New leader of regional partnership named

Marshalltown has a new leader in the field of economic development to take charge of a brand new partnership.

David Barajas, of Ottumwa, has been named the CEO of the newly-formed Marshalltown Regional Partnership and will oversee the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee and the Marshalltown Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Before taking the job, Barajas, 50, said he wanted to make sure Marshalltown was the right fit for him and his wife, Tammy, and their two daughters – Madyson, 16, and Mia, 11.

“We are very excited about working with everybody in Marshalltown,” Barajas said. “There’s a lot of good things happening here right now.”

Barajas spent the last three years as executive director of the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation. He is also a former bank president in Illinois.

Barajas said Marshalltown has some momentum in two major factors for economic development – education and health care. He has learned about the proposed new hospital and also attended the Project Lead the Way labs ribbon cutting at Marshalltown High School.

“Education is extremely important when you talk about community growth and development,” Barajas said.

The organizations he will oversee in Marshalltown will still have their own executive directors at the lead including Lynn Olberding at the chamber, Shannon Espenscheid at the CVB and Tom Deimerly at MEDIC. This regional partnership is based on a model used in other cities in Iowa including Des Moines.

“It provides an opportunity for continued community partnerships and collaboration,” Olberding said.

Espenscheid said this partnership strengthens the organization.

Paul Beals, chair of the chamber board, was on the search committee and feels they have found the right candidate through this eight-month process after the retirement of chamber president Ken Anderson.

“This allows us to bring in a dynamic leader,” Beals said. “He’s an outstanding individual.”

Paul Gregoire, chair of the MEDIC board, said this partnership with Barajas in charge has a bright future.

“We really formalized a structure to lead community development,” Gregoire said.

Barajas will start on the job Jan. 1.