Partnership Panel

Position Title: Partnership Panel
Position Posting Date: February 13, 2014
Date of First Consideration: March 7, 2014
Location: Waterloo, Iowa

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The Partnership Panel has a key role in the development of the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA).  This summarizes the roles and responsibilities of the Panel, and its relation to the SSNHA Staff and Board of Trustees.  A key objective in creating the Panel is its integration into the Silos & Smokestacks management process to build Iowa’s National Heritage Area.

A National Heritage Area is defined by the National Park Service as a place “where natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape from patterns of human activity shaped by geography . . . they are representative of the national experience through the physical features that remain and the traditions that have evolved . . .”  SSNHA exists to create a unique visitor experience centering on the themes of our agricultural and industrial heritage.  This will be accomplished by working with all partners to preserve resources, develop the necessary visitor and educational infrastructure, and interpret the stories of our heritage past, present and future.

Important values for the Partnership Panel are to think and work from a regional perspective: what is good for the Heritage Area as a whole is good for individual communities and sites.  To accomplish this, the Panel strives to create and work in a positive atmosphere of trust among many different partners and perspectives.

The Partnership Management Plan (PMP) states that SSNHA will work strategically in local areas or with certain partners in order to achieve maximum results.  Since Silos & Smokestacks is an area of over 20,000 square miles, it is important to have grassroots contributions of resources and program ideas from smaller areas and attractions within the region.


1. Administer Partnership Designation Program

  • The Partnership Panel serves as the review committee for the SSNHA Partnership Designation Program. The Panel will review process, criteria and approve the application to be used.  The Panel reviews applications and recommends partnership designation to the Board of Trustees.

2. Administer Grant Programs

  • The Partnership Panel serves as the review committee for the SSNHA Grant Programs.   The Panel will rank and recommend funding of grant applications to the SSNHA Board of Trustees.  Its purpose is to stimulate new and creative ideas and grassroots projects that will contribute to the Heritage Area’s long term development.  Annually, the Panel will review rules and approve the application to be used.  The Trustees will annually determine the budget for this program.  Currently the SSNHA Grant Programs are:
    • General Grant
    • Intern Grant
    • Bus Grant (No review process as grants are awarded on a first-received, first-funded basis. Panel will update guidelines annually.) 

3. Administer Ongoing Site Evaluations

  • The Partnership Panel established guiding criteria for designated sites, areas and points of interest to meet.  The Partnership Panel will explore the creation of a site evaluation program, including a site evaluation review team.

4. Advise Staff on other important projects

  • The Partnership Management Plan also calls upon the Partnership Panel to play an advisory role to SSNHA Staff.  This may be accomplished through formal meetings or through informal means such as email communication.  The purpose is to provide regional input on important projects or planning initiatives.

Partner Panel membership terms

Terms for the Panel members are set at 3 years.  Members are eligible to serve for 2 consecutive terms.  The anniversary date of each term is December 31.  There are 15 Panel positions.

The position of any Panel member failing to attend three (3) regular consecutive meetings, without excuse, may be deemed vacant, at the discretion of the Panel and the Board of Trustees by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote.  All Panel members who have missed two (2) regular consecutive meetings will be notified in writing of their attendance status and the consequences of failure to attend thereafter.

Annually or when a vacancy occurs, the Partnership Panel will nominate new Panel members to the Board of Trustees for ratification.

Expected time COMMITMENT of panel member

  • Typically, the Partnership Panel will meets quarterly, and each Panel Committee will meet once or twice a year on an as needed basis.


  • An ability to attend meetings on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis
  • A sincere interest in and belief in the merits of heritage development
  • A willingness to take a largely regional perspective


In 1996, Silos & Smokestacks, a private 501(c)(3), was congressionally designated as a National Heritage Area to preserve and tell the story of American agriculture and its global significance through partnerships and activities that celebrate the land, people, and communities of the area. Serving as Affiliated Areas of the National Park Service, each National Heritage Area preserves its own unique part of the American story. One of 49 National Heritage Areas in the nation, Silos & Smokestacks is the only National Heritage Area dedicated to preserving America’s agricultural story.