Partnerships help industrial marketing
Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 7:00 pm
HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — With fewer financial resources coming from state coffers, Kentucky counties are having to rely more and more on regional economic panels to attract industrial development.
Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward, told The Gleaner (http://bit.ly/Ib0YmV) his organization has begun partnering with others, including the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., to attract industries.
Last fall, the two organizations hosted a luncheon in Chicago that drew 19 consultants.
“We got several (prospective industry) projects out of it,” Sheilley said. “It’s one of the most cost-effective things we can do.”
Sheilley said industrial prospects used to come from state officials, but continuing budget cuts have shrunk how much the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development can do.
“If we are to attract business, we can’t count on Frankfort to go out and tell our story,” Sheilley said. “We have to go out and tell our story.”
He said the organization would be able to do that with $2.7 million in pledges over the next five years.
The funding pledges are coming from local governments and private investors.
He said Northwest Kentucky Forward will continue meeting with site selection consultants to tell them about the virtues of the area — like the availability of competitively priced electricity, the number of aluminum companies and the closeness of major cities like Chicago and Detroit.
“What we’ve found is that consultants didn’t have negative thoughts about Kentucky — they didn’t have any thoughts about it,” he said. “They know Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky basketball. That’s all.”
In addition to seeking new industries for Henderson, Union, Webster and McLean counties, Northwest Kentucky Forward also has a staffer in charge of making sure the needs of existing industries are met and someone who works with companies and local schools to make sure students are offered the education and skills that industries need.
Information from: The Gleaner, http://www.thegleaner.com/