Headshot of Sheryl Garst

Sheryl Garst



Sheryl leads the team in overseeing the economic vitality in redevelopment areas (specifically the Downtown), activating public spaces and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Garst holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University and is AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) certified. Prior to this she was the Director of Redevelopment for the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce where she managed the day to day operations of the Pottawattamie County Development Corporation (a parent organization for The 712 Initiative). She has past experience in the planning and implementation of redevelopment projects, developing and managing the Council Bluffs Downtown Revitalization Fund, and regional planning. In her career she’s served on numerous boards, commissions and professional organizations including the American Planning Association, Daily Nonpareil Difference Maker, Lincoln Fairview Neighborhood Association Board of Directors, Council Bluffs Historic Preservation Alliance Board of Directors, Pottawattamie County Community Foundation Board of Directors, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency Citizen’s Advisory Council. She also was appointed to the City of Council Bluffs City Council in 2011 to serve a 9-month vacancy. In her spare time Garst spends time with husband Matt and three children George, Audrey and Morgan.

Lynn Dittmer headshot

Lynn Dittmer

Director of Redevelopment


Lynn grew up on a farm outside of Remsen, IA and attended Iowa State University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning. Lynn is very excited to be with The 712 Initiative as she is passionate about the region in which she lives. For Lynn, building on the momentum already here and encouraging new economic opportunities for this community is meaningful work. Her previous work with Omaha/Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency and JEO Consulting provided her with experience in grant writing and administration, strategic planning, as well as facilitation. When not working on redevelopment projects or attending Farmers Market Council Bluffs, Lynn keeps busy in the garden, biking with the family, chasing the kids around, or cheering on the Cyclones.

Julia Woods headshotJulia Woods

Director of Programming & Events


Julia is a lifelong resident of Council Bluffs and has a degree in Business Administration and Finance from Iowa Western. Julia has worked in the nonprofit industry the past 3.5 years, specifically in community outreach. Julia is excited to work with The 712 Initiative to bring our community closer together by engaging them in activities that will fuel their social and physical well-being. Julia is currently the chapter President for WoodmenLife Pottawattamie & Mills County fraternal chapter, as well as the Secretary for the NE/IA Corporate Board for WoodmenLife. Julia joined the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board at the beginning of this year and has loved being part of their events committee and learning about and visiting all of our beautiful parks. When Julia isn’t at the office, you will find her with her two children, Madeline and Asher, boyfriend Kyle, two dogs Diggs (big Minnesota Vikings fan) and Astrid, or running and hiking the hills and trails of Council Bluffs.

Turner Morgan headshot

Turner Morgan

Neighborhood Coordinator


Turner is a lifelong resident of Council Bluffs and a firm believer in the power of collaboration. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Creighton University and came to The 712 Initiative with 8 years of nonprofit experience with Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. Turner is grateful for the opportunity work in his hometown, bringing neighbors and stakeholders together to find solutions to problems and help creative projects materialize. On his days off, you can find Turner tending to his backyard flock of chickens, or plopped on the front porch with his wife Abby and son J.J. Murphy. Turner is a member of the Gibraltar Neighborhood Association and ImpactCB.

Tammie Dodge 227px

Tammie Dodge

Construction Project Manager


Tammie grew up in North Bend, NE and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education. Tammie has more than 20 years of experience in construction and project management. When not overseeing one of our many project sites Dodge likes to garden and watch baseball, specifically the Chicago Cubs as she goes to spring training each year. She also keeps busy spending time with her friends and family, including her two children.

Krystal Johnson headshot


Krystal Johnson

Marketing & PR Coordinator


Krystal grew up on a small farm outside Waukon, IA. Unlike the rest of her family, farming turned out to not be in Krystal’s future. After high school, she moved to La Crosse, WI, and pursued an associate degree in Visual Communications at Western Technical College. Once she obtained her two-year degree, she decided to transfer to Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, and get a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Digital Cinema. Before coming to work for The 712 Initiative, Krystal worked a variety of different jobs within her field, such as a portrait photographer at JcPenny’s and a social media coordinator at an anime distribution company. When she’s not working or attending some sort of community event, she’s snuggled up on the couch with her two cats and watching something new on Netflix.