CEDAR RAPIDS — About a month after his Iowa gubernatorial campaign ended, former Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett has taken a new job he said will allow him to continue to work for the metro area.
Corbett will join the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance in early June as a business retention and expansion strategist, the economic development group announced Tuesday. In the role, Corbett will be responsible for maintaining relationships with major businesses in the metro, “particularly those with future job growth and company expansion plans,” the Economic Alliance said in a news release.
“I feel it’s a really good fit for me and I can continue to use my talents and connections in the region to help business growth and development, which ultimately leads to jobs and improved economic status for the people of the region,” Corbett, 57, said.
In the role, Corbett said he wants to make sure “existing businesses are in a position to thrive and continue to grow and expand.”
The hiring of Corbett comes as the Economic Alliance shuffled some job responsibilities to boost its business growth efforts, Executive Director Doug Neumann said. That includes promoting Jamie Toledo from business services strategist to services manager, another move the Economic Alliance announced Tuesday.
“We’ve already been doing many of these (business development) services, but not with someone who has the experience and the knowledge and the business relationships that Ron has developed over the years being the mayor, being the Speaker of the House, and being the president of the Chamber of Commerce,” Neumann said.
Corbett will report to Neumann and his salary “will be competitive with other leadership positions in other nonprofit economic development organizations,” an Economic Alliance spokeswoman said.
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While Cedar Rapids mayor, from 2009 through 2017, Corbett promoted the city as “open for business” and pushed for the city to get more involved in economic development.
He also has been an executive with Cedar Rapids-based trucking company CRST International and president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, a predecessor to the Economic Alliance. From 1987 through 1999, he served as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, including as Speaker of the House from 1995 until he left.
Corbett had run for the Republican nomination for Iowa governor, but was removed from the ballot after his campaign did not meet the signature threshold to qualify as a candidate. A number of area business officials, such as members of Cedar Rapids’ real estate community and company leaders of Lil’ Drug Store Products and Diamond V, donated to Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign.
Before running for governor, Corbett also had launched a conservative think tank, Engage Iowa. On Tuesday, Corbett said he still was evaluating what to do with the think tank.
“What I haven’t been able to determine at this point in time is ... is there going to be an interest in a conservative think tank in the state of Iowa? That’s what I’m trying to figure out and sort out over the next few weeks and months,” he said.
He also said it’s not his goal to run for another political office.
“I didn’t want to serve for mayor forever,” he said. “I just wanted to serve for a term or two and get the (flood) recovery going and put the community in a better position than it was when it was hit by the flood. I feel that I’ve achieved that goal and now it’s time to move on to a new chapter in my life.”
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