For Edward Raber, community building is second nature. As executive director of the Washington (Iowa) Economic Development Group, Raber relies on what he learned as a graduate student in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.
“The planning paradigm that was instilled in me helps me to approach problems creatively, value the process of community building, and to communicate effectively,” Raber says. “Over the years, I’ve seen how this paradigm sets graduates of the UI Urban and Regional Planning Program apart from the crowd. My graduate degree from the University of Iowa has been a tremendous asset to me.”
Raber serves the needs of business, industry, and local government in Washington County by creating and promoting an environment for economic development. He attributes the county’s success to collaborations that forge and maintain good partnerships, both inside and outside the community. To encourage such collaborations, Raber works to assemble resources—financial, policy, program initiatives—for entrepreneurs and communities.
In 2011, Raber helped link the public and private sectors, bringing together two key organizations— East Central Iowa Council of Governments and Corridor Business Alliance—to create a Comprehensive Regional Development Strategy for a seven-county region.
“I have always tried to be a good partner by sharing everything I know,” says Raber, who has worked for the Washington Economic Development Group for the last 17 years. “I also try to stay humble and value everyone at work. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I take my work seriously. A lot of my success has simply been from being willing to show up for just one more meeting when no one else would.”
The Washington Chamber of Commerce named Raber its 2010 “Citizen of the Year” for his community contributions.
This is your Hometown Hawkeye.