The Iowa Association of Councils of Governments (ICOG) is pleased to present two new awards during its annual staff training event in Grinnell, Iowa, on February 14, 2019: the ICOG Innovative Project Award and the ICOG Prometheus Award. These distinguished awards highlight programs and work done in public service, workforce development, economic development, and related fields. Member councils who enter the ICOG project awards support the organization and industry.
The Innovative Project Award represents an innovative project that a COG is either currently finishing or has completed on behalf of a community, county, or region. The East Central Iowa Council of Governments’ (ECICOG) board and transportation staff, including alums Brock Grenis and Mary Rump, received the 2019 Innovative Project for the CorridorRides 380 Express project. The 380 Express began providing transit service for commuters between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City in October 2018. All coaches in the 380 Express service are equipped with free Wi-Fi, 110V power outlets, and USB ports to meet the needs of busy commuters. This project exemplifies the progress made in communities by our Iowa COGs. Without ECICOG and Iowa DOT’s collaboration, this project wouldn’t have been possible.
Find out more information about this exciting new service that is Moving Iowans Forward by going to the website 380express.com.
The ICOG Prometheus Award was given to URP alum Mike Norris, executive director of Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission (SEIRPC), who was nominated by his peers for his visionary work in bringing the Iowa prison-built housing program to the state. To address the housing shortage in his area, Norris identified a solution using a program already in place in South Dakota. Norris’ leadership has been instrumental over the past four years in bringing his vision of creating a similar program in Iowa to fruition. He has worked tirelessly to educate legislators and stakeholders of the benefits of this program and has helped start the nonprofit organization Homes for Iowa, Inc., which will be the entity that oversees the program in partnership with Iowa Prison Industries.
Norris received this award based on the statewide impact this program will have and because it will help increase awareness of how COGs are creating solutions to solve regional issues.