Former Sedalia Mayor Larry Foster was one of three major recipients of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County’s ‘Works For You’ awards at a banquet held March 29 at the Sedalia Country Club. From left are Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan, Sedalia Mayor Elaine Horn, Foster, EDSPC Executive Director Linda Christle and EDSPC President John Swearingen. Photo courtesy Susan Mergen.
By Kyle Siegel
Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County (EDSPC) held their seventh annual Works For You Awards this past Thursday at the Sedalia Country Club.
The event is designed to show recognition to those individuals who have contributed to the economic growth and success in Sedalia and Pettis County.
EDSPC President John Swearingen was the emcee for the evening’s festivities and he welcomed those in attendance before the dinner began.
“This award allows us an opportunity to recognize individuals, groups, corporations or organizations who we feel have gone above and beyond to assist, support and promote our economic development efforts in Pettis County, thereby contributing to our success,” Swearingen said.
He added, “ We are presenting this year’s award to individuals who consistently work to assist us build our community.”
After the dinner, Swearingen welcomed several local leaders to the banquet. Mayor Elaine Horn and Presiding Commissioner John Meehan were asked to come to the podium and say a few words.
Mayor Pro-Tem and Third Ward Council member Wiley Walter was also on hand, as well as council members Bob Cross and Pam Carter.
Several members of the city staff were in attendance including City Administrator Gary Edwards, City Attorney Anne Gardner, Public Works Director Bill Beck, and Community Development Director John Simmons.
Several officials from State Fair Community College were also on hand for the night’s festivities.
The first 2012 Works For You recipient of the evening was Grey Jackson.
Jackson worked quickly and tirelessly, after Sedalia was struck by a tornado last spring, to quickly pull numbers together to try and include the affected area and expand the Enhanced Enterprise Zone.
The process originally took nine months to complete, but after the tornado Jackson reworked the proposed EEZ in under two months.
The next recipient to be recognized was Community Development John Simmons.
“He continuously works to make the community a better place for residents and says his highest reward in his work is improving the community and improving the quality of life for people,” Swearingen said of Simmons.
Simmons is the person that gathers information on infrastructure that the EDSPC needs to put project proposals together.
“He sits in when we are working on proposals, helps us generate data and put the proposals together. Most of the time we have 48 hours to submit the proposals, which means he has 24 hours to turn it around and get the information back to us so we can put the proposal together,” Swearingen said.
John also serves on the committee for the Sedalia Showcase.
“The key item about this individual is whatever and whenever we have asked him for assistance and no matter what it may be, he is there,” Swearingen said.
The final recipient of the evening was Larry Foster. Foster did not know that he was being honored that evening and it came as a surprise to him.
Foster received the Economic Development Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This evening we want to say thank you to an individual who has supported, assisted, and promoted Sedalia, Pettis County, and our economic development even when it was called industrial development.
“If it would help his community, he was sure to be there. When he was in a position to make it happen, he did,” Swearingen said.
Foster has had a storied career in Sedalia. He has been mayor, councilman, presiding commissioner, and the Missouri State Fair Commissioner.
To conclude the evening, Swearingen thanked the partners for the evenings event.
The event was sponsored by Callis & Associates, Ditzfield Transfer, EDSPC, Excel Bank, Kansas City Power & Light, Kusgen Construction, Marcum Hauling/Landscaping, Sedalia Pettis County Community Service Corporation, Septagon Construction, Starline, Third National Bank, Thompson Hills Investment Group, and W-K Chevrolet. Photos courtesy Susan Mergen.