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Members of the Iowa State cheerleading team run onto the field to begin the football game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Jack Trice Stadium on Sep. 15.

Recently, the executive vice president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and I attended the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) Annual Conference in Ames. The state-wide event was superb, with speeches from Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, as well as a keynote presentation from former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. While the exceptional content of the conference should be my primary focus, it was the Ames community and Iowa State University that ultimately stole the show.

We arrived early so we could tour the city and several Iowa State facilities with President of the Ames Chamber of Commerce Dan Culhane. Our afternoon began with a tour of the athletic facilities directed by Marissa Griffith, assistant director of traditions and engagement. Griffith was polite, professional and passionate about all things related to Iowa State. She provided a magnificent tour and promoted the university with an unmistakable sense of personal and professional pride.

After an extensive tour of existing facilities and planned construction at Iowa State, Culhane led us through downtown Ames, the business district, the research park, charming neighborhoods and other notable attractions. Culhane, who played varsity baseball for the Cyclones in the early ‘90s and has remained involved in the leadership of the Letterwinners Club, has become an outstanding ambassador for Iowa State, Ames and the entire state of Iowa. Recognized as one of the top 50 economic development professionals in North America in 2017, his commitment to Ames was on full display throughout the ABI conference, as your community was skillfully showcased in front of an audience of leading business executives from across the state.

You have every reason to be proud of both your university and the Ames community, as well as the dynamic leaders you have retained to promote them.

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