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Pittsburg think tank looks at ways to give the economy a boost - KOAM TV 7

Think tank in Pittsburg looks at ways to give the economy a boost

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Fifty Pittsburg business owners gathered today to discuss the future economic developments of the city.  The business leaders came from many different sectors, including manufacturing, banking, city government and health care, to discuss ways to boost business.

Pittsburg is just one of three cities in Kansas selected to have the Civic Leadership Summit.  The other two are Wichita and Kansas City.

With manufacturing and technology being a big factor, the Mid-America Manufacturing and Technology Center (MAMTC) helped sponsor the event which hopes to spur growth through innovation.

"We're going to help build that economic viability, so when we have good ideas we need the infrastructure to be able to build upon it," says MAMTC CEO Jesse Bechtold.  "And we can attract businesses as well and that's very difficult.  But if we can attract businesses, if we can grow those that are here, if we can encourage those that want to start that, we have an environment for you to do that."

"We have a community that has consistently done really great things with innovation and so it just makes sense to concentrate on developing new technologies, developing new businesses, developing new marketplaces," says Todd Allison, the President of Progressive Products, which specializes in pneumatic conveying equipment and mobile hydraulic concert stages.

Allison says the thing that stood out to him was the possible mentorship program, which would link him with entrepreneurs who got the city where it is today.

"It's okay to go out there, it's okay to start a business, it's okay to even fail and start over again, but that's really where America's future is," says Allison.  "That's where manufacturing is and so if we're ever going to get things up and going, we need to teach people that they can go out there and do this themselves."

As the owner of a business with 32 employees, Allison says this summit was much needed in developing his business and partnerships throughout the industry.

Organizers say all the ideas brought up in today's meeting will be useful as long as they are implemented.

Other topics discussed was ways to change the cost of doing business and skills development, which would create $12 to $16 dollar an hour jobs.

Organizers say just a few changes could spur economic growth.

Some of the changes discussed today could be seen within the next 12 to 24 months.

Pittsburg State University leaders say they are working on developing an innovations engineering program, which will concentrate on economic sustainability and progress.

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