Erin Olson-Douglas to Lead Community and Economic Development for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Erin Olson-Douglas.AMES, Iowa – Erin Olson-Douglas, an architect, urban designer and economic development specialist, has been named program director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development. She also will serve as associate dean for extension and outreach in Iowa State’s College of Design. She begins the position Nov. 8.

Vice President for Extension and Outreach John Lawrence said Olson-Douglas brings valuable experience to this position. ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development has a close relationship with the College of Design and works with all levels of government, ranging from townships and local governments to regional and state government agencies. The program also is well aligned with numerous state and local business and nonprofit organizations and has been proactively engaging Iowa’s growing Latino population.

“The role seeks to foster people and places throughout Iowa, an undertaking that I find most compelling,” Olson-Douglas said. “The opportunity presented by this position is a rare occasion to expand the horizon of my daily work and apply the spectrum of my career experiences, while building on my professional capabilities in my home state and with an institution that I hold dear.”

Olson-Douglas’ career spans nearly 25 years in the design and development fields. A licensed architect, she has served as a design studio instructor, a city planner and urban designer, an economic development professional, and a City of Des Moines municipal administrator.

Olson-Douglas has worked for the City of Des Moines since 2006, serving as director of development services since January 2020. Previous positions for the city included director of economic development, economic development coordinator, urban designer in the community development department and project director with the Downtown Des Moines Planning Project.

Earlier she spent nearly a decade as an architect and urban designer with firms including Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture and Substance Architecture in Des Moines and Chan Krieger & Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Olson-Douglas received her Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University and her Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University.

ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development offers education and research that build Iowans’ capacity to address critical issues in their communities. Faculty and specialists provide hands-on assistance in areas ranging from community visioning and retail district planning to small business resources and customer service, as well as strategic planning, goal setting, and facilitation. CED also helps Iowans apply research and data such as community surveys, data analyses, and economic studies to address community needs, and supports development of thriving local food systems statewide.

Shareable photo: Erin Olson-Douglas