Wednesday, November 28, 2007

EDC's Mountjoy Named to Governor-Elect Beshear's Cabinet

FRANKFORT, KY (November 28, 2007) - Governor-elect Steve Beshear today named EDC Executive Vice President Helen W. Mountjoy of Utica as the new Education Cabinet Secretary.

"Helen has a wealth of knowledge and experience in our state education system," said Gov.-Elect Beshear at the announcement earleir today. "Her commitment to making Kentucky a better place dates back to her service with me on the Kentucky Tomorrow Commission when I was Lieutenant Governor. Her drive, ambition and institutional knowledge make her a welcome addition to the Beshear/Mongiardo Administration."

As EDC Executive Vice President, Mountjoy directed EDC’s efforts in workforce development. She served as the director of the Regional Alliance for Education, the region’s business/ education roundtable. She is the current chair of the Owensboro Advisory Board for BB&T. She serves on various boards, including the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Prior to coming to EDC, Mountjoy served as Chair of the Kentucky Board of Education through the implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Daily Flights to Cincinnati Connects Greater Owensboro to Global Marketplace

Commercial air service returns to Owensboro today with daily flights to the Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport. Cincinnati is a great gateway for flights to all corners of the United States and a large selection of international flights as well.

As airport manager Tim Bradshaw said, quality air connections are critical to any community that wants to achieve in the global marketplace. Delta Connection flights to and from Cincinnati offer those connections for the Greater Owensboro region.

The connection is critical for many of the Owensboro-based office headquarters and professional service operations, such as Southern Star, Texas Gas, and U.S. Bank, which do business regularly with operations in other U.S. cities.

We hope that Big Sky Airlines will pledge to provide the most convenient times as possible for connections to maximize the efficiency of business travelers out of Owensboro. This added convenience will make the Cincinnati Delta connection a significant advantage for the region in serving the needs of existing employers and at the same time making it very attractive to back office headquarters, professional service companies, and entrepreneurs alike looking to make Owensboro the home to their business.

The airport is also preparing to open its runway extension. Once the extension is complete Owensboro’s 8,000 foot runway will be the third longest in Kentucky, behind Louisville and Cincinnati.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Emerging Ventures Fund will help Attract Companies and Startups to Region

The Owensboro City Commission today created a seed capital fund to help make the region competitive in recruiting high tech and high growth companies to establish operations and headquarters in Owensboro.

The Emerging Ventures Fund will target companies currently working with Kentucky Bioprocessing, the Owensboro Cancer Research Program at the Owensboro Medical Health System and other high growth or technology-oriented startup companies working with the Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation.

The Emerging Ventures Fund is designed to work in conjunction with the state seed capital funds, such as the Rural Innovation Fund and the Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund. The fund would also work in conjunction with private venture capital and angel investors in the region and throughout Kentucky.

The seed capital will take the form of an equity investment into the companies structured as convertible debt with the fund owning shares. The Emerging Ventures Fund will likely be managed by a professional manager, much the way the state seed funds are managed by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation.

The initial City commitment to the fund is $100,000 per year for a five-year period using the dividend paid to the City from the Owensboro Riverport Authority. Additional city economic development funds will be considered at a later date. The overall goal is to accumulate a fund of $1 million in public funds and additional private funds over a five year period.

Venture Club Meeting Thursday

Don't forget the next Greater Owensboro Venture Club Meeting on Thursday, November 15, 2007 from 11:30 to 1:00 at the Springs Conference Center.  The meeting will follow the same format of one minute and five minute presentations of entrepreneurs looking for funds for business startups and a keynote speaker discussing topics related to entrepreneurship.  Please visit our website  for information and to make reservations for the November meeting.

The keynote speaker for the November meeting will be Alan Stein, President/CEO of the Lexington Legends minor league baseball team.  A medical devise company startup and a hedge fund manger that previously managed funds for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be presenting venture funding opportunities.   

You can also sign up for an annual membership in the club for $100 per year, which includes four meetings and lunches at the meetings.  We already have about 35 annual members with more arriving each day.  See you Thursday!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

EDC Executive Vice President Helen Mountjoy Named to Governor-Elect Beshear’s Transition Team

EDC Executive Vice President Helen Mountjoy was named to Governor-Elect Steve Beshear’s transition team. Mountjoy will head-up the team for the Commerce Cabinet.

As EDC Executive Vice President, Mountjoy directs EDC’s efforts in workforce development and is the director of the Regional Alliance for Education, the region’s business/ education roundtable. She is the current chair of the Owensboro Advisory Board for BB&T. She serves on various boards, including the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Prior to coming to EDC, Mountjoy served as Chair of the Kentucky Board of Education through the implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act.

For more information about the transition team, see the following link from

Agreement between WKU, Daviess County Fiscal Court, GO-EDC New Model for Higher Education

The recent agreement between Western Kentucky University, the Daviess County Fiscal Court, and the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation regarding the expansion of public postsecondary education with a proposed new campus in Owensboro is significant.

It is significant because it provides a new model for the expansion of public higher education in communities like Owensboro that are without state funded four-year universities. The community shaped its own destiny by identifying the gaps in higher education delivery, invited a regional university to partner with the community in meeting its needs, and provided land and financial support for the establishment of a campus. Never before has this been done in the Commonwealth.

The agreement asks WKU to enhance baccalaureate and graduate degree offerings aligned to local workforce and economic development goals in areas such as allied health, applied engineering, the sciences, and business services. WKU has also committed to supporting efforts to stimulate innovation and the commercialization of ideas through applied research partnerships in conjunction with existing and emerging industries.

As the economic development field adapts to meet the needs of an evolving international economy, regions are increasingly touting strengths in skilled labor to attract and retain innovative companies. In fact, many studies of corporate location decisions have shown skilled labor to be such an important asset that many regions have made it a central theme of regional marketing efforts. Innovative companies chose regions with a reliable and flexible supply of local talent.

Regions cannot develop a skilled workforce without investment in the institutions that create and nurture talent such as universities. Staying competitive in the modern global economy increasingly requires a greater capacity for life long learning and skill adaptation.

The Owensboro community has long recognized the significant role and outstanding contribution that institutions of higher education such as Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro Community and Technical College, and Western Kentucky University- Owensboro have had on the economic development of the region thus far; and that increasing enrollment that will come with this opportunity will benefit all by adding to the synergy of students aged 18-25 that chose live in this community to attend college. A rising tide lifts all boats!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

EDC Website Revamped to Enhance Community Marketing Efforts: New Site includes Community Profile Information available in Six Languages

The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. has recently invested in the redesign and development of its web site, creating a global reach and includes the kind of information that site selectors and businesses need to make informed decisions (click here to check it out).

Websites play a key role in community marketing efforts. Most site selection consultants and relocating companies use the internet for the advanced work in identifying sites and communities, nearly 85 percent of all business relocations begin with a through examination of the website.

The EDC also markets the region by sending materials to site selection consultants in target industries such as advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, metals, energy, and bioprocessing. In most cases these targeted materials attempt to direct consultants and potential clients to the web site.

Highlights of the new site include:

  • Availability of community information in six languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese)The site is linked directly to the site/ building and community demographic information from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development;
  • Contains valuable information for entrepreneurs starting businesses and groups in the community recruiting people, such as OMHS, local colleges, and realtors;
  • The site includes updated news and information about activities in the Greater Owensboro region which, along with the entries to this blog, greatly enhance the search hits for our region;
  • The site promotes the overall region, including site information and amenities, such as the Bluegrass Crossings Business Center in Ohio County and the river, rail and highway sites in Hancock County.

The site ( is part of the domain shared with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and linked to the chamber, tourist commission, and the transportation sites.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Targets for Business Growth

The mission and vision of the EDC is to create the environment for economic progress in our region. We have identified three targeted areas for business growth—the three T’s: Traditional Industry, Technology, and Talent.

1. Traditional Industry- the approach and marketing methods always used in economic development to attract and retain manufacturing and other large employers. EDC officials work closely with Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development officials and site selection consultants to market industrial sites at the Mid-America Airpark, the airport with its newly expanded runway, Coleman Terminal, and regional sites at Bluegrass Crossings in Ohio County, and river sites in Hancock County, which offer roughly 1,000 acre footprint in each location. Globalization has made this a difficult proposition; however, in the past six months we have worked with dozens of clients that have looked at sites and buildings in the region.

2. Technology-oriented companies- with hopes of diversifying the economy, the EDC has begun the recruitment of small startup companies and high growth companies in variety of high tech sectors, including plant natural product companies that will utilize Kentucky Bioprocessing, renewable energy, and professional service companies providing value-added services in sectors such as finance and health care. So far the results have been very positive; Revasyst, a small company that provides value-added services in health care just located an office here and is growing fast. The EDC is working closely with Kentucky Bioprocessing, Owensboro Cancer Research Program and have attracted attention of numerous small biotechnology companies and startups. One company, Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, recently signed a lease with KBP to locate part of their operation in Owensboro. The tools for this type of recruitment are very different than traditional industrial recruitment. These small yet growing firms are looking for startup capital, a technology infrastructure such as broadband, science labs, and incubator space. The Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation will greatly assist efforts to recruit companies of this type.

3. Talent- plays a much more important role in the success of companies and communities than it ever has. Skilled human capital is at a premium. Not only do employees switch jobs more often, the growth rate of the workforce is slowing and aging. This country is facing a serious workforce crisis in the future. Communities are competing furiously to attract talent. Because of all these factors we feel it is imperative to give equal weight to the attraction, development and retention of talent as has been given to the attraction of new companies. Efforts to recruit skilled people center on the creation of a cool place through the development of quality of life amenities, downtown redevelopment, and the enhancement of college and university programs. is a new mechanism to recruit people, with several groups targeted: entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers, university applied research programs, college students, and foreign exchange students in our Sister Cities.

The EDC has recently assembled a recruitment team, including representatives from regional partner economic development organizations, to work with existing companies, new prospective companies, and the development, retention, and recruitment of people.