The 12th annual Sedalia Showcase, presented by EDSPC (Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County) and held Thursday, Aug. 18, featured guided tours of three local industries – Sierra Bullets, Starline Brass and Black Dawn.

Official presentations and recognitions took place at Bethel Assembly Church, 1201 N. William Parkhurst Drive, along with lunch for all invited guests and dignitaries, which included Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

The tour began with breakfast with the governor at the Fair Director's Tent, an annual tradition a the Missouri State Fair. Following the breakfast was a trip to Sierra Bullets and Starline Brass (located next to each other on Henry Street. A recognition luncheon followed at Bethel, hosted by Rusty Kahrs, president of the Board of Directors for EDSPC. Smith-Cotton JROTC members posted the colors for the event.

The special day also included a tour of Whiteman Air Force Base.

“We started this (event) in 2005. We wanted to focus on our existing manufacturing and to thank them for being here but we also entered the Missouri State Fair parade (representing area manufacturers on a flat-bed truck),” said Linda Christle, EDSPC executive director. The first year, the VIP dinner was attended by about 50 people in a small tent across from the Gerken Dairy Barn. This year, approximately 550 people attended at the director's tent.

Christle admitted it was exciting, but quite the challenge to feature three local industries this year for the tour, which had an ammunition theme. Special guests from all over the state were also invited to attend the Whiteman tour on a chartered bus. Christle noted that a lot of documentation was required for the WAFB tour to happen. “There were a lot of logistics,” she said, adding that planning for the 2016 event began in September, 2015.

“We have over 70 manufacturers (about 28 percent of the employment base) in this area, and the norm is around 10 to 12 percent,” she said. “That is huge.”

EDSPC makes sure that “every day, our existing manufacturing is first and foremost in our minds,” Christle noted. “The companies really appreciate it.”

The EDSPC director hopes that mindset continues when she retires in October. She began her tenure as the face of economic development in Pettis County in July, 2004. Jessica Craig was named her successor on Friday.

Christle noted that the showcase is a very expensive day, but emphasized that “we don't take anything out of the budget for this, it's all paid for by the partners and by donations. So we can use our budget to do other types of marketing,” she said.

Photos courtesy James Theisen.

James Theisen