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January 31, 2018

In the sport of competitive rowing, there are different types of boats that travel the 2000 meter distance. The world record for a single scull boat that one rower propels it that distance is six and a half minutes. The world record for a double scull boat that two rowers propels it that distance is six minutes. The world record for an eight boat that eight rowers propel it that distance is five minutes and nineteen seconds.

 So why is this something to think about?  Teamwork is the answer.

My first example is the City of Emporia and Lyon County’s commitment to working together to share costs, equipment, and personnel to provide services to the community that provide savings and better service for everyone. The history of this relationship has changed over time from somewhat adversary to a teamwork approach on local government. This has happened because the two commissions have chosen to sit down together and have the difficult conversations that were avoided in the past, and the results have been more than successful. Through this joint effort of propelling our boat faster, we quickly realize that another couple of rowers would be beneficial. Obviously, it would be difficult to just choose two.  Would it be Emporia State University, or would it be Flint Hills Technical College?  What about Newman Regional Health, Main Street, Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, or RDA?  My suggestion is to throw them all in the boat and grab an oar.

In 2013 Lyon County joined with 6 other counties to form the Flint Hills Regional Council to take a regional approach to economic development.  The 7 counties involved are Lyon, Chase, Morris, Geary, Riley, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee.   By having a seat at the table for the monthly meetings we made many connections that have opened doors for exciting opportunities.  Whether it be Fort Riley working with Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College on educating and training troops that are transitioning out of the military, or the fact that the seven-county economic development directors are now meeting every quarter, good stuff is happening.  

Currently, the National Bio and Agri-Defense Facility (NBAF for short) is being constructed in Manhattan Kansas and is anticipated to be in full operations in 2023.  At a joint city-county meeting last spring we had Ron Trewyn, the NBAF liaison, speak to us on how this facility impacts Lyon County.  His main point was that with three pet food manufacturers and a regent university within a short distance from the facility we have enormous possibilities for economic opportunities for this region, and I totally agree.  Already companies from around the world are looking at locations to settle in, and we are it.  In this global economy, we cannot afford to go it alone.

The future of our success will be our ability to work strongly together to create an environment of economic growth and make Lyon County the place where people from across the globe look ‘to call home. I’m Scott Briggs and that is something to think about.

“The mission of Lyon County government is to create an environment of economic growth within a framework of fiscal responsibility and transparency to the people of Lyon County.”