I have been working as executive director for the Stephenville Economic Development Authority for almost two months now and I amazed how this city of 21,000 gets things done.
In May 2015, the citizens of Stephenville approved the creation of the Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA). Since that time, City officials have worked hard to get SEDA launched:
• Articles of incorporation for SEDA have been created and approved,
• A SEDA Board of Directors has been selected, and
• The position of SEDA director was created.
In this relatively short period of time, SEDA, along with the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and STEDCO, successfully attracted Equibrand − the makers of Classic Rope and the 50 full-times jobs that come with it − to Stephenville. I must admit, during my drive from Dallas to interview for the position, I thought there would be no way that I would accept the SEDA position if it was offered to me. To my surprise, Stephenville is a hidden treasure! I am delighted and honored to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of Stephenville.
The concept of economic development is often misunderstood. Many times the term is confused with economic growth to define any type of money generating activity in the community. To further cloud the issue, there is no one prescription for economic development that will fulfill the needs of all communities.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) describes successful economic development as “a process that fills different needs for different communities at different times”. Its success is often case specific, depending on the development goals, implementation and funding resources available. Some economists define economic development can be defined as “a sustained community effort to improve both the local economy and the quality of life by building the area’s capacity to adapt to economic change”.
Before my arrival to Stephenville, the SEDA Board developed a set of economic development goals. These goals include:
• Creating quality job opportunities,
• Increasing median household income,
• Expanding existing small businesses,
• Achieving economic growth to spur quality of life and,
• Implementing projects that will attract business, visitors and investment.
In keeping with these goals, the SEDA board approved two economic development grants at their July meeting on Monday.
The first grant was for $650 to be used for infrastructure improvements to the Courthouse Square. This grant will allow for easier access to electrical power for community events.
The second grant approved was a $10,000 grant to Ranger College for a Skills Development program. The grant, which was awarded to Ranger College, is in collaboration with FMC Technologies and Saint Gobain and provides $1.4 million in training programs for Stephenville citizens.
Indeed, Stephenville is the city that gets things done.
Please call me anytime at 254-459-4921 if you have any questions at SEDA or would like me to speak at your company or organization.