Mahaska Health Partnership’s Community Wellness Coordinator where she was heavily involved in community events and outreach ensuring wellness is an important part of the community. Smith graduated from Pekin High School and holds a BS in health sciences with an emphasis in Health and Wellness from William Penn University. Ann has a son, Ezekiel, in Newton. In her free time Smith enjoys drinking good coffee, reading European history, hiking, cooking and visiting with family and friends.


MCDG Executive Director Announced

The Mahaska Community Development Group and Development Partners announced today that Tom Flaherty has been named Executive Director of Mahaska Community Economic Development.

Flaherty, who begins Sept. 11, will be responsible for managing development activities to increase business expansion and capital investment in the community. He will also help create an outcome-based strategic plan to address housing, workforce and quality of life needs.

“We are excited to welcome Tom to our economic development team. His experience leading neighborhood forums and working in both industrial and downtown development will be an asset for our Mahaska Community,” said Jay Christensen, Chairman of the Mahaska Community Development Group (MCDG).

Flaherty is a life-long Iowan and most recently served as Vice President of Regional Business Development and Vice President of the Downtown Development Partnership for the DavenportOne/Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Flaherty led the business retention and expansion program for the bi-state region, which included meeting annually with more than 150 primary employers in the area to identify needs and solve problems. Flaherty’s work at the Quad Cities Chamber led to the expansion of 24 businesses generating over $85 million in growth. He also assisted with the growth of 56 new businesses and $178 million in downtown Davenport. In addition, he led and coordinated 12 major festivals and events, drawing more than 100,000 regional visitors to the Davenport downtown. In 2014, Flaherty received an award for the Best Business Retention and Expansion Program by the Professional Developers of Iowa.

“Our development groups (MCDG, Main Street, Oskaloosa Chamber and Development Group, and Mahaska Ag and Rural Development) have been working together for over a year to formalize creation of a more coordinated economic development team to better serve the area,” said Christensen.

“Tom has a proven track record of working within this type of public/private partnership,” said Christensen. “His role will be to cause collaboration and to build a stronger team between our development group and community partners.”

Flaherty holds a BA in political science and MBA from St. Ambrose. He has two sons, John, who is a graduate of St. Ambrose, and Matthew, who is a junior at St. Ambrose.

In his free time, he loves being outdoors gardening, hunting, fishing, camping and riding bicycle.


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