Outgoing president: LCDC maintains momentum

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A year ago, Leavenworth County Development Corporation President Harland Russell talked about building on LCDC’s momentum.

Not long after Russell spoke at last year’s annual LCDC meeting, the world was besieged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russell reflected on what happened during the past year Friday while speaking at LCDC’s 2021 annual meeting.

“We didn’t stop the momentum,” he said.

He said LCDC shifted a little bit in response to the pandemic. The economic development organization created a page on its website with information to help businesses during the resulting economic crisis.

Russell noted that Leavenworth County businesses received federal loan assistance that totaled more than $18 million. He said these loans, many of which are forgivable, saved 3,106 jobs.

He also noted that local businesses received $1.4 million in tax credits and grants which helped to retain 704 jobs.

Russell said LCDC received 85 business recruitment leads in 2020, which was a 42% increase from the previous year. And a couple of businesses came to the Urban Hess Business Park in Tonganoxie.

In the past, the annual meeting has been held as a luncheon. But the meeting was virtual this year, conducted over Zoom because of the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s a little bit different this year,” Russell said.

Russell’s comments came as he finished his two-year stint as the president of LCDC’s Board of Directors.

Josh Hoppes, who had been serving as vice president, was approved during the meeting as the new president.

LCDC receives funding from the Leavenworth County government as well as the cities of Leavenworth, Lansing, Basehor and Tonganoxie. LCDC also receives support from area businesses and other organizations.

Representatives of LCDC’s private sector investors and local elected officials were invited to participate in this year’s annual meeting. Other stakeholders and partners also were invited, according to Steve Jack, LCDC’s executive director.

Under normal circumstances, Jack said, Russell would have been presented a plaque in recognition of his service as president.

Jack held up a plaque during Friday’s meeting so it was visible on his video feed through Zoom. He said the plaque will be presented to Russell at some point.

Friday’s meeting also featured remarks from guest speaker Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence.

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