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Economic alliance to restructure

Regional partnership discussed

A national consulting firm has recommended restructuring Powell's economic development organization.

Craig Glogowski of National Community Development Services, an Atlanta, Ga.-based consulting firm, presented the recommendations to members of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance Monday. The recommendations were based on a study by NCDS conducted over the past year that included interviews, a small group development session, discussions with other stakeholders in the Powell area economy and government officials.

According to Glogowski's report, nearly everyone involved in the study agreed that economic development is a must — not an option. There was also general agreement that the alliance requires restructuring to be more effective and that there should be a greater emphasis on growing and expanding existing businesses.

Based on those findings, Glogowski said he recommends that the alliance be restructured as an independent organization. The alliance then should develop a new, long-term strategy that includes maintenance and preparation of business-ready sites in the Powell area, recruitment, retention and expansion of businesses and additional workforce development.

The report acknowledged the challenge of funding and staffing the program. Glogowski said that, while a full time professionally-trained staff should be hired, it is unlikely that Powell could fund such a staff. To address that issue, the report recommends the Powell alliance should form a regional program with Cody's economic development effort, Forward Cody.

Glogowski said regional efforts have generally done much better than community efforts, and are generally able to attract more funding and more volunteer support. In addition, he said Cody and Powell are not necessarily competitors. Rather, they have different assets that complement each other.

“Powell and Cody are separated by unique strengths and 20 miles of highway,” Glogowski said. “When you look at the two communities, they are complementary.”

An alternative way to deal with funding issues would be to find a part-time director, but he said that would not be as effective as having full-time staffing.

Glogowski said Powell individuals who were interviewed felt it would not be possible to raise the approximately $225,000 needed to implement the program through fundraising.

Instead, the report recommends restructuring the alliance board into a “minimum investment level organization.” Glogowski said the board should consist of any number of members who invest a specific amount in the alliance. He recommended the level of investment for board membership be set at $5,000 per year.

Glogowski added that the city and county, the Wyoming Business Council and the chamber of commerce should have representation on the board.
Finally, Glogowski said initial leadership is needed to provide a spark to begin organizing a new board, and he recommended that NWC President Paul Prestwich fill that role.

Powell City Councilman Jim Hillberry questioned additional expenditure for economic development when the economy is forcing towns to cut back.

Glogowski repeated that economic development is a necessity, and in his opinion, such expenditures should be in the budget unless they came at the expense of health and safety. He again said that approaching Cody in an effort to form a regional effort offers a way to deal with funding issues.
County Commissioner Jill Shockley Siggins said that she believed the commission would give its full support to a joint effort.

NCDS was engaged by the alliance and the chamber to conduct the study a year ago following the resignation of Dave Reetz as executive director of the Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance. Reetz's position had been underwritten by a local financial institution. NCDS also assisted in the formation of Forward Cody.

The study was funded by the City of Powell, the Wyoming Business Council and Northwest College.

Prestwich to lead reorganization efforts

Efforts are beginning to restructure the Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance, and NWC president Paul Prestwich has accepted the role of initiating the effort.

Prestwich was recommended for the role by National Community Development Services, a consulting firm that has been studying Powell's economic development efforts. In a report delivered to the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce and the alliance this week, Craig Glogowski of NCDS recommended that the alliance be restructured and said the effort required a temporary leader to spark the reorganization.

Prestwich said Wednesday that he was willing to take on the role of bringing community members together in an effort to revitalize Powell's efforts in economic development.

“I'm going to make lots of calls to reach out to individuals who have an interest in economic development,” Prestwich said. “My purpose is to bring those folks together and get the alliance reorganized.”

Prestwich said Powell has a good record of economic development in the past, but the effort has slowed recently.

“I think it's a good time for us to reignite that kind of work,” he said.

Prestwich said his leadership will cease once a new board is organized and leadership is elected.

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