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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • State official likes Hannibal’s future

  • During his presentation at Wednesday’s Tri-State Development Summit in Hannibal, Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, listed the seven Ps of site selection that businesses use.
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  • During his presentation at Wednesday’s Tri-State Development Summit in Hannibal, Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, listed the seven Ps of site selection that businesses use. As he addressed members of the media later, Downing acknowledged that he believes Hannibal has a lot going for itself.
    “Hannibal has some significant transportation advantages,” he said. “They have a great place to live because talented people want to live in a good place. This is a great place to live, and so they’ve got all the makings for growth in the future which they should be really proud of.”
    Another plus going for the city of Hannibal is Hannibal-LaGrange University, which hosted Wednesday’s Summit.
    “In order to be a finalist (to land a major business) you have to meet 30 to 60 specific criteria the company requires, with the access to talent being No. 1. If you’re a technology company you want to be in a place that can attract and retain talent with university support, like Hannibal-LaGrange,” said Downing.
    As a whole, Missouri has made a “good recovery” from the recent recession, according to Downing. He believes Northeast Missouri held its own during the economic downturn because of its agricultural base.
    “Like in a lot of rural areas, agriculture has been relatively steady. The growth in businesses has not been as good as we, and the other people in this area, would like because the economy for rural areas is a little bit more difficult,” he said. “Agriculture is still the backbone of the economy in this area.”
    While agriculture remains a major part of Missouri’s economy, the number of technical jobs in the state is increasing. Downing reported that the Show-Me State was recently cited as the fastest growing state in terms of its number of tech jobs.
    “On business development, the fastest growing companies, both expanding and in new locations, are technology-oriented,” he said. “The No. 1 criteria for technology-oriented companies is access to talented people. We’re trying to reinforce to students in grade school, high school and college to go into the “stem” areas – science, technology, engineering and math – because that’s where the jobs are now. If they go into those areas, the jobs are there.”
    Downing, who was “pinch hitting” for Gov. Jay Nixon, applauded the three-state partnership the Summit represents.
    “This is a really good way to do it because communities can’t be as effective alone,” he said. “They (other areas) should look at a regional strategy. They (Summit organizers) should be applauded for what they’re trying to do.”
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