Benton Development Group | 319-472-5545

The Benton Development Group (BDG) Assigns New Board Members

The Benton Development Group (BDG) has assigned new officers to it’s board of directors. Marlyn Jorgensen has been voted President, Kristina Kremer is Vice President, Elise Healzer is Treasurer and Ed Shaeffer is Secretary. Other board members include: Patrice Shakespeare and Harry Ruth. The new board of directors and other Benton County city representatives are excited about BDG’s involvement in Benton County economic development.

Many great things are happening at BDG and the future looks to hold many new projects that will continue to promote the economic strength and growth of Benton County.

Emily Upah

Emily Upah

Economic Development Director

Emily Upah joined Benton Development Group (BDG) in August of 2014 when she was appointed as Economic Development Director. Her responsibility as director is to be committed to outreach and education of community members, as well as serve as a resource for new and existing businesses.

Emily comes to BDG after serving as an operations assistant at Legacy Financial Group, in Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to being part of the Legacy team, she attended the University of Iowa, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a policy emphasis. Emily is very excited to use a combination of her textbook knowledge, skills from previous experiences, and passion for Benton County to fulfill the mission of BDG.

Emily understands the importance of helping our community businesses and groups achieve and maintain high levels of success because these organizations directly affect the quality of life for Benton County residents. Emily’s roots are in Benton County. She was born and raised in Belle Plaine and currently resides in Keystone.

Benton Development Group Board of Directors

Benton County
Marlyn Jorgensen – President
Patrice Shakespeare
Harry Ruth

Kristina Kremer – Vice President
Elise Healzer – Treasurer

Andy Jones


Belle Plaine
Sheila Hlas – BPCDC
Dave Fish
April Saunders

Ed Shaeffer – Secretary

Gary Bierschenk

Jackie Michael

Allan Lindsey

Van Horne
Jim Magdefrau


Tami Stark
Nathan Hesson – VU, Alt

Dwight Glinsmann

Lonnie Goodwin

Mt. Auburn


Gerald Gessner

Advisory Contacts

Upcoming Events

9:00 am Urbana Farmer’s Markets @ Urbana Community Center
Urbana Farmer’s Markets @ Urbana Community Center
Apr 8 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
When you buy locally in Urbana, IA, directly from Urbana area markets and farms, you help support your local Urbana economy. In return, you will get the freshest, best-tasting food available and help reduce the[...]