Archive for category: Business

NCED hosting Facebook photo contest

Categories: Business, Community, InnovationAuthor:

Maryville Daily Forum
May 19, 2018 Updated May 19, 2018


MARYVILLE, Mo. — Nodaway County Economic Development, in cooperation with the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce, will be awarding $50 in Chamber Bucks to a person who submits a photo of Nodaway County to the NCED Facebook page and receives the highest number of likes and shares.

The contest is currently underway and will be open to entries through June 21.

“NCED is looking for images that capture the character and beauty of northwest Missouri,” according to a Wednesday morning press release.

Photographers are encouraged to consider “old barns, sunsets/sunrises, animals, nature, sky pictures, kids playing baseball, or anything you want it to be.”

According to the release, “photographs taken in any format an on any photographic tool will be accepted as long as they are appropriate.”

We hope this photo contest will encourage locals to look at the beauty and joy surrounding our great county. We hope that the next time someone sees a beautiful sunset, a child laughing or a deer bounding they will solidify that memory and moment and share with the rest of the county. Contestants have the opportunity to have their photos used in NCED’s efforts to promote the community.” NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said.

“The subject matter of the image could range from a simple shot that speaks to our rural heritage or to the quality of life we enjoy in Nodaway County.”

According to the release, entries will be judged solely on the number of like and shares the Facebook post receives.

Love of number crunching serves McKim in NCED role

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Josh McKim originally wanted to be the stereotypical version of the number cruncher.

“My first thought of what I wanted to be was that I imagined myself as the guy in a basement with one working light bulb right above me, just crunching data,” McKim said. “I love data and numbers because they help me understand what’s actually going on past how the rhetoric tries to twist it.”

McKim received his bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 2000, but interestingly enough, he did so in history.

“I had enough credits to have a bachelor’s degree in economics, but I chose to do history instead,” McKim said. “Back then you couldn’t double because it would be a bachelor of arts in history and a bachelor of science in economics.”

McKim then went to Oklahoma State University to get his master’s degree in economics, which he received in 2004. After that, he applied for “any job with ‘economics’ in the title.” His career began at the Regional Council of Governments in Maryville, but when his wife became pregnant with their second child, he said he needed to find something with good health insurance.

From there, he spent some time in Kansas before returning to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to serve as the executive director of their economic development efforts. After five years, McKim spent some time working in the private sector doing logistics and bidding until he found something to bring him back to Maryville.

“When they announced that the Energizer plant was closing, I knew I wanted to come back and try to help the area recover,” McKim said. “I had experience with that sort of thing, as it had happened before with me, (in Stillwater).

“I knew how to work to try to help the area recover after losing a major employer like that, and when this job opened up, I applied. I figured it would be a great way to give back to my hometown.”

McKim started his current position on Jan. 1, 2014, and immediately began working to help fill the void that was left by the Energizer plant. He said the important thing to remember when trying to replace something like that is to fill the space with another major job creator.

“Unfortunately, though we filled the space, they haven’t created nearly as many jobs as Energizer had,” McKim said. “When you don’t have that home-run job creator, you have to single and double your way to making up for those jobs.

“That’s what we ended up doing, and as a result, we’ve created 450-500 more jobs than we had at our lowest point after Energizer’s closing. That’s an entire warehouse worth of jobs, and we did it by creating 10, 15, 20 jobs at a time. Other plants opened up extensions and new lines for manufacturing and some of our other employers in town added positions and people to their staff as they could afford.”

Now, McKim said, the problem has become filling those jobs. He said Nodaway County Economic Development has been hard at work trying to recruit people from other areas to come to Maryville to fill those jobs.

“We’ve started a whole marketing campaign around coming to Maryville as an individual and as a family,” McKim said. “We talk about how the area’s quality of life is great, the different things that Maryville and Nodaway County have to offer, and do our best to sell Maryville to individuals as much as we do to other businesses.

“We looked at major layoffs and closures throughout the region, and that’s where we’re targeting this advertising. We’re trying to convey the message that this is a community where they can rebuild their lives with new opportunities.”

Outside of the office, McKim is involved in the Maryville community by serving on the Maryville R-II Board of Education, the new Maryville tourism committee, Downtown Maryville, the Missouri Economic Development Council Board and the Northwest Roundtable for Economic Development.

When asked for advice, McKim had two main areas to focus on.

“The first one was when I was younger and early in my working career, and I corrected my boss in a meeting,” McKim said. “He pulled me aside later and told me to wait until after the meeting to correct him, and it taught me that it’s just as important to be considerate of others and respectful as it is to be right.

“The second is one I wish I had learned earlier, and that is to never discount any of your experience. I did a lot of things in the private sector that are easily transferrable to my current job, and it gives me a lot of perspective that some others don’t have. Just because you switch jobs, careers or industries doesn’t discount your past.”

Mozingo hotel manager preps for April opening

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum

As the April 1 opening date nears for the new Boulders Inn & Suites Maryville hotel at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, newly hired General Manager Sharlet Dumke is busy preparing for the lakeside lodge’s first season as electricians, painters, carpenters, and other workers put the finishing touches on interior construction, finishing, and furnishing.

Dumke is no stranger to Maryville, nor is she a hospitality industry novice. After completing a degree in food and beverage management at Northwest Missouri State University in 1999, the Iowa native immediately went to work for Aramark Corp., which served then — and still serves — as the campus’ food-service vendor.

After breaking into the business as the catering director for another Aramark client, Michigan State University in Lansing, Dumke returned to Maryville in the early 2000s, filling a similar position at Northwest.

But when Denison, Iowa-based Boulders Inn & Suites, which is developing the Maryville lodge in conjunction with a group of local investors, started looking for someone to assume responsibility for hotel operations here, Dumke decided the time had come for a change.

On the job since January, she has spent the past month and a half hiring staff and working with a growing list of clients who have been queueing up to reserve rooms for a variety of special events and gatherings.

So far, inquiries and advance bookings have come in from customers seeking lodging for weddings, school and family reunions, anniversaries, golf tournaments, football games, homecomings, and corporate retreats.

Dumke said the “resort” nature of the hotel’s business model is one of the things that attracted her to the job as opposed to managing a typical business-class hotel located on a retail strip or along the side of a highway.

“We’re a little off the main drag,” she said. “So it’s more event based — more than people just looking for a place to stay.”

As the catering director at Northwest, Dumke is used to helping organize large functions and creating an atmosphere in which people can relax and enjoy each other’s company.

“That was one of the big draws for me,” she said. “I still get to be a part of everybody’s special occasion.”

The other reason Dumke decided to go after the Boulder’s job has to do with her affection for her adopted hometown, which she has no intention of leaving.

“We’re going to stay in Maryville,” she said, “and I like the opportunity here (at the Boulders lodge) and the connections I will continue to have with both the university and the town.”

She added that since many of the golf tournaments, reunions, and other events expected to center around the hotel will have at least some connection with Northwest, a lot of her future customers will be people she has worked with before.

Another plus, Dumke said, is the chance to create synergy with a neighboring conference center and golf course clubhouse being built by the City of Maryville that is expected to open early next year.

Among other amenities, the conference center is to include a large banquet hall and a privately operated restaurant, operations that Dumke said dovetail with her food service experience.

“I’m excited about the conference center,” she said, noting that she is looking forward to working with center staff to provide guests with a multi-faceted experience that combines lodging, food, golf, and opportunities for social and business gatherings along with access to fishing, boating, horseback riding, hunting, and other outdoor activities.

Dumke said she first became aware of Mozingo’s possibilities as a recreation, vacation, and event site through her husband, Howard Dumke, who teaches third grade at Eugene Field Elementary School and works security at the lake during the summer.

Talking about Mozingo with Howard, she said, made her more aware of the park’s existing role as well as its potential.

As the hotel’s general manager, Dumke said she will often be responsible for providing the initial round of information to those seeking to find out exactly what the lake and surrounding 3,000-acre park have to offer.

“It’s the whole experience,” she said. “But people tend to book their rooms first and then start planning other activities. So I’m the starting point, and I’ll be able to help guide them to all those other places.”

As for the hotel itself, the facility will offer 40 units with king- or queen-sized beds. The room mix includes four suites as well as two handicap-compliant rooms on the ground floor. At maximum occupancy, the lodge will be able to accommodate about 146 guests.

Other features embrace a large breakfast area equipped with café tables and a sofa and easy chairs arranged in front of a large, stone-faced fireplace.

Besides a complimentary hot breakfast, the hotel will offer patrons a pantry market selling snacks and convenience items, a small fitness center with aerobic machines and free weights, Simmons pillow top mattresses, in-room 43-inch flat-screen televisions, wifi access, and a business center.

So far, Dumke has hired 10 part-time staff to fill housekeeping, front-desk, and other roles. Final staffing numbers, she said, will depend on occupancy rates. The lodge will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On other fronts, Boulders Inn & Suites Project Manager Nate Houston said efforts are moving forward to market the hotel and erect various kinds of signage, including a couple of billboards and a “monument” sign somewhere near the main park entrance at Highway 136 and Liberty Road.

Houston said the lodge will be the 13th hotel opened by Boulders Inn & Suites and the first outside of Iowa. He said a grand-opening is planned for sometime in late April.

Manufacturing course seeks to fill skills gap

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum

It’s a tough economy, right? Jobs are hard to come by, right? U.S. manufacturing is mostly outsourced overseas, and there just aren’t any good factory jobs anymore, right?

Wrong, says Josh McKim, executive director of Nodaway County Economic Development.

In Maryville at any rate, McKim claims, factory jobs are going begging, and local plants are putting off adding new shifts and opening new lines because they can’t find enough trained workers.

The key word in that sentence being “trained.”

Factory workers these days do a lot more than perform simple, repetitive tasks as various widgets move down the assembly line. More often, they control computer programs that tell very smart machines what to do and how to do it in an environment that calls for considerable technological know-how.

And while, according to McKim, Nodaway County workers are among the best in the nation when it comes to productivity, there are currently not enough of them to staff local factories whose managers say they are poised for growth.

In order to address the shortage of trained workers, NCED, the Maryville R-II School District, Northwest Technical School, and North Central Missouri College in Trenton have been working together on a program that could eventually provide specialized training to people seeking to enter the local workforce

The conversation began when plant managers here let it be known that existing vocational programs at Northwest Technical School aren’t really preparing students for careers in manufacturing.

NTS currently offers training for both traditional high school students and adults in the areas of agriculture, automotive technology, business and technology, childcare, collision repair, culinary arts, health science and technology, and welding/machine shop.

Well and good, the factory folks say, but not really what they need.

McKim said the situation prompted a “very blunt conversation” with R-II school officials, the gist of which was that local manufacturing operations require “a skill base that just isn’t there right now in our workforce.”

In an effort to plug the gap, NCED and the members of Maryville’s industrial community turned to North Central Missouri College, which, with funding from a grant written by Kim Mildward of the Maryville-based Missouri Career Center, has developed a four-course training module that emphasizes essential manufacturing skills.

The module, which consists of college-level courses in maintenance, quality control, safety, and general production, takes about 18 months to complete, and the first class of 25 students began attending once-weekly three-hour class sessions in January.

It may seem a little odd, but all of the students enrolled in the pilot program are workers who already have jobs at local plants. McKim said the course is being rolled out this way so that the participating factories can better gauge the impact of the training on efficiency, productivity, and improved worker performance.

Donell Robidoux Anderson, senior supervisor of human resources for Kawasaki Motors in Maryville, said her company has 17 workers participating in the program, and is hoping the results in terms of improved skills will merit tailoring the training for jobseekers with little or no manufacturing experience.

“That’s why we are doing it,” she said. “We have a number of different employees in different job roles going through the program, and we’ll be assessing it to see if it helps them with their current positions. If this matches with what our needs are, then we can determine if the program can help get us out of the skills gap we have in this community.”

Anderson added she is hopeful that North Central Missouri College, which has considerable experience providing industrial training in its core service area about 100 miles east of Maryville, is the right vendor to offer a more broad-based course.

Jason Helton, NCMC’s director of corporate and business relations, said his institution is eager to take up the challenge, and that Maryville is fortunate to have leaders who recognize the importance of providing the kind of core-skills training required by today’s production workers and front-line factory supervisors.

“The feedback I’ve gotten from the instructor at this point is that he’s very excited about the class,” Helton said. “Employers need a pipeline of qualified workers, and we would love to be able to provide that.”

So far, McKim said, there has been a “tremendous response” with regard to the initial course from plant managers and workers alike. He added that the program already has a waiting list of 30 employees seeking to join the next cohort.

Current students participating in the program, he said, are doing so in order to acquire skills and knowledge that will make them eligible for promotion. But he added that if the course proves successful it will eventually be opened to jobseekers at large, including both recent high school graduates and older workers in need of a credential to help them get their foot in the door.

“Eventually we’re going to try and provide this to the general public,” McKim said. “But right now we just want to find out if this is the answer that we’re looking for.”

Though only a handful of class sessions have taken place, McKim said initial feedback from students has been positive.

“The people I have talked to have seen value in it,” he said. “It’s like any other class, people will say this part is worth it and this part isn’t, but overall there has been a positive response. We’re going to continue to monitor it and see what their thoughts are going forward.”

But offering training specifically targeted at manufacturing is only part of the solution, McKim said, since such programs don’t enlarge the employee pool in a part of the state where unemployment is typically below 5 percent.

“You talk to any of the manufacturers, and they love the people they have,” McKim said. “They think they are fantastic. If you look at production levels in northwest Missouri, we outpace the federal and state averages. We are tremendously efficient.

“That being said, the problem is not so much the people who are on the floor that can do the work now, it’s figuring out how do we bring new people in.”

So, in an area that has what McKim describes as “full employment,” the question is apparently not how to create jobs, but rather how to fill them.

Factories, he said, don’t want to hire just one person for one job. They want to hire 20 or 30 people trained and ready to operate a new line or fill a new shift.

This creates a disconnect, McKim said, between what industries need and the “shotgun” approach to vocational training provided by most high schools and technical schools, in which students are prepared for a wide variety of career opportunities.

The options, he said, come down to providing specialized training that gives the existing workforce in-demand skill sets or convincing people seeking the kinds of jobs available here to move to the Maryville area.

Right now, McKim said, neither approach is working as well as it could due to differing expectations held by local residents and the people who run factories.

The community, he believes, holds to the view that if Nodaway County creates jobs people will move here. Plant managers, on the other hand, want people to move here before they create jobs.

“It’s the chicken and the egg.” McKim said.

Which leaves the NCED chief in the position of trying to play both sides of the street — developing training programs for local jobseekers while spreading the word across the four-state area in an attempt to bring new workers to town.

One approach, McKim said, has been to reach out to communities where there have been layoffs and plant closures and sending the message “We’ve got jobs.” NCED is also stepping up its level of participation in career day events and job fairs.

“Economic development professionals in the 21st century are going to be focused on workforce development rather than recruitment of new enterprises,” McKim said. “When I first heard that, I didn’t really believe it, but now I think that’s probably true.”

Another variable in play, he said, is a changing of the guard as baby boomers move toward retirement, and millions of millennials seek to take their place in the workforce.

For many young people, production work, with its demanding shifts and rigid schedules, is simply not attractive.

“Millennials are more focused on work-life balance — things like flexible hours and working at home,” McKim said. “They’re not always about the job opportunities but rather the quality of life. Not all businesses can do that, especially manufacturing businesses.”

Still, for qualified workers, factory jobs offer good pay and a chance for advancement, and that’s the message McKim is trying to get out both to current residents and people who might consider Nodaway County as a promising place to plant their lives and raise a family.

“There is definitely a demand for workers,” he said. “For people seeking production work, there are opportunities.”

Maryville celebrates rebirth of carbon black plant

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum

Many Maryville officials turned out Friday for opening ceremonies welcoming the city’s newest corporate citizen, Maryville Carbon Solutions.

The first manufacturing facility opened by Boulder, Colorado-based startup Bolder Industries, Maryville Carbon, is housed in the former Carbolytic Materials Company plant, which closed in 2012 after a troubled three-year run that included an oil spill, two fires, and eventual bankruptcy.

Like its predecessor, Maryville Carbon intends to transform scrap automotive tires into a trademarked version of carbon black, a coloring and reinforcing agent used to manufacture an almost endless list of rubber and plastic products from gaskets and wetsuits to conveyor belts to O-rings.

In addition to its primary product, “Bolder Black,” the factory, now operating on a shakedown or “commission” basis with a skeleton crew, plans to produce syngas — a type of fuel gas — and lubricant-grade oil through a process known as pyrolysis.

It will also recover and sell the steel used in tire belting.

The oil will be marketed as well, but plans call for construction of a small syngas plant on site that will produce enough electricity to power the entire facility. The company is also proposing transferal of any excess wattage to Northwest Missouri State University or the City of Maryville.

Pyrolysis is accomplished by subjecting ground-up tire material to temperatures of around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit in an oxygen-starved environment, what amounts to a huge oven designed to siphon off the oil and gas and leave behind a dark-colored solid that is reduced to ultra-fine powder before being mixed with water and formed into tiny pellets for shipment to customers.

During a tour of the plant — refitted over the past two years at a cost of around $10 million — Bolder Industries founder and CEO Tony Wibbeler began by leading a group of local residents through the factory’s shredding area where a huge grinder renders tires into palm-sized chunks.

Other machinery recovers steel belting and shreds the rubber into ever-smaller pieces until it is ready for the pyrolysis oven, which makes up factory’s technological heart.

“That’s where the magic happens,” Wibbeler said.

While the process is similar to the one employed by Carbolytic Materials, Wibbeler insists that a number of refinements have made production cleaner and safer, and that the possibility of fires and spills is low.

For example, one of the CMC fires was caused by the use of powerful heaters to keep exterior pipes filled with a mixture of water and oil from freezing on a bitterly cold night.

Wibbeler said that won’t happen using a new system that places most production and storage operations inside the plant and separates oil and water earlier in the process.

In addition, he said, Maryville Carbon plans to offer monthly tours of the facility to members of Maryville’s largely volunteer fire department and has installed an advanced-technology fire-suppression system. The idea of the tours is to familiarize a changing roster of firefighters with the factory and its contents so they will be prepared should an emergency arise.

While combining heat, rubber, gas, and oil is an unavoidably messy undertaking, Wibbeler and his management team believe Bolder Black will pay off environmentally as well as financially.

Ken Dunn, Bolder Industries’ sustainability director, said Friday that “We are very proud of what we have here” in terms of producing a substance from scrap tires, which for years have created solid-waste problems on a global sale.

Dunn said 300 million tires are scrapped each year, and that an increasing number of landfills are refusing to take them. The result, he said, is that about 50 percent of all waste tires are incinerated, a practice that has come under increasing scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

At full production, Dunn said, Maryville Carbon will initially be able to process up to 1 million scrap tires a year, enough to produce 7 million pounds of Bolder Black, 1.2 million gallons of oil, and 1,600 tons of recovered steel.

Compared to producing a similar amount of “virgin” carbon black from petroleum, Dunn said, the Maryville Carbon operation will reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 480,000 tons a year, save 161 million gallons of water, and produce 84 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power nearly 8,000 single-family homes.

From a customer’s point of view, Dunn said major manufacturers — including General Motors and Ford — are increasingly interested in carbon black recovered from tires and other kinds of scrap rubber because it improves their environmental “scorecard” with regard to various regulatory requirements.

Another upside for buyers, he said, is that while the cost of conventional carbon black is tied to the price of oil, Bolder Black is produced from “feedstock” — that is old tires — that is essentially free.

That means, Dunn said, that Bolder Industries should be able to offer customers a fixed price over the term of multi-year contracts regardless of how oil prices fluctuate.

As for the local impact, Bolder Industries Vice President Nate Murphy said he has about 20 job openings to fill almost immediately, including a plant manager position. At full production, Murphy said, the factory will likely have a payroll of between 35 and 40 workers clocking in over three shifts.

If the customer demand is there, Murphy said that for technical reasons the plant is most efficient operating 24 hours a day, since once the pyrolytic oven is hot it needs to stay hot.

During Friday’s event, local government and economic development officials praised Maryville Carbon for taking a community-centered approach in re-opening the shuttered plant.

Josh McKim, executive director of Nodaway County Economic Development, noted that the company cleared up tax debt left by the previous owners, even though it had no obligation to do so.

“There is social good in the business plan they’ve got,” McKim said. “It’s more than just a profit center. Lots of companies give lip service to that, but they have put their money where their mouth is.”

City Manager Greg McDanel, who along with McKim has been working to bring Maryville Carbon to Maryville over the last couple of years, said significant challenges had to be addressed before a deal was struck, but that the company chose to “embrace those challenges and pivot toward the future and growth.”

Also speaking prior to a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the plant was state Rep. Allen Andrews, R-Grant City, who called the recruitment process resulting in the company’s move to Maryville a “job well done.”

Andrews added that he believed Maryville Carbon will benefit from what he sees as the Maryville region’s work ethic and tight-knit sense of community.

“Not only are we good workers,” he said, “we’re good neighbors.”

Ground broken for Mozingo lake center

Categories: Business, CommunityAuthor:

By JIM FALL Executive editor
Maryville Daily Forum

“It’s been a long time coming,” Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel said Wednesday as he watched heavy equipment operators from the city’s Street Department and Mozingo Lake Recreation Park grounds crew move earth in preparation for construction of a new city-owned conference center and golf course clubhouse.

The $4 million park facility is to be built in conjunction with a privately developed 40-room hotel.
“Can you believe it’s finally here?” McDanel asked no one in particular as the equipment stopped briefly so workers could figure out the best way to remove remnants of an old building foundation.
“We’ll be scraping for the next few days,” Street Superintendent Jay Cacek said. “If we get a good five days, we’ll have it.”

The preliminary work is beginning on the south side of the existing entrance to the Sechrest 18 and Watson 9 golf courses, where the typography will be lowered by approximately 10 feet.
When that is accomplished, Midland Engineering will complete final elevations for the relocation of the golf course entrance and a new parking lot.

The hotel, to be constructed and managed by Boulders Inn and Suites of Denison, Iowa, and a local investment group, will be located on the north side of the existing entryway near the site of the current upper parking area.

City crews are also scheduled to perform some grading work for that project as a part of the city’s agreement with the developers, McDanel said.

The overall plan calls for the entry road to remain open throughout construction.

The new conference center will feature a 5,500-square-foot modular banquet hall capable of seating 500 people, a restaurant, a golf pro shop, and indoor golf cart storage.

Plans call for the restaurant to be operated by a private third-party vendor.

The new conference center will be located east of the existing clubhouse and silo, allowing the current facility to be used throughout construction.

The existing clubhouse, built when the park opened 20 years ago, and an iconic silo remaining from when the site was a working farm, are scheduled for demolition when the new center is completed.

In addition to the new facilities, the main entrance to the golf courses will be relocated a few hundred yards to the south. The configuration of the driving ranges will also be relocated to a lesser degree.

Construction of the conference center moved forward following voter approval in April of a new eighth-of-a-cent sales tax.

Fundraiser sets stage for Watson 9 opener

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer

Maryville Daily Forum

No question that Monday was a big night for Mozingo Lake Recreation Park as city officials took the wraps off conceptual drawings for a proposed $4 million conference center and hotel complex to be located on a scenic hilltop overlooking the Sechrest 18 and Watson 9 golf courses.

But the party is just beginning, as Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland, Mozingo’s lead administrator, and his staff prepare to celebrate a new summer season with a grand opening for the Watson 9 youth course on May 14 and the start of conference center construction sometime around the Aug. 1.

With the 2016 focus clearly on a rejuvenated youth golf program, Heiland told the City Council this week that a fundraising effort in support of programs for young players will get under way this Thursday just as the weather is forecast to warm in earnest and fairways return to peak use.

The extended fundraiser, named “Fore the Youth,” will benefit the Youth Golf Foundation.

Organized by Dr. Bruce Twaddle, the foundation’s initial purpose was to secure funding for Watson 9 construction.

The group of grass-roots volunteers has since evolved into the foundation, whose goal has shifted to providing instruction, equipment, and financial support for young people across the Maryville region interested in learning the game.

Among other things, the organization plans to provide golf “scholarships” and equipment to youngsters from lower-income families who may not be able to afford clubs, fees, and other expenses.

Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed by foundation representatives and city officials last spring, the city has agreed to provide the Junior Golf Foundation with $2,500 during the current fiscal year, money intended to cover initial costs for programming and equipment.

In addition, the foundation is to receive funding equivalent to 10 percent of all Watson 9 tee-time fees.

Fore the Youth is intended to raise even more money for the program by giving park golfers the opportunity to make donations based on the number of holes played between April 14 and May 14 — the day of the Watson 9 grand opening.

For example, Heiland said, if a Mozingo golfer pledges $1 per hole and plays two full Sechrest 18 rounds over the next month, he or she will have raised $36 for the foundation.

As for the Watson 9 opening itself, Heiland said the day will be chock-full of special activities highlighted by the appearance of course designer and PGA great Tom Watson.

Festivities will begin at 9 a.m. when Mozingo golf pro Kyle Easter is to lead a series of free youth clinics.

The opening ceremony itself is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will feature Watson as the keynote speaker. Heiland said Tuesday that Fore the Youth contributors and other Watson 9 benefactors will also be recognized at that time.

Afterward, Watson will join University of Missouri golf standout Ryan Zech and two local youth golfers in playing the course’s inaugural round.

A post-round social and press conference is set for 4 p.m. to be followed by a youth tournament at 4:30.

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Construction now a reality for Lettuce Dream

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Maryville Daily Forum – Tony Brown


Construction of the proposed Lettuce Dream hydroponic greenhouse complex, envisioned as providing vocational training for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities, is under way and on track for completion this summer, according to Wayne Pierson, vice president of the non-profit organization established four years ago by a group of local volunteers.

Pierson said phase one of the initiative, which will consist of two 35-by-96-foot greenhouses and a 32-foot-by-62-foot operations building, could be completed as soon as July 1 with the first crop of lettuce scheduled for planting shortly thereafter.

Maryville builder Jeff Smith is acting as construction manager for the complex, which is going up on three acres of land donated by Maryville East Side Development near the newly constructed intersection of Che and East Second streets.

The greenhouse operation adjoins a new retail district sprouting up just northwest of the junction of East First Street and the Highway 71 bypass.

Pierson estimated the cost of phase-one construction at about $650,000, money that Lettuce Dream has spent more than three years raising through private donations, trust and foundation gifts, the sale of Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits through the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and a Rural Business Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to the donated land, Lettuce Dream has received significant in-kind support from local businesses and individuals. Brock Pfost of White Cloud Engineering, for example, is donating installation of water and sewer connections along with associated infrastructure.

The three structures will have concrete pad foundations, and the operations building is to be constructed using pre-fabricated, interlocking poly-acrylic beams filled with insulating foam and concrete. Both greenhouses will consist of a framework covered with translucent acrylic panels containing air cavities for improved insulation.

Pierson said each greenhouse will contain two suspended natural gas heaters that, in the winter, will ensure a minimum growing temperature of 45 degrees.

Lettuce, which thrives in cool weather, will be grown year-round using a no-soil technology known as hydroponics, in which plants are cultivated in nutrient-enriched water instead of tilled earth.

The idea is to sell the produce to area markets, restaurants, and food-service operations in order to cover operating expenses and pay administrative staff.

Lettuce Dream President Diane Francis has compared the initiative to a trade school or college for the developmentally disabled and other handicapped persons, who she said have few educational alternatives following high school.

Though phase one is under way, Pierson said the organization’s fundraising efforts will continue full force in order to prepare for phase two, a plan for two additional greenhouses to be constructed in two or three years.

“A lot of people think, ‘They’ve got the money and they’re done,’” he said. “But we’re not done. This is just the first phase.

Ultimately the organization hopes to build as many as 16 greenhouses at its current location in addition to an office building and a warehouse.

Lettuce Dream was organized using a business model established by Wendie Blanchard, founder of Arthur & Friends, a New Jersey-based non-profit with a greenhouse operation serving wholesale and retail markets across greater New York City.

Blanchard’s organization, which has provided training materials and coaching to similar organizations in various parts of the country, was hired by Lettuce Dream in 2013 under an agreement specifying that it would act as a consultant to the local group over a five-year period.

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NCED to receive $425,000 in small business loan funds

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By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum
March 2, 2016

Nodaway County Economic Development, a non-profit agency that, among other tasks, seeks to help local businesses expand while recruiting new enterprises to the area, offered some good news Tuesday for would-be entrepreneurs and existing small-business owners.

NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said the agency has been approved for $425,000 in low-interest loan funds to be disbursed to borrowers seeking either to grow existing businesses or start new ones across an area embracing Nodaway, Atchison, Gentry, Holt, and Worth counties.

The money, made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Intermediary Relending Program, is being awarded as one of only six low-interest loan initiatives in five states intended to spur economic development in rural areas.

McKim said NCED will use the money to renew its existing revolving loan fund, which provides financing for small businesses. He said potential borrowers already in the local economic development pipeline have the potential to create up to 50 new jobs.

The initiative is similar to an earlier infusion of cash made available several years ago for startups and small-business expansions through the Neighborhood Assistance Program administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

NAP funds earmarked for no-interest loans, McKim said, totaled $150,000, most of which has been disbursed.

The USDA program differs slightly from NAP, he said, in that borrowers will be charged between 2 and 3 percent interest.

McKim said the length of time over which loans are to be repaid will vary depending on what the money is used for. Businesses borrowing working capital, for instance, will have two to five years to repay their debt. Equipment loans are to be spread out over five to seven years, and real estate acquisition and construction loans can be financed for as long as 10 years.

The maximum loan amount is $250,000. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the program.

As for the types of enterprises eligible for assistance, McKim said the guidelines are fairly broad so long as the business operates within a rural area, a designation that includes the entire five-county region.


In practice, McKim said he expects most of the money to go to retail and service-sector operations in addition to a limited number of small “early stage” manufacturing concerns.

Though loan applications will have to be approved by USDA, McKim said the primary decision-makers will be a local loan committee and the NCED board.

He said one of the attractive features about the program is that it gives NCED local control over who gets the money for what purpose.

While the USDA has approved NCED’s involvement in the program, McKim said a number of administrative steps remain before the money becomes available.

After those are completed, the funds will remain with USDA and be disbursed through NCED to borrowers as individual loans are approved.

Prospective borrowers must submit written applications to the NCED office, which is located at 423 N. Market St. in Maryville. The office’s phone number is 660.582.4490, and the NCED website is located at


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Nodaway News Leader
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Amid local subcontractors pouring concrete footings, officials from Wells Bank of Platte City ramped up their Maryville construction project by hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on October 13 at the 2920 South Main site.

The new bank, a 3,600-square-foot building, is slated to open in the spring of 2016. The facility will be the first business in the new business development park, Fountain Park, located across from Applebee’s. Bill and Bonnie Ingels are the prime partners.

The management of the Maryville Wells Bank facility will be led by Mark Quick, a native of Oregon, as branch manager and loan officer. Quick has eight years of experience in the financial services industry; currently with Bank CBO, formerly The Citizens Bank of Oregon. He and his wife and their four children recently moved to Maryville.

In January 2016, Wells Bank is also scheduled to merge with Bank CBO. With this merger and the new Maryville location, Wells Bank will have banking center in Maryville, Oregon, Savannah, Platte City and Kansas City.