Business executives will be advising the Nixon Administration on how to best plan for Missouri’s economic growth.

Four business leaders from throughout the state form the Executive Advisory Board to aid State Economic Development Director David Kerr develop a five-year plan for economic growth. Ann Marie Baker, UMB, Springfield; Paul Combs, Baker Implement, Kennett; Bill Downey, Kansas City Power & Light; and David Steward, World Wide Technology, St. Louis comprise the Executive Advisory Board. Governor Nixon appointed the four.

Kerr says it’s vital Missouri hone in on six to 10 strategic objectives.

“With the limited resources with that we, from a business perspective and from a state perspective have, that we use those limited resources and are very strategic and very specific in terms of how we use those,” Kerr says.

The strategic objectives will pinpoint both industries that now exist in Missouri and those that could be drawn to the state to drive economic growth. Kerr says an example of what the groups might focus on is the animal health corridor developing between Columbia and Manhattan, Kansas. More than 30 animal health companies have located in the area between the home of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Kansas State University. Those companies employ more than 30,000 workers carrying out $638 million in research and development annually.

Missouri’s economy thrives on agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and energy. Kerr believes the state can improve on its strengths, expand and pursue other industry. The key, he says, is to not to spin out so many ideas and concepts that everything is planning and nothing is done.

“I think the problem that sometimes states and communities and organizations have is they’re not specific and they’re not targeted in terms of identifying a small number of critical priorities and that’s what we intend to do,” according to Kerr.

The Executive Advisory Board will identify members of a statewide Steering Committee that will work with Regional Planning Teams to ensure involvement by leaders throughout Missouri. The Steering Committee plans to meet in early June. Meetings will take place throughout the year with completion expected by the end of the year.

Some of the suggestions that grow out of this process might be before the legislature next year.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]