Shoemaker Announces Retirement After 31 Years of Service for Pottawattamie County

Posted March 18, 2024
Posted by: Conservation

Pottawattamie County, Iowa – Following 31 years of service, Mark Shoemaker, Executive Director of Pottawattamie County Conservation has announced he will retire on August 30, 2024.

Shoemaker made the announcement at the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 19th. He began his career with the County in 1993 and has been in a leadership role for Pottawattamie County Conservation since 1997.

“It’s time for me to focus on my family and my own well-being as I move into this next chapter of my life,” said Shoemaker. “I know there are extremely qualified individuals that will carry on the vision and operations of Pottawattamie County Conservation, and that makes the transition a little easier.”

Under his guidance, Conservation has flourished. At the time of his arrival, department staff consisted of just seven employees. These days, Conservation oversees vastly expanded efforts with twenty full-time staff members and approximately 160 seasonal employees.

“As we’ve broadened our reach in land preservation, educational programs, and outdoor recreation, our staff has grown,” said Shoemaker. “That evolution is in large part due to the support of our Conservation Board, the Board of Supervisors, and the citizens of our county, and I’m grateful for that.”

The surge in popularity of Hitchcock Nature Center, and the future of Mt. Crescent, are among the items mentioned when asked about his proudest achievements. Retaining valuable employees, revered regionally for their expertise, tops his list.

“It has been a pleasure to work with a truly incredible staff throughout my career,” said Shoemaker. “I would and will do anything in the line of duty and personally for these people that I have come to know as family.”

Outside his work for Pottawattamie County, Shoemaker has been a fixture in the community, serving area organizations and agencies in a variety of roles. Amongst them, he has served on the Council Bluffs Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors since 2016, being appointed Vice President in 2020, before becoming Board President in 2022.

County leaders say Shoemaker’s impact will long be felt, not just due to his years of service, but because of his authentic personality.

“The campground improvements at Botna Bend, Arrowhead, and Olde Town Park that have been implemented under his watchful eye, are just a few of the great things I’ve been able to witness in my year and half with the County,” said Susan Miller, Chairperson for the Board of Supervisors. “The significance of merging Hitchcock Nature Center and Mt. Crescent into a Western Iowa destination has been possible because of a team of caring and gifted individuals with great leadership.” 

Conservation Board members say Shoemaker’s legacy is one that will continue to inspire for years to come.

“On behalf of the entire Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, I want to express our deepest gratitude for Mark’s years of dedicated service,” said Eric Hough, President of the Conservation Board. “His impact on our organization and our county is immeasurable, and his presence will be sorely missed.”

Photo from Board of Supervisors meeting on March 19, 2024

Video of Board of Supervisors meeting on March 19, 2024

About Pottawattamie County Conservation: The mission of Pottawattamie County Conservation is to provide meaningful experiences for people of all ages with the unique natural resources of Pottawattamie County through diverse and sustainable education, recreation and conservation opportunities. For more information, visit

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