Drew Conrad Named Recipient of Annual Leadership for Iowa Award

June 9, 2021 | Iowa Businesses Show Resilience During Pandemic McKenzie Kielman, Marketing & Engagement Coordinator, ABI Foundation, mkielman@iowaabi.org

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Foundation names Drew Conrad of Waterloo/Cedar Falls as the recipient of its annual Leadership for Iowa Award. The award honors a distinguished alumnus of the organization’s Leadership Iowa program who exemplifies outstanding leadership in his/her respective community and for the State of Iowa. Conrad is a 2005-06 graduate of Leadership Iowa and will be presented with the award on June 10 at ABI’s Taking Care of Business Conference in Coralville.

As the Director of the Institute for Decision Making at The University of Northern Iowa, Conrad is responsible for the design, delivery and follow-up of community and regional-level services. He leads efforts involving strategic planning, organizational development, workforce analysis and strategy development, and conducting a variety of applied research projects. For more than 28 years, Conrad has worked with hundreds of communities, economic development organizations and their partners in Iowa and beyond.

“I’ve been honored to work with Drew for many years and to watch the impact of his work on Iowa,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). “Most recently, his partnership in developing statewide economic impact surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic was critical to the state’s work to provide relief to small business owners, homeowners and renters, farm families and many others.”

In addition to the IEDA and IFA, Conrad collaborates with the Iowa Department of Education, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness and the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). He also shares his expertise as an instructor for the C2ER’s Training Institute, the Labor Market Information Training Institute and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. 

“Drew’s leadership, professionalism and commitment to economic development is unwavering,” said Durham. “He is truly deserving of the Leadership for Iowa award.”

Conrad serves on the Iowa Workforce Development Board, the Iowa Sector Partnership Leadership Council, and is Vice Chair of the UNI Alumni Association Board among many other volunteer commitments. Conrad has seen Iowa through many disruptions and has helped to ensure prosperity for Iowans. Leadership Iowa and the ABI Foundation thank him for his leadership.

Recipients of the Leadership for Iowa Award must show a demonstrated commitment to serve Iowa, have held a leadership role volunteering for civic or professional organizations, have demonstrated the ability to undertake difficult or controversial subjects, and be involved in projects designed to enhance the quality of life in Iowa. Honorees also must have held a professional or volunteer leadership position that contributes to local or statewide leadership development.