Around 240 business and community leaders attended the two day Leader’s Retreat in Overland Park. Individuals from Riley, Pottawatomie, and Geary counties joined together for various activities, meetings and discussions.
The event began on Friday morning with various meetings. One of those meetings involved Junction City members who joined together for round table discussions. Some items brought up included; economic renewal, community needs and project brainstorming.
The actual retreat began at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, with a welcome luncheon and various group exercises. Manhattan Chamber Board Chair-Frank Beer, Junction City Chamber Board Chair-Judd Liebau and Wamego Board President-Lance White welcomed everyone with announcements and sponsorship recognitions. White said, “If we come together like this, I don’t think there’s anything we couldn’t accomplish”.
President of Shockey Consulting Services LLC, Sheila Shockey was the first presenter of the day. Shockey shared objectives such as; training and educating the work force, building public schools, and promoting businesses. She then broke down various projects that are important to Junction City, Wamego and Manhattan individually.
Tables of various communities then worked together in a round table exercise. Each table was instructed to come up with newspaper headlines that would describe the goals they hope to achieve in the future. A few of those headlines are listed below:
- “Expansion of K-99 Improved”
- “Fully Funded Mainstreet Program”
- “Counties Agree to Welcome Center Plan”
- “Completed Regional Marketing Plan”
The main speaker for the retreat was Senior Managing Director for CBRE Consulting, Jonathon Sangster. Sangster compared businesses and communities to sports games, walking through each step (practice, kick-off, the game, etc.). Sangster challenged each community to join together and brainstorm some weaknesses and strengths. For Manhattan, some weaknesses included: lack of available and build-able land, lack of child care, and high taxes. Strengths listed included: an attractive retirement community and a booming economy.
Day two of the retreat kicked off with the singing of “Happy Birthday” to Manhattan Mayor Loren Peppard. After that recognition, the leaders all got back down to work with more roundtable discussions and group exercises.
The last exercise involved each community joining back together and discussing growth initiatives. Junction City initiatives included: land inventory, housing analysis, workforce development training and infrastructure improvements. For Wamego: marketing plans, development of consistent plans, industrial parks, and development of public transportation. Some Manhattan growth initiatives were: NBAF Focus group, identify community branding and funding sources, airport expansion, and building a regional sports park.