Mahaska County Development Group Welcomes New Executive Director
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Looking to find leadership and direction for its next decade, the Mahaska Community Development Group announced the hire of Andrew Jensen to serve as Executive Director. The Oskaloosa Chamber and Development Group is continuing its search for a new director.
All four major economic development groups share one roof at the corner of Market and A Ave, where not only does MCDG exist, but so does the Oskaloosa Chamber and Development Group, Mahaska Ag and Rural Development and Oskaloosa Main Street. This is done to help facilitate communication and utilize each organization’s complimentary functions.
Jansen will take the helm of MCDG on January 13, 2014, when he completes his move from the St. Louis area, where he has worked as a senior planner and project manager for Parson’s Corporation. During his employment with Parsons, Jensen has been managing projects to assess and develop US military campuses in such places as the Pacific, Europe, East Asia and the Middle East.
During the earlier part of his career, Jensen was a transportation planner with the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, where he worked on a wide range of transportation-related issues.
Jensen is a native of Cresco, Iowa, and his wife is also a native of Iowa. With four young children, “we really see this as kind of coming home for us”.
Jensen has a love of the outdoors. So, he and his wife’s initial tour of the trail system, that encircles Oskaloosa, helped to emphasis that there is recreational amenities here, which was one of the first things that helped the couple see Oskaloosa as their future home. “Seeing the Lacey Complex was really encouraging to us too,” said Jensen.
Something else that helped Jensen decide Oskaloosa was the community for him was, “the city square. There’s so many downtown’s in Iowa that are just kind of falling apart. There is a lot of stuff going on here.”
“There’s a healthy life to the city,” Jensen said.
Jensen started out by thanking the MCDG board for giving him the opportunity to take over as the executive director. “I think a lot of my skills and experience are very applicable to what is going on here, and I’m very excited to be able to use them.”
“I think there is also a real common vision between what I see and what many of the board members are seeking,” Jensen added. Sustainable long-term economic growth in the area. “I think there is a common belief that small cities in Iowa, like Oskaloosa and surrounding communities have a lot to offer. That they are great places for growing jobs, filing careers and raising families.”
One of the other things that attracted Jensen to the position and the area was the community organizations, either for business, non-profit and local government, “with a vision to bring all those different partners together to seek advancement and development in the area.”
Something else that attracted Jensen to Oskaloosa was even though it’s a small city in Iowa, “it’s still growing. There’s a strong base to this community.”
Another exciting aspect for Jensen was seeking a shared vision, communication and collaboration among the different agencies. “That was exciting. Many places can be somewhat divisive. Of course, every community has disagreements and discussions, but I saw a lot of potential here.”