Owensboro and Daviess County have, through aggressive economic development fueled by private-public partnerships and a community commitment to positive growth, achieved some extraordinary things that have placed us at a launching point. We cannot miss our time. This is our time.
The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce has never been any more important than now. We must be that leading voice of encouragement, optimism, and self determination. Many communities, in my view, waste precious time, energy, and resources trying to grab morsels of what other larger communities have. They waste those same things in staring wishfully as they dream of being “just like them”. There is fallacy in that approach and strategy. You see, “them” are taken. We can’t be another community. We are Owensboro-Daviess County. More than ever, we must focus on a clear vision of who we are, what we have, and what we are capable of becoming.
We have natural resources and human capital that most every other community dreams of having. Yes, every community has challenges along its path to its best days, and we have ours. And we can with a united approach centered on imagination, possibility, and the courage to change those things about us that have the capacity to hold us back and/or keep us from reaching our full potential.
“The way things have always been done” type thinking must be eliminated from our community psyche. We must abandon even the thought that we are not capable of competing with any community anywhere. We must eliminate discussions about what we don’t have and what others do. We must spend our time talking about what we do have and what we can have that will serve as vehicles to our best days and an even better quality of life for our families. We must believe that quality businesses should and will move and expand here because of who we are, and not because we are sort of like someplace else.
We must also effectively communicate the value of a strong Chamber to more sectors or out community. We cannot allow ourselves to be stereotyped as an organization that caters only to the corporate world at the expense of employees, non-profit organizations and educational entities. Everyone must be a part of healthy economic growth and we must grow our ranks and our breadth.
Let’s be Owensboro … that is far more than enough.
By Bart Darrell 2018 Chamber Board Chair Kentucky Wesleyan President