K96 Corridor Development Association Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The November meeting of the K96 Corridor Development Association provided the opportunity for the group to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the formation of the organization.  The event was a combination of celebrating accomplishments, thanking important partner organizations and the usual networking among friends that is always a part of the Association meetings.  Among the highlights was the presentation of tokens of thanks to the founders, former Sedgwick County Commissioner Tom Winters and Haven businessman and former Reno County Commissioner Francis “Shep” Schoepf and past Presidents, former South Hutchinson Mayor Ron Hirst and Mount Hope Mayor Terry Somers.  The recognitions continued with presentations to representatives from the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC), Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) and the Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP).

In presenting a highlight reel of accomplishments each community provided details of development activity, work of planning and visioning, infrastructure improvements and quality of life initiatives.  The mission of the Association, to assist corridor communities with orderly and efficient development and market the corridor as the premier location in the region, was reinforced throughout the presentations.  This included working with the communities to develop and identify economic development programs and processes and assisting with a number of company expansion and recruitment projects.  Those projects resulted in a number of companies moving to the corridor including Quality Solutions, Inc., Ag Reliant, Reiloy USA and the Tenawa Haven Processing Plant.   There was also expansion activity that included capital investment and additional jobs at Haven Steel, Morton Salt, Tyson Foods and Collins Industry.  Perhaps most important is the focus on helping the region prepare for growth opportunities.  Those efforts include working to promote a positive business environment, identifying sites and facilities to market to prospective companies and promoting the area’s skilled workforce.  The organization continues to work with a number of local and state organizations to continue the success that has taken place in its first 10 years.

The meeting wrapped up with a David Letterman style Top Ten List presented by President Richard LaMunyon titled “The Top Ten Things Proven by The K96 Corridor Development Association”.  Topping the list was the fact that regionalism is a reality along the Corridor.  LaMunyon and the Board closed with a much deserved show of appreciation to Executive Director Harland Priddle.  Priddle was the driving force in the initial formation of the organization and his work over the past 10 years on behalf of the region is evident.  The Board also reinforced their commitment to continue working together in the belief that what is good for one is good for all.