Maryville makes top 10 for small-city industrial growth

By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum
March 9, 2016

Site Selection Magazine has included Maryville as one of its top 10 micropolitan communities for 2015 in terms of economic development connected to industrial growth and new or expanding enterprises related to warehousing, distribution, and technology.

Nodaway County Economic Development Executive Director Josh McKim said Maryville had never before achieved a top 100 ranking in the publication’s annual list, but made its debut with a splash by entering at No. 10 in a three-way tie with two Kentucky cities, Danville and Somerset.

Site Selection considered 536 micropolitan communities across the United States in compiling its list. A micropolitan area is defined as a community serving as a regional trade center that has a population of more than 10,000 people but less than 50,000.

McKim said the allowable population range means Maryville was competing against many significantly larger communities, and was, in fact, the smallest micropolitan area to make the top 10.

Most of the top-ranked cities, he said, have more than twice the population of the Nodaway County seat.

The other top 10 cities were: Findlay, Ohio; Cullman, Alabama; Wooster, Ohio; Tupelo, Mississippi; Batavia, New York; Shelby, North Carolina; Frankfort, Kentucky; Scottsboro, Alabama; and Valley, Alabama.

In addition, McKim said, Maryville was classed as the top micropolitan in Missouri and also outperformed micropolitans in all neighboring states except Kentucky.

Initiatives taken into consideration by Site Selection in determining Maryville’s place on the list included the $25.5 million expansion at the Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A. plant; the addition of a new line at Nucor-LMP Steel for the production of metal rods used in the fabrication of concrete railroad ties; construction of a new seed warehouse and distribution facility in the Maryville Industrial Park; the acquisition by new management of Rush Printing; construction of a new tank fabrication building by the J.L. Houston Co. in Hopkins; and expansion at the local Federal-Mogul Corp. facility, an after-market auto parts manufacturer.

McKim said detailed compiling of growth and development statistics for micropolitan areas is a fairly new practice in economic development circles that is proving beneficial for smaller cities seeking to recruit business and industry.

“There is a greater capture of information and data than what has been available in the past,” McKim said. ???When you’re trying to sell a business on profitability you have to have some data.”

Asked about what appears to be an upward trend in industrial growth locally, McKim said progress during 2015 was linked to both an improving economy and good planning by management.

“Some of our manufacturers have been planning for growth and looking for opportunities within their corporate structures,” he said, adding that the upturn has been aided by ???a highly productive workforce.”

Productivity is a ratio arrived at by dividing the total value of production by the number of workers. Local productivity, McKim said, exceeds the levels recorded both statewide and nationally.

“We have a strong workforce, a quality workface in northwest Missouri,” said McKim, noting that pro-business policies pursued by city and county government have helped out as well.

Looking to the near future, McKim said he expects 2016 to be another good year for growth, though perhaps not quite as impressive as 2015.

“We’re hoping to break into the top 100 again,??? he said. “That was a stated goal for 2015. We had never broken the top 100, and then we made the top 10. I was thrilled.???

Published by Conway Data Inc., Site Selection magazine is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council and the Global Foreign Direct Investment Association.

The magazine, headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, delivers expansion planning information to more than 44,000 readers including corporate executives, site selection consultants, and real estate professionals.