Brent Willett

Jacksonville, FL –  The Cultivation Corridor’s Brent Willett has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s 40 Under 40 awards, the only award of its kind recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.

An independent six-member selection committee evaluated and chose the winners from more than 150 finalists based on their exceptional contributions to the economic development industry. The award’s program was managed by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing.

Willett, 34, is Executive Director of the Corridor, a public-private regional economic development and innovation acceleration organization focused on growing Central Iowa’s agricultural science and technology sectors.  The group, overseen by a powerhouse board of directors, has offices in Ames and Des Moines.

“Iowa’s economic development and agriculture community is fortunate have Brent leading efforts to establish our state as the premier destination for research, investment, and talent in value added agriculture,” said Gage Kent, Cultivation Corridor Board Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Muscatine-based Kent Corporation.  “In less than 36 months, the Corridor has collaborated to bring more than $750 million in new capital investment and more than 800 jobs to Iowa. This result has raised the profile of our state in important agriculture circles around the world.”

A Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council, Willett has served in economic development leadership roles across Iowa, including in Des Moines, Fairfield and Mason City.  A Past President of the Professional Developers of Iowa, Willett joined the Corridor is April 2014 as its first executive leader.

40 Under 40 Final Logo (2)DCI’s 40 Under 40 award was designed to discover the economic development profession’s rising stars.  DCI officially announced the winners last night at an awards ceremony during the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Jacksonville and will feature an in-depth profile of each on its website during 2017.

“The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andy Levine, president of DCI. “They are a new breed of results-driven place makers.  We’re very pleased to Brent among the winners.”

“I was impressed by the energy and dedication of these developers,” said Zach Patton, Executive Editor at GOVERNING Magazine and 40 Under 40 selection committee member. “Their passion for good economic development really stood out in their smart innovations, thoughtful programs, and cool ideas.”

For more information on DCI’s 40 Under 40 winners, visit