EDSPC (Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County) will honor 25 local industries celebrating milestones next week at the Sedalia Country Club.

The annual event is called a Manufacturer's Milestone Banquet and takes place Oct. 11. A total of 21 of the 25 companies to be honored are expected to attend. Each of the 25 are celebrating their longevity in business in five-year increments.

EDSPC Executive Director Jessica Craig spoke with KSIS after a quarterly meeting of the EDSPC Board of Directors that was held Wednesday at US Bank, 3615 W. Broadway, where the EDSPC offices are located. Craig is expecting upwards of 280 people to attend.

“This is a program that we launched some 15 years ago as way for us to recognize companies for every five years they're here in our community. So we highlight five-year milestone anniversaries for companies, whether they've been here five years, 50 years or 100,” Craig said. “Our numbers are up and we look forward to seeing everybody there.”

Attendees typically hear about the history of each company by Board President Rusty Karhs, followed by a plaque presentation to the company owners or CEOs, saving the oldest companies for last. A fine meal served by Country Club staff precedes the speeches.

During the meeting, Craig stated that there has been "a very strategic approach to make events" such as the Manufacturing Milestone Banquet "more self-sustaining." She credited Executive Administrative Assistant Betty Wood with helping to trim costs associated with these events. Since taking over the reins of EDSPC two years ago, Craig and her staff have made a concerted effort to fund special events with donated money and services from multiple sponsors.

Also during Wednesday's meeting, Craig noted that the corporation's financials are "sitting pretty well." A recent audit revealed "no significant findings" in 2017. As for 2018, EDSPC is "ahead of budget." And prospects are looking good.

"We have great business activity from companies that are new to the area that don't currently have facilities here, but also from our existing businesses. We're seeing a lot of them reinvesting, adding jobs, maybe new product lines and equipment," Craig said, adding that there are many new companies that could ultimately choose Pettis County as their new home.

Availability of real estate to market to companies in very important, she noted. "We do have a few available buildings here in Pettis County. That always helps us with requests for site selections, as well as real estate, both small and large parcels, that have good infrastructure, water, sewer, utilities, etc., so those are very marketable attributes."

Craig said that EDSPC works with property owners and brokers throughout the community to learn what buildings are available on a daily basis. "We always keep an up-to-date listing of available sites and buildings on our website, and that's fed into a national platform, where anybody throughout the US and beyond, really, can look at the available sites and buildings right here in Sedalia and Pettis County," she said.

Randy Kirby

The departure of EDSPC board member and Eastern County Commissioner Brent Hampy for a job as FSA state director meant that the board needed to replace him with another commissioner. Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick will fill out Hampy's term on the EDSPC board.

"Brent Hampy has been the county's representative on the economic development board for many years now, and has been a wonderful component of our board and has been strategic in many of our initiatives during his tenure on the board. So with his new post, we are excited to have David Dick now as the county's representative on the board. So we are in great hands with David," Craig said.

For more information, go to EDSPC online.

In the photo: EDSPC Executive Director Jessica Craig and EDSPC Board President Rusty Kahrs preside over a quarterly meeting of Economic Development Sedalia Pettis County on Wednesday at US Bank, 3615 W. Broadway.