Saturday, February 5, 2011

Online profiles tell how Ankeny works


•Ankeny Works

Look for new profiles posted each week at Follow the link from the homepage to see the latest feature and view profiles from previous weeks.
Projects planned by Ankeny's new Economic Development Council aim to educate a wide audience about the city's amenities while involving residents and members of the business community.

The 11-member panel was established by a city ordinance in the fall. One of its first initiatives is Ankeny Works, a series of online profiles focusing on what local employees like about living or working in the city. A new person is featured each week
"These 18 people present a wide cross section of the Ankeny work force," said Curtis Brown, assistant director of economic development.

Tim Moerman, the city's economic development director, said organizers believe it is important for the profiles to touch on people's personal lives, as well as their professional lives.

The hope is that potential employees of Ankeny area businesses will read the series "and say, that makes sense for me, too," Moerman said.
Ankeny Works will be a template for other projects by the Economic Development Council, Moerman said.

Ideas will come from focus groups, panel members and residents, he said, and people serving on the panel will steer the projects with help from city staff. Economic Development Council members Scott Ocken and Kim Schaaf were integral in creating Ankeny Works, Moerman said.

Jeff McGill, a manager in the manufacturing services division at Deere & Co., was the subject of the first profile, posted the week of Jan. 17.
"I think I was the lead-off batter, if you will," McGill said.

In his profile, McGill highlighted Ankeny's school system and the opportunities it provides. He praised the recreational and cultural activities available in Ankeny and the metro area, along with the diverse pool of employees available to companies.

McGill said along with highlighting the benefits of Ankeny, he wanted to cement Deere's longtime presence in the community. "Put a face to the factory, if you will."
Moerman said the Economic Development Council will continue and expand the work started by an economic task force in 2007. That group was a temporary organization to help city officials establish strategies.

"We wanted something more long term," he said.

Another project the council will tackle is updating the strategies that are part of the economic development action plan, Moerman said. Those include strengthening relationships with companies already in Ankeny, along with targeted marketing strategies to encourage new businesses to locate in the city.