Iowa City Development CEO becomes Chamber, EDC president

An Iowa City economic developer will be the new president and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

Joseph M. Raso was chosen from among 100 candidates for the position, created when the Chamber of Commerce merged with the Economic Development Corp.

Raso currently serves as President and CEO of the Iowa City Area Development Group and will start his new role May 14, 2012, according to a press release about the new hire.

The Iowa City group is an economic development organization serving interstate commerce companies in Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Solon, Tiffin, Tipton, the Amana Colonies, West Branch, Kalona, West Liberty, and Johnson County, according to its website.

Raso has a background in business recruitment, support for corporate expansions, workforce and community development. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Northern Iowa. Most recently, he was engaged in advancing the Vision 2030 strategy for the Iowa City area.

“I’m honored and excited about the opportunity to work with the leadership and staff of The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC,” Raso said in the release. “Bringing together two quality organizations only enhances the business development opportunities for the region and I look forward to my part in building an even stronger economy.”

The Iowa City Area Development Group credited Raso with retaining and creating “thousands of jobs in the region and millions of dollars in capital investment,” in announcing Raso’s decision to leave Iowa City for Colorado Springs.

In their press release, the group said Raso worked directly with recruiting major businesses like Acconia, Apple and Coles Quality Food, as well as with the expansions of Procter and Gamble, Whirlpool, Integrated DNA Technologies and ACT.

Raso also spearheaded the launch of the state’s only Certified Shovel Ready Sites program and worked with staff to expand existing industry, investor relations and workforce development programs, according to the website.  He served on the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the University of Iowa Research Park Board, Going Global in Iowa Board, the Professional Developers of Iowa Board and the State Safeguard Iowa Board.

The CEO selection process began in the fall of 2011 under the leadership of a nine- person Search Committee. The committee engaged the executive search firm Jorgenson Consulting, which specializes in nationwide recruitment of executives for both chambers and EDCs. The actual hiring decision was made by the board of directors of The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

Board President Doug Quimby said that the board of directors will work closely with Raso to reach agreement on specific organizational goals and strategies that will enhance the region’s future economic success. This will be done by maintaining the programs of both the Chamber and EDC. while adding new initiatives to the strategic plan.

While the board hopes to create a “more robust” approach to growing the area’s economy, it also wants to keep the interests of businesses and the reigon’s military as major priorities.

Dave Csintyan, former President and CEO of The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, is currently serving as Interim CEO of The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, and will continue in that role until Raso arrives in May.

One Response to Iowa City Development CEO becomes Chamber, EDC president

  1. So, a guy who has never been to Colorado Springs before his interview, has now been appointed to lead a critical business development and business advocacy organization.

    Was there no one local? On the other hand, maybe there was no one local, who wanted it…..

    I examined banks in virtually every town mentioned in the story. One cannot underestimate the attraction and economic advantage of having major University literally in your back yard.

    John Whitten
    March 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm