Engagement Result

Organization: City of Cedar Rapids, IA

Size: 126,393 residents

Expertise: Program Management & Disaster Recovery Services

Assignment: In July 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids engaged MainStream GS to establish a project management office (PMO) and create a project management discipline to drive fact-based decision making to support the flood recovery effort. Beginning the week of June 9, 2008, Cedar Rapids, Iowa experienced flooding of catastrophic historic proportions. The Cedar River crested June 13 at 31.12 ft, 19.12 ft above flood stage and 11.12 ft above the previous record set in 1929. The floods affected over 7,000 parcels of land and the flooding infiltrated well past the 100 and 500-year flood plains.

While properties throughout Cedar Rapids were impacted, most of the damage occurred in the City's downtown business district and surrounding neighborhoods. The flood affected three hundred twenty-five City of Cedar Rapids facilities. A partial list of facilities that experienced substantial loss include the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall, the Public Library, the Public Works Facility, the Central Fire Station, the Animal Control Facility, the Transit Facility and Bus Garage, the Water Pollution Control Facility, the Paramount Theatre, the US Cellular Center and a recreation center. The City faced a daunting task to implement a complex project structure to manage the short and long-term recovery.

Actions: MainStream GS deployed a highly seasoned Program Manager (PM) with deep experience in humanitarian crisis management to lead the engagement. This PM was aligned directly with the city manager, city government, and business leadership to establish the PMO and project management capabilities to support the recovery effort.

Results: An initial PMO capability was created within the City to support the recovery effort and serve as an asset for the City and the community. MainStream’s PM led the coaching and mentoring of a new lead project manager for the City on project management tools, concepts, and techniques. This training resulted in the City's lead project manager to acquire fact based decision-making processes and tools to support recovery effort.

The newly established PMO capability enabled the deployment and use of collaboration tools to support the management and coordination of flood recovery actions across government and business teams. In addition, the speed and impact of city leaders' decision-making through fact based decision-making coaching and mentoring was improved.

Our PM worked across the city manager, city council, county leadership, business leadership, NGO's, neighborhood organizations to create a Public/Private partnership organization (Economic Planning and Redevelopment Corporation) to support on-going economic planning, and development needs. In addition, a project scorecard was created and utilized across Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) including City, Not for Profit Human Services, and Not for Profit Housing Foundation, directly affecting over 2,100 homeowners. Our PM also enabled and sustained communication to encourage timely and fact-based decision making for impacted homeowners and small business teams. This effort included recruiting and developing community business groups to demonstrate leadership through regular presentations in community group meetings, radio, and television and newspaper interviews. Our PM also facilitated neighborhood and city organization strategies needed to support the sustained participation in community planning.