For 50 years – making the economy growThe Development Association received a community-wide “high five” Friday during its 50th anniversary celebration at Barker’s Island Inn.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Development Association received a community-wide “high five” Friday during its 50th anniversary celebration at Barker’s Island Inn.
“I think they’ve been instrumental in positioning Superior and Douglas County to weather the current economic storm,” said Bill McCoshen, managing partner of Capital Consultants and executive director of Competitive Wisconsin.
He grew up on North Seventh Street in Superior and saw the huge impact the recession had in the early 1980s.
“I was there for the last storm,” McCoshen said, recalling grain trucks lined up from the grain elevators in Superior to Cloquet after then-President Jimmy Carter embargoed Russian grain. “It crushed us.”
During that recession, he said, Douglas County’s unemployment rate rose to 20 percent. Today, it is 8 percent.
“I think the Development Association has been instrumental in recruiting new businesses and getting the city to make economic development a priority,” McCoshen said.
The Development Association, incorporated in 1960, is devoted to helping make the community a better place by encouraging and assisting with retention, expansion, start-up and attraction of businesses and industries in Superior and Douglas County.
One of the oldest development associations in the state, the Development Association serving Superior and Douglas County has directly created three jobs. However, the organization can take credit for helping more than 1,000 businesses create or retain more than 10,000 jobs in Superior and Douglas County, according to Development Association Executive Director Andy Lisak. They had a direct hand in bringing in new businesses like Genesis Equipment and Manufacturing, and Exodus Machines, helping Superior mainstays like AMSOIL expand, keeping the Veteran’s Clinic in Superior and rebuilding Dan’s Feed Bin after it was destroyed by fire. They played a role in relocating University Children’s Center and expanding the Thirsty Pagan. They championed St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior’s designation as a “Critical Access Hospital” and lent a voice on issues affecting the maritime and manufacturing industries that depend on the Great Lakes.
The association continues to work closely with the Douglas County Revolving Loan Fund to secure financial support and assistance for existing businesses through a newly adopted business retention financing program.
“We owe this kind of aggressive development strategy to our motivated staff and support from both the public and private sector members,” said William Stack, board of directors president.
“Economic development is a team sport” that includes both the city and county, Lisak said.
It’s a sport that Superior’s team has a top-notch reputation in, and one they play to win, McCoshen said.