Business

New Buchanan County Economic Development Commission director discusses priorities, challenges during coronavirus

Lisa Kremer

Buchanan County Economic Development Commission
Lisa Kremer Buchanan County Economic Development Commission

Lisa Kremer is no stranger to Buchanan County.

“I grew up here,” Kremer said. “I love the county. I think there’s so much that it has to offer.”

As of July 1, Kremer has begun making that pitch to businesses as director of the Buchanan County Economic Development Commission.

Kremer has been the communication specialist for the BCEDC under director George Lake, who retired in June.

She discussed her plan as director, along with her pitch to prospective businesses, with The Gazette:

Q: What’s your top priority?

A: I am familiar with many of the businesses over the years in the communities, the councils and everything, but I want to reintroduce myself in the position.

I want to make sure I’m going out and connecting with the businesses, industries and communities and making sure I’m hearing what their needs are, especially now with all the changes. It’s a whole new ballgame from even four months ago as to what businesses are going to need.

Q: What do you think the biggest economic challenge for the county?

A: The biggest challenge is the same that it is for really everybody — dealing with the COVID-19 (virus).

But I think it’s also created some opportunities for businesses and industries to kind of reach out and find different ways of reaching their base.

Q: How have you seen coronavirus affect Buchanan County businesses?

A: Some businesses have actually hired and have been able to really thrive, whereas other businesses are having to take a step back.

I know the small businesses especially have been hit extremely hard, and they’re the ones having the most difficult time wading through all of this.

For them, it’s still kind of an unknown to how they’re going to come out of this.

Q: You’ve had a variety of experiences in economic development across Iowa.

A: I have taken from those positions the importance of having relationships with the businesses, industries and communities I work with. Making sure that lines of communication are open, and providing the services that are essential to these communities.

Q: What’s your pitch to a company considering moving to Buchanan County?

A: First off, we’re one of the few counties in the whole state but especially Eastern Iowa with population growth.

We have a large footprint for workforce. We have a quality workforce.

One thing about Independence and Buchanan County is that if you can’t find it here, we’re within 60 minutes of anything you might want to do.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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