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DUNCAN | Rick Hartzell knows more than sports and officiating.

And he knows plenty about both.

Hartzell, a Klemme native who’s now a motivational speaker, author and Upper Iowa University athletic director, spoke about his upbringing, his decades of college basketball officiating and the lessons he’s learned throughout his life with more than 100 people during the Hancock County Economic Development’s annual meeting Wednesday, April 1.

“I’m thrilled to be back, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you all,” he said.

Hartzell intertwined comedy and gravity through personal stories during a nearly hour-long speech with lessons about leadership, respect, joy and self-improvement.

“Every child is one caring parent away from being a success, and for those of you who run businesses, your employees are the same way,” he said.

Hartzell encouraged those in attendance, who are working with people in this generation on their phones with their heads down, to build a relationship with them.

He also shared things he’s learned officiating basketball that apply to life, like interpersonal communication skills, “the standard you walk by is the standard you will accept,” “patience, self-control, going to work today and be mentally and physically fit.”

“You’re the carpenter,” Hartzell said. “Life is a do-it-yourself project. Your attitude, the choices you make today will build the house that you live in tomorrow. Build wisely.”

Before the meal provided by Big Brad’s BBQ and Haskell’s speech, Eric Newton, board vice president, provided an update on the organization’s 2018 financials, and Laura Zwiefell, board member, recapped the organization’s past year.

In 2018, Hancock County Economic Development launched a new logo, 1,900 TV ads highlighting businesses and people living and working in the county and 16 social media campaigns related to job availability in the county.

Zwiefell said the organization also held its first golf outing, which raised more than $5,000, and held a career fair for hundreds of local high school students that garnered participation from more than 50 businesses.

“Thank you to all the economic development supporters, members, board members and especially Jill, our director,” she said. “I feel very positive and excited as to what lies in store for our entire county in this upcoming year.”

Tlach president, Jim Hasty, vice president, Eric Newton, treasurer and Laura Zwiefell, secretary

Board member Ryan Arndorfer, who is also Britt mayor, introduced the results the 2019 board officers. Jerry Tlach will serve as president, Jim Hasty will be vice president, Newton will serve as treasurer and Zwiefell will be secretary.

The Hancock County Economic Development Board is comprised of 15 members and four ex-officio members, who provide guidance and assistance to Jill Kramer, the organization’s executive director.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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