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Fremont companies poised for growth

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Fremont Tribune

About 20 percent of the local businesses visited by the Greater Fremont Development Council during 2014 have plans to grow soon, the group’s executive director said.

Cecilia Harry, GFDC’s executive director, told Fremont City Council members on Tuesday that the economic development organization surpassed its goal of 40 business visits, which provided an opportunity to talk about the future.

“We wanted to call on 40 businesses in the community and we did surpass that,” she said. “The goal is to make sure that we’re checking in with our existing employers to make sure that their needs are being met in terms of workforce, the right climate to grow their businesses here and also to try to identify potential opportunities for them to grow and expand their businesses here.

“Through those visits, about 1-in-5 companies indicated some plans for growth that would benefit from our assistance, so we have some active projects that are going on currently with some existing companies already located here in Fremont,” she added.

So far this year, GFDC has had 63 business attraction leads leading to five site visits and three community tours.

The largest portion of those leads – 27 – were by manufacturing companies. There were nine retail leads, six technology/data center leads, five warehouse/distribution leads, three office leads, two call center leads, one resident lead and 10 leads from other categories.

Most of the leads – 34 – were from GFDC’s partners, the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Another 13 leads came directly from companies, 12 came from real estate agents or consultants and four came from the city.

GFDC also is in the process of going from the GO! Ready Site Certification Process with the Greater Omaha partnership.

“We’re the first community to submit a site for the Greater Omaha Partnership’s GO! Ready Site Certification Process,” Harry said “The community wrapped resources around the Fremont Technology Park several years ago and did a lot of the due diligence elements to make a site ready for that certification.

“What that does is that tells companies and site selectors that this piece of real estate has due diligence done to help take some of the guesswork away in terms of what it would look like to actually build there. The more unknowns that can be removed from a parcel of land, the more appealing that’s going to be and the more competitive that’s going to be.”

Right now, GFDC is updating its marketing materials so it can achieve certification.

Harry also pointed out two trips taken during the year.

Harry and others from Fremont were able to tour the Lawrence Paper Co. headquarters in Lawrence, Kan. It is the parent company of Fremont’s Jayhawk Boxes.

“We got to tour the facility and had some great conversation about what it’s like to have a company in Kansas and a company in Nebraska,” she said. “We learned a couple of different things about tax climate. It was a great example of how now only do local policies and programs effect a company’s ability to do good work in a community and grow, but also state policies also can effect that as well.”

In October, Harry attended the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., with a delegation from Nebraska.

”That was a very fruitful visit and we do have some activity that came from that visit that I’m currently working on with my staff,” she said.

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