Meet Shelley Oltmans, our new Community Development Specialist and Director of the Keokuk Chamber

The Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach welcome Shelley Oltmans as the new Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. In addition to her duties as Executive Director, Oltmans will also serve in part as an ISU Extension and Outreach Community Development Specialist covering Lee County. In this shared position, Oltmans will coordinate with all local businesses and governmental bodies to improve community prosperity, standard of living, and quality of life through planning and development.
 
Oltmans comes to this position with experience in community development and planning, budgeting, and research through her graduate studies in the Iowa State University Department of Community and Regional Planning in Ames, Iowa. Through her research on the food retail system in Accra, Ghana and volunteer experience with the Food at First free meal program in Ames, she gained experience in food systems development and underserved populations. Oltmans also holds a Masters of Community and Regional Planning and Master of Science in Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University.
 
“Growing up on a row crop and livestock farm near Sherburn, Minnesota, I have been ingrained with the culture of rural communities since I was small,” said Oltmans. “Out of that experience grew a desire to work with businesses and communities in rural areas. I am eager to join the community and begin working with area leaders to improve economic health in Keokuk and Lee County.”
 
The search process was extensive, and members of the hiring committee expressed excitement with the hiring of Oltmans.
 
“We are excited to bring a new person into the community. With her training and education, and a new pair of eyes on the region, I hope she will be able to connect with local business owners to discover what the Chamber can do to help everyone prosper,” said Michael Greenwald, president elect of the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce.
 
“I am very pleased with our selection and believe that the enthusiasm and energy that Shelley brings will be a great asset to the area,” said Brian Carroll, president of the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am looking forward to working with her and getting her out into the community to help strengthen the relationship between the Chamber and local and regional businesses.”
 
According to Bob Dodds, Regional Extension Education Director for ISU Extension and Outreach, “Shelley’s wealth of knowledge in community planning makes her a key addition to Lee County. Not only will she bring fresh ideas on implementing economic development strategies, she also has a passion for small business and local food systems development.”
 
Oltmans starts as Chamber Executive Director and Extension Community Development Specialist on May 21. She will be based out of the Keokuk Affiliates offices at 329 Main Street in Keokuk. There will be a meet and greet with Oltmans on Thursday, May 22nd at the Keokuk Yacht Club during the Chamber’s regularly scheduled CAB event from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
 
Additional information about the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce can be found at www.keokukchamber.wildapricot.org. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach information is located at www.extension.iastate.edu/lee.
 
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