WAVERLY — Whether you’re new to town and curious about it, or just want to know more about the institutions and organizations that govern the city you’ve lived in for a long time, Todd Coleman has your New Year’s resolution covered.
Project Lead, last undertaken in 2015, is back for a slate of get-to-know-Waverly sessions for 2018.
“It’s a program designed to indoctrinate new people into the community that want to learn more about the community and how it works,” Coleman, Project Lead’s chairperson, said.
The first session is Wednesday, and participants will also meet Feb. 14, Feb. 28, March 21, April 4 and May 11. The deadline to sign up is Sunday.
Each daylong session will feature a theme — for example, a session on manufacturing will feature speakers from United Equipment Accessories and Rada Manufacturing, two big manufacturers in Waverly — about what they produce as well as tours of the plants.
Other sessions will cover energy with Waverly Light and Power, education with the superintendent of Waverly-Shell Rock and Wartburg College, the city’s banking system, health care with the Waverly Health Center and city government with the mayor and city manager.
Travis Toliver went through Project Lead in 2015, when he first became executive director of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce. It was the first time it had been brought back in many years.
“I found it extremely helpful in understanding the inner workings of the community,” he said.
The fee is $450 — $395 if you’re a member of the Waverly Chamber of Commerce — and covers meals, materials, books, online assessment and travel. Employers often pay the cost for their employees because they believe it’s beneficial, said Toliver. In many cases, people are looking to move into political or governmental roles, or get more leadership courses under their belts, Coleman said.
“In most cases, these are all folks that want to be more active in their community,” Coleman said. “This is a way to learn more about our community and all the opportunities that are available.”
It’s been a few years since the chamber has put on Project Lead, mostly because the numbers are usually fairly low — Coleman said he plans on around 15-20 people to sign up. Nonetheless, Project Lead has graduated more than 200 people in the past few decades.
“We’re really excited to see what 2018 brings,” Toliver said. “I would encourage anybody that is a member of the chamber, or not, to consider going through this program and seeing if it is something that would benefit themselves.”
Some of those graduates have moved into leadership positions with their respective companies, while others have run for office or served on the Waverly City Council, said Coleman.
“The better you know your community, the better you can serve your community and the better you can serve your company, however they’re involved,” he said.