The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council (MRED) met Sept. 13 at Advanced Chimney Techniques in Jamestown.
Chairman/CEO Mike Kelley spoke of his activities on behalf of the organization. He has attended several different chamber meetings, attended a conference in St. Louis, met with small business administration personnel and appeared on KRLL radio.
Kelley submitted the Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) application from Burgers' Smokehouse.
He also spoke of the upcoming program of events to encourage entrepreneurs to start, and keep, a business in Moniteau County. The events are designed to expose local entrepreneurs to resources, to hopefully turn their ideas into an actual business enterprise by giving them the tools to network properly. The plan is to eventually to have at least one event in every community in the county. There is a six-week Launch U course available.
The meeting was turned over for a report by Dale Deraps and his daughter, Omie Johnson, about starting up a business. Advanced Chimney Techniques was started in 1978, in part because of the Arab oil embargo. Fuel costs increased and people began heating their homes with wood. The need for cleaning chimneys was obvious, considering the number of residences, which burned due to flue fires. He got a loan from a local bank to get the $18,000 necessary equipment to reline chimneys. The business eventually moved into selling wood stoves and fireplaces. They will also do custom work, which gives them a leg up on many other businesses, which won't do that.
"Our main problem is good help," Deraps said. "We've got more work than we've got people."
The business is seasonal and could use four or five more employees. The problem with having fewer employees than are needed, is he gets so busy working in the business, he forgets to "work on the business."
Deraps went on to explain there are many people who want someone to give them a job, when what is really needed is someone who wants to work.
What is the number one thing (the businesses) are looking for?" Kelley asked.
Deraps said he wants people who can connect the dots, people who can get engaged.
Mark Koechner, of Koechner Manufacturing in Tipton, said what is needed are young people who realize there is work available in Moniteau County. They may think they have to go somewhere else to find employment; but there are opportunities in the area.
Before adjourning, the board and members present discussed the meeting schedule. The change, to begin with the Oct. 11 meeting, will be of the Business Attraction, Development and Retention Committee and the Workforce Development Committee. Both will meet at Burger Haus.
The California High School Career Fair is scheduled for Oct. 17. It will feature a number of panels of professionals spread throughout the school, including fields ranging from accountants, engineers, law enforcement, medical, and agriculture to mechanics. Each person on a panel will speak for about five minutes about their entry into the profession of their choice and the work involved. This year, in addition to California students, juniors from Jamestown and Tipton will also attend the California High School-sponsored event.