Archive for the ‘Photo Feature’ Category

Executive Director October Update

AREA News, Events, News, Photo Feature - 10.26.18

One of my favorite shows growing up was the A-Team. The show was about four Vietnam veterans, framed for a crime they didn’t commit, helping the innocent while on the run from the military. Every week, it looked like they were in over their heads and this would be the time they would be caught and sent to military prison. The group of four, who each brought their own individual strengths, would always accomplish the near impossible to help a community. At the end of every episode, their leader, John “Hannibal” Smith would give his classic quote, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

As we continue looking at the challenges facing the McCook area and develop our strategic plan, there are some clear areas where we are planning to make a difference. One of the key areas is in the recruitment of retail. I traveled to Phillipsburg, KS and Holdrege to look at the success both of those communities have had in retail. Phillipsburg followed a grow your own approach, while Holdrege has had success recruiting national brands. We look to take aspects of both to provide a range of shopping options and fill some of our empty storefronts.

A second area of focus is to improve housing availability. We are still discussing a variety of options, but the short term goal will be to figure out incentives to encourage people to build new housing and to remodel our current housing stock. Over the long term, we will look to improve the capacity of the community to be able to build more and explore areas of growth for the community.

A third area of focus has been with business retention, expansion, and transitions. We look to increase our outreach to area businesses to identify the challenges they are facing. Based on this we plan to collaborate with area businesses to help them grow and eventually transition.

Fourth, we also want to look at workforce development. In this category, we hope to help connect area students with the jobs available in this area. We also will look at ways to attract individuals to this area. Part of this is found in our other areas of focus that includes improving our housing and retail options.

The MEDC board plans to spend extra time in November to develop a strategic plan and what would be the best way to help us meet our mission of facilitating the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of business in McCook and the surrounding area. Along with these areas of focus, we’ll also look at what are some of the big wins we want to have in the next five to ten years and how can we continue to make the Keystone Business Center a successful operation moving forward.

While we work on our strategic plan, there are also many projects moving forward. I have had the opportunity to serve on the BluePrint Nebraska team that is helping to create a 10 year plan for growth for the entire state of Nebraska. It is good to be able to provide a Southwest Nebraska perspective to this team. We also hosted a team of four new staff members from Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). One new member of Nebraska DED is working on a grant to help expose middle school students to career and technical jobs. A few local businesses made a good contact there and have the opportunity to partner in the future.

I have also been working with a leadership group of seniors and the high school to help expose both groups to the opportunities available in McCook. We are also partnering with the college on the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition. We are looking for new business ideas and businesses in their first five years that are looking to expand to participate.

I’m planning on looking at some of the successes we will have in the future and tell our board, “I love it when a plan comes together.” We have a variety of strengths in our community to help make this happen. As always, if you have questions or thoughts, please call me at 308-345-1200 or e-mail

Lopez Family Purchases Business Park Lot

AREA News, Events, News, Photo Feature - 09.05.18

Maria and Luis Lopez stand next to the entrance of the McCook Business Park, where they have begun work to open their auto/diesel shop next spring.

This May, McCook Economic Development Corporation welcomed the newest owners to the Industrial Park when Luis and Maria Lopez purchased #1 Industrial Park Drive. The Lopez family has moved to McCook from Denver with their four children, Felipe, 19, Anthony, 16, Maria Giselle, 12, and Isabel, 10.  They are planning to have their auto mechanic and diesel shop open in the spring of 2019.

Luis and Maria became familiar with McCook thanks to a good friend, Omar Carbajal. During their visits to McCook, the idea of moving to a smaller community grew for the Lopez’s.

Luis has owned his own repair shop in Denver since 2013. They sold their shop in Denver and have used the proceeds from the sale to move, buy and fix up a home, and now start to build their shop in McCook. They are doing most of the work themselves to get up and running and are excited for the opportunity to become a part of the community.

The Lopez family purchased the fourth business lot sold. Silverstone was the first occupant who came in 2002. Eleven years later, in 2013, Booe Machinery and Salvage became the second owner. Then, last year Next Generation made a major investment into the industrial park to expand their network of liquid storage for the agriculture industry. There are still four lots for sale at the industrial park.

McCook Employee Recruitment Video Available to Local Organizations

AREA News, Events, News, Photo Feature - 08.21.18





In an effort to assist businesses who recruit workers from outside the area, the McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) released a McCook Recruitment Video to improve the on-line presence for prospective employees. The four minute video features area amenities and testimonials of individuals who are proud to live, work, and play in the McCook area.

The idea of the video was initially formed by former Executive Director Andrew Ambriz and Acme Printing and Design owner Jared Muehlenkamp. Lexi Gross, who is studying Media at Fort Hays State University, was hired as a summer intern to capture the material and develop the video.


Andy Long, MEDC Executive Director said, “For the last couple years, I have heard from major employers who said it was difficult to attract qualified candidates to McCook. When all you see is a little dot on a map, it is hard to attract candidates. We can use this video to help us put our best foot forward and highlight the great quality of life found in southwest Nebraska, it helps make the right first impression to people considering employment here. Coordinating this effort seemed like a great way to provide a service to area employers.”


MEDC welcomes businesses and to link or embed the video on their website that can be found here: If anyone has questions or needs the code to embed the video, they can contact Andy at or 308-345-1200.