Grassroots group forms to focus on OC economy

Grassroots group forms to focus on OC economy

Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 9:07 pm

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Local entrepreneur Tim Brady has started a grassroots movement to deal with Obion County’s economic future.
He has enlisted the help of some key local volunteers and is targeting the 20- to 40-year-old market to help come up with a plan for the future.
An organizational meeting was held Feb. 25 at the Obion County Public Library, where a group of eight volunteers turned out to hear Brady’s ideas. A self-described facilitator, the rural Kenton resident unveiled his plan for a new movement called Obion County’s Future Committee.
Ambitious is Brady’s plan to make the committee a key element in dealing with the recent announcement by Goodyear that it will be shutting down its Union City plant by the end of this year.
By targeting the 20- to 40-year-old demographic, Brady said he is focusing on the “backbone of our economy … the financial strength of the area.”
“You’ve got to have that group,” he said last week.
Brady said the Goodyear news creates “a potential for a tremendous exodus” from the community, and that’s something he wants to prevent from happening.
He has recruited volunteers for Obion County’s Future Committee using Facebook and by contacting specific people by telephone. So far, Brady has recruited eight “challenge leaders” for his project — Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire, Eric Frilling, Judy Barker, Steve Goodrich, Mike Hagan, Bedford Dunavant, Ed Sims and Dr. Jamie Frakes.
More than 40 people have expressed interest in the project through Facebook, according to Brady.
“I think I’ve got a good group of people here … good listeners,” Brady said.
He will connect his eight “challenge leaders” with his group of young volunteers and will apply his Fast and Furious Problem Solving Program™ to focus on key issues dealing with Obion County’s economy — industry, entertainment and tourism, agriculture, communication, transportation, housing, small business development, education, safety and aesthetics.
Brady’s program involves eight tables with one “challenge leader” set up at each table. Those chosen to take part in the exercise will participate in a 10-minute roundtable discussion at each table before moving on to another table with a new group of participants. The “challenge leaders” will record ideas and solutions brought up during the session and the entire group will ultimately discuss the challenges and will assign work teams to deal with the different ideas.
He said he has used his Fast and Furious Problem Solving Program™ nationwide with great success and he is hopeful the program will be able to help Obion County.
Brady brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the new project. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, UCLA and Santa Monica College, where he focused his studies in the areas of marketing, business administration and accounting. He has a broad background in different business fields, including being a small business coach, small business owner, published author, business editor and columnist, international trade consultant, licensed real estate agent and insurance agent, and he is a noted national speaker on Best Business Practices.
With his extensive professional training and knowledge, Brady hopes to inject a new approach to economic development through the newly formed committee.
He told last week’s meeting that “the energy of the young adults in the region” is this area’s best asset. By involving them in a plan to address specific “challenges” being faced by the county, he expects meaningful results.
“We’ve got a lot of assets in the area … a lot of possibilities,” Brady said. “You guys are the foundation and the strength of the area. We need to keep the best and the brightest here.”
One of the keys to the success of Brady’s project will be the involvement and participation of the 20- to 40-year-old market he is recruiting to be a part of Obion County’s Future Committee.
He encouraged those who turned out for the organizational meeting to get involved and not be spectators.
“Be a part of your future,” Brady said.
For more than 90 minutes, Brady facilitated the organizational meeting. He brought up the need to support local businesses and said, “What we need to do is to reinvent ourselves.”
Brady encouraged the group to look to the Internet and other resources to discover ideas.
“That’s what we need to do is to create things that contribute to the economy,” he said.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 3.4.11

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