Reeling in the Big Fish

17 Dec 2014

With the task of recruiting a new business or industry growing more competitive each year, how can Phelps County successfully “reel in a big fish?”


Like fishing, industry recruitment involves persistence and the right location. But, “snagging the catch of the day” in economic development also involves teamwork, collaboration and flexibility.


PCDC Executive Director Monica Boyken describes herself as a “dog with a bone,” when it comes to never giving up and being persistent in industry and business recruitment.


Monica and the PCDC board understand that economic development requires never giving up.


Although it took years to come to fruition, persistence and patience paid off when the PCDC team finally secured 134 acres of land west of Holdrege earlier this year. This location opened many new possibilities for business recruitment.


A general rule in economic development is that location matters.


“The business & industry park’s location alongside a short-line rail provides us with a competitive location advantage,” Monica said. “Furthermore, in conversations with a natural gas expert, I’ve found that our location between two major natural gas pipelines provides us another competitive advantage. While Nebraska is already known for its lower utility rates, NPPD, our power supplier, has beefed up its competitiveness with an electricity cost reduction plan that can be used as an incentive for our recruits.”


It is important to understand Phelps County’s assets and realize that no location is perfect. The location that best matches the client’s need is going to win the prize.


A successful catch will also require teamwork among elected officials, business leaders and economic developers. Local governments need to have in place rules and regulations that encourage business expansion and make it easy and quick for a new company to build and do business.


“Being a smaller community, it SHOULD be easier for us to rip apart old red tape and make local agreements that speed along the authorization processes,” she said.


Click the link at the end of this story to learn about 10 key truths of economic development that helped Nevada “reel in” a billion dollar company.


“This kind of project is a far cry from the size and scope of prospect Phelps County can anticipate wooing in the future,” Monica said. “We ARE realistic. The article, though, points out some areas where we might one day be able to make ourselves competitive.”