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Madison County Chamber of Commerce

Madison County Chamber of Commerce

July 19, 2019

Chamber Name: Madison County Chamber of Commerce

Elected leader for 2019: Jerry Parkin, Chairman

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber: Heather Riley, Executive Director

Number of Members: 266

What inspired you to first get involved with your Chamber? 

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce offers exceptional opportunities for networking, visibility and referrals within the business community. The Chamber’s basic mission is to generate more business activity for the area and our association initiates more business-to-business commerce and more opportunities for connecting with local professionals than any other Madison County organization.

What’s a signature offering of your Chamber? 

We communicate weekly to the membership through the Chamber Chatnewsletter, which includes member information, tips for business owners, details about chamber-sponsored and community events, and a platform to celebrate members’ successes. Additionally, we gather each Friday morning at a different member business for Chamber Coffee events, which offer quick networking before work, and opportunities for hosting businesses to show off facilities, operations, and staff. These events are well attended by Chamber members and are a great way to be engaged in the Chamber membership.

What is your Chamber’s biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months? Our Chamber secured re-designation for Madison County as an “Iowa Great Place,” a distinction bestowed by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Madison County’s proposal included projects to improve quality of life and attract thousands of new residents and visitors to the county. The projects will be long-term assets that improve quality of life for existing residents and provide ongoing education, historic preservation, and entertainment value to Central and South Central Iowa. Specifically, the projects will enhance a strong base of cultural attractions that make Madison County a “Great Place.” The Chamber, in partnership with community leaders, has steadily worked to build a brand for Madison County as a cultural and tourism destination, and numerous new attractions over the past ten years have been a result of those efforts with many additional projects on the horizon.

Any initiative or project that you are looking forward to in 2019?   

After 28 years, Madison County will host RAGBRAI riders this summer! Riders will be travelling west from Atlantic, IA and will pass through the northern Madison County town of Earlham, stopping in Winterset overnight for an over-the-top party and celebration. Planning committees have been working since February to plan a first-class extravaganza for RAGBRAI riders which will highlight our community, keep our guests comfortable and entertained, and keep our community beautiful.  

What upcoming events should people watch for? 

The 50thAnnual Madison County Covered Bridge Festivalwill be October 12-13, 2019 and we will welcome thousands of visitors to our community to celebrate Madison County’s heritage, history and world-famous covered bridges. Our theme of “50 Years Through the Lens” will take guests back for 50 years of Festival highlights, photos and memories. We’re highlighting new entertainers and old-fashioned demonstrators, plus showcasing the Iowa “Remembering Our Fallen” traveling exhibit. Festival favorites such as the quilt show, car show, parade and spelling bee will be returning as well as arts and crafts vendors, festival food, live entertainment and much more.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, browse the Membership Directory and read additional Affiliate Chamber spotlights.
Jerry Parkin

Jerry graduated from Iowa State University, and has a Master's Degree from Drake University. Now retired, Jerry served as a lobbyist for John Deere for 23 years and currently serves as vice president of the John Wayne Birthplace Society and is a member of the Iowa State Fair board of directors. Visit MadisonCounty.com.