Last Friday afternoon, we attended the Game Changers presentation put on by the Shasta County Economic Development Center, at the Redding Convention Center.
The event was well attended. Erin and I met lots of local people interested and excited about Redding’s future. I also learned about several local resources and start-up companies I’d not otherwise have known about, like Technisoil.
Our Keynote guest: “From “Textile to Technology” A Community’s Transformation. The Story of Greenville, South Carolina. A native South Carolinian, Nancy (Whitworth) has been in Greenville for 30 years and has played an integral role in Greenville’s transformation from a dying textile town with serious economic problems to being an innovative community with an entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take risks.” She did an excellent job demonstrating how Greeenvile found success after the devastation of their major local industry.
There were other presentations from some local companies that are very promising. To the left, John Weise of software startup, Zenius Solutions.
I was struck by a few things from the keynote. First, Greenville really took chances on making their downtown likable and livable, and it worked out well. But they endured years of risk with private/public partnerships and (gulp) eminent domain to reclaim their best parts. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but the successful results speak for themselves. Nancy had toured Redding prior, and was really impressed with our river, our artful bridge, and the Cascade Theater. It seems Greenville had so much less than Redding to start with, but did so much more to leverage what they had.
Another interesting thing was the repeated mention of Bethel Church, and the students it has attracted. Redding is in a public/private partnership with Bethel for the very building in which the event took place. People I spoke with mentioned the influx of young people with new ideas as a very positive aspect of life in Redding. Erin and I agree. Meeting Bethel students with their varied backgrounds and cultures has expanded Redding’s culture. The subject came up remarkably often, and seemed yet another very positive factor to the companies located here.
It was a terrific and eye opening event. There’s more info about the Game Changer event at redding.com. Also, you can review related Tweets at #edcgc. Thanks EDC, sponsors, speakers, and all who attended.