GD&T membership banquet Jan. 11

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Attending the 2015 annual GD&T membership banquet from left were Juanita Loven and Mayor Russ Loven, City Manager Mary Willett, and Mike and Brenda Landwehr, owners of Bootlegger's in Millville. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

Guttenberg Development and Tourism will hold its annual meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, at the recently updated Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and presentations to follow. 

Todd Coleman, assistant vice president for admissions at Wartburg College, will give a valuable presentation on the power of networking to members who attend the annual meeting in January. “There are very few professions today that don’t require individuals to have a network of people to call on to gain knowledge, sell a product, open doors for job opportunities or identify future areas of personal growth. Building a network, nurturing it and having it in place ready to work for you when needed is critical to your success,” states Coleman. 

During the annual banquet, GD&T director Emily Moser will mention highlights from the organization’s 2015 activities. Eagle Watch & Cabin Fever Day, held in February of 2015, drew record crowds to the annual event with new entertainment like an ice carver and a chili cook-off. Moser and a new committee took on GermanFest planning and execution this year, and the Halloween Trunk or Treat was a hit in October with over 100 costumed children and parents visiting the elementary school parking lot to collect treats from the decorated trunks of participating community members.

During 2015, the nonprofit chamber of commerce received grants from the Clayton County Foundation for the Future and District Rotary for a new, handicap accessible deck on the front of Guttenberg’s welcome center, as well as a grant from the Iowa Tourism Office to help defray the cost of new brochures and directory maps designed by GD&T’s director. Member businesses benefitted from the opportunity to participate in a cooperative television advertising campaign with OnMedia and another cooperative advertising venture with the Clayton County Development Group.

“In 2016, we'd like to offer trainings to our members and their employees for customer service, leadership, and other business related topics. We'll be asking for input at the banquet, but members can send me suggestions for topics any time,” said Moser. 

Moser spent a significant amount of time in 2015 improving GD&T’s website, making it more valuable and useful to members by offering a page of business resources. The website, located at www.guttenbergiowa.net, also includes a page of employment opportunities and a page of rental opportunities so that member businesses can provide listings to the over 31,000 visitors who used GD&T’s website in 2015.

There are two openings on the GD&T board of directors, and elections will be held at the membership banquet in January. Current members are Tom Augustyn, Molly Moser, Sadie Hefel, Kevin Hennessey, and Dan Parker, with Jane Thein and Janette Simon leaving the board after many years of volunteer service. Employees and owners of local businesses should contact Moser at 252-2323 or guttenberg@alpinecom.net if interested in being placed on the ballot. GD&T meets monthly to promote business, economic development and tourism in Guttenberg and to plan and execute events that support community values.

“GD&T is synonymous with "chamber of commerce" and is tasked with the job of encouraging the creation and development of economic activity in Guttenberg,” said board president Tom Augustyn. “I look at GD&T as a cooperative effort by its members, who are members of the business community, to maintain and increase the customer base of each business. GD&T does this through encouraging shopping locally by cooperatively advertising, as well as encouraging tourism through organizing and sponsoring of events that attract potential customers.”

Augustyn is also a member of the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Committee, a group which is sometimes confused with GD&T. “As I understand it, GEIDC was started as an organization in charge of administering the revolving loan fund which was granted to the City of Guttenberg back in the 1980s. GEIDC has been the financial tool used to help encourage the creation and expansion of economic activity in the Guttenberg area. I interpret this as GEIDC being the champion for "tangible" (measured through economic activity, number of jobs and taxable property value) development,” Augustyn explained. Other board members include John Finch, Howard Hubbell, Jim Johnston, Rabecca Hennessey, Karen Merrick, Dave Schlueter and Austin Coon. GEIDC’s mission is to promote economic growth, industrial development, and a strong local economy; increasing employment opportunities and community growth.

To become a GD&T member business for 2016 or for more information, contact Moser at the phone number or email address listed above. GD&T requests RSVPs to the annual meeting by Wednesday, Jan. 6.

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