Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New “Discover Owensboro” iPhone app now available

Keeping up with Owensboro is now easier than ever with the release of a new “Discover Owensboro” application available for download to users of the iPhone. The free “app” is a project of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau and was developed by Agent511, an Owensboro-based technology company.

Apps are software programs that can be downloaded online and then viewed and used anywhere on iPhones and certain ipod mobile devices. Nearly 34 million iPhones have been sold since they were introduced by Apple in 2007 and approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the U.S. alone.

“This is an exciting and easily-accessible way for people to participate in Owensboro,” says Nick Brake, EDC president. “This is a great way to promote our community.”

The “Discover Owensboro” app will have six features:

-       Local events
-       EDC blog of economic development news/ideas
-       Chamber member business directory
-       Promotional videos from the EDC
-       GO ChamberBook social media site
-       Map of local industrial sites

“There’s something for everybody on the ‘Discover Owensboro’ app,” says Jody Wassmer, chamber president. “You can find something to do, find a local business, promote your business, read about economic development...the iPhone app is part of a larger effort the chamber will take in 2010 to market the many good things occurring here.”

“We’ll encourage visitors to download the app and discover our events and festivals from anywhere,” adds Karen Miller, CVB executive director.

All three organizations plan to promote the downloading of the app on their websites and in their various publications and newsletters. They also plan to promote it for downloading to visitors at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

“There are a lot of innovative things going on here, and an iPhone app is an innovative way to promote it,” concludes Brake.  

New Theater Degree has Value in the Business World

We received some very interesting feedback from a business leader and employer in Owensboro regarding the new collaborative Bachelor of Arts in Theater announced last week.  The program is a partnership between the RiverPark Center, Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College, and the Owensboro Community and Technical College.  

The business leader's feedback is as follows:  "I have a friend in Indianapolis with a very fast growing sales business.  His favorite place to recruit his salespeople is Theatre Arts Majors.  They treat the sales job as a role and are able to do exactly what they are told to do.  Many are making $50-$100k working for him part time and can still pursue their acting careers.  I will be a recruiter of the graduates." 

There is too often a perception that an applicant for a position in business must have a business degree, when in fact employers may be looking more demonstrated skills and abilities that they need.  Sounds like, at least from the words of one business leader that a degree in Theater has value way beyond the field of arts and entertainment. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Interstate Spurs Driving Commerce to Owensboro

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - Earlier this week Congress approved $375,000 to study changing several parkways in Kentucky into interstates.Now some commercial realtors say Owensboro is starting to get noticed.
"We've been getting calls from large, industrial-type companies looking for 50,000 square feet or more," said realtor Bo Barron.  "Third party logistics companies, distribution kinds of things and that's something that the Owensboro market really hasn't had a demand for."
Local commercial real estate agents say business is picking up thanks to new interstate designations for both the Audubon and Natcher Parkways.
"I think it could be directly tied to the interstate designation," he said.  "Both the calls we've had in the last week I asked them and they said it's been a factor in them looking at Owensboro, western Kentucky, southern Indiana."
"That's the whole idea for converting the parkways to eventually becoming full-fledged interstates is to attract more business, more tourists, more opportunities for Owensboro," said Jody Wassmer, Chamber of Commerce.
Part of changing the parkways into interstates would be some changes like widening some of the medians, raising some of the overpasses as well as lengthening some of the entrance ramps. The Chamber of Commerce says some of the entrance ramps were designed for toll payers to slow down but with interstates, drivers need to speed up to merge with traffic.
"This country travels by the interstate system," Wassmer said.  "Business travels on the interstates and it's just really important in this day and age that you have as much interstate access as you can get."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes Will Visit Owensboro

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Larry Hayes will be visiting Owensboro next week to meet with local officials regarding various economic development issues.  
A focus of the visit will be to discuss many of the partnerships that exist between the Cabinet and the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. to promote Owensboro to prospective businesses and site selectors. 
“Owensboro continues to be proactive in its job creation strategy,” said Hayes.  “During my recent visits with community officials, it was evident that they had laid the appropriate groundwork to accomplish their long-term economic goals.”
Hayes will speak with regional leaders at 8:30 am Tuesday, December 22 at the Commerce Center. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

RiverPark Center and college collaborate on Theatre Degree

RiverPark Center, Brescia University, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Owensboro Community and Technical College are pleased to announce they are developing a truly unique partnership – the creation of a Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree. Students enrolled for the degree will have the opportunity to participate in courses at each of the participating institutions.

As the Gateway Planning group analyzed the Owensboro and Daviess County community, they discovered a truly unique and significant arts and cultural environment and suggested that the downtown master plan should include an Arts Academy which would take advantage of the synergy that already exists downtown.  

Cheryl King, President, Kentucky Wesleyan College said:  “Kentucky Wesleyan College is pleased to partner with RiverPark Center and our sister institutions to provide this distinctive Theatre Arts program. Through a unique collaborative model, our students will have exceptional opportunities for learning and success. There is a lot of excitement on our campus, and we look forward to working with our sister institutions and the RiverPark Center.”
 Father Larry Hostetter, President, Brescia University added:  Brescia has had a long history of excellence in the creative arts. This will be a great "next step" in that tradition. The fact that we are collaborating with our sister institutions and the RiverPark Center makes this effort especially significant. I have no doubt that soon Owensboro will be recognized as the place to receive a theater arts degree.

The Owensboro Community and Technical College will offer a Certificate – specializing in technical theatre – where the vast majority of entertainment jobs exist.  

The program will provide a direct interface between the college students and many of the the touring professionals that often perform on the stage at RiverPark Center through the "Broadway West" program, where shows are built and rehearsed in Owensboro. 

“We look forward to our students creating an “alive” downtown and riverfront – it is our future and we can touch it” said RiverPark president Zev Buffman.  

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Annual survey shows high downtown interest among Chamber members

Thirty-one percent of Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce members say they would “be interested in locating their business and/or starting a business downtown” and 17% say they would “be interested in living downtown” according to the annual legislative and local issues survey this fall.

Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated “their business would not work downtown” while 12% say they “are not in favor of the downtown plan.” Six-percent of respondents had no response to the downtown question. The survey was completed by 23% of Chamber members during September and October.

“That means that nearly half of respondents would like to have a business and/or live downtown,” says Chamber President Jody Wassmer. “That seems to be fairly significant support for what the plans the city and county have initiated in downtown Owensboro.”

The Chamber board of directors voted to support the “place-making initiative” plan last winter and subsequently took several members to Greenville, SC last May to see that city’s proactive downtown redevelopment. The group returned with the belief that Owensboro was on the right track to stimulate private downtown investment that would lead to increased commerce, tourism and economic development for the entire community.