Taking care of business

Webster City’s new Economic Development Director is ready for business.

Bill Demuth was recently hired and began working in Webster City on Jan. 22. He brings many years of experience to his position which involves working with existing businesses and recruiting businesses to come to town.

Demuth is very familiar with Iowa. He worked at the Iowa Department of Economic Development, which is now the Iowa Economic Development Authority, for about 22 years. He then worked in South Carolina and in Gage County, Nebraska.

One aspect of Demuth’s job is recruiting businesses that would be a good fit for Webster City. He said companies that provide sustainable jobs and provide community members with good incomes are what he looks for. To sell the idea of coming to Webster City, Demuth looks at the community’s assets. Those include excess water and sewer capacity, available buildings and land.

“You want to make sure you’re out there marketing your area and Webster City is the center of the area, but companies will look at building in a 30 mile radius, sometimes 60 miles,” Demuth said. “That’s where their suppliers, labor force and their logistics are typically drawn from.”

While those infrastructure assets are important, Demuth said the people that make up Webster City are important too.

“The part that a lot of times gets overlooked is the community,” Demuth said. “It can be an asset or it can be a detriment. Along with that is the leadership of the community. I think that’s something that Webster City has going for it. It has a positive community and it has strong leadership.”

Demuth also looks at local and state incentives to bring businesses to town.

Another part of his job is working with existing businesses in the community. While Demuth is still new to town, he plans to develop relationships with businesses around Webster City as he gets settled in. He said those relationships will help him know what plans local businesses have for the future. That gives him time to work with groups that might impact their plans. He can also help local businesses find benefits if they’re not already aware of them.

Demuth said he will use his years of experience to help business owners with new ideas for their operations. At his job, he also works on the City’s Economic Development website and keeps in contact with regional and state partners. Overall, Demuth said his job is to create opportunities for businesses in Webster City.

Demuth invites local business owners to visit him and share any ideas they have with him.

“My door is always open,” Demuth said.