Saturday, December 02, 2006

QC Development - Organization Make Over???

As a long time critic, and someone that has been calling for the ouster of Thom Hart as head of Q-C Development I almost chocked on my Cheerios this morning reading the QC Times. It’s about time!! But the retention of Hart as “Senior Vice President for Government Relations” is unacceptable. By Hart’s own admission, he has been a failure at the post for over a decade; “There are others who are better suited to that” Hart commented in the QC Times regarding his leadership in sales and marketing.

This is why this announcement doesn’t go far enough. The second step is to re-examine the Board of Directors that has allowed this flawed operation to continue over time. Not only should the private sector investors require all directors submit letters of resignation, but local governments and the Chambers that fund QC Development as well. Let’s keep the strongest members of the board, and let the “old & retired” move on.

Finally, if we really want to have a Senior Vice President of Government Relations (which is code for Arsenal work), then lets hire Mark Schwiebert.

It’s time for all of the funding sources of QC Development to be bold, and require more then an “organization make over”. Let’s not wait another 10 years to do what is necessary.



At December 02, 2006 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been indications that changes were in the works for the Quad City Development Group for some months, beginning with the funding members of the business community’s call for consolidation of the chambers. One of the criticisms from business centered on the duplication of services and the lack of a strong unified marketing voice.

It was what was not said that that indicated a change was coming. If the QCDG were recognized as a strong marketing entity, business would have made a point of the strength as a reason for refocusing the individual chambers mission.

A direct open criticism of QCDG would not have been a good public relation move. Re-assessing and re-prioritizing the objectives to a stronger marketing voice simply announces the recognition of a need for change. Continuing a governmental lobbying strategy is important, however, it is only a piece of a market strategy. Keeping Hart in place to continue the lobbying efforts makes sense as a transitioning strategy. After all, we do not want to present the QCDG as having been ineffective, rather, the recognition of the need to be responsive to changing times.

I agree with your comment “if we really want to have a Senior Vice President of Government Relations (which is code for Arsenal work), then lets hire Mark Schwiebert”. Mayor Schwiebert is a very thoughtfull, well-spoken individual and has been a very effective voice for maintaing the Arsenal. Although a full time Senior Vice President of Government Relations seems over-kill for the Development Group. I suspect the position will go when Hart goes, sooner rather than later.

At December 02, 2006 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a flaw in your thinking. It's not about personalities. It's about cities unwilling to relinquish power and control for the good of the whole, as evidenced by any lack of consolidation by the various chambers of commerce. Everyone is protecting their own turf and status quo. How are you going to market the Quad Cities when the individual cities can't seem to come together ? We don't need a marketing expert as the new CEO, we need Dr.Phil.

At December 02, 2006 12:42 PM, Blogger The Colonel said...

Anon 11:52 was correct about one thing. This has been in the works for some time. The whole Chamber consolidation deal was really about QC Development. You see, for so long we as a community have been walking on egg shells.

And thats why I also disagree with 11:52 as well. For so long, we have all been worried about perception instead of results.

So lets take this opportunity to ask all of the dead weight to leave QC Development. Then we can focus on results and not perceptions or hurt fealings.

Yes, we might lose some private sector funding by not asking some of the directors back. Yes, it would make Thom Hart face his failure in a more public light. But we would have a board of directors and staff that understand we as a community are focused on significant results. Not the appearance of trying!

At December 02, 2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with you that the QCDG has been ineffective and that it is time to be bold.

Thom Hart was and his successor will be barred from building an effective organization by the areas suffocating parochialism.

Public sector, private sector, blogger community, everybody has blood on their hands. I believe just last week you stated (paraphrasing. . .Mark Ridolfi has a keen understanding of the Quad Cties. . .my only problem with him is that he lives in Rock Island.

Last time I checked he worked for the Quad City Times and the Quad City Development Group covers an area that includes Rock Island.

It's gonna take a big problem for enough people to have a sense of urgency to drop their myopic tendencies and allow for the region to succeed.

We've met the enemy and it' us.

At December 02, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger The Colonel said...

Sorry, It aint that easy. I have and will always give anyone in a leadership position a hard time for not living in Davenport. That's me... But I will give 150% to see Rock Island, Moline or Bettendorf grow. The pie doesn't stay one size. Lets grow it all together.

And yep, we do all have some blood on our hand. Growing old Midwest communities isn't easy. But let’s argue, pursued and convince a majority to move forward.

I would rather do it that way, then to sit back and be quiet because we might offend someone.

At December 02, 2006 4:13 PM, Blogger The Colonel said...

And after reading a few QCT comments, lets put this "typical QC communities not working together crap" were it belongs. The failure of QC Development is directly linked to the leadership.

As a community, the public sector works well with each other. Yah, you have individual cheerleaders for specific communities. But I bet a lot of Moline folks would really like to see Davenport City Hall get it's act together. And a lot of Davenport folks would like to see Silvis get the rail yard going.

But when the leadership of QC Development (and it's board of directors) Kowtows to outside development interest groups along the I-55 corridor or stays quiet about Iowa Department of Transit infrastructure plans that minimizes our future; it's time to get pissed.

So if we want to accept excuses regarding our development failures, fine. But lets understand the failure is not laid at the feet of the individual communities or even the chambers.

It should be laid at the feet of those that believed the status quo was acceptable. As important, to those that believed ineptitude could be minimized by hushing those that expressed frustration.

At December 02, 2006 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Colonel has never been so right about any other issue.

Can our local alderman request resignation letters from the QC Development board?

I think all the cities give money to them.

What a great way to demonstrate the ability to work together!

At December 02, 2006 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But when the leadership of QC Development (and it's board of directors) Kowtows to outside development interest groups along the I-55 corridor or stays quiet about Iowa Department of Transit infrastructure plans that minimizes our future; it's time to get pissed."

Lest we forget, Thom Hart is one of the IDOT decision-makers, thus his failure to get things done around here is even more shameful.

At December 02, 2006 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The council needs to give the pink slip to Davenport One too. Not give them money that is. We need to re-organize the implementation of the River Vision plan. We should figure out what exactly that organization does after all. Tara Barney seem so busy running around just trying to fill the properties down there and not planning all that well. A perect example is the DOC plan. D1 lied about their involvement in choosing a location. Told the public they did not help select the location and then the Times that they did.

Another good example is Horizon Homes. For years (even recently) d1 has supported that horrible failing housing project. Why on earth is d1 even involved in such a bad project and why do we as a community give them tons of money to do this?

At December 02, 2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Annon 220pm again

Love the passion. Agree its time to get pissed.

We either grow together or die together

I am a long time Illinois Quad Citian and have long noted that if Davenport is the lead ship all the others in the fleet are headed for the rocks if Davenport cant figure a better course.

Have watched ineffective regional leadership squander time trying to keep everyone happy rather than doing the best possible economic development work.

Several examples of responding to leads by proposing sites for all major area cities so as not to offend while some of the sites did not fit the prospects critieria. End result all the Quads eliminated because they wasted the prospects time.

No capacity building of regional organizations except for D1 over the past ten years. QCDG has not grown or developed broader or deeper skill sets and we have invested heavily in defending the Arsenal and not gone on the offensive to better diversify from our continuing DeereArsenalAlcoa dependency.

I still however want you to admit you are a Quad Citian and permit Mark Ridolfi or the new head of the QCDG to liver where ever the hell he/she pleases because it is one freaking city.

Quit bitching if you arent willing to accept that basic premise of regionaism.

At December 03, 2006 10:07 AM, Blogger The Colonel said...

Anon 10:47...

I agree the universe does not center around Davenport. And as a economic engine of 300,000 plus we can do much better then a city of 93,000 alone.

That said, Mrs. Ridolfi would look mighty fine in Davenport, but if they chose to resident in Rock Island, thats their nut to deal with. I can only pitch my view point and passion for a great city.

And yes, regionalism should trump all.

At December 03, 2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is mad or "pissed" it's just that the business and citizen leadership have finally agreed on the fact that the QC Development leadership has been, well, without leaders but rather cronies appointed by themselves and stuck in the past... and unable to look to the current values and future potential of the QC area. And, like it or not Davenport is the largest by land mass and pop. so what is good for the farmer is good for the paraphrase.

I just wish that this new wave of awarness would begin to focus on Davenport's City Council candidates that have no business running a business. We need a vetting process for candidates and maybe a drug and alcohol screening. And public the disclosure of private funding. That way we could prevent the fiasco created when NEO was effectively dismembered by one alderman and his pac fund of slum lords. Love, Tootsie

At December 03, 2006 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The need to know the workings of the US Army and its relationship to the Arsenal are critical. The Army is driven by a lot of things, money, powerful friends, promotion of General Officers, etc.

The Army helps its friends. Jim Leach and Lane Evans were not on their lists of friends. That is why some of the bad things that happened to Rock Island Arsenal happened.\

Example: At one time the Arsenal Island was to get the Electronics Command Headquarters from Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. It was approved, but before the move took place, it quitely went away. How many times have BRAC decisions gone that way?

Rock Island Arsenal Island should be the home of the Command that manufactures Weapons. It use to be the US Army Weapons Command. The Research and Development of Weapons, Procurement of the production, management of the Weapons and spares were all at Rock Island.

Then the decision was made to move the Research and Development to New Jersey. When the research and development was split out, that was the beginning of the end. Ammunition procurement came to Rock Island shortly before that time, but there was a big argument that the development of the guns and bullits ought to be together. The Research and Development went to New Jersey. They had more friendly Congress people.

Then came along the BRAC decision to combine TACOM and Weapons. The first group to move was the National Inventory Control Point (NICP) to TACOM. When that happened, the hand writing was on the wall.

Is Detroit the final resting place? Many of us doubt that it is. We believe that Huntsville will be that place where all is combined. An Army Materiel Command location for Tank, Artillery, all Weapons,etc. Huntsville has a lot of pull. It is a large base with a lot of land, a hospital, and much more.

How can Rock Island top that? We need to find a way to have General Service Administration locate some of its purchasing, storage and distribution at Rock Island.

Common tools would be a good start. I am sure that building 299 would be able to handle some of that mission. There are a lot of warehouse space that is not overly used.

Another mission is Headquarters of the Divisional Command of the Corp of Engineers. A lot of work is scheduled for the upper Mississippi in the next 10 to 25 years. Improvements to Lock and to Dams. The Rock Island District can and will stay on the Island, but the addition of the Divisional Headquarters would be something that local leaders ought to be working towards.

Construction by a contractor, at their expense, of housing for General Officers, senior officers, a BOQ, and some senior enlisted housing would be a great step forward. The Government is favorable to providing long term lease arrangements for that type of facilities. There are other ideas along this line that could be explored.

We need to begin an immediate lobby with newly elected Congressmen and the four US Senators to get pressure put to bear on stopping the move of the TACOM mission to Detroit. The cost is becoming a great issue when we look at the overall look at that move. Rock Island Arsenal has a lot of space that can be converted for office space to house not only what is proposed to come here already, keep the current missions, but also to shoot for a lot of additional mission.

We need some people familiar with HQ DA and DOD meeting with people in Washington and with the Congress. People like Captain Charles Johnson, USN (retired); Colonel Bill Green, USA (retired)and former Chief of Staff of the Command at Rock Island; and other who retired in the area.

We need someone to consider building new facilities on a build and lease back arrangement.

I know that I have put a lot of stuff on paper here, but those are thoughts of people who know the history of the Ord. Weapons Command, Army Weapons Command and so forth. Use these people before they get to old to be useful.

At December 04, 2006 7:42 AM, Anonymous Shelley said...

Wow-what a great and insightful post. For the average QC citizen, many of the innner workings of the Arsenal are a mystery. We know people who work there or used to work there and some can't tell you all of what they do. I am wondering if the Quad Cities Development Group has an advisory committee made up of some of those peope mentioned in the post. The Corps comment makes a lot of sense. Heaven knows that there are a lot of retired Corps folks around here as well. It seems like an obvious resource to employ in the hard fought campaign for high skilled jobs. Can you find out Colonel?

At December 04, 2006 9:25 AM, Blogger The Colonel said...

Shelley & all,
I know QC Development sought out "outside expertice" when the hand writing was on the wall and they needed to turn to a prevent defense to keep some of the stuff. The outside expertice included Ret. personel. I am not sure to what extent.

But yes, it was a great post...

At December 04, 2006 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shelly: There are a lot of organizations in Davenport that people would be surprised about how they actually work. It isn't always good. There is a lot of government waste and money spent on housing and services in this town that are not in the best interest of the community.

At December 04, 2006 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hare might be able to pull some weight with the brass, but Braley is out of luck. Besides being a freshman congressman, he's also got the limp-wristed war stance to deal with. Like it or not, the brass isn't going to favor anyone with that viewpoint.

The RIA should shut down, and Western Illinois University should take its place. The QC is the biggest metro area in the country without a large university.

At December 04, 2006 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is a lot of government waste and money spent on housing and services in this town that are not in the best interest of the community." Well how are we going to know unless you have guts to stand up and say "not in my town anymore". Stop with the I know something that you don't know stuff. Speak up.

At December 05, 2006 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have.

At December 07, 2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our prior congressmen and senators were worthless protecting the jobs at the RIA. The new reps will be the same. Focus on Sen. Durbin--Grassley could care less about us here.

At December 07, 2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our prior congressmen and senators were worthless protecting the jobs at the RIA.

The fact that there are any jobs after the latest BRAC is due in large part to efforts made by Leach and Nussle with Hastert and his representative on the BRAC. Our senators have been worthless though.

At December 07, 2006 7:42 PM, Blogger BlueDeviliowa said...

Those who believe we spend too much $ and time with separate cities and schools are right -- we do. But if you're serious about it, then ask the council members of dependant cities why they refuse to merge services (like waste collection, dispatch, fire, etc.)(even schools, which could be separated out if the people in the suburban bedroom communities are afraid of all those kids in the bigger city). Davenport has asked Bettendorf on many occasions to merge services only to be shot down. So much for regionalism.

At December 09, 2006 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you blame Bettendorf. Davenport continues to believe that low income housing is economic development. We have a major crime problem, an over abundance of low income and slum rentals and a city council and staff who can;t get thier heads out of their asses to stop the influx of low income people and services we overly offer. If I lived in Bettendorf, I would do whatever it took to not be associated with Davenport until we made a serious plan to reduce the amount of low income crime families we attract here.


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