City, campus cooperate

| Kelsea Renz managing editor |

For the first time in three decades the Kelce College of Business and city of Pittsburg have collaborated to create an economic development report.
“From the mid-1970s until about 30 years ago, the Kelce College produced a quarterly economic report,” said Paul Grimes, dean of the Kelce College of Business. “Due to reorganizations and budget issues, the college was unable to continue publishing it.”
The idea to start producing the quarterly report again came during a leadership workshop with the city and regional economic development agencies a year and a half ago.
“The group advocated the establishment of a publication that would provide decision makers with relevant and timely economic data and analysis,” Grimes said. “Without good information, it is more difficult to make the choices that lead to optimal outcomes.”
This decision, while ultimately made by the city and agencies, reflected the ideals Grimes had come to Pittsburg with.
“He saw KCOB becoming an economic development resource and active in economic development,” said Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “That’s just one more advantage of being in a college community, is having a college that is willing to be engaged and involved in making the local economy healthier.”
Benson says the report will help the city in two major ways.
“It provides great information for businesses already here by showing the economic health for the community to help the businesses make plans,” he said. “It also is a great marketing tool for prospective businesses.
“They can look at economic indicators that show the economy is healthy and think their businesses can do well here. An important part in economic development is being prepared with information companies may ask for.”
The economic development report was put together mostly by Michael Davidsson, assistant professor of economics, finance and banking, and his assistant Deana Thompson, junior in political science.
“I used to do economic development reports for the Chamber of Commerce in Tulsa, Okla.,” Davidsson said. “It is used to compare the economic development in Pittsburg to the state of the nation for relative perspective.”
However, Davidsson and Thompson did not do it alone. Janet Zepernick, associate professor of English, did editing and proofreading; David Oldham, assistant professor of graphics and imaging technologies, created the layout and art; and several area businesses sponsored the report.
“I write and everybody talks to me, but I couldn’t do it without all of them,” Davidsson said. “It’s more than me and Deana working on this; it’s them too. Without them, we wouldn’t have a report.”
In addition to the people directly involved in the making of the report, the city also cooperated in the effort.
“The city helped financially,” Benson said. “Every business in Pittsburg got a copy of the report, so we helped with knowing who the businesses are, with the printing costs, and with mailing the reports out.”
The economic development report will continue to be produced quarterly.
“It’s great for KCOB to have access to information and put it in an easy-to-understand format,” Benson said. “It isn’t something the city could do by ourselves.
“It will continue to be a Pitt State project. The city will become a bigger financial partner to make their efforts possible.”

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