Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County Executive Director Linda Christle was honored with a public reception at the Sedalia Municipal Building Monday afternoon after she was named the Missouri Economic Development Council’s Economic Developer of the Year for 2014.
Christle, CEcD, was greeted by officials from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the City of Sedalia, Pettis County, EDSPC board members, co-workers and local industry leaders at the reception. The award was officially presented to her June 11.
Sedalia Mayor Stephen J. Galliher presented certificates of appreciation from himself as well as from Sen. Mike Parson, who could not attend the reception.
Christle thanked those who served on the selection committee when she was hired 10 years ago, including David Curry, Bill Shoemake, former Mayor Larry Foster and the late Mayor Bob Wasson.
“I have to say Linda, you’re one of the very top, if not the very top that we’ve ever had. Sedalia and Pettis County have been very fortunate to have you, and we hope to have you for many more years, so congratulations to you. We appreciate everything that you’ve done for us,” Curry said.
“Like he said, you are the best,” commented Foster. “Keep the good work up and keep these companies we got in Sedalia here.”
Former Mayor Elaine Horn worked with Christle during her entire eight-years as mayor, and said it was a phenomenal experience.
“She’s very dedicated to her job; she loves Sedalia, it’s really evident by her work ethic and by the way she takes care of our companies and the people who live here and work here every day,” Horn told the Weekly Observer.
“One thing I know is that when we’re working on a project, and we have a prospect that she’s looking at having come here, and she’s in the middle of preparing for them to be here for a physical visit, she’ll get a call from another company and she will still take care of the needs to answer their questions and send them information as well as continue on the path with what she’s doing,” she said of Christle’s multitasking skills.
“So it’s phenomenal to watch her at work, because she’s just so good at what she does,” Horn stated. Asked if she was surprised about the award, she replied, “I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised it took this long.”
Christle came to Sedalia from Beatrice, Nebraska 10 years ago and recalled how she fell in love with Sedalia during the interview process and how Curry offered her the executive director position, calling three times, each time increasing the incentive for her to move to Sedalia.
“All of you around here today are why I’m here. Because of the support that I received when I go about doing (my job) it’s because of you. You make it very easy to be an economic developer,” she said, crediting support from the city, county and state, as well as local industries, SFCC and School District 200.
Christle reiterated her long-standing philosophy of taking care of existing companies.
“You get new companies and you welcome them with open arms. But you really need to take care of your existing companies first and foremost. And a lot of my peers didn’t believe that. A lot of my peers felt that you have to get that new company,” she said.
She credited the support of the EDSPC board of directors in her mission. “They have been absolutely fabulous in supporting me, and now I am very proud to say (that as of) July 15, I will celebrate 10 years here. And I am very proud to say that the entire community embraces and values our manufacturers the way they should. And that’s probably one of the achievements that I take a lot of pride in,” she said. But, “I didn’t do any of it alone.”
After 10 years on the job, Christle said she still loves to get up and go to work every morning. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia Weekly Observer.