The Board of Directors for Washington County Economic Development (WEDG) announced
November 20th, 2020, the selection of Mary Audia as the new Executive Director. Audia took the reins in early
“The WEDG board and other community leaders who participated in the hiring saw her
entrepreneurial experiences and strong communication skills, to name a few, as strong suits
she can bring into the position,” said Amanda Russell, President of the WEDG board of
directors. “We are excited to welcome her to Washington County.”
Audia, an Iowa native, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from University of Northern Iowa
and a Doctorate from Palmer College. She’s an experienced entrepreneur who has created,
operated then sold two of her own businesses which are still successfully operating today.
Audia has served on the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Board with emphasis on Public
Policy and Advocacy arenas. She worked closely with Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and
Cedar Rapids administrators and community business leaders to help plan, organize and
implement the popular annual ICACC Corridor Day at the Capitol Event for more than a decade.
She was also active in ICACC member meetings such as community roundtables, charity golf
tournaments, networking social events, and sponsorship procurement. She has extensive
leadership experience in presiding over board meetings, strategic planning and fiscal
management, and she optimized statewide membership market share by understanding trends,
developing strategic partnerships and working closely with existing businesses.
“Wow…so many hidden gems in Washington County and such an eye-opening experience,”
said Audia, describing her impression of the community as she completed a guided tour of the
current economic development progress plus the vast potential for future growth and expansion.
“There’s so much going for the people and industries of this community. The community pride
and friendly people are obvious from the moment you set foot in town square.”
Audia’s first order of business in Washington County will be bringing people together,
identifying opportunities and finding solutions while collaborating with the local Chambers of
Commerce and Downtown Districts. With countywide input, she expects to create a plan of work
that will be “challenging, yet achievable.” Her priorities will be retaining and growing existing
businesses, attracting new business, workforce development and continuing the great work in
progress on quality-of-life issues like housing, affordable daycare and schools.
“We will continue to be a place where people want to move for quality of life, economic growth
and prosperity,” Audia said. “People are recognizing the many positive attributes contained here
in the greater Washington-Johnson-Linn County Metropolitan Area, such as the proximity to
great educational institutions, the rich farmland, established industries, health and fitness
emphasis, shops, restaurants, spas, golf courses, and more. Washington County has a lot
going for it.”