Yavapai County has a diverse, growing population thanks in part to the hard-working visionaries that make up the businesses of the Verde Valley and to the planners that help those visionaries.
Verde Valley Leadership group devoted an entire day looking at what economic development is and how successful businesses provide opportunities for better lives, better community and a better Verde Valley.
The issue day was held at the Cottonwood Recreation Center Jan. 23 and was hosted by leadership class IX.
Casey Rooney, Economic Development Director for the City of Cottonwood, gave a timeline of the economic development changes that have occurred in the Verde Valley over the past decade. He was followed by Lana Tolleson, President and CEO of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, who took the group through a sample SWOT exercise (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and shared the positive impact that tourism, the largest import/export business in the Verde Valley, has had on the communities.
Rick Finley, business teacher at Mingus Union High School and sponsor of the MUHS chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) along with four of the chapter's officers, gave the group an overview of the leadership and business experience opportunities presented by FBLA. The group was impressed by the enthusiasm of the kids and the projects they are involved in with the realization that they are the future leaders of the business world.
The economic development director of the Apache-Yavapai Nation, Buddy Rocha, Jr. was the third of the presenters to give an overview of the impact of the positive growth and opportunities that are occurring in the YAN, which affect the Verde Valley as a whole and presented some exciting possibilities for economic development which are currently under construction and some that are still in the planning stages for 2015.
Business Analyst, Kathryn Bazan, a representation for Arizona Small Business Development Centers presented the wealth of assistance and knowledge available to any person wishing to start a business, enhance an existing one or need to improve their marketability through social networking. The SBDC operates out of Yavapai Community College and the Business Assistance Center on Main Street in Old Town Cottonwood. Meetings are also held in Prescott Valley, Sedona and Camp Verde.
The themes that ran through many of the presentations were that of regional growth, tourism, leadership in business and how a person's dreams and visions can be realized, especially with a wide variety of resources and assistance available for the asking.
Verde Valley Leadership is a non-profit organization providing personal and professional growth opportunities through the development of leadership skills.