RDA Happenings October 2012
Posted on October 1, 2012 – By Emporia RDA
Recently I attended the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual meeting in Houston, Texas. It is the association to which majority of Economic Development professionals belong. Typically at these meetings there are multiple sessions at the same time. In other words, you can’t make it to all of the sessions.
The advantage IDEC is the conflicting sessions post their presentations on the IEDC 2012 annual meeting website. Some of the topics covered at the meeting were: Attracting Data Centers to Your Community; Economic Development Marketing: Present & Future; Turning Tragedy into Opportunity: Is Your Community Prepared? Reshoring Manufacturing Firms and Promoting Infrastructure, Logistics for a Globally Competitive Manufacturing Sector and many others.
Reshoring Manufacturing Firms and Promoting Infrastructure and Logistics for a Globally Competitive Manufacturing Sector were interesting topics.
Many years ago companies moved some or all of their manufacturing out of the United States to China. Today, some of those manufacturing operations are moving back to what is termed near shoring or on-shoring. The definition for near shoring is locating in Canada or Mexico, and reshoring is back in the U.S. The risk factors in CHINA, such as costs for labor, facilities and security are low, but costs associated with expediting, shipping, financial and inventory are high. This cost trend is predicted by 2015 the total costs of doing business in China will be higher than the U.S.
The other session which presented the topic of Globally Competitive Manufacturing Sector was presented by Mark Sweeny of McCallum and Sweeney Consulting. I was amazed at the level of analysis using GIS applications for a site screening process for a warehouse distribution center that needs good highway access, dual class I railroad access and barge access. Emporia has excellent transportation access with highway and rail, but terrible port or barge access.
Changes are coming. Just last month the Kansas Department of Commerce announced the elimination and consolidation of programs and staff. The most notable locally was the elimination of the State Main Street program. Other programs and staff eliminated not visible were the Trade Division and the Job Training program funded as the IMPACT program. Several of the employees the RDA office had more direct contact with were John Watson and Bill Thompson. These two individuals had over 30 plus years each at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Bill and John worked with Emporia on the Menu Foods and Hill’s Pet Nutrition projects which located here in Emporia. Emporia worked with them on several projects that chose other locations also. I want to thank both Bill Thompson and John Watson for making a difference in Kansas. I enjoyed working with them.
Another change that is coming at the Kansas Department of Commerce is the marketing budget has been cut over the years. The local Chamber of Commerce and/or local Economic Development organizations are being asked to contribute in amounts of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 to assist in KDOC marketing efforts in order to participate in some of the State sponsored marketing efforts starting in calendar year 2013. The RDA will be reviewing its marketing budget to determine our future retention, expansion and recruitment strategies for creating quality jobs for Emporia and Lyon County