Addressing central Missouri’s leaders in business, labor, municipal government and higher education, Gov. Nixon today asked for local insights and ideas to produce a comprehensive, statewide plan for Missouri’s economic future.

Economic Development Director David Kerr (right) welcomes Governor Nixon to the central Missouri regional planning team meeting at the Missouri National Guard’s Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City.

The Governor made his remarks at the first meeting of the central Missouri regional planning team, which took place in the Missouri National Guard’s Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City. The meeting is one of six regional meetings taking place this week as part of Missouri’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth. The outcome of this process will be a set of strategic goals and concrete tactical plans to transform Missouri’s economy over the next five years, Nixon says.

“From day one, my top priorities as Governor have been to create jobs and move our economy forward, which is exactly what this strategic economic plan will do,” Nixon said. “That is why we have gathered in Jefferson City today – to hear from local experts from across central Missouri about how we can ensure that the Missouri is in the best possible position to compete for the jobs and investment of the 21st Century.”

The central Missouri planning team includes leaders from the University of Missouri in Columbia; the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla; Columbia College; Stephens College; Lincoln University; Linn State Technical College and State Fair Community College; and economic development organizations in California; Columbia; Eldon; Fulton; Hermann; Jefferson City; Mexico; Owensville; Rolla; Sedalia; and Waynesville. In addition, executives and owners from private businesses; school superintendents; and municipal and county officials are serving on the team.

Additional forums will take place this week in Kansas City, Poplar Bluff, Springfield and St. Louis. The first meeting took place yesterday in Kirksville.

The Governor announced the establishment of the strategic economic plan in May, when he named members of the Executive Advisory Board to lead the process of developing the comprehensive plan. Working with Department of Economic Development Director David Kerr, the board consists of four senior business executives: Ann Marie Baker, UMB, Springfield; Paul Combs, Baker Implement, Kennett; Bill Downey, Kansas City Power and Light, Kansas City; and David Steward, World Wide Technology, St. Louis.

After Nixon named the executive advisory board, Director Kerr, with recommendations from business and civic organizations across the state, assembled members of a statewide steering committee, which includes industry experts, researchers, labor representatives, economic development officials and higher education representatives from around Missouri. Gov. Nixon addressed the first meeting of the statewide steering committee in July.

This week’s regional meetings are the first of two rounds of local forums for members of regional the regional planning teams. These teams will provide localized, specialized insights to the statewide steering committee. The steering committee will develop the final recommendations forwarded to the Governor.

The ultimate outcome of the planning process will be the development of six to eight strategic objectives to transform Missouri’s economy for the 21st century. The objectives will pinpoint existing and future industries that will drive growth. Along with each strategic objective, the final plan will include specific tactical steps necessary to accomplish the goal. The strategic objectives and tactics will focus on the next five years. Nixon has asked for a set of initial findings and recommendations by Dec. 1.

Economic Development Director David Kerr [Mp3, 1:10 min.]

Governor Nixon addresses Central group, Jefferson City [Mp3, 19:20 min.]