Bringing economic development to a community is far from easy.
Anyone who thinks that just wanting a big company paying high wages to set up shop in Pocatello is all it takes to get them here is going to end up disappointed.
Luck also plays a part in where on the map a business decides to open or expand to and all a community can really do is make sure that it’s putting its best foot forward as far as encouraging and welcoming such development.
Economic development in the Pocatello and Chubbuck area took center stage earlier this month when Bannock Development Corp. held its annual economic summit. This year’s event was more of a celebration of all that’s good about our community than a highlight reel of success stories.
We hope next year’s summit includes more of the latter.
This was the first summit for the new chief executive officer of Bannock Development, MiaCate Kennedy I, who has some high expectations to meet from community leaders who have grown impatient in their quest for significant economic progress in Pocatello and Chubbuck.
To be sure, our region already has a lot of good things going for it.
One doesn’t have to look very hard in Pocatello or Chubbuck to find some sort of new construction and the region already has some big players employing lots of people in the community. Idaho State University, Portneuf Medical Center, Amy’s Kitchen, ON Semiconductor, Simplot and Union Pacific Railroad provide an awesome foundation for our local economy.
Those who spoke at Bannock Development’s recent summit talked about how great of a place Pocatello and Chubbuck are to call home, and we agree that our area has much to offer — from an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities to a cost of living that’s lower than the nation’s urban areas to great people who welcome new residents.
The number of entrepreneurs willing to invest millions of dollars in downtown Pocatello is something you don’t see in many downtowns in larger cities. A beautiful Mormon temple is being built here. And while other parts of America saw their economies hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the story in Pocatello and Chubbuck has been more of businesses opening rather than closing.
The speech at Bannock Development’s summit by new ISU College of Business Dean Shane Hunt, who moved here less than a year ago from Arkansas, was particularly inspiring in how he praised Pocatello and Chubbuck for their many attributes and explained why he is so proud and thankful to reside here.
But more good paying jobs are needed if we’re going to keep our best and brightest from leaving our awesome community to find higher wages in Boise or outside the state.
This issue was mentioned at Bannock Development’s summit by many community leaders who want nothing more than for their adult children to be able to move back to the Gate City area and raise a family.
Kennedy was hired to lead Bannock Development to make abundant those elusive good paying jobs so that those seeking bright futures see Pocatello and Chubbuck as a destination rather than a stepping stone to living in a more vibrant community.
One thing’s for sure after watching Bannock Development’s summit and that is local leaders from the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck to the Bannock County Commission to ISU are on the same page about working together for our region to take big steps in the right direction economically speaking.
Give Kennedy credit for raising the profile of Bannock Development in her short time here and seemingly uniting the major economic players in our community to achieve success on the economic development front.
We’re confident that when a business chooses to expand or locate here, Bannock Development will have a lot of help in putting out the welcome mat.
Our hope is that one year from now at the next economic summit that we’ll be hearing some success stories from Kennedy and others about how they’ve worked together to achieve some of those much sought after economic development wins.
Kennedy will truly deserve the all-star status she’s been given by many in our community if under her watch Pocatello and Chubbuck realize their full economic potential.