March End of Month Update

Dan Culhane - President and CEO of Ames Regional Economic Alliance

In April, I will celebrate 18 years at the Ames Chamber of Commerce. This is not a date or time of year that I have marked on my calendar to celebrate, but as I was reminded of it recently, it provided an opportunity of reflection.

My economic development career began in my early twenties when I was offered the opportunity to lead an organization in Franklin County. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of activity, mostly here in Ames and Story County. It does not feel like 18 years because the work has been so robust and exciting.

Steve Jobs, the owner, entrepreneur, and innovative visionary who started Apple and eventually changed the world, spoke of the importance of loving what you do. Here is a longer quote from him:

“You’ve got to find what you love… Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle…”

I was fortunate to find this work at an early stage in my career and I have been blessed ever since with a supportive team and community. Over the years of nearly two decades, the projects we work on change as we respond to what is needed at the time. Personnel change, as does leadership across the region. My role has most certainly changed within our organization. There is a natural cadence of progress over time, but one constant is that I have continually found joy in the work that we do.

​We have exciting projects on the horizon. As much as we celebrated 2023 and the banner year that was, this year is setting up to be just as exciting for our region and organization. Many of the things on our list were not there a year ago, yet here we are. Stay tuned throughout the year and engage deeply. Most importantly, find joy in what you are doing. As Steve Jobs said, “it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”