EDP chair provides update on strategic plan progress

Published 3:35 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018


Guest columnist

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

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— Dwight D. Eisenhower

I often reference this quote with organizations large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, when consulting with them on their strategic and tactical plans. It reminds us that the planning process needs to be disciplined, on-going and systematic, while what we plan to do must be dynamic as we respond to real-time challenges.

In June 2017, the nine organizations that currently make up our economic development partnership (EDP) received the final draft strategic plan developed for our community’s future. In it, eight goals or desired future conditions were identified. To achieve those goals, the plan contains an implementation matrix made up of six key result areas, with a menu of 32 specific objectives and 186 detailed actions that are time phased, with cost estimates, and accountabilities indicated.

You can find this matrix in the strategic plan at http://bit.ly/SEDP2017 on page 30.

Today, I want to provide a brief update in each of the six key result areas in the first year of “working our plan.”

The first key result area, Organizational Structure (seven objectives, 38 actions), has largely been accomplished in year one with the restructuring of the EDP Board to improve cooperation and representation; adding to our staff’s capacity; rebranding the organization; and moving to centralize all core economic development under the new board. Still to come is the recruitment and training of residents in our community willing and able to serve as ambassadors, advocates and business mentors for economic development.

Under Workforce Development (six objectives, 28 actions), the EDP board is re-constituting a revamped workforce and education working group recruiting employers, educators, human resource professionals and other interested citizens to move efforts in this area forward. We have completed all the work necessary to submit our recertification of our community as “workforce ready” in March and are working to secure funding to implement specific actions outlined in the plan next fiscal year.

The third key result area is Recruitment (six objectives, 32 actions). Presently, we are serving 55 recruitment prospects, both commercial and industrial. A diverse group of citizens, under the co-leadership of Board Members Sally Davenport and Mike Perros, have prioritized target initiatives to recruit new businesses consistent with our stated goals, including technology, healthcare, aviation, retail, tourism and the bourbon industry. Those targets will be further refined and prioritized at an EDP board retreat scheduled for late March.

Retention and Expansion (four objectives, 20 actions) supports existing businesses. In year one, the plan suggests we should recreate the industrial-council format for every key market sector within the county, including health care, professional services, retail and tourism. To date, a bourbon roundtable has been formed under the Danville- Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (CVB) coordination, but we will form other councils/roundtables up as the board moves forward.

The fifth key result area, Marketing and Outreach (five objectives, 29 actions), specifies ways to enhance the awareness of economic development with the citizens of Boyle county, creating additional educational materials, more comprehensive external marketing materials, and outreach to property owners seeking to attract non-residential development. To date, the focus has been on completing our community’s destination branding platform — “Historically Bold” — to represent Danville, Boyle County and Perryville, along with their Main Street programs and others, concluding more than two years of ongoing research and input.

Finally, under Asset Development (six objectives, 39 actions) the partners have begun enhancing our relationships with Planning and Zoning, fostering a business friendly concurrent review of applications, looking for ways to develop a more comprehensive asset and financial toolbox to provide greater flexibility in business retention, expansion and recruitment and have conducted a Danville downtown hotel feasibility study funded by the CVB.

Our working together is indispensable. Our plan serves us as a roadmap towards our shared goals. Sometimes we may choose to alter the plan, but we should always be gauging our progress in a disciplined, ongoing and systematic manner.

That, in my experience, creates accountability.

If you would like to volunteer or nominate someone to help in any of this continuing work, please let me know at bfnelson@bellsouth.net.

Thank you for your support.

Ben Nelson is chair of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors.

EDP Board of Directors

Community volunteers make up the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Board of Directors. They are collectively responsible for the governance and leadership of the partnership as it communicates, collaborates and coordinates the partners’ interdependent economic development missions, resources and initiatives to grow the economy of Boyle County. They are:

John C. Albright, president, Caldwell Stone Company  

Sally Davenport, president/CEO, Ephraim McDowell Health

Rhonda Doss, president/CEO, Doss & Horky

Jim Douglas, Junction City mayor

Cindy Ellsworth, business development representative (retired), Atmos Energy Corporation         

Marty Gibson, president, Farmers National Bank          

Walter L. Goggin, CPA, president, Robinson, Hughes & Christopher PSC          

Brian G. Hutzley, vice president/chief financial officer, Centre College

Jennifer Kirchner, executive director, Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Keith Look, PhD, superintendent, Danville Independent School District

Robby Mayes, chairman, Main Street Perryville

David L. Maynard, market president, Community Trust Bank          

Harold W. McKinney, Boyle County judge-executive  

Ben Nelson, co-owner, Maple Tree Gallery  

Mike Perros, Danville mayor          

Ron Scott, Danville city manager          

Anne Sleet, Perryville mayor                       

Denise Terry, Danville city commissioner         

Ennis L. Tillman, manager of Product Cost Development (retired), Panasonic Appliances Company of America        

Nick Wade, executive director, Heart of Danville

David Williams, PhD, CEO, Burkmann Nutrition