Young Professional Graduate from Cedar Valley Leadership Institute with Stronger Ties to the Community

posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in Blog

Cedar Valley of Iowa (June 10, 2014) – The 2013/2014 Cedar Valley Leadership Institute (CVLI) of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber concluded it sessions with a graduation reception at Park Place Event Center on May 28th. Employers, family and Alliance & Chamber staff and board members were on hand to congratulate the 27 graduates.

Cary Darrah, Vice President Community Development of the Alliance & Chamber reflected on the highlights of the year by saying, “This is a dynamic class of emerging leaders for the Cedar Valley. Their leadership qualities go beyond their professional commitments and will be a huge asset to our community.”

“The CVLI program is designed to produce leaders for the advancement of the Cedar Valley. The graduates are making the Cedar Valley a better place to do business and build a career by engaging in volunteer community projects or organization opportunities, and by encouraging others through their experience,” noted Steve Dust, CEO of the Alliance & Chamber. “I would also like to thank the employers/sponsors of this year's class for investing in the leadership development of their team, as well as the future of the Cedar Valley.”

“CVLI provided an avenue un-like any other that I have traveled down before,” says Patrick Smith a graduate of the institute and Vice President, Institutional Sales at First National Bank, Cedar Falls, “It was more than just an opportunity to network with other professionals; by the end of the class we all built relationships that will extend well beyond the last nine months in the CVLI program. I personally look forward to working along-side these talented, highly-thought of leaders, as we all grow with the Cedar Valley.”

Members of the class included:

Joshua Anderson John Deere Engine Works

Bethany Benner Next Generation Wireless/Jiva Salonspa

Randy Bennett City of Cedar Falls

David Betz John Deere

Sarah Bey UNI Regional Business Center

Nate Clapham UNI Foundation

David Hansen Advanced Systems

Dale Hartz UNI Career Services

Drew Hektoen John Deere Waterloo Works

Tina Hummel MidWest One Bank

Lisa Johnson John Deere Waterloo Works

Amy Kay City of Cedar Falls Engineering

Heidi Kenkel John Deere Waterloo Works

Kaara Latusick VGM Group

Kelly Mangrich Veridian Credit Union

Kristina Mehmen Invision Architecture

Joshua Moon Dutton, Braun, Staack, & Hellman

Tara Sagers PDCM Insurance

Adam Schaefer US Bank

Patrick Smith First National Bank

Steve Skram Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson

Nathan Vandegrift John Deere Engine Works

Matt Waller VGM Homelink

Cindy Wiles Western Home Communities

Amy Williams Lincoln Savings Bank

Harley Wilson CBE Companies, Inc.

Megan Zuniga John Deere Waterloo Operations

Registration for the 2014/2015 CVLI will begin July 1. Cost of the institute is $795.00 and is limited to Alliance & Chamber investor companies and organizations.

More information can be found at or by contacting Cary Darrah by calling (319)232-1156 or email