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2018 Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference

The annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference is Iowa's largest conference devoted to economic development. Now in its 33rd year, the conference is 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 (IEDA). The Iowa SMART Conference annually attracts approximately 500 economic development professionals, business leaders, chamber of commerce executives, community leaders, elected officials and other board members who influence economic development and public policy issues statewide and within their own communities. It includes general sessions, workshops and networking opportunities. Speakers and workshops throughout the day address topics critical to economic development including local government financing, workforce, housing, community improvement, marketing, embracing new immigrants, entrepreneurialism, tourism and preparing a community for growth.

John Manzella ImageJohn Manzella Announced as Morning Keynote

John Manzella is a world-recognized author and speaker on global business, competitive strategies and the latest economic trends. He has written several books, including Global America: Understanding Global and Economic Trends and How To Ensure Competitiveness, Grasping Globalization: It’s Impact and Your Corporate Response, and Mexico & NAFTA: The Real Impact.

His op-eds have been nationally syndicated and his views have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, NPR, Xinhua (China), La Jornada (Mexico) and Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore). Additionally, he is a contributing writer for American City Business Journals, owner of 43 metropolitan weekly publications. John is founder of the, a premier source for global business and economic news and analysis, and Manzella Trade Communications Inc., a public affairs, publishing and consulting firm with a focus on global business and today's leading economic issues. Additionally, he is chair of the Upstate New York District Export Council, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Northeast Regional Legislative Coordinator for the National Association of District Export Councils, and former President and CEO of World Trade Center BN.

Mary Kelly to Keynote Luncheon

Dr. Kelly recorded a video for conference attendees. Watch a short preview of the upcoming presentation, Leading Change in the New Economy:

Do you understand the economic forces that will impact your business? Feeling confident about current and future work trends? Is your leadership planning for the future? Are your teams ready for the changes in your industry?

In this fast-paced, entertaining and enlightening session, Dr. Mary Kelly provides a global perspective of economic issues affecting Iowa. She addresses the energy sector, job growth in the U.S. and Iowa, housing projections, consumer spending and work trends that leaders need to know now, so they can successfully plan for the future. 

Conference Information

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Embassy Suites Downtown
101 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA  50309

Cost:  Online registration is now closed. The cost to register at the door is $85.

Lodging:  Block-rate rooms are available at the Embassy Suites Downtown. Contact the hotel for more information.

Parking:  Vallet parking is available at Embassy Suites, there is a parking ramp North of the hotel, and metered street parking is also available.

Contact:  Iowa Utility Association, 515.282.2115

Conference Materials

SMART Conference Agenda [PDF: 29k]

The SMART 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 (IEDA).

IUA Member Companies: Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, Liberty Utilities, MidAmerican Energy, NextEra Energy Duane Arnold and ITC Midwest.



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

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