Kurt R. Phillips www.iowachamber.net/pages/BoardofDirectors
Kurt R. Phillips, Executive Director of Boone County Chamber of Commerce, talks about Boone County’s business development growth in the last decade, issues that can hinder its continuous growth, and how businesses and consumers should approach the remainder of this year in terms of economic viewpoint.
Question: How have projections for the economy met your expectations so far?
Answer: From a standpoint of retail sales I don’t have updated data to support growth or decline. From a standpoint of business development, Boone County is seeing the best growth it has experienced in the last ten years.
Question: What area are you seeing the most growth and did it match your predictions?
Answer: I have felt for some time that we were poised to see growth due to our geographic proximity to transportation, agricultural and educational resources. Most of our growth has been by local businesses whose leadership finally feels comfortable expending capital to take their companies to the next level.
Question: What areas are you seeing that has failed to meet your expectations?
Answer: Workforce continues to be an issue. There is no quick fix, but many programs (EX: work-based learning and career and technical education curriculum through area high schools) underway should reap benefits in the long run.
Question: How should businesses/consumers approach the rest of year from an economic viewpoint?
Answer: Cautiously optimistic.
Question: With the recent turbulence, do you think the economy has a chance to end the year strong?
Answer: Most of the ‘turbulence’ is associated with the effects of changes made on international trade. While there are some ripples of this that can affect the home front, most of Boone County’s industrial base only conducts business domestically. The price of construction materials could become an issue. Otherwise, bigger paychecks should mean an uptick in consumer spending.
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