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SBJ Economic Growth Survey: Publisher's Note

The Perfect Storm

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This special edition of Springfield Business Journal is the first in our 2022 Economic Growth Series. Area business leaders were surveyed in May and June (for the fifth time since January 2019) regarding their plans for immediate growth and any challenges they face. On Aug. 3, 65 area business leaders met at Amazon’s Republic fulfillment center for a discussion of survey implications. It’s no surprise that many of the same topics emerged that have been tossed around in years past. Though, the 2022 series has a notably different flair. 

Ollis/Akers/Arney is the presenter of this year’s series that will take participants to some places they’ve never been before. Easily 80% of business leaders attending the first economic growth series discussion had never stepped foot in the new Amazon facility. In future events, we will visit Sports Town, Finley Farms and OTC’s Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

The 2022 series promises to be interactive and solution oriented. Forum discussions and special publications will focus on workforce, economic development, placemaking, tourism, education and business leadership. Participants should expect to be part of the conversation. 

One of the most powerful takeaways for me from the Aug. 3 workshop came from Jason Flores, portfolio manager at Central Trust Co., who offered this novel approach to workforce shortages: “Get used to it!” He provided examples of how businesses have emerged victoriously from economic downturn or workforce shortages by learning to identify mission-critical functions and then trimming the fat. 

Richard Ollis, CEO of Ollis/Akers/Arney, and Republic City Administrator David Cameron both challenged the audience to think in new ways about building and re-development of the Springfield area to address critical housing shortages and feed business growth. 

Ollis also spoke of two decades of decline and deterioration of some of Springfield’s oldest residential neighborhoods before unveiling plans for a private block grant that mimics a successful initiative that took place in Des Moines, Iowa.

Cameron pointed to public/private partnerships as a key for healthy economic development and expressed the need for government to move at the speed of business.

I encourage you to read this special edition of SBJ and then add your voice to the conversation. Join Ollis/Akers/Arney, Penmac Staffing, Central Bank and Solera Energy as we explore solutions and spur action for economic growth and vitality of the Springfield region.

SBJ 2022 Economic Growth Survey collected April 29-June 22. Survey sample size of 235, with a +/- 5.4% margin of error and 95% confidence interval.

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