The Ottumwa Courier

May 2, 2013

New SIEDA director focuses on success

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — The new executive director said our community is going to be hearing more about Southern Iowa Economic Development Association.

"We're going to be better about talking about some of our success stories," Brian Dunn said Wednesday. "We as an organization should be a little more visible — and a little more transparent."

Dunn started this week at the agency's downtown Ottumwa office. Matt Greiner, SIEDA’s Board Chair, said the local nonprofit community action agency hired "a leader who would implement new approaches and engage the organization in meaningful community partnerships."

John Wilson, president of Progress Resources Inc., not only helped find the new director, he served as interim director until a new leader could begin.

He said the board of SIEDA is "motivated to re-energize the agency and is committed to it being a high-performance organization, focused on positive results that help people and change lives."

This isn't Dunn's first organization dedicated to serving others. He's the former regional director for the ISU Extension and Outreach covering four counties, including Mahaska and Marion. He also worked several years at ISU Student Health Services. And yes, he said, he's Iowa State University graduate, having received one of his Master's degrees there.

Dunn and his family moved to Ottumwa seven years ago. He grew up in Osceola.

"I really do have a passion for organizational development, and with SIEDA, I can do that with an organization that really does help people and help the community," he said.

Taking this job means he'll be able to do a couple of things that are important to him: work in the "helping field" and put his education to good use. His goal is to make the organization more efficient in accomplishing its mission. He and his staff will review a list of categories to do that: "human resources, job design, organizational structure," Dunn ticked off, "training and staff development."

Some of those things, like development and training, are intended for "helping folks do their jobs better." And community action jobs are important, he said. People deserve to do more than just live, he said. They deserve a good quality of life.

"I want to shoot for being the best community action agency in the state," Dunn said. "But if we still have poverty in the regions we serve, we still have work to do."