Mary Lawyer, president of the Downtown Community Alliance (DCA), has accepted the position of business development director with Conlon Construction Co. in Dubuque. Lawyer has led the nonprofit affiliate of the Greater Des Moines Partnership since September 2006. She previously served as director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).

"Downtown Community Alliance and the Partnership have greatly benefited from Mary Lawyer's economic development expertise and strong leadership over the past three years," said Martha Willits, the Partnership's president and CEO. "Mary has carried downtown through a very important time in its development and has helped us reach a new plateau of vibrancy for which we have received national attention and acclaim. We wish Mary all the best as she turns her talents toward the for-profit world."

Lawyer begins her new job in late September. The Partnership has formed a national search committee made up of members of the DCA board to select candidates for the position, said Susan Ramsey, a spokeswoman.

Conlon Construction, a 105-year-old family-owned company, has a portfolio of projects that extends across the country, with clients that include major retailers such as Target Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In Dubuque, some of the company's landmark projects include the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and Diamond Jo Casino.

"Conlon is a company poised for growth, and I am excited that they have chosen me to be part of their highly qualified team," Lawyer said in a press release. "I look forward to working on the Conlon team as we focus on expanding their tradition of quality service for new and existing customers."

Prior to joining the DCA, Lawyer worked for 16 years with the IDED, where she was named deputy director in 1999 and then director in 2005. Lawyer began her career in state government with North Iowa Area Community College, where she worked with the Job Training Partnership and Promise Jobs programs. She holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Iowa State University.

"We are looking forward to having Mary join Conlon Construction Co.," said Tim Conlon, the company's vice president. "She brings unique skills, knowledge and networks that she developed in the public and not-for-profit sectors that will be useful in growing Conlon Construction at the local, state and national levels."