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REDI Report – December 31, 2016

Year end brings a chance to reflect on successful year for Lebanon, Laclede County

One thing I always enjoy about the holiday season is the chance to reflect on a previous year and dream about what is to come in the following year. I must say, in many ways, 2016 was a nice step in the continued right direction for Lebanon and Laclede County.

We’ve seen several projects come to life with others on the way. Just drive around Lebanon and Laclede County right now. It is hard to not see some of the new construction going or in some cases, nice renovations to existing businesses. This is a great sign as we leapfrog into 2017.

I have to “tip my cap” as they say to the many employers in our county who have expanded their workforces during the course of the last 12 months. At various times throughout the year, we’ve had hundreds of open jobs available for our citizens. From an unemployment standpoint, we had one of our best years of the last decade. For November 2016, the unemployment rate in Laclede County was 5.3 percent. This was the best percentage rate since the same month 10 years ago in 2006. Again, that is another nice sign for us.

Speaking of local employers, I had the privilege of joining a representative of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) on a tour of Emerson Climate Technologies a few weeks back. I am literally amazed every time I get the honor to step foot in that facility. Keith Calhoun and the team at Emerson do a great job of creating a product that is literally utilized all over the globe. We forget sometimes the impact that our labor force has beyond our own local borders. Products from our various manufacturers are literally somewhere in every state and multiple countries worldwide. We should never overlook the impact we make as a whole every single day with the finished products developed right here in Lebanon and Laclede County. Trust me – the official from the state was VERY impressed with the company and our community in general. That is something to be proud of.

I’m personally excited to see what 2017 has to behold. There seems to be a wonderful attitude of working together going on at the moment that I truly believe will pay dividends for years to come. We know we’ve had some successes in recent years, but we also realize that things can turn the other way just as easily. It takes an “all in this together” approach to truly be ready to maximize the good times and minimize the effects of the “not-so-good” times. I think our community and county have a team of leaders at various levels of government, in our educational institutions, from business leadership and from every day citizens who want to see us prosper in a positive way. That keeps us in the battle for opportunities. We should all celebrate our wins from 2016 while planning for the coming 12 months to keep that momentum going.

Thank you for the impact you have had in whatever capacity you serve. We’ve often hear that “it takes a village to raise a child” and it also takes a village to create a vibrant economy! Your part should not go unrecognized. The smallest things add up to big success.

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy it with friends and family, but most importantly be safe!

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at brian@lebanonredi.com)