Iowa Utility Association

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  • Address: 500 East Court Avenue, Suite 312, Des Moines, IA 50309

Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference

For more on the 2016 SMART Conference, visit:

The Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference is Iowa’s premiere economic development conference. Now in its 31st year, the conference includes general sessions, workshops and networking opportunities to business and community leaders, elected officials, board members and those involved in economic development across the Midwest to find synergy in moving the Iowa’s economy forward. The SMART Conference is a public/private partnership co-sponsored by the investor-owned electric and natural gas companies of the Iowa Utility Association (IUA) and by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).

SMART stage2

Brent WillettBrent Willett, former president, Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI):

“An event like the SMART Conference happens… and we realize how big and how cohesive our industry really is in our state. We are reminded that despite how limited our organizational budgets, our staffing levels or our perceived collegial relationship specific to economic development, our communities and our state are teeming with partners and colleagues and collaborators. SMART’s roster of attendees was incredibly instructive on how many entities and individuals are invested in the success of our state’s economic developers. Representatives from the utilities, IEDA, SBA, IWD, USDA, private business sector, local government, councils of government, regent universities, the governor himself – that’s a small sampling of the folks who were in the room and, correspondingly, who are invested in our success. An experience like SMART reinforces the fact that economic development is something to everyone, all the time…” (read full testimonial)

Whether you prioritize what conferences to attend based on dynamic content, high-powered speakers, networking opportunities or the proportion of capital to lowercase letters in the event name, the SMART Conference ought to be at or near the top of your list every year.
Thought it was wonderful and a great value at only $65 to register. Will definitely be attending again!
I love motivational lunch time speakers. Not just great examples, but one of those people who make you feel good about the work you do, the place you live; ones that give you hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today. Even if it only lasts a week, it's a much needed boost in the world of community and economic development.
  Read all 2013 SMART Conference testimonials


SMART Sponsor IUA -2 SMART Sponsor IEDA

SMART Sponsor Alliant Energy SMART Sponsor Black Hills Energy sponsor-5   SMART Sponsor ITC Midwest     SMART Sponsor Liberty Utilities     SMART Sponsor NextEra Energy Duane Arnold

2016 Luncheon Keynote Speaker Mel Robbins expresses his excitement to be a part of the 31st annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference in Des Moines and gives a preview of what you’ll hear during her presentation. John McElligott, CEO and founder, 3TC Development, Robotics and Technology, gives a preview on his morning keynote, “Embracing Disruption.” Also, IEDA Director Debi Durham extends a personal invitation to Iowans encouraging their attendance at the Iowa SMART Conference, and PDI President Wayne Pantini invites his members and others to the conference and PDI’s spring event.

2014 Luncheon Keynote Speaker Josh Linkner expresses his excitement to be a part of the 29th annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference in Des Moines and gives a preview of what you’ll learn during his presentation. Also, Stacie LoVan, project director for The Greater Des Moines Partnership and current president of Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI), shares her insights into why your attendance at the annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference – as well as the PDI Spring Event – will be well worth your time.

Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham 2013 morning speaker (below, left) and 2013 luncheon keynote and entrepreneur Bill Rancic (below, right).

   2014 SMART Conference speaker presentations
  View the 2013 SMART Conference image gallery
SMART Economic Development Conference Stage