PEP Adds New Board Members, Depperschmidt Completes First Year


Eric Depperschmidt, PEP Executive Director


Prowers Economic Prosperity held its monthly meeting, Tuesday, March 6 which coincidentally marked the first full anniversary of Eric Depperschmidt as Executive Director of the county-wide economic development organization.

Rick Robbins presided over the majority of the meeting, but announced he was stepping down as president of the organization after two years. The PEP meeting agenda called for Election of Officers and Executive Committee Changes.  “It’s time that had someone new who will provide the leadership for the organization,” Robbins said, adding that he will still play a role.  As it turns out, it will be as Secretary, as he was nominated by acclimation to that position.  Aaron Leiker has become President with Anne Marie Crampton remaining as Vice-President and Lawrence Brase as Treasurer, also by acclimation of the board.  The group decided to expand the executive committee from five to seven members which includes the four principals and Joe Spitz as an at-large member.  Two others were included to serve with Prowers County Commissioner, Ron Cook representing the county and Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, serving at-large.

Depperschmidt’s report on economic development noted that representatives conducting a hotel feasibility study will be in the community on March 27th for a series of informational interviews, determining how well a new up-scale hotel would function in the area.  He noted that Pelsue, located south of Lamar on Highway 287 is continuing to work on that company’s expansion plans and the Sagebrush Meadows organization, seeking to develop a new nursing/assisted-living facility in Lamar, has reached its financial goal to pay for a feasibility study.  PEP had pledged additional funding for the organization when it reached that goal.  Depperschmidt added that two food processing companies have expressed interest in the area.  One requested an incentives application and another is seeking an existing facility for a new business.

Recapping his first year as executive director, Depperschmidt said the past year has gone by quickly. “We hit the ground running.  We were able to get the Rural Jump Start Program and the Enterprise Zone Program implemented.  Those were two big pieces for us, getting statewide incentives available for the county.  To have it happen in one year was very good for the board of directors.”  He added, “As far as having public and private members, they want to see results a little quicker. This time last year, I was just learning about the communities in the county or who would be important contacts for us in the state, now I have regular meetings with them as I represent Prowers County.”  He added that he and the board wants to see the membership grow along with business development in the county in the years to follow.  “The more goals we meet and the more the public sees we’re moving forward, the more secure they’ll be in adding memberships with us.”

Board members heard from two representatives of Ogallala Commons, introduced by Dr. Linda Lujan, President of LCC. John Witter and Darryl Birkendfeld presented an overview of a segment of their organization which serves to build internships among young adults and school students while their main goal is to provide revitalization tools for communities.  They seek to foster local entrepreneurial talent which will serve the communities on the High Plains through business development projects instead of relocating out of the area once they’ve completed their education.  The Commons is partnering with Lamar Community College which will provide business skills and opportunities.

The next PEP board meeting will be April 3rd at Las Brisas Restaurant in Lamar.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCollegeConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedSchoolYouth


About the Author: