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House Economic Development Committee Chairman Speaks to FLW Region Leaders

by Erin Younkin | Nov 20, 2019

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On Thursday, November 14, local governmental and civic leaders and community members from the Fort Leonard Wood (FLW) Region gathered at the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership’s (SOP) quarterly board of directors meeting. 

This quarter’s SOP meeting was attended by special guest Missouri Representative and Economic Development Committee Chair Derek Grier. During the meeting Grier learned how the SOP and the four-county FLW Region (Laclede, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas) are working together with regional communities, governments, and organizations, as well as FLW and state and federal enablers as stakeholders to make the FLW Region an ever-better place to live, work, and play, while enabling FLW mission success and advocating for mission sustainment and expansion and regional job growth. 

SOP leaders also described how the organization’s work is guided by the desire to gain positive recognition for the region and to strengthen the region and FLW through its strategic plan, vision, mission, and overarching goals. 

Elected leaders and local governmental representatives in attendance included Missouri Representative Steve Lynch, SOP Chair and St. Robert mayor Dr. George Lauritson, Waynesville mayor Luge Hardman and Lebanon mayor Jared Carr, Pulaski county presiding commissioner Gene Newkirk, Laclede county presiding commissioner Randy Angst, and Texas county presiding commissioner Scott Long, St. Robert city administrator Anita Ivey, Waynesville city administrator Bruce Harrill, Rolla city administrator John Butz, and Houston city administrator Scott Avery. Also, in attendance was Missouri Partnership chief marketing officer Mark Sutherland, as well as economic development professionals from across the region. 

During his remarks Grier spoke to the group about the importance of his being able to get out into parts of the state, like the FLW Region, to learn more about areas outside of Missouri’s larger cities. He commented specifically on the unique potential of the region to leverage the existing network of well-educated and skilled military spouses and nearly 1,000 service members that transition out of the military from Fort Leonard Wood each year to attract new business, industry, and jobs to the region. 

Grier also toured FLW where he visited with Fort Leonard Wood Commanding General Major General Donna Martin, deputy to the Commanding General Gregg Thompson, and chief of the Commander’s Initiative Group Kasie Lercher. Grier was given a windshield tour of the installation by director of FLW Garrison Command’s Plans Analysis & Integration Office Bryan Parker.

“We appreciated Representative Grier spending the day with us and learning about the vast potential that the region represents beyond the existing $2.8 billion economic impact that Fort Leonard Wood has on the Missouri economy. We look forward to working with Representative Grier, and all of our state legislators, in the future,” said SOP executive director Dorsey Newcomb

The Sustainable Ozarks Partnership is a non-profit organization formed in 2012 as a way to unite the work of local governments, businesses, civic organizations, and citizens in a four-county region to ensure the long-term sustainability of Fort Leonard Wood (FLW). The SOP allows the region to work together to improve the region’s quality of life measures and business climate that also support and enable FLW mission success, sustainment, and military readiness while advocating for new military and federal missions all as part of regional efforts to strengthen the Fort Leonard Wood Region.

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Strengthening the Fort Leonard Wood region