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Forty Under 40: Katie Gieszler

Economic development specialist, City of Urbandale


What are your goals in your role at your company?
I’d like to contribute to Urbandale becoming a tech hub of the Midwest. Building on recent investments and critically important partnerships with the tech community will help propel this vision forward. 

What are your goals for community involvement?
I’d like to make the uFit Challenge model replicable for other communities in Central Iowa and beyond. Impacting the health of residents through partnerships with local businesses is accessible and benefits all. The impact on participants is real and long-lasting; the program truly changes lives. 

What’s your biggest passion, and why?
My biggest passion in life is helping others reach their health and wellness goals, whether related to fitness, nutrition or access to clean water/food that supports a healthy lifestyle. I’ve endured various injuries and health challenges that provided an opportunity to utilize food and exercise as medicine, and caring for others in this way is important to me.

What is it that drives you?
Both of my parents worked in the public sector. I learned that through their work, they were impacting causes they were passionate about. As a child, I saw my dad working with building plans. He’d show me the buildings he’d helped build and tell me about the businesses inside. This process fascinated me. That passion and curiosity still fuel my development work today.
What are your future aspirations?
I have a lifelong dream of volunteering in Africa to enhance access to clean water. Locally, I’d like to work to end hunger in Polk County. Having access to clean water and fresh food is a basic human right, and I’d like to play a larger role in achieving that vision for all.   

Reasons she’s a Forty:

1.) Katie is a dedicated and passionate board member and volunteer at the Urbandale Food Pantry.
2.) She leads the uFit Challenge at the Urbandale Community Action Network, in which individuals work to reach their health and weight loss goals.
3.) She has assisted in development projects that have added or retained nearly 2,000 jobs and have resulted in $100 million in investment in Urbandale.
4.) She’s part of a team organizing the Water Ride, a charity bike ride to build wells and schools in Ghana.


See all 2018 honorees

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