AMES – Two Pella natives out of 40 Iowans graduated from the distinguished Leadership Iowa program during the 2019 Taking Care of Business Conference in Ames on June 6.

Dan Huitink, of Vermeer Corporation, and Jenae Jenison, of Central College, both graduated from the program. The program is administered by the Iowa Association of Business Industry and Foundation is considered one of the state’s most respected professional development opportunities.

“Leadership Iowa identifies some of the state’s best leaders and emerging leaders, and gives them the knowledge, tools and connections to make an even bigger impact,” said ABI president and 1991 graduate of Leadership Iowa Mike Ralston.

The program gives participants a wide range of experiences that focus on the unique challenges and opportunities facing our state today. From October 2018 through June 2019, participants traveled to numerous locations throughout the state to learn about those issues and to gain a better understanding of the role they can play in addressing them.

The class visited Moravia, Centerville, Shenandoah, Clarinda, Oskaloosa, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Carroll and Ames. There, they learned from experts about agriculture and renewable energy, business/industry, workforce, government, public safety/security, community preparedness and response, education and economic development/community vitality.

“The program equips leaders to better appreciate and understand the condition of the state,” said Ralston. “It also builds a network with fellow participants that often lasts a lifetime.”

Since its inception in 1982, the program has graduated nearly 1,200 individuals from both the private and public sector, representing each geographical region of the state. Each year, 40 talented participants are selected from a large applicant pool.