Economic Development News

Two Chamber initiatives gain ground in 2016
Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2016
By: Randy Allen

As a part of the 2016 Economic Development Work Plan created a year ago with the Chamber-City-County partnership, two initiatives were proposed to further the economic potential in #JCMO. Considerable progress on each project was made in 2016 and we look forward to continued progress in 2017.

Project Port

Matt Alsager, Hawthorn Bank, is leading an ad hoc Chamber initiative to determine the viability of a multimodal port facility in Cole County. The group is developing a framework for a feasibility study to determine whether an intermodal/multimodal Port Authority could be established to serve as an economic development and job creating catalyst in Central Missouri as well as statewide. The feasibility study would address whether the port would be financially and functionally viable.

The study would evaluate the initial cost of capital improvements for docking facilities and offloading infrastructure, rail spur modifications and road and highway improvements as well as the ongoing operating cost and potential revenue sources from use of the port.

We believe there is a need for an intermodal river port in Central Missouri since there is only one Port Authority, currently inactive, between St. Louis and Kansas City on the Missouri River.

 

Included in the evaluation will also be the potential opportunities for business development and growth in the central Missouri area and who would benefit by use of, or increased use of, container shipping of raw materials via multi-modal transportation.  More specifically it would assess the potential for domestic or international traffic, predict gross county or regional product growth rates, and also determine the extent to which the recently completed $5.4 billion canal expansion project could enhance cargo shipping from the Missouri and Mississippi Basins with its new capacity.

It is anticipated that the City of Jefferson and the County of Cole would jointly develop the Port Authority which would be located adjacent to the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Facility on the Missouri River in the Algoa area near the Chamber’s current industrial Park. We believe there is a need for an intermodal river port in Central Missouri since there is only one Port Authority, currently inactive, between St. Louis and Kansas City on the Missouri River.

The Chamber committee is currently meeting with stakeholders and organizations who could participate in the funding of the feasibility study. The hope is the study could be accomplished concurrently with the statewide study by the Missouri Department of Transportation to determine the economic benefit of the entire Missouri and Mississippi River ports

Project Security

We all know in our everyday lives the impact of cyber security threats. In 2016 alone there were hacks at Wendy’s, Centene, and Verizon in addition to well-known WikiLeaks email hacks. In the State of Missouri as a whole there is a lack of resources to assist with these cyber security threats. There are nearly 270,000 unfilled security-related IT jobs in the United States. Colleges and universities in Missouri offer limited cyber security specialty degrees. Ongoing training of IT professionals and small businesses is limited. Threat sharing and best practice are ad hoc at best.

An ad hoc committee, led by Chamber Board Chairman Dan Westhues, has been working on this idea and has developed a framework for a Missouri Cyber Security Institute located in Jefferson City.

 

 

The 2016 City – County – Chamber Economic Development Work Plan recognized this vacuum and proposed an initiative to develop an organization that would bring together business, government, and academic institutions for the purpose of creating better cyber security in our state. An ad hoc committee, led by Chamber Board Chairman Dan Westhues, has been working on this idea and has developed a framework for a Missouri Cyber Security Institute located in Jefferson City. Discussions have been held with Missouri academic institutions, Missouri state government including the Office of Administration, Missouri Highway Patrol, Missouri National Guard, and business organizations interested in raising the level of cooperation, threat sharing, best practice collaboration, research and workforce development in our state.

The ad hoc group has researched other statewide and regional organizations with similar missions and has developed a framework for a not-for-profit structure that would bring Missouri business, government and academic interests together to accomplish these results.

As a further step in due diligence to determine more specifically the best practice ideas for the Institute, Chamber Board Chairman Dan Westhues and I attended the ACSC (Advanced Cyber Security Center) annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in early November. The ACSC organization has been in place since 2011 and serves the cyber security needs in Eastern Massachusetts. The purpose of this trip was to discuss our proposed Institute with individual members of this group. Feedback on our ideas from these discussions will be included in an updated plan for the creation of the Missouri Cyber Institute. Dan Westhues is also currently serving as a member of the Governor’s cyber security task force that will be making recommendations on how the state of Missouri can improve collaboration, research, education and training.

We anticipate that one of the recommendations will be the creation of a statewide entity to serve this mission. We are prepared to move our organization forward in 2017 based on this recommendation.

 

The City – County – Chamber partnership will continue to work on these and other initiatives including improved workforce development strategies in 2017 to facilitate economic growth and job creation.

As always you can contact me with comments or questions at 573-638-3580 or email me at randyallen@jcchamber.org

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