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PSU, City, Chamber renew economic development partnership

Shawn Naccarato (center), chief strategy officer at Pittsburg State, meets with PSU President Steve Scott (left) and Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall. Naccarato leads University Strategic Initiatives, the office at PSU charged with executing the university’s portion of the economic development contract.

A year ago, Pittsburg State University signed a “unique, innovative” partnership agreement with the City of the Pittsburg and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce to provide economic development services.

This week, the Pittsburg City Commission affirmed that the partnership is working, when it voted 5-0 to renew the contract for 2018.

“We are incredibly grateful for the unanimous support from the Pittsburg City Commission,” said Shawn Naccarato, PSU’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Economic development is truly a team sport, and we’re very grateful to partner with the City and the Chamber on this important mission.”

Naccarato leads University Strategic Initiatives, the office at PSU charged with executing the university’s portion of the contract. He said his team has worked this year to develop creative and effective strategies for economic development.

“I think we can all sense a new energy in our community,” he said. “I believe we are truly on the brink of some incredible growth and prosperity in Pittsburg and throughout our region. Our team at Pittsburg State, along with our partners at the City and Chamber, is focused on channeling that new energy into an innovative and transformational approach to economic development.”

Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall said he’s encouraged by the growth and economic activity in the community. The latest Pittsburg Micropolitan Area Economic Report stated that during the work day, Pittsburg’s population doubles to nearly 40,000. And a recent study by the Kansas League of Cities shows that Pittsburg has a retail pull power equivalent to cities with a population of 50,000.

“Those numbers are great, and we’re excited about the new energy throughout Pittsburg,” Hall said. “I am excited to see the City, Chamber, and PSU continue to work together toward one common goal. For a community like ours, economic development is a team effort, and I’m very proud of the team we have here in Pittsburg, Kansas.”

Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said he also appreciates the team dynamic.

“I’d challenge anyone across this country to find a greater combination of talent and dedication than the teams we have at the Chamber, PSU and the City,” Benson said. “Renewing this contract on a 5-0 vote allows us to maximize our resources to the full benefit of economic development.”

Pittsburg Mayor Michael Gray said he’s proud of the commission for the work its done in studying the issue and making the best decision for Pittsburg and its residents.

“Our community is growing, and I’d go as far as to say it’s thriving right now,” Gray said. “We have a lot of work to do, but I think we can all be proud of where we are here at the end of 2017. I firmly believe economic development is best achieved through teamwork, and I applaud the City, Chamber and PSU for the results they have accomplished together. I look forward to seeing more of that teamwork and success in the years ahead.”