Bob Henningsen co-founded Smart Solutions Group nearly 12 years ago and has seen the company serve over 400 clients since it started. Over these 12 years, the company has grown to be a full service, solutions provider to the economic development and business community. Prior to starting Smart Solutions, Bob served for over 15 years as the business development and marketing director for the State of Iowa Department of Economic Development. He managed the state’s business development site selection/expansion services, financial assistance, entrepreneurial programs and marketing. During his tenure, he worked literally thousands of site location and expansion projects resulting in billions of dollars of capital investment.
Clark Smith has almost 30 years of economic development experience. Clark began his economic development career as executive director of the Hampton Area Chamber and Development Corporation. He then joined the Iowa Department of Economic Development working as a community consultant and manager of existing industry. Most recently, Clark was the director of economic development for Aquila, Inc. – Iowa. He has worked with hundreds of companies providing site selection/expansion assistance. Clark has been President of the Professional Developers of Iowa and the Community Development Society of Iowa. Clark also managed and owned a trade association business and started Butler House on Grand Bed and Breakfast which he sold in 2020 and is a Partner with SSG.
Sara Opie attended Simpson College for two years and graduated in broadcast journalism from Iowa State University, found the fast pace of the newsroom, short deadlines and vying for the most compelling headline or sound bite is what keeps her blood pumping. Most recently she was a public relations account supervisor for The Integer Group.
A 20-year primary focus on media relations has allowed Sara to keep her journalistic skills honed for Fortune 500 clients like Principal Financial Group and Jade Products Company, a high-end residential appliance division of Maytag, along with window and door industry leader Pella Corporation. Sara’s efforts on behalf of her clients have resulted in valued relationships established with Madison Avenue publishing houses from Hearst to Time Warner to Des Moines-headquartered Meredith Corporation. Sara has successfully placed articles on behalf of recent clients in The New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Consumer Reports, Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, The Los Angeles Times Magazine and The Robb Report.
Shelly Turner worked for Alliant Energy in Economic Development Marketing and Community Support activities for 9 years before leaving to start her own business in 2010. Turner Marketing Consulting works closely with small businesses and economic development organizations to help them with online marketing strategy including website content management and consultation, social media and search engine optimization.
Velociraster is a business marketing company specializing in customized integrated communications and technologies designed to differentiate and elevate brands in the marketplace. With over 50 years of dedicated experience, Velociraster provides a powerful blend of communication and technology skills.
The union of Smart Solutions Group’s decades of economic development experience, and Velociraster’s decades of technology and communication experience, has created a unique team able to produce cutting edge software and communication solutions for the economic development industry.