WATERLOO — The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has a new identity.

The name Grow Cedar Valley was unveiled Tuesday evening at the organization’s annual celebration at the Diamond Event Center in Cedar Falls.

“Grow Cedar Valley will be the leader in bringing business and community together,” said Cary Darrah, CEO of Grow Cedar Valley. “We need to create an environment to attract new businesses, as well as attract a workforce to grow our existing businesses.

“You can’t have a strong business community without the economic inclusion and quality-of-life initiatives that foster a vibrant community. By marrying our business development and community development efforts, we can create additional opportunities for both sides to grow and elevate the economic vitality of both our businesses and communities.”

Darrah commended Grow Cedar Valley’s volunteer executive committee and board of directors for pushing the pause button to conduct research before hitting the reset button to develop a new mission, vision, purpose statement and three-year plan.

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She said it was important to be introspective, take the time to really listen to chamber and alliance investors, and realign the organization’s focus to meet investors’ and communities’ greatest needs.

Grow Cedar Valley Board Chairman Eric Johnson of Beecher Law Firm said the outcome of this research resulted in a refined focus for the organization and a new brand to match the energy and excitement within Grow Cedar Valley since Darrah was named CEO last year.

“Through our year of listening, several things became apparent,” said Johnson. “Grow Cedar Valley needed focus, as we cannot be all things for everybody. A primary focus needs to be growing workforce skills. It is important for us to lead by showing up, listening and collaborating with business and community partners. Not only is Cary a stellar, well-trusted economic development professional, she’s a bridge-building collaborator. She is perfect to lead the talented professional staff at Grow Cedar Valley and execute our new strategic plan.”

One of the founders of the former Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Tim Hurley, likes the idea of Grow Cedar Valley becoming a one-stop economic and community development center, a resource for those who want to grow in the Cedar Valley. He said this could be business, industry, nonprofits, private or public sector companies wanting to expand, or talent wanting to grow their skill set.

“What the Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber did in the past was great,” said Johnson. “What they brought together was the right thing at the right time. This is the next step in that evolution. I’m excited about our future and the value Grow Cedar Valley will bring to our businesses and communities.”

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