Closed Job Posting: Director of Rural Development

May 16, 2022 |

The Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) seeks a dynamic individual to serve as the Director of Rural Development.  This position will aid ICAD’s success as a 501 (c) 6 non-profit that serves to grow the Iowa City Area by providing innovative economic development.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 10th.

ICAD’s Mission is to create, collaborate and lead regional economic development initiatives that contribute to the creation and growth of companies, wealth and quality jobs through a spirit of innovation and a culture of sharing that transforms knowledge into economic opportunity.


The Director of Rural Development will be responsible for further development in Johnson County’s rural communities. Pursuant to a contract between Johnson County, Iowa and Iowa City Area Development Group, the Director will consult with rural communities and unincorporated areas on issues such as grant writing, development projects, economic development programs, strategic marketing, entrepreneurship, and project management. The Director will establish a network of rural community and business leaders, learn about their needs around economic development, and implement strategies for progressing the communities in the ways they desire. They will organize an advisory committee and rural development groups that will meet on an ongoing basis to provide input on progress and plans and help shape the future of the ecosystem.

In addition, the Director will assist in the development and implementation of an existing industry program related to the goals and objectives outlined in ICAD’s Strategic Plan and annual plan of work. The Director will also assist ICAD’s leadership in providing professional services to primary sector companies in rural communities seeking to expand and/or relocate operations to ICAD’s service territory.

Position Responsibilities

  • Responsible for identifying economic development programs and tools for which rural areas could utilize and could provide benefit. Will make recommendations leadership to local governments and the County Board for accessing and utilizing those programs.
  • Lead application efforts for those beneficial projects and programs.
  • Handle administrative tasks for rural development programs and other efforts associated with the advisory committee.
  • Provide grant writing assistance and resources to clients for all financial assistance programs through applicable the local, State, Federal government, and private foundations.
  • Develop, maintain, and grow relationships and provide direct assistance to rural stakeholders and partners, including Johnson County, cities and villages, surrounding counties, non-profit organizations, economic development organizations, local schools/higher education institutions, utility providers, workforce support institutions, and rural interstate commerce companies.
  • Create and provide executive management to a rural development advisory committee to help guide development efforts.
  • Responsible for communicating effectively with the Advisory Committee and providing all information necessary for the committee to function properly.
  • Will meet annually with all village/town councils, attend applicable County Board/committee meetings, and work hand in hand with the individual hired for the new Johnson County business assistance role.
  • Assist in the implementation of annual existing industry programming (utilizing Synchronist® Web-based survey system) and perform necessary follow-up functions.
  • Provide leadership to research the rural area’s targeted industry clusters. Develop and implement necessary marketing materials to attract and retain targeted industries.
  • Work to foster and expand the ag tourism cluster in rural Johnson County by assisting current companies and helping new ones start-up and expand.
  • Help to expand the local foods industry cluster and work directly with the Johnson County Food Policy Council to help expand their efforts.
  • Perform targeted business attraction based on needs identified within each of the small towns and rural Johnson County.
  • Work with workforce housing and childcare programs and developers/builders to find solutions to the shortage throughout the region and bring workforce housing and childcare to rural communities.
  • Work to widen broadband access throughout the region through strategic partnerships and creative funding programs.
  • Work with main streets and small business owners to learn about and address their specific needs for growth.

Collaborative Work

  • Work with Director of Business Development for rural site selection opportunities, business retention and expansion projects, and other rural business development prospects.
  • Work with the Director of Strategic Growth for strategic planning around our rural and unincorporated community and ensure that it aligns with plans for the entire County as a whole and works to close the rural/urban divide.
  • Work with Director of Entrepreneurship to bring those tools and opportunities to more individuals in the rural and unincorporated parts of Johnson County.
  • Work with Director of Marketing to create marketing materials and opportunities for rural Johnson County Businesses.

Required Skills

  • Grant Writing: Demonstrated experience leading Federal, State, and local grant applications and manage those grants after they are awarded.
  • Communications: Outstanding presentation and communication skills from interpersonal to large groups and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson and relationship builder.
  • Project Management: Ability to organize and lead unique projects step by step with multiple collaborators from idea to completion phases.
  • Collaboration: Building coalitions and working collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated: Possess a general bias towards action, motivated to take action without requiring direction.
  • Sales: Ability to develop and execute sales strategies that include lead generation and qualification, follow-up and engagement with a consultative approach to identify and address client needs, and the ability to close.

Preferred Skills

  • Rural Economic Development: Demonstrated understanding of economic development, preferably with experience focused on rural areas.
  • Strategic Doing: Knowledge and experience in the strategic doing methodology to guide complex collaborations.
  • Growth Mindset: Lifelong learner that is open to exploring new ideas and concepts, seeker of knowledge and intellectually curious.
  • Situational Adaptability: Adapting approach and demeanor in real time to match the shifting demands of different situations. Comfortable with ambiguity and ability to operate in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Marketing: Ability to develop and execute marketing strategies in collaboration with the Director of Marketing across multiple mediums (e.g. print, social, digital,…)
  • Analytical & Decision Making: Ability to analyze data and information to guide in strategy development and execution of strategic action plans.

ICAD Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Reporting Relationship: This position reports to the President and Vice President of ICAD

Starting Salary Range: $70,000-$78,000

Benefits: Health / Dental Insurance, 401K, Vehicle Allowance, Cell Phone Allowance, Paid Parking, Progressive PTO Policy

Please send resume and cover letter to Kate Moreland