NCED hosting Facebook photo contest

Maryville Daily Forum www.maryvilledailyforum.com
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.

Missouri’s new Opportunity Zones allows incentives to Maryville

Nodaway News Leader
April 21, 2018

 Governor Eric Greitens and Senator Roy Blunt announced the locations of 161 Opportunity Zones in Missouri including Maryville.

These zones are known to be low-income areas that will see added incentives for investment. The locations of the Opportunity Zones were determined by the state and made possible by the tax cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Areas with high poverty rates and slow job growth will get a boost as they compete for jobs, with additional state and federal tax incentives for businesses that invest in these communities.

“We’ve already seen jobs coming back to Missouri as a result of strong conservative reforms. Now I’m proud to share that, because of tax reform, we have a new tool to bring businesses back to the areas that need it most. The communities that need quality jobs, areas with a lot of poverty and not a lot of opportunity, will get a leg up as they compete for jobs. I’m grateful to everyone who worked on this issue, and proud to announce these Opportunity Zones today,” Greitens said.

“The Opportunity Zones program will help spur new investments in communities where they’re needed most. By bringing investment incentives to under-served areas, the program will help create more jobs, drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for families across our state. The Opportunity Zones program is another example of how tax reform is directly benefitting Missourians and turning the page on years of slow growth and stagnant wages. I’m proud to support this program and I’ll keep working to advance pro-growth policies that will help more hardworking families get ahead,” Blunt said.

Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones program provides investors with a treasury-certified capital-gains tax deferral, based on their investment in the designated areas. The program seeks to revitalize and create jobs in areas that otherwise may not be considered by investors.

The two census tracts that were approved are in the city limits of Maryville. Nodaway County Economic Development Director Josh McKim noted the reason those two tracts were approved is based on the number of Northwest students who live in the area, which would fall into a higher poverty rate and lower income level.

He said,“It’s another tool in our tool box to enhance our community. I have had one project interested in this.”

Under the law, each state could nominate up to 25 percent of census tracks that met the eligibility requirements for the program, to be designated by the Secretary of the Treasury. In Missouri, the state could nominate up to 161 census tracks to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

To determine which zones were chosen, Missouri relied extensively on local input. Local governments were asked to nominate areas for inclusion in the program by sending a written proposal to the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED).

The communities prioritized their selections and provided DED with information about development plans and descriptions of recent and future investments. In addition to local recommendations, the state considered the Opportunity Zone’s potential to address need and generate investment impact.

The Opportunity Zones are in these other Missouri communities: Bolivar, Branson, Butler County, Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Dallas County, Excelsior Springs, Hannibal, Independence, Jackson County, Jefferson City, Jennings, Joplin, Kansas City, Kennett, Kirksville, Laclede County, Lafayette County, Lebanon, Mexico, Monett, Montgomery County, Neosho, New Madrid County, Newton County, Pemiscot County, Potosi, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Ripley County, Saline County, Sikeston, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis, St. Louis County, Sugar Creek, Sullivan County, Sunrise Beach, Warren County, Warrensburg, Warsaw, Wayne County and West Plains.

 

Universities/Colleges are Economic Development!

Click here for full text version:  university community letter 2018

First, thank you for your continued support of higher education. As you know universities and colleges function as regional and state wide economic drivers by providing businesses with expert assistance, student training/education and facilitating the commercialization of innovation. In addition, universities and colleges are key economic engines for their respective host communities.

The undersigned are economic development professionals from across the state representing communities that host a university or college. We are writing to provide you with data regarding the economic and social importance of higher education and to encourage you to continue to oppose the governor’s recommendations regarding education spending.  Below is some key data for your use as you continue to work through a tough budget and consider the governor’s recommendations.

Higher education is definitively connected to economic growth and vitality with multiple studies indicating that higher education is positively linked to lower unemployment rates, higher labor productivity, higher wage rates, higher tax revenue and lower public assistance.

  • $1 cut to Higher Education reduces the state GDP by $38.43
  • $1 cut to Higher Education reduces state tax revenue by $1.46
  • The reduction of 10 Higher Education jobs in a community results in the total loss of 16 jobs (direct and indirect job loss)
  • The reduction of 10 Higher Education jobs in a community results in the total loss of $878,962 in local payroll (direct and indirect payroll loss)
  • Missouri ranks 44th in Higher Education spending
  • Missouri has an Innovation Index of 90 (rural areas have an innovation index in the low 80s)
  • Missouri’s Higher Education spending is 68% of the national average
  • Higher Education degrees are worth an additional $481,000 in lifetime income to the degree holder
  • State share of Higher Education costs have gone from 70% in 1990 to 30% in 2017

Spending on higher education provides a significant return on investment for the entire state. The state’s contribution/share of higher education costs has decreased continually from 1970 shifting the bulk of higher education costs onto students.  With the wellbeing of students as the primary goal, Missouri’s higher education institutions remain committed to providing students with an affordable and quality education.

In an effort to move Missouri’s economy forward there must be an increased emphasis on workforce development. The workforce for today and tomorrow has its training grounds in our universities and colleges. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center within the Department of Economic Development stated in its Information Technology Pathway report that many of the occupations identified REQUIRE a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree. These positions include: database administrator, software developer, computer systems analyst, computer programmer, and more.  The NEXT occupations REQUIRE long-term on the job training, a certificate, or an associate degree.  These positions include: computer user support specialist, web developer, and computer network support specialist.  It is only through your continued support of higher education that these people will continue to be trained.

It will be difficult for rural and suburban areas of the state to be able to attract young professionals to live and work remotely in the gig economy if the universities and colleges in Missouri that are outside of St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Springfield areas are decimated by budget cuts.  For this reason we are grateful for the legislature’s support of higher education and encourage you to continue your opposition to the governor’s budget recommendations.

The universities and colleges most impacted by funding cuts are in small to mid-size towns and cities across Missouri.

State Technical College of Missouri–Linn
population      1,400

North Central Missouri College–Trenton
population      6,000

Mineral Area Community College–Park Hills
population      8,700

Northwest Missouri State University—Maryville
population      12,000

Moberly Area Community College—Moberly
population      14,000

Three Rivers Community College—Poplar Bluff
population      17,300

Truman State University—Kirksville
population      17,500

Missouri Science and Technology—Rolla
population      20,000

University of Central Missouri—Warrensburg
population      20,300

State Fair Community College—Sedalia
population      21,500

Southeast Missouri State—Cape Girardeau
population      40,000

Lincoln University-Jefferson City
population      43,000

Missouri Southern—Joplin
population      53,000

Missouri Western—St. Joseph
population      77,000

Crowder College-Neosho
population      12,181

Many times, the university or college is one of the largest employers in the community. The universities and colleges roughly employ 700 people per community with a direct and indirect local impact of 1,113 jobs and $61,600,000 in annual payroll.  Higher Education accounts for 16,695 jobs and $924,000,000 in annual payroll to the communities listed above.

Recommended Action:

In the best interests of the state’s economic vitality and strength the undersigned strongly encourage the House and Senate to maintain their support of higher education and opposition to the governor’s budget recommendations.

 

Respectfully,

 

Love of number crunching serves McKim in NCED role

By TOM PINNEY The Forum

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.”

Maryville recognized by Baldrige pilot program

By TONY BROWN Staff writer Nov 16, 2017

TEMPE, Arizona — Nodaway County Economic Development on Wednesday announced that Maryville is one of five communities to receive “Commitment to Community Excellence” certificates from Communities of Excellence 2026.

The presentations took place Oct. 27 during a luncheon at the 2017 National Baldrige Fall Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Communities of Excellence 2026 has the stated mission of improving the quality of life in communities across the United States by assisting them in implementing the Baldrige-based Communities of Excellence framework.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes U.S. organizations across a number of sectors, including business, health care, education and nonprofit. The initiative is administered by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Communities receiving certificates were lauded for their “commitment to the health and well-being of residents and pursuit of community performance excellence.”

Cities and counties honored in addition to Maryville included Brookfield/Marceline, Missouri; Kanawha County, West Virginia; San Diego County (South Region), California; and West Kendall, Florida.

In order to become eligible for the award, all five communities submitted a Baldrige-based “community profile,” an example of an improvement made using a “process improvement system” and a list of “key results” to be tracked during the “Communities of Excellence journey.”

The resulting community profiles were then evaluated by a team of volunteer reviewers, who also offered suggestions on how communities might better serve residents.

NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said the certificates spotlight communities, including Maryville, “who are making an effort to pilot and spearhead the Baldridge process in community development.”

He also said that adapting the Baldrige process, originally designed to foster excellence within corporations and institutions, to towns and cities poses some difficulties.

For example, most companies have a unified management structure, while cities and other local entities depend on consensus and cooperation between civic leaders, governing boards, elected officials, citizens, volunteers, service organizations and business groups.

“But there can also be some great rewards,” said McKim, who added that applying “process improvement” strategies to municipalities holds forth the promise of building connections between leadership structures that promote a “common vision and a common purpose.”

McKim said 2017 is the first year for the Communities of Excellence 2026 program, and that, after the city was nominated to take part in the process, a local committee worked for about six months studying the Baldrige system and ways to adapt it to community development.

“We cannot overstate the significance of the contribution these five communities are making to help launch this new approach to improving the lives of residents throughout our country,” said Lowell Kruse, chair of Communities of Excellence 2026.

Kruse is the former CEO of Heartland Health in St. Joseph — now Mosaic Life Care. Under his leadership, Heartland won a Baldrige National Quality Award in 2009 as well as the Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service.

“We know that children are educated, jobs are created, health improves all at the community level,” Kruse said. “Helping communities improve their performance is ultimately the best way to improve America.

“We are proud of them and thank them for the willingness to help pave the way for others who will be involved in this important work in the years ahead.”

In a Communities of Excellence release, the organization stated that the recognition program has a three-fold purpose: to develop a nationally recognized standard of community performance; to establish role models of that standard; and to encourage continuous improvement through the sharing of best practices and feedback.

“The entire Baldrige community is excited by the progress being made by these communities to achieve ever-higher levels of performance and improved quality of life for their residents,” said Robert Fangmeyer, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.

 

http://www.maryvilledailyforum.com/business/article_14bd0116-cad6-11e7-8834-439ad3422a32.html

New Mozingo hotel cuts ceremonial ribbon

By TOM PINNEY Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum

 

The process of opening a new hotel at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park is mostly complete.

Tuesday morning, surrounded by various members of the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce, city officials, and other community members, Boulders Inn and Suites general manager Sharlet Dumke cut the ceremonial ribbon to announce the completion and opening of the 40-room hotel.

The hotel has been open for a couple of weeks, according to Dumke, and has reached full capacity each weekend it’s been open.

“There’s been lots of events to keep us filled up on the weekends,” Dumke said. “This weekend, for instance, we have the track meet, and we were able to book the officials and one of the teams.

“There’s lots going on around here, like the extreme cowboy competition at Mozingo last weekend, so we’re not really hurting for business. During the week we aren’t filling up, but over the weekend we’re full.”

This is Dumke’s first foray into hotel management, but it’s not a new area for her.

“I needed a change, I was in catering since 1999 and I needed to do something new,” Dumke said. “I wanted to stay in hospitality, and I had done internships at places like Tan-Tar-A, so I felt this would be a good transition for me.

“It’s familiar enough that I didn’t need to do too much to come into the hotel business. I’m still planning events, working with brides and other event planners, but instead of planning the food, I’m planning the lodging.”

Dumke said there were still things in the hotel being worked on and finished up, and that there are three rooms she can’t rent out yet because of minor issues, but she commended the people working on the hotel for their ability to “get stuff done.”

The ribbon cutting was attended by a large amount of people, ranging from Chamber members to community legends, and included representatives from Boulders’ corporate team. Chamber executive director Lily White said it was the biggest ribbon cutting in her tenure as director.

“We had so many people here that we couldn’t go around and introduce everyone because it would’ve taken too much time,” White said. “It’s exciting to see that the community supports the hotel so much and wants to see it succeed.

“It’s also great to see the amount of business the hotel is receiving. Usually it would take awhile to start talking about expansion, but we’re already discussing expanding the hotel.”

Maryville mayor Jason McDowell added that the fact Boulders is frequently full speaks to the quality of the hotel chain and the value Maryville has as a destination.

“There’s lots of things going on in Maryville,” McDowell said. “We hope that we can attract even more people to come up here.”

Ribbon cutting set for Mozingo hotel

Maryville, Mo. — A ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the Boulders Inn & Suites hotel at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park will take place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 4.

The newly completed lodge, developed by Iowa-based Boulders and a group of local investors, is located at 2 Fall Drive at the entrance to the Watson 9 and Sechrest 18 golf courses.

Embracing 40 units with a mix of king- or queen-sized beds, single rooms and suites, the hotel offers two handicap-compliant rooms on the ground floor and has a maximum occupancy of 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 fitness center with aerobic machines and free weights, Simmons pillow top mattresses, in-room 43-inch flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi access and a business center.

The lodge is to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The hotel is similar to other Boulders facilities in the Iowa communities of Denison, Lake View, Atlantic, Okoboji, Polk City, Newton, Fort Madison, Clarion, Holstein and Monticello.

It is the first hotel the company, which opened its original lodge in Denison in 2008, has built in Missouri.

“Opening of the Boulders Inn & Suites at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park has marked the successful completion of a five-year economic development effort to attract private lodging to the park,” said Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel. “The hotel complements all our park has to offer in creating a unique destination.”

Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland, who serves as the city-owned park’s chief administrator, added that the Boulders brand “aligns perfectly with the vision of the Mozingo master plan and the public conference center under construction.”

The center, financed through a combination of tax dollars and park user fees, will also serve as a clubhouse for the park’s two golf courses. It is scheduled for completion late this year.

For more information, go to www.bouldersinnandsuites.com or www.mozingolake.com.

Mozingo hotel manager preps for April opening

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.

 

www.maryvilledailyforum.com

Manufacturing course seeks to fill skills gap

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.”

 

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Maryville celebrates rebirth of carbon black plant

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.”

 

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