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New Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director is "passionate about small towns"

Posted: Sun, Dec 13, 2020 1:16 PM

Newly-hired Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Rilling graduated from Decorah High School in 2003.  For the past ten years, she, her husband Justin and their daughter Ida Mae have been in the Cedar Rapids area.  She tells she's "feeling giddy" about getting the chance to return to Decorah.

Rilling is coming to the Decorah Chamber of Commerce from a job as Executive Director of the Iowa Valley RC&D.  That non-profit organization, which is headquartered in Amana, Iowa, serves Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, Poweshiek and Tama counties.  That gave her experience with bringing together numerous communities for a coordinated program, something she'd like to do in NE Iowa.

As someone who grew up in Decorah, she knows a fair bit about the town.  But she says she returns to Decorah with "a different set of eyes," looking at things from both a personal and professional perspective.

Even so, she says of Decorah that "the town looks beautiful" and it's "really exciting" to be working in a community where so many people contribute their time and money to making the community better.

Rilling succeeds outgoing Executive Director Kristina Wiltgen, who has worked at the Chamber of the past 17 years.