Friday, March 23, 2018

Urban planning alum, Katie Gieszler, has been selected as one of Business Record’s 40 under 40 for their 2018 list of local community leaders. Business Record is a central Iowa publication that supports business and cultural communities in the area. Katie, URP class of 2014, is the Economic Development Specialist for the City of Urbandale, IA. Her many accomplishments include successful completion of nearly forty economic development projects that represent the retention or creation of almost 2,000 jobs and investments approaching $100 million dollars.

During her three and a half years at the City of Urbandale, she has worked on significant projects such as John Deere’s construction of a new 134,000 square foot, company-owned office building to hold 650 workers; the R & R Realty Paradigm Building; ProbioFerm’s construction of a new 22,000 square foot bioscience production facility; identifying new office space and economic development incentives for the software firm BirdDogHR; assisting Homemakers Furniture with incentives for a major expansion of their warehouse operation; and Source Allies’ investment in a $1.7 million purchase of an existing 11,000 square foot building for their software development company.

Further projects include developing the concept and recruiting speakers and attendees for the Urbandale Workforce Development series, setting up an internship series for Urbandale interns in partnership with Des Moines Area Community College and local businesses, engagement in programming with the Urbandale and Johnston Community School Districts, building a relationship with Business Record and writing a coordinating a custom community section, and shaping a new identity for the corridor by launching the Urban Loop brand.

Katie has also found time to be involved in community activities. She is a board member and volunteer at the Urbandale Food Pantry. She is serving as subcommittee chair for the Urbandale Community Action Network’s uFit Program to promote health and wellness in the city. Katie is also a planning team member and participant in The Water Ride Initiative of The Move Project. The movement focuses on sustainable poverty alleviation and this initiative is a bike ride fundraiser to support clean water in Ghana.