Magnet operation

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After undergoing a search to fill the executive director position for the Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, it was recently announced that the area's industrial recruitment arm will be run through the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier this year the organization's board opted not to renew former executive director Mitch Robinson's contract. Chamber president and CEO John Mehner has served as Magnet's interim director, and Magnet board president and Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger said the chamber has handled the responsibilities well.

The arrangement will see Magnet make quarterly payments to the chamber totaling $110,000 annually. Mehner said he plans to hire a full-time business development specialist in January while other staff members take on additional responsibilities.

"Yes, it's going to be a challenge; however, being able to do this from a team approach just makes a lot of sense," Mehner recently told the Southeast Missourian. "Each member of the team has strengths and we can use those strengths in different areas. That's just really hard to do with one person."

A move of this nature is not possible without trust and credibility. Mehner brings that to that table. This concept for economic development comes with some precedent as Springfield, Mo., Joplin, Mo., St. Joseph, Mo., and St. Louis use the same model that Magnet will use.

Going forward it will be important to see continued regional cooperation. Efforts by Magnet and the I-55 Corridor Group are two examples of communities working together for the economic benefit of the area. We hope this new arrangement facilitates even more industrial recruitment in the new year.

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