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CNN Commentator and Tech Entrepreneur to keynote 31st annual Iowa SMART Conference

For more information, contact:
Tina Hoffman, Iowa Economic Development Authority, 515.725.3150
Daniel Evans, Iowa Utility Association, 515.282.2115
CNN Commentator, Mel Robbins and Technology Entrepreneur, John McElligott to keynote 31st annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference
April 21, 2016 (DES MOINES) – The SMART Conference, now in its 31st year, will welcome John McElligott and Mel Robbins as keynote speakers, along with Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham and many others. The annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference will be held Thursday, April 28, 2016 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in Des Moines. Speakers and workshops throughout the day will address topics critical to economic development including workforce recruiting, community development, STEM, public financing, the Future Ready Iowa initiative and training the next generation workforce.
Morning keynote John McElligott will prepare us to “Embrace Disruption.” McElligott is the CEO of York Exponential and the Fortress. His talk will share emerging topics in exponential technology with a focus on robotics, artificial intelligence and loT (Internet of Things). New technology is introduced daily and can be overwhelming for businesses and communities. McElligott starts the conversation on not only planning, thinking and preparing for disruption, but on succeeding by embracing it.
Luncheon keynote Mel Robbins is a powerful motivational speaker, serial entrepreneur and CNN commentator trusted by global brands to inspire change, challenge thinking, and accelerate personal and business growth and innovation. Mel is one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators, her TedX Talk “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has over five million views and her book, “Stop Saying You’re Fine,” is a business bestseller that has been translated into four languages.
The day-long Iowa SMART Conference is Iowa’s premier economic development conference. It includes general sessions and networking opportunities for business and community leaders, elected officials, board members and those who influence economic development across the Midwest. The SBA 2016 Iowa Small Business Person of the Year award, the SBA 2016 Iowa Small Business Community of the Year award, and the PDI Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) awards will be presented during the conference, which annually attracts approximately 500 attendees. The conference is a public-private partnership co-sponsored by the investor-owned electric, natural gas and transmission utility companies of the Iowa Utility Association (IUA) and by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Individuals may register for the conference or obtain more information by visiting For additional questions, e-mail or call 515.282.2115.

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Iowa Economic Development Authority
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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