REDI Report – September 17, 2016

Expo brings excitement for businesses and customers who connect at annual event

It is always fun to get to experience things a “second time around” after you have been somewhere long enough for that to be a possibility. This weekend brings the second time for me to be at the annual Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce/Local Makes Sense Business Expo and Fun Day.

I really enjoyed the festivities last year and was impressed by the vast number of businesses and entities with booths at the event. One of my favorite additions from last year is returning in 2016 for a second straight time and that is the “job fair” portion of the event. Hundreds, yes that is no typo, of jobs are represented Saturday at the expo via both businesses and job agencies. If you know someone looking for work, here’s a great chance to connect with a cross-section of employers who have openings right now in Lebanon and Laclede County.

The Chamber/Local Makes Sense Business Expo and Fun Day will start at 9 a.m. Saturday and runs until 2 p.m. that afternoon at the Cowan Civic Center.

I want to take a moment to reiterate REDI’s appreciation of the unanimous approval of funding our organization received for another year from the Lebanon City Council a couple of weeks back as part of our annual agreement with the city. We are humbled and honored to receive such support from our community and it shows that the City of Lebanon definitely wants to be a continued player in the economic development process. Competition in the economic development world is more intense than it has ever been and those communities with a viable stake in the battle will definitely be more competitive. I commend this city and its leaders for taking such a stand more than a decade ago initially and likewise I applaud our current leaders for keeping the trend going. Thank you!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to represent Lebanon and Laclede County last week at the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Kansas City. The event featured a lot of information that we’ll be able to incorporate into future plans for economic development activities in our community and county. Innovation and creativity was heavily discussed. While we often think of cities having an abundance of such offerings, we can’t overlook the great talent that we have right here in our own backyard. The next great invention may come from the mind of a student currently enrolled in one of our local schools. The challenge is creating a scenario that allows such talent to have the ability to stay right here and be a part of Lebanon and Laclede County. This will always be something to work on and while it is a challenge as mentioned, it is also exciting to explore ways to be successful at this endeavor!

Speaking of Missouri, our state received some good news earlier this week that helps us to be more competitive on the economic development front. The Show-Me State ranked eighth as far as “cost of living” is concerned for the second quarter of 2016. What this means is that, on average, it is more affordable to live and work in Missouri than all but seven other states in the nation. From a marketing standpoint, being able to tout such data gives us a better fighting chance for business opportunities from new or existing companies. Way to go Missouri!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and I hope to see many of you at the Chamber/Local Makes Sense Business Expo and Fun Day!

(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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