Steve Adams, CEcD
I first became involved in economic development after comparing life goals with a student in my business communication class at Tarrant County Junior College in Ft. Worth. Tex.
"After I asked this particular student their career goals, they asked me the same question. I responded that getting into public relations or in the field of promotional or business development was a goal of mine. She, in turn, mentioned this to her boss Roger Yandell, who was the CEO of Yandell & Hiller, a large engineering and architectural firm in Ft. Worth." Roger interviewed and hired me to be the director of public relations for the firm and to help solicit contacts from the Federal government, primarily the Department of Defense (DOD). After a few years I took a similar position at Carter & Burgess, Inc., a much larger firm with offices throughout the country. From there I moved to become the Chamber and Economic Development director for the City of Mansfield, Tex. Chamber of Commerce from."
Serving as Mansfield's chamber director, led to my return home in 1992 to become the Chamber and Red Oak Industrial Foundation director in 1992. In 1995 we formed the Montgomery County Development Corporation (MCDC). In 1999, I joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a statewide Field Specialist for the Community and Economic Development unit and now have come full-circle to once again take on the role of MCDC executive director.
In the mid-90’s there was a lot more focus on industrial recruitment, especially in manufacturing. Today, manufacturing is still "extremely" important, but outside factors such as a lack of technology skilled workers, overseas outsourcing and robotics have displaced many employment opportunities in rural Iowa," "I also believe that we have learned, the hard way, that we cannot always go it alone and that collaboration and partnership on a regional and even statewide basis are critical. Today we have to rely more heavily on public/private partnerships for strong economic gain. Finally, and as the pandemic has driven home, we are now entering into a "place-based" pattern of development. People can now seemingly work from anywhere if the infrastructure is in place, such as high-speed internet. The national real estate market is also "white hot," so the communities that can take advantage of the out-migration from the coasts can be in an enviable position."
Some things in Montgomery County have priority for me especially as it relates to gaining high-speed internet. Beyond that, housing, whether that be second story, existing inventory or new home construction are going to be driving forces as well. A new focus on agricultural technology recruitment would also seem to be in order as we ARE an ag-based economy primarily. Finally, a substantial loss in our retail base, especially as it relates to general merchandise opportunities, needs to be a primary focus of our retail recruitment efforts.
"Montgomery County is a great place for us to "grow our own" business and retail opportunities, so we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. " “I love the field of economic development and having the opportunity to do it again in a community and county I have known my entire life was like a dream come true.”