posted on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 in Blog

(WATERLOO,IA) – The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is excited to announce the addition of two new individuals, as well as new roles for several existing staff. Over the past six months, the Executive Committee of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber has gathered feedback from community members and stakeholders on the organization's future strategic goals. That input has resulted in placing high priority on talent and workforce initiatives, economic development (business recruitment and existing business expansion), and organization communications. Based on that feedback, the Alliance & Chamber has added two new staff members and adjusted existing roles to align with those goals.

Aubree Taylor started her role as Communications Assistant on May 1. Her responsibilities include graphic design, social media and website management, event promotion, and electronic and print communications. Aubree graduated in May 2018 from Wartburg College with a B.A. in Journalism and Communication and minor in Business Marketing and Leadership.

Aaron Jarnagin began as the Talent Solutions Marketing Intern on May 23. He assists with digital media, social media, and research for initiatives related to workforce recruitment and retention. Aaron works specifically on content for the Live the Valley website and social media platforms. His internship also includes economic-related data research and support for business recruitment and retention projects and publications. Aaron plans to graduate from the University of Northern Iowa in December 2018 with a degree in Marketing: Advertising and Digital Media.

Cassie Grimsman was promoted to the role of Director of Talent Development effective July 1. Cassie began at the Alliance & Chamber in May 2017 as the Business Services Coordinator after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Financial Management and Organizational Leadership. In her new role, Cassie will advocate for Cedar Valley employer's interests in relation to workforce and education, as well as helping to support and coordinate regional strategy to address both present and future workforce needs.

Johanna Kneedler was promoted to the role of Office Coordinator starting May 1. Johanna began at the Alliance & Chamber in 2016 as Administrative Assistant – Receptionist and has since assumed more responsibilities in overall office coordination to ensure efficient day-to-day work flow.

Lisa Skubal, Vice President of Economic Development, will assume execution of the business retention and expansion initiatives, previously performed by the Business Services Coordinator. She will continue to lead new business recruitment and prospect identification in collaboration with the Cedar Valley Regional Partnership. Lisa will also be creating and leading an Economic Development Advisory Council with input from regional partners, city officials, and other stakeholders.


Sandi Sommerfelt, Vice President of Operations and General Manager, continues to oversee general operations, while deepening her role in financial management of the organization, as well as oversight of organization communications.


Cary Darrah continues in her role as Acting CEO, which she was named by the Alliance & Chamber's Executive Committee earlier this year. Part of Cary's role as Acting CEO includes the reorganization of the Alliance & Chamber to support the strategic goals of the organization. The Executive Committee of the Alliance & Chamber plans to roll out its new strategic plan in the coming months alongside research, messaging and branding efforts.