Leath: New setup strengthens ISU's economic development services

Reorganization of the university's economic development and company assistance programs accompanies the creation of a new Iowa State unit -- the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations (EDIR).

"I am excited about the creation of this new office, which makes it easier for our external partners to connect with the university’s expertise and capabilities related to economic development and industry needs," President Steven Leath said. "It furthers our goals of being more accessible and more responsive, and most importantly, becoming an even greater contributor to the state, national and global economies."

Michael Crum, senior policy adviser to Leath on economic development and holder of the Ruan Chair in Supply Chain Management, will lead the economic development and industry relations office.

New VP for research

Sarah Nusser named vice president for research.

Along with the new office, officials announced the appointment of statistics professor Sarah Nusser to vice president for research.

"Research and economic development are key priorities for Iowa State," Leath said. "We now have the organization and leaders in place to increase our impact in Iowa and beyond."

Crum, who began his appointment as senior policy adviser last August, said he has spent the past few months "trying to get my arms around everything we're doing on campus that contributes to economic development.

"It really is inspiring to see how much we're doing," he added. "Economic development activities occur all over campus. There are many opportunities for us, through better coordination and integration, to leverage these efforts and do even more."

Reporting to the new office

Beginning immediately, these units will report to the new economic development and industry relations office. Some units have dual reporting arrangements, retaining current reporting lines as well.

New positions

Crum said there are immediate plans to hire two staff members in EDIR.  Their primary responsibilities are related to serving and managing the relationships with external partners and stakeholders seeking the university's expertise and capabilities related to economic development.

Where to find EDIR and its units

In the future, the economic development and industry relations office and its units will be housed in a new building at the ISU Research Park. A state appropriations bill, signed into law last summer, will finance a $12 million facility to house university services and agencies that assist Iowa businesses. In the meantime, EDIR headquarters will be in Building 4 of the Research Park, and other EDIR units will remain in their current locations. To reach EDIR, contact Crum, 515-294-8105, mcrum@iastate.edu.