COLUMBIA - Regional Economic Development Inc is moving forward after sealing the deal with IBM.
The group held its annual investors meeting Tuesday to discuss future plans and celebrate old ones. IBM brought great success for REDI in 2010, said Chairman Dave Griggs, and the company is working on more than seven new projects for this next year.
- Dave Griggs, chair
- Vicki Russell, vice chair
- Mike Staloch, secretary
- Todd Culley, treasurer
Confidentiality is important to REDI's success, and information about the projects is limited, Griggs said.
Three data center prospects are expected to be negotiated this year. REDI President Mike Brooks said one company has already visited the community. He said REDI is waiting on the company to accept the package offered to them.
Three animal health and life sciences projects are in the works. One of these, Project Joy, includes Columbia as one of three places to start the business. The other two are Lawrence and Olathe, Kan.
For Project Chief, REDI is asking for 7,500 to 15,000 square feet of space.
"REDI is assisting in establishing new offices and a new downtown parking garage," Brooks said. "This space will allow us to expand our role and effort to grow businesses in our community."
REDI is working on a few smaller projects as well. Brooks said the company hopes to partner with universities around the area to develop an information technology (IT) program for Columbia and Boone County. Brooks said this would build a bridge between the community and the colleges creating a network for jobs and resources.
"IBM helped raise awareness for IT, and now its an opportunity for us and a driver of our economy," Brooks said.
REDI also hopes to expand a local company.
"Today, we are working and hopefully will announce very soon, a fairly significant expansion of a local company that will create jobs that are desperately needed in our community," said Griggs during the meeting.
Brooks said REDI will continue its confidential and assertive ways this next year.