International Traders of Iowa (ITI) began in Des Moines in 1985 as a way for those working in the international business industry to connect and network on a regular basis. Prior to the formation of the group, there was little opportunity for training or education in the area of international trade, outside of an affiliation with the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. The group began meeting on a regular basis, offering its 50+ members from central Iowa a chance to learn from others in the industry through networking and social events.
In the early 2010s, other areas around the state expressed interest in beginning their own chapters, and groups formed in eastern Iowa (ITI-EIC chapter) and northern Iowa/southern Minnesota (ITI-NI-SM chapter).
The ITI-EIC chapter formed in the Cedar Rapids area, under similar circumstances—after an international trade subgroup of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce eventually dissolved when the Chamber transitioned to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. The group grew rapidly due to its focus around the needs of manufacturers in NE Iowa, offering members valuable education, events, and networking opportunities around export/import documentation and regulatory compliance.
By 2020, ITI members recognized the advantage of strength in numbers and moved to merge the different chapters into the original ITI group based in Central Iowa. The result is a focused membership-based group with one team of volunteer professionals dedicated to the marketing, communications, and administration of the state-wide association.
The larger group organization allows for greater reach across the state, and ITI membership continues to grow throughout Iowa and within several different industries. A student group at Drake University in Des Moines also gives students a chance to get involved.
Today, ITI meets regularly from January to June and September to November, hosting dinner meetings, educational seminars with guest speakers, facility tours, and other events for members. An annual golf tournament and dinner raises funds that are reinvested back into the group to provide guest speakers, forums and other professional and networking events. With members living and working throughout Iowa, webinars and other virtual events also provide great opportunities for education and connections.
Our leadership group members graciously volunteer their time to ensure the group fulfills its mission of serving individuals and businesses in Iowa in their pursuit of international trade.
If you have suggestions or other feedback for the group, contact us, or reach out to one of our leadership team members directly.