Forty Under 40: Timothy Whipple
General Counsel, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Friday, March 07, 2014 7:00 AM
When considering an undergraduate college choice in the late 1990s, Timothy Whipple decided against Drake University. He was an Iowa native, but unimpressed with Des Moines. He ended up going to St. Olaf College in Minnesota and taking a job in Madison, Wis., after graduation.
Mentor: Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority
Whipple needed to fulfill a foreign language requirement in college, and decided to take Latin. The experience helped make him a better writer, which has helped him throughout his career.
But when he was looking to go to law school in the mid-2000s and looked at Drake, his impression of Des Moines was very different the second time around.
“It was a completely different story,” said Whipple, who works for the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). “The city had committed, I think, to really improving its downtown core, and that made a big difference in us wanting to come back.”
Now, Whipple’s passion is helping Iowa succeed and create jobs.
As general counsel for IEDA, he oversees the state agency’s tax credit programs, administrative rules and general internal legal issues.
His job also involves lobbying for bills at the Iowa Capitol, and working with businesspeople and trade association members interested in IEDA programs and how they can be tweaked to work better for communities.
“I want to make sure that as we put public policy in place to bring jobs to the state, that those programs work,” Whipple said.
Whipple also served as legal counsel to the Iowa General Assembly before taking the job with IEDA in 2011.
Outside of work, Whipple helped coach the mock trial team at Urbandale Middle School, a team that won the state championship.
An attendee of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul downtown, Whipple got involved in a multichurch board for the Connection Cafe, which serves lunch five days a week to homeless and low-income individuals.
Whipple also enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.
Reasons he’s a Forty:
• He worked as legal counsel to the Iowa General Assembly from 2007 to 2011 before taking his position at IEDA.
• Whipple serves on the board of the Connection Cafe, which serves meals five days a week to Des Moines residents in need.
• He helped write legislation that restructured IEDA, formerly the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
• “Iowa is better off thanks to Tim’s passion for building economic development programs that really work,” Durham wrote.
• “Tim is a proactive strategic thinker who brings new ideas, energy and a strong work ethic to the projects he is collaborating on,” wrote Georgia Van Gundy, director of government relations for Principal Financial Group Inc.
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