What happens when you invest in Iowa communities?
That’s the question Goldfinch Growth intends to answer. Investing time, money, energy, and resources into the bedrock of Iowa life, we believe in a bright, diverse future for communities of all sizes in our state. We make spaces that support modern jobs, lifestyles, and families. Is your community ready to grow? Contact us today to learn how we can work together to make that happen.
Bryan Friedman, Owner/Partner
In July 2005, Bryan was named Community Development Director for the City of Newton, Iowa. Anyone familiar with Newton’s story knows that what happened next did not make his job easy. Within two weeks, the Maytag Corporation board of directors approved a sale of the company to the Whirlpool Corporation, ending Maytag’s run as Newton’s principal employer and benefactor for over 100 years. Within the year, Whirlpool announced that approximately 2,000 corporate and manufacturing jobs would be pulled out of Newton, making it the largest and most visible company closure in Iowa in decades.
So, how does a community overcome losing it’s chief corporate citizen? Hard work, planning, and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities. Bryan went on to serve on the lead team for the recruitment of Iowa Speedway, TPI Composites, and Trinity Structural Towers, and during his tenure as Community Development Director (and, later, as Director of Finance and Development), he oversaw an increase of over $200 million in Newton’s total assessed valuation, despite the loss of a Fortune 500 company. In 2010, Newton was named the National Sustainable Community of the Year by Siemens and the US Chamber of Commerce, and Bryan’s work went on to receive additional accolades from the American Planning Association, Iowa League of Cities, and Iowa City/County Manager’s Association. In 2017, Bryan’s contributions to the community were further recognized as he received the Community Service Award from the Greater Newton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Now, Bryan is excited to bring his experience and knowledge to the rest of the state. He holds a BA from Wartburg College and an MA in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an expert in land use, tax increment financing, government permitting, community planning, and the re-purposing of commercial buildings.
Natalie Umsted, Owner/Partner
Natalie shares Bryan’s principles of hard work, planning, and the pursuit of opportunity to drive community growth. She joined the team at the City of Newton as an analyst in 2013, and was able to participate in the Newton recovery as a newcomer to the community.
Although job numbers are frequently cited as the main data point to prove economic recovery, Newton recognized that it also needed a cultural recovery to bring back a positive spirit and energy to the community. Natalie took the opportunity to lead these efforts, working with a wide variety of business owners, residents, and community leaders to establish a new community outreach and marketing campaign. “Get to Know Newton,” focused on shifting Newton’s vision to be forward-thinking and optimistic. Her work has been recognized by Iowa City/County Manager’s Association, Iowa League of Cities, and Iowa Tourism Office. She was a 2015 finalist for the Des Moines Register’s YP of the Year Awards, and a 2016 recipient of the Newton Daily News’ 20 Under 40 Awards.
Natalie is excited to work with community leaders and business owners across the state to drive progressive development in under-invested communities. She holds a BA from the University of Northern Iowa and an MA in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and is an expert in community engagement and analysis.
Having grown up in Iowa, Bryan and Natalie know the strength of communities in the state. By making investments, facilitating growth, and assisting improvement efforts, Bryan and Natalie are confident that they can continue to help build on those strengths. Let the passion of Goldfinch Growth work for your community or project.