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AMES, Iowa — When looking for leadership in economic development, Iowa cities and counties are turning to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
The Cedar County Economic Development Commission, in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach and the Cedar County Agricultural Extension District, has hired Shelise Parsley to serve as an ISU Extension community development specialist and economic development director for Cedar County.
Parsley holds the latest in a growing number of shared community and economic development positions in ISU Extension and Outreach. To date, shared positions have been established in West Liberty, Fairfield, Keokuk and now Cedar County.
Parsley works with all of the cities and the county in the areas of economic and community development, including business retention and attraction. As an ISU Extension community development specialist, she serves on local and statewide planning teams to strengthen system-wide support in the area. She also works with the Cedar County Agricultural Extension District to support ISU Extension and Outreach programs in the county.
In an effort to attract new businesses and industries, Parsley will work on rebranding the Cedar County Economic Development Commission, including overhauling the website. The website will showcase the advantages of locating a business in Cedar County. Information will be available on the site about each community, and eventually businesses will be categorized by location and industry clusters. The website will be an essential tool for attracting economic development opportunities to Cedar County.
“We are excited about Shelise taking on the role of executive director-CCEDCO. She brings experience and enthusiasm to the position as well as new ideas to lead the commission and the county in a positive direction for growth and development,” said Chris Gilroy, chair of the CCEDCO board and a member of the Durant City Council.
“I am delighted to be part of a community of people who are motivated to make positive changes to improve their society and enhance their standard of living. I am excited about the opportunities and learning about the local culture and history. I am impressed with the strength of the citizens and their vision for the future,” Parsley said.
Parsley was an eco-tourism advisor and a reforestation project manager in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. She has worked many years in the corporate sector as an event planner, marketing director and property manager.
Recently, she was an economic and community developer for the Village of Teutopolis, Ill., where she created 25 sustainable projects directed by a steering committee, completed a comprehensive plan for the village and was a Peace Corps Fellows/AmeriCorps volunteer associated with Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.