Our Team

Peter Johnson
Executive Director

Greetings all! I am very excited to announce that I am the new Executive Director of Midwest Partnership Economic Development. I look forward to continuing the legacy of development Midwest Partnership has created in the Adair and Guthrie county region. I am originally from the Council Bluffs area, but currently reside in the greater Des Moines region. I recently graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Public Administration, and have been working with Midwest Partnership for almost a full year now as the Administrative and Marketing Coordinator. I am excited to be taking on the role of Executive Director and doing my best to serve the communities within our region.

I look forward to meeting and connecting with members of each and every community, and will do my best to serve whatever needs might arise. Midwest Partnership is dedicated to providing access and connecting people to resources that will help them or their businesses excel in our communities. I will do my best to be connected with our communities by attending events, development meetings, and visiting businesses. Karen and I will be working to better the quality of life and economic strength in our region, and we would be glad to assist anyone who needs it.

I look forward to interacting with each and every community so I can help promote growth in Adair and Guthrie counties! Feel free to reach out to Karen and I anytime.

Karen Varley

Greetings! I’m delighted to join Midwest Partnership to continue its history of growing the businesses and supporting the communities of Adair and Guthrie Counties. This region has been my home since 1989 and I am devoted to its future, having served on the boards of Adair County Tourism, West Central Valley Scholarships, Wallace Centers of Iowa, Stuart Public Library, and the Stuart Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been practicing law with my husband, Warren, in Stuart since 2016, after 18 years in the legal department of Pioneer Hi-Bred. We raised our four children on the family farm in Adair County. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, biking, and tending to a small flock of poultry.

In a word, I see Midwest Partnership as a matchmaker. We help match businesses with the resources they need to flourish. Those resources can include physical location, employees, utilities, transportation options, funding for innovation, and networking to solve problems. We connect with school districts and community colleges building the skills that employers are seeking. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we strive to enhance opportunity and improve quality of life for residents. Also, by working with all local communities we can amplify distinct voices to bring attention to shared concerns.  

We encourage you to connect with us. Peter and I will be out and about at your community meetings and events. I look forward to seeing you!

Board of Directors


Cheryl Marks, President
Rolling Hills Bank
Stuart, Adair County

Marty Doud, Vice President
First State Bank
Stuart, Guthrie County

Ryan Morrison, Secretary
Country Kitchen
Stuart, Guthrie County

Matt Wedemeyer, Treasurer
Adair County Supervisor
Casey, Adair County


Charlie Dunn, Farmers Electric Cooperative, Stuart, Adair County

Stacie Eshelman, Greenfield Chamber/Main Street & Development, Greenfield, Adair County

Everett Grasty, Guthrie County Supervisor, Stuart, Guthrie County

Brad Hayes, BH Appraisals, Guthrie County

Dennis McClain, Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center Community Schools, Guthrie Center, Guthrie County

Kristen Renslow, City of Stuart, Guthrie County

Jerry Sullivan, Farmers State Bank, Yale, Guthrie County

Scott Tonderum, Greenfield Municipal Utilities, Greenfield, Adair County

Mike Underwood, Guthrie County State Bank, Guthrie Center, Guthrie County

Julie Zajicek, Panora State Bank, Panora, Guthrie County