The Cedar Rapids Medical District and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance announced today that Philip Wasta has been hired as the first Executive Director of the MedQuarter Regional Medical District.
“The Commission unanimously selected Phil from a quality pool of candidates because we all believe he has the ability to very quickly jumpstart district development,” said Ted Townsend, who chairs the Medical Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) Commission. “He’s a property owner in this district, has a wealth of relevant experience and has been with us on the Commission since the very beginning.”
Wasta, of Cedar Rapids, most recently served as Vice President of Tallgrass Business Resources, a family-owned company that has been in the community since 1924. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Wasta has served as a member of the MedQuarter Commission since its origin in 2012. He is on the Board of the Cedar Rapids Uptown District, a charter member of Sunrise Rotary and a graduate of Leadership Five Seasons. He also currently serves on the Board of Linn County Aging Services.
“In many ways Phil will be inventing this job,” said John Albert, Commission Vice Chair. “And we’re excited to have him get started. He knows the issues of businesses within the district and is committed to making the MedQuarter a great experience for patients, business owners and the public.”
The Medical District Commission governs a 50-plus block geographic area that encompasses UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa, and many other medical providers and small businesses. Over the last two years, the Commission created a master development plan that envisions additional residential and commercial development, plus other neighborhood amenities to improve the patient experience and the overall quality of life for residents, business owners and medical providers. With that plan in place, the Commission decided it needed an executive director to lead implementation of the plan and begin directing other district initiatives.
Wasta will be employed by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and work in concert with the Economic Alliance’s community development strategist. The Economic Alliance has been involved in providing professional and administrative services to the Medical District effort since shortly after the district was envisioned in community-wide planning efforts more than five years ago. Wasta will provide full-time, dedicated focus on the Medical District while also being able to maintain the critical strategic linkages the Economic Alliance has to economic development, business support, community development, public policy and regional development.
“Phil brings us the best of both worlds,” said Dee Baird, Economic Alliance President & CEO. “He understands the MedQuarter and the Economic Alliance, plus he is an independent business leader in his own right. He’ll be a great asset to our community in this role.”
About the MedQuarter: The MedQuarter was the result of Vision Cedar Rapids Downtown Framework Plan 2007 (JLG Plan) and the 2009 Neighborhood Planning Process, which developed districts to help grow downtown Cedar Rapids. Its major medical providers— Mercy Medical Center, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital and Physicians Clinic of Iowa—are committed to developing Cedar Rapids as a medical destination, where many health care needs are met in one area of the downtown. Recently recognized as a top ten city in the nation that delivers high-quality, low-cost healthcare by the Institute for Health Care Improvement, the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter is intended to create jobs, fuel economic development, improve the city’s tax base and enhance the quality of life within the community. For additional information about the MedQuarter, please visit themedq.com.
About the Economic Alliance: The Economic Alliance is a non-profit business focused on the growth of employers in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Work is focused in the area of five core functions: business support, community, economic and regional development and public policy. The Economic Alliance has more than 1,000 members representing 92,000 employees in the Creative Corridor. For more information go to www.cedarrapids.org
Ted Townsend, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital, 319/369-7203
Chairman, Medical SSMID Commission