Fleagle to lead Hoover Assoc.
News · February 15, 2013

The Hoover Association announced Sunday that West Branch native Jerry Fleagle will take over the duties of executive director starting next week.

Fleagle managed Jack & Jill in West Branch for seven years, leaving in 1985, then went on to become president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association for 14 years, leaving that job in April 2012.

Fleagle said he is “thrilled” to return to West Branch in this capacity.

“The West Branch community has always been near and dear to my heart, and the opportunity to come back is a dream come true!” he said. “The patience and grace the people of West Branch granted me growing up is something I have never forgotten. And they taught me a work ethic that was developed early in my career managing the Jack & Jill grocery store in West Branch, where I learned hard work was the shortcut to success.”

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association President Charlie Becker said Fleagle is a “proven association executive.”

“(He has) a track record of delivering successful membership, financial management, and public awareness programs with outstanding results,” Becker said in a statement. “Jerry is skilled at relationship building, as well as collaborating with members, staff and other stakeholders to accomplish Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association (HHPLA) goals. In particular, as a native of West Branch and having managed the grocery store on Main Street West Branch early in his career he brings an understanding of how HHPLA, the Library-Museum, the Historic Site, the Hoover family and the West Branch community can interact, work, and grow together. He will bring the energy and experience that will not only make an impact on HHPLA, but the entire community.”

The Hoover Association has been operating without a director since Becky Allgood left in November after six years with the organization. Fleagle will visit West Branch on Thursday to meet with the staff; he begins working Feb. 18.

Fleagle said he became interested in the job when he saw the Times story about Allgood’s resignation.

“I started checking into it and became more interested,” he said.

Becker said Fleagle helped grow the IGIA in several ways.

“(He led IGIA) by creating member value by improving programs, increasing visibility, and driving an organization with vision and a results-focused approach to the association,” Becker said. “Of particular note … Fleagle emphasized building relationships first, resulting in consistent recruitment of new members, as well as strong member retention. He grew total membership year after year for 14 consecutive years. Fleagle also served as the lead spokesperson and advocate for the food industry in Iowa on public policy positions while at IGIA.”

The Hoover Association notes that Fleagle won all three of the food industry’s national awards: the National Grocers Association State Association Leadership Award, the Food Marketing Institute Donald MacManus Award for Association Executives, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association Excellence in Government Relations Award.

“Fleagle obtained his Certified Association Executive designation in 2004, the same year he graduated from the Institute of Organizational Management, a program held over four years, and conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the University of Notre Dame, to earn his IOM designation,” Becker said. “He also concurrently managed the Iowa Grocers Education Foundation while at IGIA, helping lead efforts that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that funded over 900 college scholarships during his tenure.”

Fleagle said he looks forward to spreading Hoover’s legacy to not only Iowa and the United States, but “around the world.”

“President Hoover was an ‘Uncommon Man’, and a great humanitarian,” Fleagle said, referring to the president’s famous speech. “To be a part of the team to help tell the story is an honor! … To use previous work experiences, and be around a love of American History that oozes out of the Library-Museum, and then get a chance to ‘come home’ was too good to pass up!”

Becker said several groups were involved in the interview process or gave input: the Association, the Hoover family, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and The City of West Branch

“It was very important to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association to have the input of the major stakeholders in this decision,” Becker said. “”Each of these entities played a key role in the interview process and each found Jerry Fleagle to be the exceptional candidate.”

Fleagle said he and his wife, who currently live in Clive, are looking for an apartment right now and hope to eventually purchase a home in West Branch “or as nearby as possible.”

His sisters, Glenda O’Neil and Teresa Shaffer, still live in West Branch.

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