The Logan County Economic Development Corporation held its Annual Meeting on February 22, 2018. Heather Brungardt, President, thanked the LCEDC membership and board of directors for continued support and engagement. 2017 highlights included over 20 new businesses opening in Logan County and a stronger economy than in 2016.
Rich Robirds, Treasurer, presented the financial report and noted sale of the Woolworth building for future development, along with increased amount of member contributions to support LCEDC’s mission.
Trae Miller, Executive Director, presented 2017 economic data and trends that support the strengthening economy. County and City of Sterling sales and lodging tax collections plus property tax valuations are higher. Businesses are experiencing workforce challenges as the County unemployment rate in December 2017 was 2.4%. The labor force has grown 5.6% throughout the year to 11,263 people. The Workforce Center currently lists 244 job openings. Outside interest to expand or create new businesses in Sterling is strong with 78 projects in the development pipeline. Twenty seven active projects have a potential of 951 permanent jobs with $357 million in investment.
Key initiatives include the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) awards of technical assistance to LCEDC and the community for Coworking 101 and Brand Building projects. Coworking is a focused initiative to take advantage of the extensive broadband network with gigabit fiber in our community and create a facility to bring together remote workers and telecommuters to better support entrepreneurs and remote work opportunities. The Brand Building project involves Development Counsellors International – a leading firm to market places for economic development and tourism – plus marketing assistance from OEDIT to strengthen our community’s image, messaging and showcase assets.
Additionally, LCEDC created a Flexjobs partnership for telecommuting opportunities, led efforts for the first annual Manufacturing Day with over 150 students visiting local manufacturers, and founded Eastern Plains Economic Development Coalition to strengthen the perception of opportunity across Eastern Plains.
Outgoing board members were recognized: Darren Gephart, Shanan Doherty, Andrew Fritzler, Patrick Lawson, and Samm Vandenbark. Newly elected board members who will serve through December 2020 are: Chip Powell, Kentec Communications; Hoyt Skabelund, Banner Heath; and Amanda Steele, Edward Jones.
For more information about the meeting or membership, please contact Trae Miller at (970) 521-7196.