Smith honored with Leadership for Iowa Award

June 20, 2014

Smith honored with Leadership for Iowa Award

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation and Leadership Iowa are proud to honor Walter Smith of Newton with the Leadership for Iowa Award, an honor bestowed annually on a distinguished alumnus of the Leadership Iowa program.

Recipients of this prestigious honor must show a demonstrated commitment to serve Iowa, have held a leadership role volunteering for civic and/or professional organizations, have demonstrated the ability to lead on difficult or controversial subjects and be involved in projects designed to enhance the quality of life in Iowa.

Honorees also must have a responsible position of leadership in employment or volunteer organizations that results in the potential to contribute to leadership development within a local or statewide setting.

Smith has exemplified all of these qualities with his civic and professional contributions in his hometown of Newton, statewide and as an ongoing supporter of ABI and Leadership Iowa.

“Walt is an extraordinary leader in his own industry, in his community and in his state,” ABI President Mike Ralston said. “He works tirelessly to inspire others and promote best business practices and Iowa values.”

Smith was a member of Leadership Iowa’s inaugural class in 1982-83 and served as the first chairman of the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors. He was born and raised in Newton and helped grow his family company there – Thombert, Inc., which manufactures polyurethane products. He also established IWTC, a successful chemical manufacturing company.

Those who nominated Smith for this award lauded his commitment to Newton and to the state. He has been active in Boy Scouts, both locally and nationally, and has served as a mentor to young, emerging leaders, among many other volunteer and leadership roles.


Leadership Iowa (LI) was founded in 1982 and is a premier issues awareness and leadership advancement program. LI challenges and inspires participants to make a positive difference in Iowa. The program has more than 1,000 alumni providing civic and professional leadership across the state.

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has been the voice of Iowa business since 1903, and its mission is to collectively provide a strong, unified voice to business and industry on issues impacting Iowa employers. ABI is currently comprised of approximately 1,400 Iowa members of all types and sizes in all 99 counties employing more than 310,000 Iowans.