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Miller plans to fill 'big shoes'

Friday, September 12, 2014

Article by The Daily Reporter

After the departure of Kathy Evert from the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, Kiley Miller said he knows he has some "big shoes" to fill. Miller was appointed to replace Evert in the position of president and CEO of the ILC in July by the Corridor Board.

Before he took the position in Spencer, Miller gained experience in economic development as the executive vice president of the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance. Miller also has an MBA in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

"I came into that position in 2008, and this was right at the beginning of the recession," he explained. "Despite the recession, we had six strong years in Mount Pleasant."

When Miller heard of the opportunity to work with Iowa Lakes Corridor, he decided to throw his hat into the ring.

"The Corridor is one of, if not, the strongest regional economic development corporations in Iowa," he said. "Kathy lead a strong and efficient organization, but I want to make it my own over the next few years, as you will see more of my influence."

In order to put his own stamp on the Corridor, Miller said he has a plan.

"During the first few months, what will happen is we will maintain operations and continue those projects that are already underway," he explained. "This will give me time to get better acquainted with the community and its needs. In the next two years, we have a very strong strategic plan to move forward."

The strategic plan focuses on supporting local businesses, supporting entrepreneurs and start ups, workforce development and business recruitment.

"Personally, I want to work to build even stronger relationships between local government and small businesses to ensure local collaboration," Miller said. "We don't direct cities and counties here, what we try to do is help the cities and counties achieve the goals they have set for themselves. This region is blessed with great city and county leadership."

According to Miller, every region has areas of opportunity and concern and he noted what he believed to be the Corridor's.

"What really excites me is that this area has a broader and more diverse economy," he explained. "Not only do you have agriculture and industry, but there is retail, tourism, eduction and a service sector. You can have a more sustained growth trajectory here that is less susceptible to macro-economic shocks."

Miller continued. "Areas of concern will be the impact in the drop of commodities prices, because even with a diverse economy, there are still a lot of ag production and ag related manufacturing. People is another one. We could use more skilled workers. Anything we do that is not tied directly to growing our workforce and skilled labor is actually working tangential to our primary challenge."

While Miller is out making connections and building relationships in the community, he encourages people in the community to do the same with the Corridor.

"Do you have an idea for a business you want to start? Come in and we'll help you to work out a plan to make it happen," he said. "Are you struggling with your business? We can help figure out what you're doing that is and isn't working to make your business better. That is what we do. If we can't help you, we will find someone who can. "

In addition to being the Corridor's new president and CEO, Miller is also a family man. He moved to Spencer with Carry, his wife of 17 years, and their three children -- Carson, 13; Caleb, 11 and Sawyer, 8.

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