It was a banner year for economic development in the Sedalia-Pettis County area in 2017 as evidenced by all the expansion and new building announcements.

Randy Kirby

Economic Development Sedalia Pettis County (EDSPC) Executive Director Jessica Craig outlined some of the many successes seen in the past calendar year in this area after a quarterly meeting of EDSPC's board of directors at US Bank, 3615 W. Broadway, on Wednesday.

"2017 was a wonderful year for economic development here in Sedalia and Pettis County," Craig said. "You know, we are coming off of many years of an economy that hasn't been growing too much, and we're seeing that tide turn a great deal."

Craig went on to detail just a few of the major pluses Pettis County has seen over the past year.

"We started off with the $15 million WireCo expansion, with 30 new jobs and retention of a couple of hundred jobs," she said.

"Capstone Precision Group located their new ammunition distribution facility in the former Alcolac plant that hasn't been operational in over 25 years," Craig said, adding that Capstone employs a dozen employees and are currently shipping product around the world from just east of Sedalia.

The old Alcolac plant, prior to Capstone, didn't have power, sewer or water, Craig noted, and now Capstone has elevated the facility to become a strong producer in the local economy.

And of course the biggest announcement came November 21 when Nucor made public plans to build a steel rebar micro-mill just north of Sedalia, with a capital investment of $250 million and over 250 jobs with an average starting salary of $65,000.

"Their crew has come to town and visit Sedalia and begin the construction process. We're excited to add Nucor to our group of companies as part of our family," Craig said of the Fortune 500 company.

Craig acknowledged that not every prospect interested in Sedalia comes to fruition, but that is not due to a lack of effort on EDSPC's part. However, "the pipeline is very strong," Craig said. "Frankly, I haven't seen business activity this strong in 10-15 years. I think that tells us a little bit about what the economy is doing, and it tells us that businesses are out there looking to expand, (with new locations)."

"Our goal here at EDSPC is to keep and retain the manufacturers and the industrial partners that we have throughout Pettis County and make sure they have what they need to be successful, whether it's infrastructure or qualified, trained employees. But we also want to continually add to our employment base. So business recruitment and expansion are definitely some of our focus areas," Craig told KSIS.

Craig thanked the board for their unwavering support in 2017.

"We have a great board of directors who come from many walks of life here in Pettis County. They act as great mentors to me, with great organizational leadership, as well as a great team," Craig said, singling out administrative assistant Betty Wood. "She's a wonderful team player. I can't say enough good things about the board and Betty."

The EDSPC Board of Directors meet again April 4. The annual "Works For You" awards banquet is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 26 at the Sedalia Country Club.