GWEDC reports on activities and results at annual investor meeting
Wichita, Kan. (2/28/2013) – Investors in the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) heard the annual report of activities, a recap of results since GWEDC’s inception, plus a look at future efforts at today’s GWEDC annual meeting.
During 2012, the economic development coalition had its highest level of potential prospect activity with 70 prospects in the project pipeline during the year. During that year, GWEDC closed on 10 projects that represent a projected 872 direct jobs with a projected annual payroll of $50.9 million. Those 10 businesses plan to invest more than $106 million in Wichita/Sedgwick County.
“We are pleased that these 10 companies are growing in Wichita,” said GWEDC Chairman Steve Sharp. “The competition for jobs is fierce as the entire country recovers, and with the multiplier effect, these 872 direct jobs actually represent nearly double that number of Wichita area jobs.”
“We also had a higher quantity and quality of potential projects in our pipeline this year. It was great to close the deals we did, but we simply didn’t have the tools needed to close additional deals,” Sharp added, citing available shovel-ready sites and buildings in particular as competitive hurdles.
The Coalition works to market the region and to retain and recruit primary jobs and capital investment in Wichita and Sedgwick County. Primary jobs are those that produce goods and services primarily sold outside the community, bringing payroll and wealth into a community.
The average pay for the combined 872 jobs was $58,382 – well above the Wichita 2012 metro average pay of $42,541.
GWEDC tracks both quality of jobs through average pay and diversification of projects. “It was a good year for the level of jobs and diversification of jobs,” said Suzie Ahlstrand, Interim GWEDC President, noting that 90 percent of the jobs were in industries outside of the aerospace and aviation cluster.
“We’ve exceeded our 10-year goals in nine years, which represents a lot of teamwork,” Ahlstrand said. “Now it’s time to start a new chapter, and our leadership and community are ready for that.”
The 100 projects represent a projected 19,017 jobs with annual payroll of $915.2 million and capital investment projected at $1.42 billion.
The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce just completed a fund-raising campaign that exceeded its goal for the next five years of investment in economic development activities through GWEDC and for the newly formed Leadership Council. More than 185 organizations invested in the Business at Full Throttle campaign.
“Investors are very interested in the results of marketing, selling and project management for the community, which is what GWEDC is focused on,” said Gary Plummer, Wichita Metro Chamber President and CEO. “And they are very interested in the Leadership Council’s formation and focus on taking us to the next competitive level by removing barriers and increasing our strengths.”
In addition to providing result numbers, Ahlstrand reported on marketing and sales events and activities of GWEDC staff during 2012, including 21 targeted industry and consultant events and 107 retention visits to local companies. One of the new events GWEDC organized last year was the first Airbus Air Capital Supplier Summit.
“Our sales force was visiting local companies, working trade shows, organizing events – doing everything to keep our prospect pipeline full and making sure the Wichita region is on the site selection map,” Ahlstrand said.
Investors also welcomed new GWEDC president Tim Chase.
“We have heard loud and clear from investors and from the community at large that economic development, and specifically jobs, is a top priority,” Sharp said. “We look forward to working with Tim, who brings decades of experience and professional leadership in this area, to our team.”
About 185 organizations are investors in GWEDC, the regional public-private partnership managed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and charged with creating and executing the community’s business recruitment, retention and expansion plans and marketing the region.
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