Maintaining the Home Court Advantage

News - 09.19.14

Existing businesses are our most important economic resource in the community and making sure that they are successful and capturing opportunities to grow is critical to community prosperity. That was the theme behind a business visitation program conducted this week as economic development representatives made the rounds in and around McCook. Representatives from Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NEDED) and Mid Plains Community College joined forces with McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to form three teams visiting over twenty key employers in the area Wednesday and Thursday.

The purpose of the visits is to take time to listen to owners and managers describe how the economy is affecting them, what opportunities and threats they see ahead, resources they may need, what aspects of the community they find helpful and those they would like to see improved. Team Members included Starr Lehl, Pat Compton and Kelly Gewecke Business Development Consultants with NEDED, Lena Koebel, Area Account Manager with the Mid Plains Community College Center for Enterprise and Mary Kircher, Housing Development Director and Rex Nelson Executive Director with MEDC. The exercise often referred to Business Retention and Expansion visitation is conducted every two to three years.

“Nationwide, most job growth comes from expansion in existing companies, says MEDC Executive Director Rex Nelson, and that is especially true in rural communities. So we know that our best returns come from investing time and resources to support those who already know and are invested in the local community. This gives us an opportunity to know where we may be able to help”. Survey data collected during the visit also helps inform state leaders as well. Members of the team felt that with many changes in state leadership including a new Governor, this information will be useful to guide the development and direction of future policy.

“We have seen amazing growth and investment happening in the last few years in McCook, and nearly all of it has been coming from our great family of existing businesses” says Nelson, “that really is our home court advantage”. A summary report will on survey findings will be prepared soon by NEDED staff.