Missouri Governor’s Conference on Econonomic Development

Last week, we hosted the 2011 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Springfield.  If you follow me on Twitter at @KatiesTrail, I tried to share some activities of the conference, including the insightful speeches and breakout sessions.

I was honored to open the conference and introduce Springfield Mayor Jim O’Neal as he welcomed all.  He understands how important the meetings and conventions industry is to Springfield, and we were pleased he was able to extend the welcome for all the attendees to enjoy his city during their stay.

A highlight of the conference was when Gov. Jay Nixon recognized 13 outstanding individual and group successes, and I thought you might be interested to know more about this esteemed group.

We will recognize leaders in the tourism industry during our annual Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in Jefferson City from October 11-13.  Stay tuned as we announce and recognize this year’s class during our annual banquet.

Colleen White, Belton, was presented the Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction for work that has made a significant impact upon women and their families.  White, president of Strategic Workplace Solutions, has nearly 30 years of labor law compliance and workplace relations experience. She is actively involved with many projects in the Kansas City area, providing her insight on labor law compliance.

DuraComm Corporation, North Kansas City, was the recipient of the Governor’s Minority and Small Business Award, which is presented to a business that has demonstrated outstanding success by contributions made to its community and local economy.  DuraComm Corporation was formed in 1993 in Kansas City when a two-tone voice paging business merged with a supply company. It is owned by Asian-American entrepreneur Benny Lee and is a certified minority business enterprise.

Clifton R. Cohn, principal and chairman of the board, Yarco Companies, Kansas City, was presented the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. The award is presented based on the recipient’s dedication to the cause of affordable housing and for tireless work to meet the housing needs of the people of Missouri.  For decades, Cohn has implemented unique solutions to turn around troubled multi-family communities. During his career, he has developed more than 8,000 apartment homes in more than 70 communities, with total developed values in excess of $550 million.

Linda M. Christle, Sedalia, was awarded the Governor’s Career Service in Economic Development Award for her betterment of economic development in Pettis County and her proactive efforts to grow and retain all of the area’s current employers. The award is presented to a person in the economic development profession for hard work and dedication to the industry.  Linda is such a welcoming host to Sedalia each year during the annual State Fair events, including the Sedalia Marketplace.

The Governor’s E3 Award – Excellence in Education, Economic Development and Employment, was presented to Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Three Rivers College, Poplar Bluff. The award, from Missouri’s Workforce Development System, recognizes innovation and leadership in education, economic development and employment.  Since before his official arrival at Three Rivers, Dr. Stephenson has sought partnerships that benefit the college, actively reaching out to individuals, businesses, community leaders organizations and government officials. They have responded by partnering with Three Rivers at unprecedented levels to support the college and its mission of providing better lives for area residents.

The Governor’s Community/Redevelopment Award, which recognizes the best example of community/redevelopment projects providing a significant impact on the community and its citizens, was presented to Discovery Center of Springfield (DCS), Springfield.  DCS turned three old buildings and a parking lot, which were in disrepair and located in a blighted part of the city, into a premier facility and science center. DCS created an educational tool for not only students, businesses and families, but also for the design and construction industry in southwest Missouri.

The Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award was presented to Holloway America, Springfield. The award is presented to a Missouri small or medium-sized manufacturing or service firm that is either new-to-export or new-to-market; demonstrates outstanding export performance; and has utilized the services of the Missouri International Trade and Investment Office in its efforts. Holloway America designs and manufactures stainless steel vessels for many industries. It currently exports to 17 countries.

The Governor’s Innovative Industry Training Award, which recognizes a business or group of businesses that demonstrates outstanding accomplishments resulting in a positive impact on the community, the workforce and/or the company’s success through involvement in industry training and education, was presented to SRC Holdings Corporation, Springfield.  SRC Holdings and Ozarks Technical Community College developed a “customized college credit” program for SRC employees. Courses are held on the company site at times that meet the needs of the workers’ shifts.  On-site classes decrease travel time, lessen congestion on the main campus and allow for classes when the college historically is closed.

Christopher Reynolds, president of business development, and Phillip Reynolds, president of products at Intuitive Web Solutions, Springfield, were the recipients of the Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The award is presented to a principal(s) with an entrepreneurial company who has demonstrated significant leadership in launching a new business, creating private-sector employment opportunities through an innovative business concept, developing a new technology or adopting/applying an innovative manufacturing process. Intuitive Web Solutions, LLC (IWS), is a software development firm that has become a leading provider of web-based, enterprise-level software for small property/casualty insurance carriers.

The communities of Bethany, Louisiana and Richland received All Missouri Certified City designation under the Missouri Community Assessment and Planning Process (MoCAPP).

Congratulations to all of the honorees. Missouri is “Empowered to Deliver.”