CEO’s Report: Promoting the unique features of your community

With Independence Day just around the corner, it reminds me that summer is a fleeting season. I for one can never get enough warm days and sunshine. I certainly don’t feel the same about cold winter days, but that’s just me.

This summer certainly hasn’t been a typical one, but nothing has been typical since the beginning of March. As we try to regain a sense of normalcy in our lives, Heartland is excited to announce we are planning to host our Summer Conference on August 12.

We are holding the event a little later than normal and will certainly take precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our customers and other guests. After cancelling our Annual Meeting due to COVID-19, I look forward to seeing everyone and providing useful information while having a little fun.

The Summer Conference is one of most popular events, and it isn’t just because we play a round of golf in the afternoon.

We strive to make the morning conference useful for all attendees. With a diverse customer base, that isn’t always easy, but most Heartland customers are rural communities with many things in common.

I believe anyone who attends will take something useful away.

Promoting your community

The focus of this year’s conference will be how to effectively promote your community. While each community is unique, many face similar challenges and our goal is to provide tips to help you shine your town in the best light possible to attract not only business, but residents as well.

Our customer communities have a lot to offer and no one can tell their stories better than the very people already living there.

If you do have room for expansion, what would make someone want to bring their business to your town other than the standard advantages of low taxes and utility rates?

In a pile of papers full of communities looking to attract the same business, what makes yours stand out?

Those are questions we hope to answer, as well as provide insight on how you can best promote Heartland’s economic development incentives. We want to be your partner in development and work together to offer every advantage.

Something for everyone

No matter the size of your community, opportunity abounds, and the goal of the Summer Conference is to help you capitalize on the opportunities specific to your area.

Heartland customer communities are full of examples of dreams becoming reality and we have been fortunate to be part of many of those success stories. Rural communities are finding ways to create gathering spaces, provide services and amenities and entice new businesses as well as new residents.

With so many good things happening, we are always excited to bring in folks from those communities to share how they keep their communities moving forward. There is no better education than a “how-to” from someone who has already seen a project through from beginning to end.

You don’t have to be an economic development expert to attend. You simply have to be passionate about your community and want to see it thrive. We’ll do our best to help do just that.

Quality of life

Why do you live where you live? Were you born there? Did you move there for a job?

Perhaps the most important question is: Why do you stay?

Quality of life is an important component of economic development that often gets lost in the conversation. That may be because it is a harder thing to measure and may not be as apparent as a new business setting up shop on Main Street.

Quality of life is what makes people want to call a place home. It is the amenities provided in a community that promote well-being and satisfaction. A good quality of life will mean different things to different people, but can include access to quality healthcare, education, and housing as well as a low crime rate and other amenities such as entertainment venues and parks.

These things are all important because they go hand in hand with job creation. You want the people working in your community also living in your community. You can also entice people who work elsewhere if your town offers all the comforts they’re looking for.

Our conference will get you thinking about your community from the outside looking in. You’ll see your community in a new light, helping to effectively promote all the unique qualities it has to offer.

See you in August

If you have never attended the Heartland Summer Conference, I highly encourage you to check it out this year. Whether you work for the city, are the mayor, council person, or involved in economic development, I promise you will walk away with some useful tips and advice.

At the very least, you will get to meet with Heartland staff and talk to others from communities that are probably facing some of the same challenges as yours.

I hope to see you in August and until then, enjoy the warm summer days ahead.