OTTUMWA — After nearly three years as the executive director of the Ottumwa Economic Development Corp., David Barajas Jr. announced Monday that he will be stepping down at the end of the year and that he has accepted a new position in Marshalltown.
His new position title will be CEO of The Marshalltown Regional Partnership, a new organization that will combine the economic development, chamber of commerce and convention and visitor’s bureau functions into one entity.
“This is a new initiative for the community, but it’s really taking those functions that have been in place for a long time … and working with the directors that are in place right now … to provide even more opportunity for progressive growth and development,” Barajas said.
According to Barajas, various board members of several organizations in Marshalltown have been studying the use of regional partnerships in communities like Des Moines, Ames and Burlington for the past few years. Thanks to feedback from the community, the board members decided it makes sense for Marshalltown to combine the functions under one roof, and in late May they asked Barajas if he had any interest in taking the new position as head of the organization.
In the months following, Barajas and his family have done plenty of research and had several discussions about whether it would be the right fit for them.
“[My family and I] have really taken our time in taking a look at the opportunity,” he said. “It’s very important for me, when I take a look at opportunities, that it makes sense for not only me but for my wife and two daughters. We’ve been taking a look at it slowly and making sure we have done our research.”
Barajas has been executive director of OEDC since early 2011, when he came to Ottumwa after being president of Freedom Bank in Sterling, Ill., and director of economic development for the Greater Sterling Development Corp. While in Ottumwa, he has helped with many programs and projects, including the creation of the Young Professionals Organization, which will be “very important going into the future,” he said.