REDI Report – February 13, 2016

Area represented well at economic development conference

I was honored this past week to attend the 2-day Missouri Economic Development Council’s Winter Conference held in Jefferson City. MEDC is an organization made up of economic development professionals throughout the state of Missouri. The entity hosts several conferences throughout the year to connect economic developers with resources and programs that will help them grow professionally and, most importantly, to help them better serve the communities they reside in.

The conferences typically have panels that feature experts from various subject matters related to the field of economic development. The MEDC Winter Conference featured a panel on National Manufacturers’ Day, which is held each year during the month of October.

Lebanon and Laclede County were well represented as one of the panel speakers was Tom Waters, president of our very own DTE (also commonly known as Detroit Tool and Engineering). Tom provided information about his company as well as its participation in National Manufacturers’ Day.

The special event is a nationwide effort to showcase the manufacturing industry and to let people know about the great career opportunities that exist in the field. Obviously Lebanon and Laclede County are super blessed with a great core of manufacturers. Trust me when I tell you that communities around this country would love to have the manufacturing presence that we have in our community and county.

During his presentation to the MEDC conference attendees, Tom addressed some of the successes he has seen as a participant. Students from Lebanon Technology and Career Center came over during a morning and afternoon session. The best part is that these students asked to attend and had direct interest in learning more about what DTE has to potentially offer them from a job or career standpoint.

Two of the biggest takeaways from the fact that DTE participates in the National Manufacturers’ Day by providing tours of its facilities were the hiring of individuals who attended and the post-event interest shown by youth. I think this is awesome, knowing that the tour that might not otherwise have happened helped lead potential employees to DTE.

One of the things we hope to do a better job of in 2016 and beyond is connect our local industries to those who might not be aware of them. And events like National Manufacturers’ Day, the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issue Breakfasts, just to name a couple, certainly go a long way to help in the promotion of what Lebanon and Laclede County Manufacturers’ have to offer.

Another event forthcoming that will allow us to showcase one of area industries is the Tech44 “Bring on Breakfast” which will be hosted at Carmeco on Thursday, March 17. We will have further details as the event gets closer, but this will be one more way to truly learn about a Lebanon and Laclede County industry.

In closing, I want to take a moment to thank Tom Waters and DTE for participating in the MEDC Winter Conference. Following the presentation, I had many colleagues from throughout the state come up and commend the organization and brag on Lebanon. Trust me, that type of feedback always generates some pride in Lebanon and Laclede County and continues to make us proud to be a partner in the economic development process for our community and county.

Have a great weekend.

(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

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