Have you seen the promotional videos featuring Washington?
Catch up with them on the community website, www.washmo.org, or the @washmochamber Facebook Page or YouTube Channel!
The video series is a joint project from the City of Washington and the Chamber, led by the Young Ambassadors, a group established specifically to complete this project and promote the area to Young Professionals throughout the region.
Special Thanks to Show Media for producing the videos. Chamber members specializing in video production were given the opportunity to bid on the project, and Show Media submitted the winning bid. The business also provided a unique perspective, as it was created by three young entrepreneurs, including one that lives in Washington.
An extra special thank you goes to the following businesses that sponsored the video series - Bank of Franklin County, Bank of Washington, Citizens Bank, and First State Community Bank.
Downtown Washington, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to economic development and preservation of our history, heritage and historic structures. Downtown Washington, Inc. was founded in 1959 as a merchants committee and was incorporated in 1973. We are one of the first five pilot Main Street Programs in Missouri chosen in 1989. Downtown continues to be the heart of our community, thanks to dedicated use of the Main Street.
A ROADMAP TO REVITALIZATION FOR COMMUNITIES OF ALL SIZES…
Every community and commercial district is different, with its own distinctive assets and sense of place. The Main Street Approach™ offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable four point framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions. The Main Street Approach helps communities get started with revitalization, and grows with them over time.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN STREET APPROACH FOUR POINTS?
• ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
• DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.
• PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
• ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT A DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON, INC. EVENT?
We have many sponsorship opportunities. Our events draw visitors from throughout Missouri and the Midwest. Your financial support not only helps us build awareness in the community, it also supports year round downtown preservation and economic development efforts. Please consider being a part of our success in keeping downtown Washington the heart of Washington and a source of pride for our community.
ACHIEVEMENTS & HIGHLIGHTS
• In 2012, Downtown Washington, Inc. was named a Great American Main Street by the National Main Street Center, an honor only given to three communities in the US each year. This is awarded to communities that show excellence in Main Street preservation, design, events and economic development.
• Over 70 unique and locally owned businesses call downtown Washington home. These businesses are vital to the economic development of Washington because 68% of money spent at local businesses stays in Washington, whereas only 43% stays from chain stores.
• Downtown Washington, Inc. hosts 30+ events and trainings each year welcoming over 85,000 visitors. Multiple volunteer committees meet year round to plan the events and hundreds of volunteers help run them.
• Downtown Washington, Inc. is a national model for preservation and economic development and is one of only seven nationally and state accredited Main Street Communities in Missouri.
• Downtown Washington is a resource for attracting business, industry and new residents to Washington. A vibrant community center, like downtown Washington, signals a strong community overall. A busy downtown offers community engagement and opportunities to get involved.
FROM OCTOBER 2018 - SEPTEMBER 2019…
• 9,953 Volunteer hours valued at $76,865
• 30 Net new jobs
• $8,318,599 in private investment
• $417,725 in public investment
• 37 Potential new businesses and/or
property owners consulted
THE SECRET TO OUR SUCCESS…
This is an easy question to answer and it’s just one word…teamwork.
Teamwork is essential in every aspect of what we do. From our staff, to the board of directors to our committees and volunteers, teamwork is the key. With a staff of four full-time and two part-time employees, volunteers are essential to achieve 84 event and training days that we host each year.
Teamwork also extends to our relationship with the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Washington. Each organization performs a key role in the growth and prosperity of Washington. The informal structure of this team is…
• Downtown Washington, Inc. counsels and searches for small businesses and potential property owners for the downtown district.
• Washington Area Chamber of Commerce counsels and searches for small businesses to locate outside of downtown.
• City of Washington counsels and searches for large businesses and industry to relocate or expand to Washington.
There are also many other commissions and committees that are part of this team including, but not limited to, Core Restructuring Committee, Economic Vitality Committee, 353, Tourism Commission, Division of Tourism, Division of Community and Economic Development and our many service organizations.
Keep in mind, we all have the same goal…the success, growth and continuation of our communities. We have different approaches and methods…that is an asset! Approach every meeting with an intention of cooperation and success and you will see progress.
ECC was founded in 1968 and classes began in September 1969, making 2019 a historic year. The College wrapped up its 50th anniversary celebration by participating in several area parades during the summer, and in September an event on campus featuring activities, including a car display, petting zoo, inflatables and food trucks. A class reunion was also held for alums to see old friends.
In addition, ECC sealed a time capsule containing mementos of the past 50 years to be opened in 2068 for the 100th anniversary.
Looking ahead, President Dr. Jon Bauer said the college will focus on its new strategic plan, SOAR to 2024. “We begin this new year focused on developing the initiatives in our new strategic plan that will greatly enhance our college and our surrounding communities,” he said. “Last year will be remembered as a springboard for our current plan,” Bauer added. “I will remember it as one of the most exciting and substantial years in recent memory for East Central College.”
The college is governed by a board of trustees. The board includes six members, two from each sub-district.
ECC students can complete their first two years of coursework toward a bachelor's degree and then transfer to a four-year institution. In addition, there are more than 25 career/technical programs are offered with Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and certificate options available for students preparing to enter the workforce. The Union campus sits on over 200 acres. The college also has two locations in Rolla and offers classes in Washington.
Soar to 2024
In August, the Board of Trustees approved a new 5-year strategic plan — SOAR to 2024.
The architects of the plan enlisted the assistance of students, administration, faculty, staff, trustees, community members and business leaders to ensure that all stakeholders had a voice in the process.
SOAR to 2024 features a new mission and vision for the college, as well as a new set of values and five major strategies: Pathways, Partnerships, Employees, Financial Strength and Rolla.
New Dual Credit Opportunities
The college implanted a plan last year to provide more educational opportunities to area students through an earlier college experience. In December, trustees authorized free dual credit classes to high school students who are on the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. The new initiative took effect in the 2020 spring semester that began Jan. 21. This move provides an avenue for ECC to remove the barrier for high school students who don’t have access to traditional financial aid.
Students taking dual credit classes are taught in their high school by a teacher from their school who is certified in that discipline by ECC. The college grants the student credit hours upon completion of the class.
Data show that students who participate in early college programs are more likely to enroll full-time after high school. Early college can shorten the time to degree and reduce the overall cost of higher education for students and their families.
ECC Brings Back Baseball, Adds Women’s Soccer
In December, trustees also agreed to expand the slate of sports offerings to include men’s baseball and women’s soccer. Women’s soccer will start in fall 2020 and men’s baseball will return to the field in spring 2022. The baseball program was discontinued in 2001 due to budget cuts after starting in 1974.
Men’s baseball will have a roster of 35 players while women’s soccer will have a roster of 25 student-athletes. There are three primary reasons for moving forward with these two sports: enrollment, student success and revenue generation.
Historically, student-athletes have a higher grade point average, course completion rates, and graduation and transfer rates than non-athletes.
Free Textbook Project
During the 2019 summer semester the college began to provide lower cost textbooks for students. In some cases textbooks are free. Community college students spend an average of $1,400 on books and supplies each year and this initiative lessens the burden for them
ECC is using open educational resources (OER) that are either copyright-free textbooks, or have a license that allows for reuse. Students will get the same quality information at little or no cost.
The idea began with the English department where students were paying about $140 for a required textbook. Now, those students are using a textbook that only costs $34.
The project is expected to be expanded to other classes as the college continues to look for methods to lower the barriers for students.
Higher Learning Commission Visit
A team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) completed its on-site work in November. The College remains fully accredited and has taken positive steps to improve in the areas from assessment to planning to governance.
The HLC team read and heard about a number of significant, substantive changes that have occurred over the past few years. The energy and engagement was evident throughout the visit, and is reflective of the work happening on campus every day.
In 2020, the college will move forward in implementing SOAR 2024. ECC also will focus on its assessment, evaluating new programs and revising policies.
A grant is being sought by the ECC Foundation to repair and improve the walking trail on the Union campus. In addition, the Foundation will begin spearheading a fundraising campaign to raise funds to upgrade the current baseball field.
The college anticipates the completion of a greenhouse near the ECC Training Center in Union. The greenhouse is substantially complete and it will enhance the college’s culinary program. It is funded with federal, state and local dollars.
As the 21st century continues to develop new technology in every aspect of the world, including the workplace, more and more people are finding ways to succeed at any age. People are working for years longer due to technology, creating the largest age gap the workplace has ever experienced.
In some industries, communication, workplace culture, the promotional ladder and many other variables are all changing as the gap in age continues to increase.
Julie Scannel, HR director for GH Tool and Mold, believes that some of the problems associated with these arising challenges reflect these younger generations.
“Employees prioritizing their needs isn’t really something we used to see very often. They’re not afraid to lose a job if it means a better life for themselves; whereas previous generations believed the job was the key to a better life,” Scannell said.
Workplaces outside of Washington have defined these changes as a limiting factor to their success. Washington, however, views today’s workforce challenge as a workforce opportunity.
David Englebrecht, Chief Operations Officer, President of Citizens Bank believes that the Washington area allows the bank to hire high schoolers to work alongside the veterans like himself. “The young people that are coming to work for us are great examples of what the parents and teachers in this community are teaching them to be,” Englebrecht said. “They're hard workers and very competitive and driven. I think a lot of those people my age are somewhat taken aback that they're hungry for movement upward quickly, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.”
Luke Meyer, Vice President of Citizens Bank grew up in the Washington community and when he was hired on at the bank, was one of the youngest loan officers the bank had ever had. Now he helps fill the gaps between generations.
Meyer first began working when internet banking first started. As new ideas are created from younger employees he has helpful insight on what it means to be present during such an impactful shift. “When I started, internet banking was the primary cutting edge thing. We've evolved into mobile banking. You can get eAlerts, and you can do everything from your phone now. The younger employees have some really great ideas. There's a lot of different perspectives being thrown in, and their ideas are being heard. The challenge is just trying to manage those different styles, and bring them into our reality,” Meyer said.
Paige Robinson, a junior at Washington High School and part-time teller, views the opportunity to work with everyone at the bank as a perspective of what it takes to work in any industry, especially at the bank.
“The older generations have the full time jobs that could potentially be open by the time I’m out of college. Working with people of all ages opens my eyes and teaches me what I have to work towards no matter where I end up,” Robinson said.
Similar to the different generations at Citizens Bank, GH Tool and Mold varies in generations. Aaron Meyer and Blaine Straatmann, both work at GH during the school day before their normal afternoon shifts. This partnership with Four Rivers Career Center and GH has allowed both of these students more opportunities to see what it’s like working more than just after school. Meyer and Straatmann agree that the culture at GH has a big effect on what their experience is truly like. “I don’t think [the workforce challenge] really affects us because we all get along really well,” Meyer said. “I’ve heard about it from the media more than from problems that may happen during work.”
The relationships between the community, schools, and businesses in Washington reflects the relationships inside the workplace, as well. “We try to be good friends with all of the workers so that when we make mistakes like setting up the same tools twice we aren’t afraid to go and talk with the older employees,” Straatmann said. Robinson agrees that the relationship inside the office helps overcome any challenges that do arise because of an age difference.
“We are all a good team. If someone is in the midst of something, we have each other’s back and make sure that we get the next customer,” Robinson said. “Everyone at Citizens Bank treats me like an adult. Customers ask sometimes if I’m just ‘helping out’ but everyone I work with sticks up for me and says ‘no she’s a part of us’,” Robinson said.
Washington finds that the different generations are a benefit, however, there are still stereotypes of what the workplace in this generation is going to be like.
“There's always going to be disagreements and there's always going age differences in the workplace, therefore, it’s less about the disconnect and more about how to overcome those stereotypes through the generations,” Englebrecht said.
Even though there are challenges with training older employees in new technology while also teaching younger generations the expectations of working in a certain environment, the benefit of having a large array of generations working together outweighs any challenges. “Every generation has people with good and bad work ethics, individuals who are eager to learn and contribute, and individuals who are just in it for themselves. We are fortunate to have a company and community culture that promotes the former, regardless of age,” Scannell said.
The Center for Advanced Professional Studies, CAPS, is a program through Four Rivers Career Center that brings together high school students and the community to create an innovative partnership focused on entrepreneurship in the real world. The 2019 CAPS students partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to sell advertisements to help produce this magazine. Students traveled to different businesses, spoke with professionals and sold advertisements to fully fund this edition. “The experience was great. It gave me practice with speaking to professionals and helped me gain experience for my future,” Cameron McElhaney said. Not only was this project beneficial for both the magazine and the educational component, but it remains one of the highlights for both the community and the CAPS students. “Selling ads for the Chamber magazine, Washington Insight was my favorite project this year. I woke up every day 100% excited and ready to go try to sell the ads. I loved the experience and it felt like we were making a difference,” Colton Cozza said. For businesses it was a great opportunity to meet the future generations of business men and women. “Ethan Strubberg, a member of the CAPS program, arrived at my office dressed for success, including a tie! As scary as I know it can be for these young adults to enter a business they’re not familiar with, and then proceed to ask for advertising funds, Mr. Strubberg did so in a very mature and professional manner,” Casey Zastrow said. Other students found that being able to go outside the classroom and get invested into the community has a benefit far beyond what was expected at the beginning of the year. “This was my favorite experience so far in CAPS. It gave us real world experience when it comes to sales. It is something I’m considering pursuing in my future because of this project,” Tim Logan Roewe said. Being able to come into the different businesses has helped get these students out within the community. “The CAPS program is a wonderful program for students and the business community as a whole,” Zastrow said. The Chamber would not have been able to create this magazine without the energy, efforts, and hard work of the CAPS students. These students best represent the heart of the community of Washington. None of this would have been possible without this group of innovative young professionals.
Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School is a Catholic, coeducational college preparatory high school in Washington, Missouri, located in Franklin County about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis. Students come from as many as 25 public and private elementary schools. The geographic region served is centered in Franklin County and ranges from St. Louis County to the east, Gasconade County to the west, Crawford County to the south, and Warren and St. Charles counties to the north, representing 26 zip codes.
The administration, board, faculty, parents, students, and benefactors of Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School cooperate to foster a Christian atmosphere based on mutual respect. We value the uniqueness, dignity, integrity, and individual goals of each person. We work together for personal spiritual growth and for growth as a vibrant Catholic faith community.
Spirituality is at the core of life at Borgia. We offer students many opportunities to learn and live the Catholic faith. In addition to a four-year theology curriculum, students can deepen their relationships with God through weekly Masses, retreats and prayer days, service opportunities, and more.
Through a college preparatory curriculum, we strive to foster academic excellence that recognizes individual differences, maximizes personal growth, and prepares students for a variety of post-secondary opportunities.
A rich core curriculum is complemented with dynamic electives. We offer a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Lab, a television studio with a live morning broadcast, a state of the art Theater program, and an award winning music program which includes the only marching band in the archdiocese. We also have a Mac Lab offering 20 Apple computers that are equipped with the same software professional’s use for design, photo editing, and video production. Teachers incorporate twenty-first century resources into coursework through our 1:1 iPad program.
Every student is unique. Our programs are designed to meet individual needs and different levels of academic ability. A full time Learning Consultant provides assistance to students with mild or moderate learning needs. The resource room provides instruction for student skills in time management, organizational and study skills, and research and test taking skills. Technical courses are offered through a partnership agreement with Four Rivers Career Center. Eighty-one hours of college credit are available through a variety of courses offered through St. Louis University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri S & T, and East Central College. These courses, as well as Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses, ensure Borgia students graduate well-prepared for college.
In addition to a rigorous academic program, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports and club activities. Borgia is home to 47 state titles in a variety of sports.
Our teachers also bring many years of experience into the classroom. Sixty-two percent of Borgia’s teachers have more than 10 years of experience. Sixty-one percent of Borgia’s teachers have an advanced degree. All students pair with a team of educators consisting of a guidance counselor, advisor, and homeroom teacher who support our students throughout their Borgia experience and prepare them for life beyond St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. The faculty and staff teams work to challenge student academic goals and assist with class schedules, college preparedness, and scholarship opportunities. Statistics from 2019, such as 21 Bright Flight scholars, a 100% graduation rate, ACT test scores well above the state and national levels, and $3.97 million in accepted scholarship money, support the success of our model: We know we are doing things right.
Borgia enjoys extraordinary loyalty; legacies of three or more generations are not uncommon. We encourage open discussion and collaboration to address the needs of our school community. Our ultimate goal is to promote total human development as Christians. We value a learning atmosphere that invites enthusiasm and self-discipline on the part of each student and teacher, creating supportive relationships that challenge and motivate.
The School District of Washington is geographically one of the largest school districts in Missouri. We serve approximately 4,000 students from Franklin County, Warren County and St. Charles County. We believe the authentic learning and personal growth of our students and staff will ensure our collective success.
The School District of Washington’s Strategic Plan for 2019-24 has developed five focus areas;
Student Achievement and Engagement – We want to provide our students with relevant learning experiences to match pour rigorous curriculum; equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in school, face future challenges and thrive well beyond graduation.
Safety, Health, and Well-Being of Students and Staff – We desire secure yet inviting school environments and believe in the whole-child approach to improve education. We want to take proactive measures to support students as they develop character, gain social and emotional maturity, achieve better health, grow in confidence, and acquire the citizenship skills needed to become members of society.
Meaningful Partnerships – We recognize the strength of our district/schools directly correlates to our timely, relevant, and ongoing engagement with families, businesses, higher education, and broader community.
Facilities and learning Environments – We desire up-to-date facilities and learning environments that support the learning needs of students, instructional delivery mechanisms of our teachers, while meeting the efficiency expectations of our stakeholders.
Assets and Sustainability – We know the success of our school district begins with how we value, hire, support and retain high-quality staff; providing them with effective resources to meet the needs of our students while maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability.
Health Science Academy
The School District of Washington, in partnership with Mercy, introduced a new program for students for the 2018-19 school year. Health Sciences Academy of Innovation is a unique learning opportunity housed within Mercy Hospital and the Four Rivers Career Center. Health Occupations students from the Four Rivers Career Center will be at Mercy learning through the lens of health sciences in specially designed state of the art classroom facilities. This unique learning environment includes hands-on application and exposure to the many pathways of study and careers in the field of health sciences. Other courses offered as part of the new program are Medical Intervention and Biomedical Innovation, which will be held at the Four Rivers Career Center. Those students may spend part of their class time at Mercy.
The School District of Washington's BUILD Academy (Building Unique and Innovative Learning by Design) is held at Four Rivers Career Center. BUILD Academy offers an authentic project based learning experience to over 100 sixth-grade students from Washington West Elementary and Campbellton Elementary. This project based learning model exposes students to possible careers that they may not even knew exist before they enter the BUILD Academy.
The end project is a dog house. However, the true learning occurs when these students use every day standards by means of developing a business plan, designing business logos, drafting the dog house design from scratch and applying math and measuring skills to the actual building of the doghouse.
"I am excited to be a part of the roll out of BUILD Academy. I was confident that the Project Based Learning method combined with the uniqueness of the program would be second to none. However, I underestimated how much excitement, pride and passion it would ignite in our sixth graders," said Annie Wieland, FRCC College and Career Specialist. "I was pleasantly surprised at the level of leadership and patience our high school Building Trades students displayed. Additionally, our sixth-grade and building trades instructors took an idea and brought it to life through collaboration and a lot of extra time, all the while, making it look easy. BUILD Academy has been a win-win for all involved."
Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers by creating an engaging, hands-on classroom environment that empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive.
Engineering, Biomedical Science and Computer Integrated Manufacturing are offered in the PLTW program for the high school level. At the middle school level, offered are Medical Detectives (students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease) along with Design and Modeling (students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation).
PLTW Engineering is a hands-on pathway for students who enjoy math and science classes. There currently are four engineering classes offered through Washington High School and Four Rivers Career Center.
Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) and Principals of Engineering (POE) are offered at the high school. Students develop a solid foundation of skills to help them problem solve and use some of the software used by engineers in the design process.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is the first class offered in the fall at FRCC. Engineering Design and Development (EDD) is offered at FRCC in the spring semester.
PLTW Biomedical is a program with four different courses, all relating to different aspects of health science. The first two courses, Principles of Biomedical Science (PBS) and Human Body Systems (HBS), are offered at Washington High School. Medical Interventions and Biomedical Innovations are the final two courses in the PLTW Biomedical program. They are offered at Four Rivers Career Center.
Washington High School is offering a new course for the 2019-20 school year in computer science. The course is titled Project Lead the Way CSE, which stands for Computer Science Essentials. The course is a great entry point for students who think they are interested in computer science and acts as a support to those who already have experience in this field.
In this course, students explore many different topics in computer science and gain experience through activities, research and projects. Topics covered in this class include mobile app development, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and text-based programming. Students also research different professions in the computer science field, helping them gain knowledge of different career opportunities.
PLTW Computer Science Essentials starts off with block-based programming. This benefits students who have never had experience with programming and are just getting used to the formatting and logic.
The software we use in PLTW CSE include MIT App Inventor, VEX Robotics, and Amazon Web Services. MIT App Inventor is a block-based programming software that allows students to click and drag different pieces of code together to make a working mobile application.
These applications that students develop are tested and deployed on an Android tablet. VEX Robotics is also a block-based program, but can double as text-based programming. In this unit, students program self-driving vehicles to navigate a map. Students also get experience with vision sensors. Vision sensors can view and recognize different colors and react differently according to the color.
As the course develops and the students gain experience with the logic behind programming and eventually work on text-based programming. Text-based programming in Computer Science Essentials is done on Amazon Web Services – a cloud service. During this unit, students get experience with the syntax of programming and develop a more custom product.
Students seem to really enjoy this class. It is unlike other courses because it is 100 percent project based and students get to develop things that they are interested in. The course is set up to have specific activities and directions for students to work through first, and then leave the projects open for creativity.
Washington High School AP Classes
Washington High School offers a comprehensive list of AP courses for students. In the past 10 years we have grown our AP course offerings from two to 12 courses. AP courses provide students the opportunity to participate in a nationally recognized program and earn college credit. How much credit a student earns depends on the college they will attend, the major they select, and how well they scored on the National AP exam.
Washington High School has been recognized as an AP Honor Roll school. An AP Honor Roll designation means we have increased our offerings and kept a high achievement level. These courses are among the most rigorous offered at WHS.
AP classes offered at WHS are AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Computer Programming, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition, AP Seminar, AP Art Studio, AP US History, AP Government, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics and AP Research.
Major planning is under way for new construction of South Point Elementary School and an inaugural Parent Summit.
New Elementary Construction: The two-story, approximately 78,000-square-foot school will serve kindergarten through sixth grade. It will be built on a 75-acre parcel owned by the School District of Washington on Highway 100 east near St. John Road. It will be constructed at the northwest corner of Old Highway 100 and St. Johns Road.
The new school is slated to open in August 2021.
Parent Summit: The School District of Washington is hosting its inaugural Parent Summit, scheduled for November 17, 2020, at Washington High School. This is an opportunity for parents, guardians, caregivers and grandparents to learn more about important topics related to your child’s education in a conference style format. The Summit is an opportunity for parents to learn directly from educators, business leaders and community members about important topics that impact your child’s education and social/emotional health.
As we move into the new decade, it’s hard not to think back on how Washington has changed over the past 10 years. As many communities had to, Washington realized the need to adapt to the new economy after the Great Recession. It became clear that residential development was not going to continue the same as before, industrial projects were going to become more competitive, and it became more apparent to focus on our downtown as a catalyst to overall community success. City leaders understood that Washington needed to evolve with the changing landscape and, fortunately, some measurements from 2019 show that has paid off. In 2019, Washington had a building permit valuation of almost $45 million, a 28% increase of the year prior. A statistic that had continued to increase over the past 4 years as well. We landed Franklin County’s largest industrial project since the power plant with the construction of Melton Machine and Control’s new facility. The 330,000 square foot facility will double their square footage and be home to over 220 jobs. Clemco and Hodges Badge both moved their global headquarters from the west and east coasts, respectively, bringing approximately 100 new jobs with them. In 2019, we also saw residential permits at levels we haven’t seen since well before the recession. There were 115 new residential dwelling units built in 2019, breaking 100 new homes in a single year for the first time since 2006.
Looking back at the past decade, we can attribute these numbers to some of the changes the City has made. Identifying assets to capitalize on and challenges to overcome were crucial to finding our recent success.
A Call to Action
While Washington has become an excellent place to take a weekend trip, it has always been home to a regional workforce. Since its incorporation, Washington has always been a strong manufacturing town. First as a shoe factory town and then in the late 60’s diversifying itself with a number of different industries. For over 100 years, the commercial and residential growth would follow the new industry and, although commercial development moved out to the highway and new subdivisions followed suit, downtown always remained as the core of the community.
From 2000 – 2010 the City helped facilitate the development of a new industrial park and saw continued business expansion and job growth, even through the brunt of the recession. Retail development followed this trend through the same time period with the completion of a major shopping center and expansions to the highway system. The resiliency of the commercial and industrial economy in Washington remained apparent through the recession. City Staff realized, however, after reviewing the 2010 census data that residential growth did not mirror the commercial and industrial growth. Washington’s population had increased by .08%. A workforce study was completed and showed that 79% of the City’s workers lived outside the City limits solidifying Washington as a magnet for industry but not as a destination for families. Given the amenities downtown and throughout the City, it was logical to derive from the study that the potential for residential growth existed but the main deterrent was the cost of land in Washington. City Planning staff along with the Community and Economic Development Department recognized the issue and proposed a number of policy updates to facilitate more affordable residential growth. A new comprehensive plan was written with hundreds of comments and input from the community. It was determined that a main goal was to diversify housing options in Washington and facilitate more opportunities for renters and first time home buyers. This resulted in three major development code changes and an overhaul of the City’s zoning code.
The first proposal was meant to tackle land cost. The cost per acre in Washington in some cases was twice as much as the cost in two neighboring communities. At the time, the City required all new subdivision lots created to be at least 10,000 square feet in size. The City created two new zoning districts to increase the housing density. One allowed lot sized down to 7,500 square feet. The other allowed 6,000 square foot lots. Washington saw an increase in subdivision development almost immediately.
The second proposal included an attempt to lower development cost that in turn was passed on to the homebuyers. In one instance, this included allowing for narrowed street widths on certain streets that would not have through traffic on them. It also allowed for narrower streets and right-of-way when restricting parking on one side of the street.
The third development policy proposal included increasing the density allowance for multi-family development. It became clear that the outdated code from the early 80’s discouraged developers from investing in multi-family development. The City increased the density maximum by 33% to help meet the goal set forth in the comprehensive plan. Within one month the City saw 160 units requested over three sites.
Lastly, Washington made the decision to completely overhaul the zoning code. Major updates had not been done since 1980’s and the City saw this as an opportunity to modernize the code. The new code section updated zoning definitions and created policies for more modern uses, such as microbreweries and distilleries. The new code made it easier to develop mixed uses in the downtown district and created an opportunity for more planned developments.
Continued Revitalization Downtown
Washington saw an opportunity to facilitate growth throughout the community and provide housing options with the code changes allowing for new development all over town. All the while, attention was never shifted away from Downtown, as the City recognized it as its best asset. Today, someone returning a visit to downtown Washington for the first time since 2007 might find portions of it unrecognizable. Over the past 12 years, Washington has focused on underutilized areas of the downtown and seen great success. The City utilized Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to not only identify blighted and underutilized land downtown but to facilitate a swift redevelopment. It began in 2007 with the Bank of Washington choosing to invest in downtown by rebuilding their $7 million headquarters on Main Street. Their commitment to the district allowed the creation of a conservation district that covered most of downtown and gave the City a tool to invest in much needed improvements. This allowed for the completion of large projects that clean up the district and encourage continued investment. These projects include burying all overhead utility lines, streetscape enhancements, public parking, and other aesthetic enhancing projects. As a result, over the past 12 years, Downtown Washington has seen over $30 Million of private investment in three active TIF Districts that include 40 new residential units, 4 new bars and restaurants, and 20,000 sq. ft. newly constructed retail space. All of which was constructed on underutilized or vacant lots downtown and has encouraged redevelopment of existing historic structures.
With the success of major redevelopment projects, the City and Downtown Washington, Inc. also realized an opportunity to assist property owners on smaller projects. The active TIF districts proved a success for downtown as a whole, but Washington wanted to expand that opportunity to property owners in the district that weren’t part of the major redevelopment. The City introduced The Small TIF Program. This program allowed owners of existing structures in a TIF district to recoup some of the property taxes captured from the increased development. If an owner of an existing structure agreed to add upstairs commercial or residential space, make façade improvements, or redevelopment with environmentally friendly materials they became eligible for a rebate of 80% of the increase in property taxes. The rebate is taken out of the sales tax generated TIF District Fund and given back to participating property owners in the district. The City wanted to recognize the commitment and investment of existing downtown owners and the Small TIF program proved a good way to do so.
On top of the Small TIF Program, Downtown Washington, Inc. also created a low interest loan program for owners of existing buildings in the district. These funds were made available through a Neighborhood Assistance Program Grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development and allows downtown property owners to apply for up to a $100,000 loan offered at a 1% interest rate. As the loans are paid back, Downtown Inc. can loan the money out again to additional property owners in the area. Owners were able to participate in both programs and helped make what felt like long term dreams a reality. Being able to offer large and small scale incentives for developers and property owners increased investment in the district and solidified Downtown Washington as a destination. When marketing Washington as a place for young families to land, Downtown became the City’s most effective recruitment tool.
The progressive actions of the City and Downtown Washington, Inc. since 2007 are what drove the recent increase in investment and residential development. And in true Washington fashion, a new group of young citizens have been encouraged by the development and taken on a call to action of their own heading in to the new decade. A group called the Washington Young Ambassadors has formed and aims at continuing the progress by attracting more like minded young professionals and the employers they work for. The group actively organizes networking events, pub crawls and happy hours, and speaking events to engage the young professionals of Washington. In 2019, with the support of the local banks, they contracted with a video production company to create a video series on Washington. The five-part series will display Washington as a great place to live, work, and play and as a destination for young professionals to build a career and family life. A website, www.washmoworks.com, has also been created to highlight job opportunities in the area. Now, anyone looking for a new job or graduating from schooling can visit the site and search by job description or major to find the right position for them in Washington. The group also works with regional high schools, community colleges, and universities on reaching out to alumni lists to highlight all the opportunities Washington has to offer. Adopting the slogan, “Washington, MO… Plan on Staying”, the Washington Young Ambassadors are giving people all the tools they need to do just that, plan on staying in Washington.
With over 500 members and an annual operating budget of over $2 million, the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce has been ranked the second-largest chamber in the region by the St. Louis Business Journal. Our chamber, founded in 1923, has three main operating components; the Chamber Office, the Washington Town & Country Fair, and the Washington Division of Tourism. The Town & Country Fair is the third-largest fair in the state, bringing five days of fun and entertainment to Washington every August. In 1999, a lodging tax was created, with proceeds going specifically towards marketing Washington as a tourist destination. The Director of Tourism has been employed by the Chamber since the position was created.
Our mission is to provide services that strengthen our member businesses, and enhance the local economic climate and the quality of life of area residents. We work toward our mission through partnerships with the City of Washington and Downtown Washington, Inc., paying attention to issues that affect the continued viability of existing local businesses, and attracting new business and expansion to the area. Community events are provided, in addition to our business networking and development events, to enhance the area's spirit of community, and we're proud to actively support the efforts of other organizations to do the same.
A Look Back at 2019
The past year has been a great one for building momentum at the Chamber! We've expanded a program and built a few others to strengthen our organization and the community for years to come.
The Young Professionals group was re-energized this year with a new event, the Pub Crawl, and a renewed focus on networking and development events. The group was aided by the creation of the Young Ambassadors, a joint project from the City of Washington and the Chamber, with a small leadership team tasked with developing programs/events and marketing Washington to young professionals throughout the region. The 2019 class of Outstanding Young Professionals was recognized in October, bringing the total number of honorees over the past seven years to 90.
The theme of developing future leaders carried into a new partnership between the Chamber, YMCA, School District of Washington, and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School with the creation of the Leadership Academy of Washington. The two-day event developed for incoming High School Juniors and Seniors was a huge success and left the planning committee ready to hit the ground running for next year's program. The future of Washington will be in very capable hands! **More about the Leadership Academy can be found on page 19.
Late in the year, it became clear that as a Chamber, we simply must do more to support and recognize our members. A robust plan was developed to ensure each member has a specific staff contact at the office, and staff has been charged with reaching out to their members multiple times each year - asking for feedback, ensuring chamber records are up-to-date, and making sure members know they are important to and appreciated by our organization. The program was implemented toward the end of the year, and will continue to be expanded in future years.
2019 Membership Events Included:
Business Breakfast Meeting
Ladies' Golf Day
Part-Time Job Fair
2019 Community Events Included:
Music at the Market series
Fair Kick-off Party
Pumpkin Palooza (canceled this year due to weather)
Olde Fashioned Christmas
Looking Forward to 2020 and Beyond
Building on the successes for the Young Professionals group and Leadership Academy of Washington are priorities for 2020. Building up the next generation of leaders is vital to Washington's continued success. We'll also be focusing on recognizing our members, and providing more benefits to them. Members that celebrated milestone membership anniversaries in the past year will be recognized at the Business Breakfast Meeting (new members, 5-year anniversaries), Banquet (25-, 30-, and 40-year anniversaries, plus the newly created "Chairman's Circle" for 50-year anniversaries), and Summer Mixer (10- and 20-year anniversaries). 2020 will also see the re-launch of an Education Series for members. Events will be held over lunch in the Chamber Boardroom and will include a meal, brief networking time, and an educational presentation. The first session was held in January with 25 participants, who gave very positive feedback and were grateful to see the program offered. Future topics were selected based on results from a member survey and will include:
A Closer Look at Some of Our Projects
Washington Town & Country Fair
We had an amazing year celebrating our 90th Fair with fairgoers young and old, who all enjoyed five jam-packed days of fun, food, and friends! Our board prides itself on providing something for everyone, including concerts, motorsports events, shows, exhibits, and the can't-miss Brewfest & Wing-Ding. At the end of the year, we were proud and humbled to see our local economic impact top $1 million dollars for the 18th consecutive year. It is our great honor to organize the Fair with the help of our sponsors, and we look forward to providing a great community event for many years to come.
Washington Farmers' Market
For over 20 years, our market has offered something for everyone. Open Saturday mornings, April - October, the market is host to more than 40 vendors selling local plants and produce, meat, eggs, jams & jellies, and baked goods. Crafters selling their handmade items have also found a home at the market, offering charming and unique items. The beautifully renovated historic building with pavilion guarantees customers will be covered, rain or shine at 317 West Main Street in Downtown Washington, Missouri. The Sprouts Kids Club, started in 2017, attracts children and families to the market and encourages participants (ages 3-10) to pick out and purchase their own fruits and veggies with their very own market money, earned by checking in each week!
Washington Division of Tourism
Washington has small town charm and big city amenities…offering both downhome and uptown experiences.
Washington can be your hub for both the Hermann and Augusta Wine Trails. With dozens of wineries to choose from, there is no doubt that you will find one to fall in love with.
Whether you choose a quick day-trip or decide to make a weekend out of it, be sure to visit our lively downtown district with shops that will appeal to everyone! All four seasons can be enjoyed to the fullest with Washington’s landscaping and cleanliness; so, bring your camera to capture the beauty that is Washington.
Getting here is easy by car, or train. Amtrak stops four times daily. Step-on guided tours are available for bus groups and our own tour bus (available for 6-14 passengers) may also be scheduled for a group coming in by train or car.
For more information...
Recently, our Chamber President and Economic Development Director sat down with some local business leaders to discuss the challenges and advantages of today's business climate, and what makes Washington a great home for their business.
Meet the Panel
What trends do you notice in industrial development in the area? Have you had to adapt to a recovering economy since 2008?
Maune: We’ve had to consolidate the operations for leaner operations and to be more competitive in our market. I think some of the challenges is that “Amazon” thought process is what we're always up against. “I wanted it yesterday”, quick turnaround. We do a lot of online orders; we're seeing that part of our business increase online. People trying to place those orders on their phones. That's become a bigger part of us.
Sallaberry: Every business is becoming a technology business. Technology has to be ingrained and embedded into everything you do these days. Whether it's sales, marketing, manufacturing, or even the way you interact with customers, it’s becoming an important piece.
James: Global capacity out there is certainly high, we compete across the globe and that's not something commonly known about our product. We move with the economy. Our industry in 2008, 2009 and 2010 dropped 50% revenue. The global competition for us is even more prevalent now post-recession versus pre-recession. The other thing is speed. Even within our product, it takes us six to eight months to execute an order from the time we quote until we deliver.
Archer: We've been through quite a ride since 2008. It seems that most any company had survived out of that has embraced some level of how we make everything as lean as possible and expand, but only expand as much as needed. Not necessarily looking at what you need 10 or 15 years from now, but what do I need for the next year? Melton has been lucky. In the last two years, we've made a commitment to build a large building that'll take care of us for the next 15 or 20 years.
Just in the past 10 years, how has technology changed your business from operations to company culture?
Sallaberry: Our customers are actually demanding a higher level of technology embedded into the equipment we make. They want to maximize their productivity and minimize their downtime, just like us. That’s something that wasn't even on our radar ten years ago.
Archer: Over the last 10 years, the United States has gone from being the sixth most productive country to right at the top one or two spot as most productive country in terms of producing. Automation is directly related to some of those results. With the amount of technology and stuff that’s out there, it's hard to find people that know everything you need for them to know to hire them anyway, so you have to train. If you're going to train them anyway, then you might as well hire the best candidate for the position no matter the training. We're more about looking for somebody who's going to be a cultural fit for our company.
James: There should be no fear from automation. Anytime we can take non-value-added work out of some part of our business, we can take those hours and put it adding value somewhere else in our business. If we automate something away, no one's losing their job. We need great people that can run our business. We used to hear the word employee morale talked about more than culture. If someone's happy that's great, but at the same time it questions are they performing in other areas as well. It's not just about employee happiness though, our employee morale is a mindset. We're competing around the globe and it's easy being mediocre, but it's not good enough.
Maune: For Hodges, we went through a huge hiring in the last year and added 50% new people to the plant. We went from 60 to 120 employees. It's been a huge change to our culture, but we’ve been trying to get that culture back. That was a big influx of a lot of new people there. We're realizing that our culture has to stay. If you put the people first, the rest falls in place. One of the things we did during this is we started a part time, second shift and it is four to nine Monday through Thursday. We're getting people who have jobs and they're working night shifts. They are extremely loyal people because they have amazing work ethic.
James: We have about 475 employees in our business and I hand write 475 birthday cards a year. It's just the small things. How do you make someone try to feel a little extra special? Birthdays, weddings, graduations, the things that matter to our employees have to matter to us to. We've kind of forgotten how to write personal notes and how to do personal touches like that.
Have any of your businesses had to change daily operations because of the changing landscape of the workforce? What are some ways you’ve addresses the workforce challenge?
Sallaberry: If you go to StateTech and somebody who's graduating in December and you're going there in September to look for those people, they're gone already. They've already made a decision. We’re talking to people in September who are going to graduate in May or June or July and they already have two offers. We're filtering that down to the high schools now into STEM programs. Both high schools have STEM programs and we're bringing those kids on to work with us in the summers and part time on holidays for the experience, getting to know each other, letting them see what we do and some of those kids, even at the high school level are doing some great work.
Archer: We probably do two or three tours a year to middle school students and beginning high school students and STEM programs, as many people as we can bring through our doors. Some of the tours are targeted like a woman in STEM. We need to bring manufacturing into the schools to see opportunities. There's so many opportunities out there that need to be showcased to everyone. When we find someone that we like, who shares our values and respects our values of hungry, humble and smart. We want to advance that person, so that they stay with us for a long time.
James: We have the ability to recruit engineering, sales, and marketing all within the metro area because of our community’s location. We have local students in all of our avenues. I've been in some form of manufacturing for 32 years and it's the first time that we sit back and realized our limiting factor to our growth is not capital, tools, equipment, material or the office area, it's do we have the men and the women to build the products to take care of our customers.
Maune: At Hodges I still see promoting within, going up the ladder and not having to have those degrees, but putting that best foot forward, and it opens so many doors.
What are some federal, state, or local programs your companies have used to assist in growth? What other opportunities would you like to see available?
Sallaberry: These days it’s the training that we like to see more of but we're taking advantage of the WorkKeys program. We've got four employees that have been through the industrial technology program at East Central College. We've got two in the program now. It goes back to promoting from within and giving employees that opportunity. A person that wants to learn and improve will advance. We make work schedules flexible enough so that our employees can go to school while also working.
James: We've taken advantage of industrial revenue bonds and the state training program in the past. We're partnering with the East Central College right now and a certification for some of our supply chain group. We have an instructor from East Central College in our building every Tuesday and Thursday morning. They start class at 6:30 a.m. Making education and training easily accessible is just one way to continue to refresh our program.
Archer: We're in the midst of a large construction project and it’s been very beneficial partnering up with the city and the state for all the things that we're working on together to make that come about. The best part of is that it's all incentive based. It's based on us hiring more people. We hire more people, then, the city and the economy benefits, and then we get a benefit from the inside. If we don't grow, we don't get the people, then it didn't cost the city anything. It's a mutually beneficial thing. Those types of programs are lower risk but higher reward for the taxpayers. That's the best part about it. Those kinds of things don’t always get portrayed that way.
Industrial growth is often seen as a catalyst to growth in other sectors (i.e. housing and retail). Do you think any future development could encourage industrial growth here? If so, what specifically could Washington benefit from?
Archer: One of the things that would be helpful is more land. In order to build, land is needed to get there. That's an interesting dilemma that everybody knows about, but it’s a limiting factor of companies coming in. If we are at a critical mass of companies, it'd be interesting to explore if it was possible to have some sort of incubator where we could start training new entrepreneurs, have them build some kind of simple thing that's more industrial related. We can potentially either collaborate or if it was the right opportunity, we could eventually merge with them, bringing them in.
Sallaberry: When we want to think about growing industry in Washington and we talk about other sectors, I’ve noticed that there has been a growing diversity of manufacturing sectors represented here. A greater focus placed on certain growth sectors that might be interested in a small manufacturing location in a relatively lower cost environment could really expand what has been started here in Washington.
Maune: I think having the retail and good restaurants adds so much in a deciding factor as to whether or not to grow in a certain area. I think what Downtown Washington Inc. has done with the downtown scene is amazing. They have made the downtown feel alive and vibrant. The area gives the whole town a strong feel when you come across the downtown being strong, the rest of the city seems to grow along with it.
Even with some of the development hurdles we’ve discussed, we’ve seen industrial development growth in the region over the past few years. What is influencing industries to continue to make investments in this area?
Sallaberry: The availability of high-quality workers, good skill levels, great work ethic that the area is known for was the biggest draw for us to move our headquarters out here. Clemco was at a sort of an inflection point with a little bit of a turnover in our shareholder group, coincided with being able to vacate very high rent properties in the downtown financial district of San Francisco. Trade that in for Washington, Missouri, it was kind of a financial no-brainer.
Maune: For Hodges moving our headquarters to Washington definitely was a financial gain moving here from the East coast. Enduro Binders produces something similar to us. We can call them and say, “our machine is down” and they’ll respond immediately, “bring it on up here and we'll take care of you.” I think that's what makes Washington stand out. The relationships and comradery is so valued by the entire community.
Archer: Transportation is also a pretty decent thing for us because we're in the center of the country. We're shipping products to the east and west coast. We don't have to go all the way across the country to get it there.
James: Our location is one of the only two manufacturers West of the Mississippi that have any significance. Our competition is in the Southeast part of the United States and the East coast. It's a significant part of our cost to deliver a large power transformer. When we travel from here versus someone traveling from Virginia, Georgia or Pennsylvania, it's an advantage for us, which makes the Washington location a great place to be.
Where do you anticipate the largest changes in the industrial sector in the next five years?
Archer: There’s a laundry list of potential new changes that leads us all to answer some important questions: how much data do we really look at for a machine or for a company and how do we manage that sort of thing, how do we maintain different levels of cybersecurity, advanced cybersecurity, where is industrial internet going to take companies? What becomes difficult is figuring out what is something that is a newer technology that we need to embrace versus the next shiny thing to go chasing after. It’s not an easy thing certainly, but from our standpoint, it is staying focused on what made you successful and being open to these new elements and figuring out if those things work into what we're focused on.
Sallaberry: Smart technology is coming our way and we'd better embrace it. Embrace the right ones, but we better embrace it. Whether it's incorporated into the equipment that we build or whether it's embedded into the processes that we employ to make that product, technology is going to play a huge role in whether we grow or whether we stagnate.
James: We're adapting some of our design and manufacturing technologies to accommodate for new energies that are replacing coal. It's now cheaper to generate a kilowatt of electricity through a wind turban than a coal fired plant. It is 70% renewable energy. That's a market that we're having to adapt to and this is a different customer that we have to adapt to as well. I could probably hire a couple of hundred more people just for the renewables market right now. It's that hot in the United States right now.
Maune: I think for us it's going to be technology while knowing our customers, trying to understand what our customers are going to want. That's going to be important for us. Trying to anticipate desires, but ahead of time what are they going to want next.
If an industry was interested in looking in Washington, what would you highlight to help them make that decision?
James: The quality of life and good work ethic in Washington makes it worth living and working here. Weg is really kind of new to business in the United States as a whole. We really got over here just within the past five years and Washington makes us want to continue to grow in the U.S.
Archer: Companies within Washington support the community. There seems to be a lot of energy around making sure people get helped through service organizations that are added on as a component.
Maune: The fact that we already have an industrial structure and diversity in manufacturing out here makes Washington a great place to be. We all can network with each other daily which is the spirit of Washington.
Sallaberry: Corporations are recognizing a greater responsibility, being part of the community and giving back to the community. I'm not seeing many places in the country that have the active volunteerism that this community has. It makes this place different, which is why it’s great to live and work here. Everything else in the Washington area has so much going for it: the quality of life, the social scene in downtown, great schools, and health care, but it seems like the one missing piece is affordable, middle class housing.
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