Springfield Business Journal’s 2021 Economic Growth Survey is coming soon to an inbox near you, marking the fourth time area business leaders will be polled regarding current and future needs and plans for personnel, capital, real estate, expansion, contraction, retirement and more.
In 2019, SBJ set out to capture current data, not being measured or readily disseminated elsewhere, that would aid area businesspeople in informed decision-making and that could serve as a guide for local economic development. Under the guidance of an international but fortunately local research firm, H2R Market Research, SBJ convened an advisory committee of regional economic development professionals to craft a survey that could meet that tall order.
Thanks to an overwhelming survey response, H2R Market Research was able to capture baseline data that allowed us to establish a Springfield business confidence index one year prior to a pandemic that changed the world. The survey went out twice in 2020, pre- and post-COVID onset. The time dedicated by local business decision makers to respond to these surveys proved invaluable to measure the impact of the pandemic and predict future needs in a way that will most certainly shorten and inform local business recovery.
So, let me first express my gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to respond to these surveys. Thank you also for thoughtful participation in forum discussions over the last two summers in person and on Zoom. Thank you for your willingness to help other local businesses recover and prosper by sharing your candid observations and forecasts.
Now for the ask.
The 2021 survey is no less important than the three which preceded it. I urge you to take the 10-12 minutes required to respond to the survey questions that will be delivered to you via email. The primary survey is clearly geared towards management-level decision makers. If you do not function as a decision maker within your organization, I would urge you to use a provided link that will direct you to a consumer-oriented survey for those who live and work in Springfield and surrounding areas. Solving today’s complex problems requires an engaged community with multiple perspectives. That’s why SBJ is investing in this initiative and why we are asking you to once again invest your time.
Here’s my promise: You can expect the time invested here to come back to you in multiples. SBJ, H2R Market Research and survey presenter and sponsor Prosperiti Partners are committed to bringing this data back to the business community in a digestible fashion via forum discussions, town hall-style meetings, expert presentations and panels, and explanatory journalism beginning in July. Forum partners like Ollis/Akers/Arney will contribute their voice and expertise to the discussion as area leaders plan for the future.
Whether you have followed and participated in this five-year data collection project since its launch in 2019 or your involvement begins today, your input is valuable. Thank you in advance for your participation.
Springfield Business Journal Publisher Jennifer Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visionhealth Eye Center in Republic moved; Gettin’ Basted expanded north to Springfield; and the second Springfield facility for Blue Iguana Car Wash opened.
Jennifer Charleston, a 20-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department and the only female lieutenant in the department, talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about her career in law enforcement and her new position in the department as a liaison to the LGBTQ+ community.
Moving from physical meetings to digital meetings can feel like a barrier, but Mackenzie Scherer, an independent technology business consultant, says it can be an opportunity. Scherer says that with good moderation, a digital meeting experience can make people feel more included in the discussion.
Abby Glenn, development director for Habitat for Humanity, says corporate partners are a huge asset to the work they do. Corporate donation matching programs help individual donors feel they are contributing more and help Habitat for Humanity cover the large costs of their projects.
Alex Neville-Verdugo, museum director at the Discovery Center in Springfield, describes the opportunities the Discovery Center has through partnerships with other educational organizations. Neville-Verdugo says the Discovery Center’s virtual learning program reaches across multiple countries, with traffic mostly coming from the U.S. and Canada.
Elizabeth Hurst, business development manager at HR Advantage, says we do see fewer women in the workforce today than before the pandemic. Hurst says many women want more flexible work environments and that is one way employers can capture the female labor force.
Curtis Marshall, CEO of Tie & Timber Beer Company, says he sees work-life balance very differently. When he was younger, he would push himself to take on more and more responsibility, but would stop and put his career on hold for months while living in New Zealand or Mexico, or to start a pet software project. He says he lives by the philosophy of work hard and play hard.
Brent Cochran didn’t think he would become a retailer, but when thinking of ways to keep his young adult son with Down syndrome intellectually engaged, he came across a father and son team that did just that. Cochran, now owner of Al’s Pals Pet Place, says both the needs of his son and his affection for the family dog with a sensitive stomach led him to the world of e-commerce.
Michelle Romero, co-owner of PKD Venue, says her business has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by changing its business model to include food service. Now on top of serving as a venue for rent, they can keep revenue through online and pick up and go orders.
Dr. Clifton Petty, dean of the Breech School of Business at Drury University, lists three priorities for an effective MBA program. Petty says an entrepreneurial focus, a cohesive group of fellow students and an emphasis on hands-on experience are things students should look for in an MBA program. This is sponsored content.
Megan Short, the executive director of the Springfield Contractors Association, discusses her company’s organization strategies to encourage networking. She encourages organizing networking events around some activity and working to explicitly provide time during events for people to chat and have conversation.