While the Prowers Economic Prosperity screening committee narrows its search for an executive director and a projects coordinator, the focus of the Tuesday, February 7th meeting centered on adding members to take part in a series of business roundtable discussions. PEP President, Rick Robbins, said the groups will focus on categories that represent the economic sectors of Prowers County.
“We’re seeking information for manufacturing, processing and distribution, agriculture, restaurants and services as well as recreation and tourism. These groups should meet monthly and can invite participants to offer their insights and experience into our efforts,” he explained to the PEP board members. Each round table committee will pool their information after a series of meetings and bring them to board members for discussions. Robbins said he wants to move forward with these plans now and not wait until a new executive director has been hired. Board member, Ann-Marie Crampton, emphasized that potential business expansion should be included in the discussions and the means by which those ideas can be facilitated.
Some basic thought-starter questions for each of the roundtable board members include: What are the greatest rewards you’ve had in your business or industry? What are your greatest challenges – from the client/customer perspective? This would include various regulations pertaining to the business operation as well as from employees, finances and education. What one major improvement would help your operation? Do you think your industry will grow, stagnate or decline over the next three years? What’s your best idea for jump-starting economic development in your area of the county and how can PEP assist you in your efforts? Robbins said one key element for each round table participant is to bring some level of passion into the mix, “If you have a specific interest in one area, feel free to move to that discussion, so long as you’re really enthusiastic about it.”
He added that the PEP board and the business community at large needs to overcome the inertia of isolation and used local manufacturing operations as an example. “There are some businesses that are just down the street from me and I haven’t learned the true extent of what they do or how they operate.” He emphasized that a learning process needs to be developed so each business becomes aware of what is manufactured in the community. That additional local information can be very valuable at some point in helping each other expand and grow their businesses. The next PEP meeting is set for March 7th at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.
By Russ Baldwin
About the Author: