With eight years as the president of Technology Association of Iowa behind him as well as past roles at Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, Brian Waller is well known as a leader in the Des Moines business community.

After talking with us about the 25th anniversary of TAI, he shared a few more insights for this innovationIOWA Leader Q&A.

What does innovation mean to you?
Creativity plus passion equals innovation.

What is one focus for your organization or industry this year?
It’s investing in the future of Iowa, and that’s through developing leaders. I think that’s our federal public policy development. I think you’ll see us with our Leadership Institute really focusing on developing that next generation of talent. We are focused on that next generation by awarding a computer science teacher and honoring those individuals. And then also I think you’re going to see us have a really focused federal public policy development process this year so we can speak to our Iowa delegation in D.C. of what our industry is, what it means to the state and what we need federally from these individuals when they’re making decisions on federal legislation.

What is one personal or career experience that influences how you perform your current role?
I’ve worked in environments where the culture within the organization was not the best company culture for a myriad of reasons. And when I came here eight years ago, I wanted to make the culture something very special, where individuals could come in and be one person, they don’t have to be “work Brian” and then “evening Brian.” I want people to enjoy their jobs. I want people to understand that it’s pretty special that we get to be a part of this association and this industry. I think it’s special that we get to do it together. And so at the end of the day, one of the most exciting things about this job to me is creating a company culture where people want to work. What’s influenced that is working in bad company cultures and wanting to make it a special place for people to be happy in their personal lives but make sure they feel like they’re making a difference in their work life.