Homegrown Entrepreneurship Is Alive and Well

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

By Rick Staab, President/CEO—Disability Supports and The Clayworks

Through our sponsorship, it was a great privilege to honor all the artistic entrepreneurs—both our Clayworks artists and their teaching staff, at the 2020, Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. While each year, Chamber staff exceed all expectations in the planning and execution of this great event, I thought this year’s message from Jason Feifer, Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, was especially appropriate and timely in a community that is even now, experiencing the growing energy and vibrancy from Chamber members who are embracing organic community growth and leadership.

In many areas of Reno County, true, local entrepreneurs are betting on a bright future for our communities with new and/or expanded businesses and storefronts. Companies with rich, multi-generational histories are moving, expanding and providing tangible testimony in real time, giving local credence to the inspirational words from Mr. Feifer. And whether it’s art, health care, insurance, clothing or pharmaceuticals, both existing community leaders and the leaders of the future, are embracing and adapting to the accelerating pace and transformation of commerce.

As a proud native Kansan and citizen of Hutchinson, I have great respect and reverence for the indefatigable nature of those who live in rural America. Each day, I am honored to be surrounded in our business community by those who refuse to relent to any narrative that our best days are behind us and the future offers little hope for exceptionalism and accomplishment. History is littered with the woeful predictions and discarded, dystopic narratives of naysayers. And at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, on the evening of February 3, more than 1,000 people, brought together by Chamber of Commerce leadership, gave collective voice to their belief in a brighter, more prosperous future.

Arguably, I believe a community is made stronger and ultimately more sustainably successful, when passionate, driven, visionary individuals with an inherent stake in the community, work in a spirit of “coopetition” that promises to raise the tide for all. Who better than those with children in local schools, attending local churches, involved in empowering civic organizations, and investing their own equity of heart, spirit and treasure to provide the inspirational and entrepreneurial spark for the next generation?

Relative to our own, local, entrepreneurial endeavors, I can offer nothing but the sincerest appreciation for the acceptance and support of my company’s expanding local portfolio. Without fail, and through many projects and initiatives, Hutchinson and Reno County governmental leaders, City and County departments, and all those responsible for transparent, consistent and coordinated application of rules and regulations have been valued partners in our growth and success. In the simplest terms, Hutchinson is a great place to do business.

Decades from now, just as we look to the near past for our own inspiration, civic leaders, business owners and all the Central Kansas citizenry will look to this time in history as they forge their own paths to an ever-brighter future. And when they do, they will recognize that in the face of incredible challenges, some saw limitless opportunities, and seized them.

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