Dave Bridgewater is the Chief Financial Officer for the Graham Group Inc., a full service real estate development, property management and construction company, specializing in medical office and industrial warehouse. In addition to CHI, Dave sits on the boards of EveryStep and Variety – The Children’s Charity and serves on several committees. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of CPA’s. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Real Estate Broker in the State of Iowa.
Penny Clayton currently serves as the City Administrator, City of Estherville since 2009. Her capacity as City Administrator engages her with community and economic development activities of the City, managing the City’s electric, water, and wastewater utilities, and many other facets of City operations. Previously, Penny served as Finance Director/City Clerk for the City of Fort Dodge for 8 years. Penny is involved with Excel!, an Estherville nonprofit that facilitates community betterment projects, Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission, and the Estherville Area Growth Partnership. She is also active in Estherville Noon Kiwanis.
Abbie Gaffey is a Community Development Program Specialist for Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. She works on a variety of statewide projects in the areas of affordable housing, economic development, strategic planning, organizational development, leadership development and facilitation. Prior to joining Extension, she spent 12 years as the City of Sioux City’s Community & Economic Development Project Coordinator administering U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development housing, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development programs. She serves on the board of Iowa Community Development (a Community Development Financial Institution-CDFI), the Area Agency on Aging Housing Board (Sioux City), the Iowa Housing Partnership (advocates for funding and policies that promote affordable housing development), and is secretary of the national Community Development Society. She received a B.S. in journalism and political science from Wayne State College in 1989 and an M.S. in Community Development from Iowa State University in 2013.
Curt Heidt, since retiring as Vice President of External Relations for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, has serviced on several boards and commissions. In addition to our board, Curt is a past member of the board for the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and several of its committees. He is a past member of the Iowa Main Street Advisory Council. Curt continue to serve as vice-chair of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rural Advisory Council. While he was previously with the Federal Home Loan Bank, Curt directed or assisted in the development of a variety of grant and lending programs including the development of a Rural Leadership Development Program, the Rural Capital Advance Program, grant programs for Native American housing, supportive housing, redevelopment of USDA 515 properties, micro-lending strategies as well as communications strategies for both public and private activities. Notably, Curt also assisted in the founding of the Neighborhood Finance Corporation in Des Moines, later serving as its Executive Director. He holds a BS from Iowa State University in History and Political Science.
Lee Schoenewe is a retired banker and has been associated with Northwest Bank in Spencer and Northwest Financial Corporation since 1978. Before retiring, Lee served as Senior Credit Administration Officer for Northwest Financial Corp. (owner of First National Bank of Creston and Northwest Bank, with offices throughout the western half of Iowa and Omaha). Lee is a local bird expert and is known in northwest Iowa for his birding activities and conservation work. He is former Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Iowa chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Chairman of the Clay County Conservation Board, field trip chair of the Prairie Lakes Audubon chapter, on the Board of Friends of Lakeside Laboratory, and a member of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union. The first experience Lee had with financing an affordable housing project was for Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. in the late 1980s prior to the creation of CHI. He has been aware of the mission and success of Community Housing Initiatives since its earliest existence. Lee joined Community Housing Initiatives, Inc. as a board member in October 2012.
Emily’s passion for assisting individuals and communities to become self-sufficient started when she first witnessed extreme poverty while visiting a family friend in the middle of the Dominican Republic. Since then, she has made it her mission to fight for those who are impoverished and underrepresented. After graduating from Cornell College, Emily moved to Mexico where she lived and taught English on the Pacific coast for three years. In 2015, Emily returned to Iowa and began working at Willis Dady Homeless Services as a Homeless Prevention Case Manager. Now she is serving as the Development Director. Notably, Emily developed and implemented the Street Outreach and Employment programs in 2018. Emily loves working at Willis Dady Homeless Services as she recognizes the positive impact it has in our community and individual’s lives. Outside of work, Emily loves spending time with her dogs, reading, and creating new adventures in life.
John Zulk is a partner with On Point Strategic Group, LLC, a management and private equity firm based in Spencer, Iowa. He has over 25 years of experience as a CPA and CFO working with and managing both, for-profit and non-profit businesses. John’s passion is the pursuit of solving unique business problems. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Dakota and Masters in Business Administration from Walden University. He has served on numerous church, community and non-profit boards. John and his wife, Susan, live in Spencer. They have three children.