Chamber Announces Business Leaders As Co-Chairs

The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that the following community business leaders have been selected to serve as Co-Chairs for the Pacesetter and Special Divisions of Advantage Manhattan.

Pacesetter Division

Rich Seidler, General Manager, Kaup Furniture Co., and Ann Christian, Partner, ERA Ann Christian Linda Conderman R.E.

Special Division

Richard Hayter, Assoc. Dean for External Affairs, KSU College of Engineering, Sarah Saueressig, Community Relations & Project Manager Western Wireless corporation, Lori Rogge, Personal Financial Advisor, Caley, Commerford, Rogge & Associates, and Randy Martin, Owner, Hawley Printing.

The Campaign To fund the new economic development agenda will kick-off Tuesday, August 28.

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Advantage Manhattan is to help Manhattan in the Funding of Economic Development for the Competitive Edge. Here are part of the Goals for Advantage Manhattan:

FIVE-YEAR GOALS 2002-2006

Recognizing that sound economic growth is paramount to fostering a strong and vibrant community, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a $1.7 million fundraising program for a dynamic new program of economic development for 2002 and beyond. The program is built on the strengths of the Manhattan area.

They include:

1. A businesses community committed to economic development

2. A qualified Economic Development staff

3. An excellent quality of life in the Manhattan area

4. Education/workforce development resources throughout the area

5. A highly educated workforce with a strong work ethic

6. A 190-acre technology park available for new and expanding businesses

7. High quality expanding regional healthcare system

8. Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community with its recent $30 million expansion

9. Kansas State University with:

a. World-class research programs

b. Cutting-edge technology outgrowth

c. New K-State Research Park

d. Ample supply of student labor

e. Cultural and educational opportunities

f. Graduates each year available with diverse skills

g. Numerous academic opportunities

h. Alumni with strong links to the University and Manhattan

i. Nationally recognized football program and other strong athletic programs

10. Fort Riley with:

a. Highly skilled and dedicated retirees and transitioning soldiers

b. Source of employees from spouses and dependents

c. Economic impact of over $500 million in Kansas and source of area pride

The program includes:

Market Manhattan — This program will market the Manhattan area as a center for significant technology research capacity that supports technology related businesses. Companies like Networks Plus, Western Wireless and Sykes Enterprises have benefited from the high quality employees available in the area. Companies are looking for the wealth of knowledge available at KSU, Manhattan Area Technical College and other educational institutions. Light industry and manufacturers, with their higher than average wages, also find the Manhattan area very desirable with its strong and educated work force.

Wildcat Diplomat - the staff of the economic development program will recruit and motivate, at least, 150 Kansas State University graduates to serve as Manhattan’s "eyes and ears" to identify prospective businesses for the Manhattan area. These graduates are spread across Kansas, the United States, and around the world.

Come Home to KSU - this program will encourage KSU graduates who are business owners or senior managers to "come home" to Manhattan to establish businesses, expand or to relocate here. The program will also encourage KSU graduates to return to work in the Manhattan area. The program’s goal is to contact 1,000 KSU graduates over the next five years.

Retire to the Flinthills — will build on an already successful influx of retirees who are moving to the area to enjoy our quality of life, the recently expanded Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community, the impressive new Colbert Hills Golf Course and the splendid athletic programs of the University. The economic development staff will work with area developers, Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community and healthcare providers and the University to identify and recruit retirees.

Stay Here — each year more then 2,500 highly qualified, hard working soldiers retire or move to civilian life from Fort Riley.

The Stay Here program will work to identify and set as a goal to retain transitioning soldiers and retirees by providing quality job opportunities. The program will also encourage soldiers to finish their schooling at KSU.

Goals

In addition, the new economic development program includes six strategies that will help accomplish the following:

* 2,000 new primary jobs at an average per hour wage rate 10% above current rate

* 2,800 secondary jobs

* Realize new capital investment of $200 million

* Increase private sector jobs by 5%

These strategies will require a minimum investment of $2.7 million over five years, of which $1.7 million will need to be provided from a broad mix of area businesses. This private funding will compliment public dollars to be appropriated on an annual basis with funding from The City of Manhattan and Riley County.