November 7, 2008
College hosts 2008 Cowley County Economic Forum
Bruce Schwyhart, President/CEO CornerBank moderated the 2008 Cowley County
Economic Forum, which took place Oct. 30 at Cowley College.
The Earle N. Wright Community Room seated 88 attendees for this year’s Forum, which included both local and national speakers.
Following a welcome to the College by Bruce Crouse, Executive Director of Business and Industry, Steve Hill, CornerBank Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, and Pam Moore, Executive Director of Legacy Regional Community Foundation, opened up discussion on wealth transfer.
Jessica Rajtar, Director of the Young Professionals of Wichita and Heather Arreguin, Manager of the Young Professionals of Wichita, offered advice on retaining young people in the community. Their thoughts were followed by a panel discussion with Cowley County young professionals, Kody Kahrs, Alex Gottlob, and Taggart Wall.
A Resource Fair was a component of the day. The Kansas Department of Commerce had three departments represented, Business Development, International Trade, and Workforce Development. Laurie Gooding, who was also a speaker at the Forum, represented network Kansas. Small Business Development, USDA Rural Development, and Workforce Solutions were also businesses that were represented at the Resource Fair.
The Resource Fair included five organizations from local communities; ABCDE – an organization that includes communities in Eastern Cowley County; Arkansas City High School’s “School Counts” work ethic program, represented by Angela Harding; Arkansas City Hospital; Cowley County Tourism Alliance; and the Young Professionals of Winfield.
Susan Neupoth Cadoret, Business Expansion & Retention Manager with the Kansas Department of Commerce presented her thoughts on growing and retaining businesses in the community. And Eddie Estes, President/CEO Western Kansas Manufacturers and Kansas Workforce Summit entertained attendees with his humorous views on youth education.
How important is the College Degree and the value of technical education. The late morning Panel discussion, which included Laurie Gooding, Susan Neupoth Cadoret, and Eddie Estes offered many bits of wisdom on where education needs to go from here.
Don Macke, Senior Partner with the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship shared his thoughts during lunch on growing a community. Macke presented three examples of small rural communities that found their voices and leaders resulting in growth.
Forum participants found the informative day to be very worthwhile. Many remained for the afternoon’s Candidate Forum sponsored by the Cowley College Democrats and Young Republicans.