Local Program Builds Strong Leaders in Warren County

Local Program Builds Strong Leaders in Warren County

Warren County Economic Development Corp logo

One of the many hidden gems we have in Warren County is the Warren County Leadership Institute (WCLI), an affiliate of the Warren County Economic Development Corporation (WCEDC). Each year starting in January, a new group of current and future leaders spend nine weeks building their leadership skills as they learn all about Warren County and its communities.

The weekly classes are held in various locations all across Warren County, which makes them even more inspiring. A fun event for each class is the bus tour of the county. This is an all-day event on a Saturday when the group gets exposure to interesting businesses and historical locations.

I was in the class of 2003 and it was a very memorable and valuable experience for me. I looked forward to every session. Even though I had been in leadership positions for many years and thought I knew Warren County well, I learned something more at every lecture. I also created several long-term relationships with fellow classmates, WCLI Board Members and even some of the instructors. I became a board member shortly after I graduated and remained on the board for several years.

Terry Pauling, a Broker at EXIT Realty North Star, graduated in the class of 1999 and also became a board member. Terry explains how the program helped him, “Participation in the Warren County Leadership Institute not only provided a look at the various governments within our county, classes focused on team building through projects and a look at the resources in our county; it also created life-long business friendships which have proven invaluable in my career.”

Tyler Till, a member of the current class of 2017, entrepreneur, and an agent with EXIT Realty North Star, said this about his experience in the program, “Being a part of the Warren County Leadership Institute has enabled me to meet and learn from some of the most brilliant minds Warren County has to offer. Our class has a wide variety of leaders in different walks of life and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to meet with them every other Thursday. The speakers that we have had are not only informational but have taught us how to be great leaders within our community. The relationships I have built from this class will last forever and it has truly taught me how to be a better person and a better leader."

The WCLI not only benefits Warren County by creating better leaders in our communities, but each class comes up with their own class project that positively benefits the residents here. The members can and often do get very creative with their projects. Here is a list of projects previous classes have done:

2016-Purchased and installed a wheelchair swing at Emerson Elementary for public use

2014-Created the Warren County Trails Endowment Fund and raised $5,000to get it started

2013-Raised funds for a new website for Warren County Conservation and a shelter on the Great Western Trail

2012-Purchased equipment for the North Warren County Fire Department and collected funds and items for the Warren County Necessity Pantry

2011-Delivered Easter baskets to families in need and collected items for the Haven House

2010-Purchased agility equipment and benches for the Dog Park

2009-Built wooden stage/deck at Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center

2008-Purchased and built benches at the Warren County, IA fairgrounds

2007-Provided defibrillators for use in county jail, courthouse and squad cars

2006-Installed bird feeders at various community care centers and provided seed along with a donation to South Central Youth and Family Services

2005-Provided Balloon Museum with a new computer, put a new roof on the Lake Ahquabi shower building, and sponsored a wooden bench in Carlisle’s Community School Courtyard

2004-Helped a member of the community whose house had burned down

2003-Provide Water Test kits for wells

2002-Donated weather radios to local schools

2001-Winter coat drive

2000-Goose Nests

WSLi Class Project 2017The current class of 2017 is just about to unveil their class project and everyone is invited. Load up the family and come out to the Warren County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 29th beginning at 11 AM for a Tree Planting Demonstration and Tree Giveaway! Participants will enjoy a free lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs while they last, and the first 500 participants will receive a free tree sapling. At Noon, celebrity gardener, Jerry Kluver will demonstrate how to properly plant your trees. 

This event will end at 1 PM, when the class heads out to plant some larger trees in designated areas throughout the county. This class project will leave a legacy for future generations. Great work class!


Jon Niemeyer is the Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty North Star, 1039 Sunset Dr Norwalk, IA 50211, providing real estate guidance to the Des Moines, Iowa metro area. 

Pointing People in Positive Directions!

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