Those two concepts were the centerpiece of a speech by Michael Blouin to a small crowd of area residents early Thursday morning at the Lakeshore Cafe, as the new director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development said Storm Lake and Buena Vista County can use cooperation and communication to enhance its economic growth and tourism.
Blouin, who also spoke Wednesday night at the Storm Lake Area Development Corporation Salute to Industry, said one of the main ideas he is trying to emphasize in his new position is that cooperation needs to take place among different communities in order for those towns to not only survive, but thrive.
"If we maintain an attitude of 950 towns (in Iowa) trying to do it on their own, then we'll never make it," Blouin said. "Cooperation is a solution. By working together we can figure out what towns can do and figure out what tools we have and what tools we need to bring in in order to be successful."
In addition to cooperative efforts such as the recent countywide economic visioning process, Blouin said being able to tell others about the strengths found in Buena Vista County such as a growing population, a large natural lake and the presence of a university is also important. He said this can be done by utilizing communication tools such as new tourism brochures and being able to effectively market the area's diverse population.
"Most towns in Iowa don't have the strengths you have here," Blouin said. "It's simply a matter of selling it and letting people know that this is here."
Get your copy of the Pilot Tribune to find out what was discussed on the riverboat casino.