posted on 4/15/24

The 8th Annual Iowa Rural Summit last week included a special recognition of six rural leaders, including Joe Mrstik of Pleasantville. Mrstik was honored for his local leadership as Pleasantville’s city administrator and police chief and his impact as an active volunteer.    

The Iowa Rural Summit brings together leaders from small towns across Iowa each year, and this year’s event included a special tribute to a group of individuals who have made a difference in their rural community or region.  The Summit is hosted by the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC), a statewide non-profit focused on small-town and rural vitality.

The Rand Fisher Rural Leadership Award, sponsored by the IADG Community Foundation, recognizes individuals in rural economic and community development, philanthropy, the arts and utilities.  The honorees are nominated by friends, colleagues or anyone who values their contributions to rural places.  The final selection is by an IRDC screening committee.

Mrstik was cited for his impact on Pleasantville, specifically efforts aimed at enhancing the city's infrastructure and quality of life. These achievements include overseeing the reconstruction of a major street thoroughfare to improve safety and accessibility, implementing innovative storm-water management strategies using permeable pavers and native vegetation around recreational areas, and successfully establishing a new industrial park to foster economic growth.

“Joe has had a tremendous impact on the Pleasantville community, both through his day job as city administrator and police chief, but also his volunteer role as vice president of Marion County Habitat for Humanity,” said Mark Reinig, IRDC board president.  “He’s a perfect example of how a leader can make a huge difference.”

With a crowd of more than 360 individuals from 70 different small towns, the Iowa Rural Summit addressed issues this year ranging from rural pharmacy shortages to ag technology innovation to community development options.      


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