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Wilson named new Conrad Chamber-Main Street executive director

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Heather Wilson has been named the new Conrad Chamber-Main Street executive director.

CONRAD — Heather Wilson will assume duties as Conrad Chamber-Main Street’s new executive director in early July.

A native of Hudson, Iowa, she and her family have lived on an acreage north of Conrad since 2013. She “instantly fell in love with the community” and three of her four kids graduated from BCLUW. She’ll bring to the job leadership experience, grant writing and marketing skills and property management know-how.

Wilson went to high school in Las Vegas and completed some college before marrying her husband Julian and settling on the west coast.

“I was a property manager in southern California for about 15 years and managed over 300 properties, give or take, throughout my career,” she said. “We’d come back (to Iowa) every summer with our kids, and it just started becoming more of a fit — the smaller town. California’s hustle and bustle, sitting in traffic, little bit of violence. We wanted to go where it’s quieter, simpler, safer all around, kind of move.”

Upon coming back to Iowa she completed an internship with the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, assisting with fairs and vendors. The organization provides year-round events and activities for the Cedar Valley, surrounding communities and states.

Impressed with her, she was then offered a permanent position where she’s worked the past 10 years, commuting from Conrad.

“I think they kind of saw I had the manager skills, as a property manager in the past, to be able to step into a larger role there,” she noted.

She said a highlight of her time with the NCC was bringing Iowa Woo arena football to Waterloo.

“My boss and myself had worked on that for over four years, and Covid kind of killed that dream a bit, but once we reopened and got back on the ground, we reached back out and were able to bring that to the community,” Wilson said. “And that’s a huge thing, not only just for us, the patrons, it’s great for businesses, hotels, motels, just the commerce in the area.”

For the past eight months, the Chamber’s board has managed without a director, who was dismissed in late 2023. In February 2024, former executive director Krista Grant was arrested after allegedly stealing more than $25,000 from the Chamber.

“The board members have been stepping up to complete Main Street program work, organize/execute events, conduct our annual Chamber membership campaign, and all the day-to-day work that needs to be done,” said Board President Jacey Lehman. “Our board members past and present — four finished out terms at the end of 2023 — have volunteered hundreds of hours these past few months keeping our Chamber-Main Street program on track.”

Lehman added that the board is excited to bring Wilson on staff because of her well-rounded experience and skills that are sure to continue to make the town a great place to own a business, live, work and play.

Wilson said she was pleased to have edged out over the competition. She said she’s impressed with Conrad’s recent downtown beautification efforts, its diversity of large and small industry and agricultural presence.

She and her family may soon become Chamber members once they open Conrad Coffee Cup after renovations to the space are complete. A family affair, it will be run by Julian, their daughter Eden and son Miles’ girlfriend Rosemary Collins, plus some locals. Wilson said the town having a place to grab a coffee and breakfast goodie has been a topic of discussion for a while.

“Conrad’s a beautiful town. It’s one of the prettiest I’ve seen. I’m absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to hopefully grow this town bigger and keep it to the look that they want to have for the main street,” she said.

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