Nov 21

Built In Chanute

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 4:11 PM by Kristi Dozier

Growing up in Chanute I was very proud that my father was a dedicated Ash Grove Cement Employee, he spent thirty plus years at the plant, and I could not admire his dedication more. I give much of the credit for my work ethic to the examples he set.   
        Upon leaving Chanute for college and to start a family, I took great pride in seeing Ash Grove trucks rumbling down I-35 in Kansas City or seeing storage tanks with the Ash Grove logo across the country in my business travels.  I am not proud to admit it, but I even kept an Ash Grove pen from a waitress in Ft. Worth, TX.  The roots of Ash Grove run deep within me. My grandfather worked there as well. My brother and I were even fortunate enough to work at the plant during summer help while we were in college. 

                 Then one day a few years back it hit me, it wasn’t Just Ash Grove, Chanute runs deep within me. During my career fellow colleagues, executives, etc. would ask where my drive comes from. I simply explained to them “I am just a blue collar kid in a white collar world”.     

                 Chanute is full of hardworking men and women that take pride in the products they send out to not only the region or country, but globally. Since the beginning of my tenure with the Chanute Regional Development Authority, the statement above has only been magnified 100 times over.  In addition, my pride in Chanute and how well we are represented across so many industry sectors has grown even more. 

                   From ADI Wire and the amazing representation their products are having across the globe to Chanute Manufacturing and the world class fabrication work they do here. I could go on and on, there are just too many companies to list that build, assemble, and manufacture first class products. This article would cover pages to speak about the magnitude that these companies represent.  Chanute’s foot print is substantial, one that we should be proud of, and is growing.  

                 During the project to secure Orizon Aerostructures, I praised Chanute and its workforce through the entire process. We are hardworking, small town citizens that will work overtime, still make it to every ballgame for our kids, and make sure and hold that door open for you as you walk into Opie’s. That is what Chanute is built on, and that is what investors, developers, etc. is seeing as they are looking at Chanute and the growth we are having. As the CEO of Tech Industries (Orizon Aerostructures) put it, “Chanute, KS was the right choice given the proven mechanical aptitude and work ethic of the people”. I could not agree more. 

                 Chanute is growing, we are uniting, and the CRDA could not be more excited for what the future holds. This is the beginning; with much more work to be done. Aside from Business Attraction, we are continuing programs with Workforce Development so that we are well trained and ready for the task ahead, Neighborhood Development so everyone can take pride in their streets and homes and so on. 

              The mission that lies ahead will take all of us to work together, and I truly believe my fellow Chanute citizens are ready for the task, and will make waves across the state and beyond when the dust settles.  Thank you for the support, and I, Matthew Godinez, am proud to be built in Chanute. 

Matthew Godinez
Executive Director
Chanute Regional Development Authority  



Nov 21


Posted on November 21, 2016 at 4:09 PM by Kristi Dozier

Newton's first law of motion - sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. 

              In Chanute we have started the motion, and we must keep the positive force moving forward. We cannot let the “unbalanced” negative forces deter us from our goal of a prosperous and growing Chanute economy and way of life.  I have learned many things over the past year with the CRDA, but the greatest lesson I have learned is simple.
            The greatest failure is to do nothing.
            We cannot expect anyone to invest in our community if we do not invest in ourselves.  Unfortunately many communities get caught in the same trap, “If we do JUST enough it will be OK”, and if time is an indicator with many towns in Southeast Kansas, “Just enough”, is not working. Growth is a math equation at it’s very basic, Growth =Energy Time. It does take time to change your perspective, to change your performance, but with hard work, dedication, and synergy among our community, anything is possible. 

             In any many economic settings, the world is set with the 10%-80%-10% rule. 10% will discourage growth & prosperity, 80% are neutral to the idea and have an open mind and will await and research the facts, and 10% will be on board no matter what with growth regardless of the price to pay. My hope is that many of you are in the 80% group, open to economic development as long as it is in the best interest of the city and its citizens. With this in mind, the CRDA will always have an open door policy, and will share the facts that we can, within confidentiality guidelines, to make as many citizens feel informed about this growth so that the decisions being made are discussed, debated, and hopefully moving forward if a positive project. If a project were to fail, that is fine. The CRDA doesn’t hold onto to losses very long for in this life there is always “NEXT”. When things don’t go Chanute’s way, we simply must pick ourselves up, look in the mirror and say “NEXT”. 
     In October, Mayor Chaney, Senator Jeff King and I were very fortunate to have time in Topeka with Kansas Secretary of Commerce Antonio Soave and his staff. Before we could even begin, his staff was singing the praises of Chanute picking itself up by the bootstraps when much of Southeast Kansas is in a regressive, idle state. We shared with Secretary Soave Chanute’s aggressive, can’t lose attitude as we are not building this for resumes or accolades. We are building this for our children, for our ancestors that settled here, for our hometown, which will be our homes for many years to come. Our goal with this meeting was to share and inform State Officials that Chanute and Neosho County is on the right path and we are not stopping anytime soon, and to not forget our economic growth come budget session time. As they say “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. 
        Over the past year I have had quite a few spirited discussions with many of you. I deeply enjoy the sharing of thoughts I have encountered and the debates that have arisen. That is good, that is what we need, is to never let the discussions die. The momentum must never cease, there will be times that we are moving a little slower one year over the other, but we have to keep the meetings of the minds, the vision public and moving forward. Lastly, I would like to thank the citizens of Chanute during my first year with the CRDA; I am reminded daily why this is a great city worth fighting for. 

Nov 21

Local Economic Investment

Posted on November 21, 2016 at 4:08 PM by Kristi Dozier

The U.S. economy is delivering a humbling lesson about economic development, the potential of local economic development is to do what markets alone cannot do, influence growth through action and investments. Yet, in too many communities, the practice of conventional economic development remains focused solely on the former while the latter is deemed someone else’s responsibility. One sees this in local marketing efforts touting their latest economic successes, and expanded private-sector investments. Indeed, aggregate growth matters. However, company gains are not the same as worker gains. Ignoring the plight of workers who are under and unemployed limits future growth. The challenge of economic development is to embrace that lesson—fully and urgently. 

To be fair, many state and local leaders want more than growth for growth’s sake. They want to grow good jobs, connect young adults and workers to those jobs, and keep their industries competitive. This is hard, long-term work. It requires blending programs, working across systems, forging new partnerships, and working with both long-term goals and shorter-term metrics for success. Yet the existing structures and missions of organizations and programs make this important work nearly impossible. Chanute has shifted and broadened the purpose and practice of economic development to generate continuous growth, prosperity, and inclusion. Every three to five years, including every election cycle, influential groups of leaders in cities and metro areas across the country convene to update or set a new economic development agenda, with goals, priorities, strategies, and initiatives they operationalize through investment of time and resources. Who participates, the work of those leaders, and the systems they shape help establish the future trajectory of their communities and are at the heart of how regions can redefine and expand the vision and practice of economic development. We have seen this most recently here in Chanute with our strong growth, and the vision created for our future. 

                As stated before, the power of getting together to promote local economic development is to do what markets alone cannot do, influence growth through action and investments. The purpose of economic development should be to put a local and regional economy on a trajectory of higher growth by increasing the productivity of companies and workers that raises standards of living for all. This brand of economic development can lead to deep prosperity with growth that is robust, shared, and enduring. This generative work must occur within regional economic ecosystems and address highly local market failures. Given this purpose, economic development here refers to the system of economic growth and development in regions. It is broader than the traditional practice of economic development. The system involves not just economic development professionals but also elected officials, employers, workforce and education leaders, and other civic and nonprofit executives. 

Today, local and regional economic development remains a patchwork of important innovations and legacy practices at a time when the global economy is fast-moving and not working for most people. Today’s economy requires leadership and innovative problem solving to adapt to major trends in the global economy. This is true as well for economic development. We need to continue talking on the local level about our local vision. About assuring a bright future for all of our citizens, about not just how many jobs are created, but about the sustainability of these jobs that they pay fair wages, provide some future security for them and their families. It truly is up to local public administrators, the CRDA, and other organizations to advocate for the public, while at the same time, helping to grow businesses so that there are real jobs available. Businesses are not charities, and we have to stop asking them to "give jobs" to people, but rather help them grow so that they need workers, and when that time comes, to make sure our workforce is educated and hardworking that will continue to push Chanute forward in our upward projection.  We are on the upward path, and with continued leadership, we will continue our rise. 

Matthew Godinez
Executive Director
Chanute Regional Development Authority