Iowa Rural Summit 2020


August 19th - August 21st, 2020


Hotel Kirkwood, Cedar Rapids

Three Days of Ideas and Connections

The Iowa Rural Development Council offers an annual meeting called the Rural Summit.  The summit represent a unique opportunity for The Council to move from more than an information-sharing organization to a resource provider and catalyst for identifying and addressing rural issues.

Over 300 individuals and some 70 communities come together for two days of targeted training, networking and capacity-building. This meeting encourages small towns and rural places to learn from each other the tools to effective rural development.

For more information on the 2020 Iowa Rural Summit or to see how your community can participate, contact us at


Summit Highlights from 2019

  • Housing Development in Rural Iowa – “Raising Rooftops”
  • Speaker Session: How Broadband Effects the Local Economy Presented by John Smith, Mayor of Townsville
  • Empower Rural Iowa – What We’ve Learned and What Comes Next
  • Speaker Session: Growing Our Rural Communities Presented by Governor Reynolds
  • Key Issues Confronting Rural Communities: Iowa Case Studies
  • Working Session: Steps to Effective Strategic Planning


Summit Speakers

The People Builder

Steve Siemens

The People Builder

Steve Siemens, The People Builder, located in Des Moines, Iowa has “built” people in every state in the United States plus 22 different countries. He is a highly sought after speaker as well as a very creative author of three books. His unique wit, wisdom, and common sense gives each audience tools, skills, and the encouragement to go to the next level.
Artist and Author

David Williamson

Artist and Author

David Williamson is a professional artist and poet. At 17, he was one of the founding members of THE BUSHMEN, a local rock band from Jefferson, IA. In 2018, he and his band-mates were inducted into The Iowa Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame after 50+ years of songwriting and performing.
Owner, Rural Kind Co

Kelly Bay

Owner, Rural Kind Co

Kelly Bay is a writer, speaker and small business owner. She started her company, Five Spa + Store, nearly 10 years ago as a solo massage therapist and built it into a seven member team. Most recently, she and her two business partners launched Rural Kind Co, a small business with a big mission to bring the best personal and professional development opportunities to rural America.
Owner, Inspired Media

Benji Nichols

Owner, Inspired Media

Benji Nichols is an Iowa boomerang who set out to tour the world in the concert industry and found his way back over a decade later. He and his wife, Aryn,have been publishing Inspire(d) Magazine since 2007, focusing on the positive people, places, and businesses of the Driftless Region. He has a strong background in communications and a passion for community and civic work,

LOCATION | Hotel Kirkwood

7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center welcomes you with contemporary elegance, award-winning facilities and exceptional service.

You’ll find our AAA Four Diamond hotel in Cedar Rapids, just a few minutes from The Eastern Iowa Airport; over 100 pieces of local and artisan art are dotted throughout our accommodations and public spaces, lending a sense of uniqueness and modern charm.



$114/night for a king or two queens

Fairfield Inn & Suites Cedar Rapids 605 32nd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404│ (319) 247-1000


$124/night for a king studio

Residence Inn Cedar Rapids South 730 33rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404│ (319) 450-7649