SEED discusses industrial park

The SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting on Monday morning, Aug. 8, 2011 at the Chamber of Commerce.Two significant action items on the agenda were considered by the board, one including the renewal of the $475,000 line of credit loan for EMA. Board members browsed an informative packet while a brief presentation was made by SEED member John Jay. Jay discussed various projections from a financial perspective, including employment, timeline of events and service and sales. The company was praised for their work which continues to prove successful, and the one-year line of credit is subject to annual review.Though the previous stipulations on the credit line are still in place, the board approved the renewal of the loan.The other action item was regarding SEED's participation in the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) project — a robotics competition — sponsored by the Sweetwater TSTC (Texas State Technical College). The local director of the program, Terry Blankenship, made a presentation to the board.While large towns and venues are generally selected to host the program, Sweetwater has been given the opportunity to participate, stated Blankenship. She explained to the board that the robotics program is open to Sweetwater students as early as sixth grade.Blankenship shared many advantages of the program from a regional aspect as well as academically in that participating students learn a design program which could lead to better job placements in the future as a result of their experience.Everyone was in agreement that the program is promising and while SEED's involvement in BEST would be a right step in bridging the gap between industry and education, the board opted to table the issue for further review and research.Other action items approved included the minutes from the July 2011 meeting and the payment of accounts payable. The financial statements from two months earlier in June were reviewed and approved with several issues highlighted. While unemployment numbers were of slight concern in June, sales tax numbers were considerably up from the prior year.Kirstin Smith, the Asst. Marketing/Admin. Director of SEED, updated the board that a laptop that SEED no longer uses has been transferred among city departments to the SNAP program. An update on the program's website was also given.The website's review process is currently underway to ensure the site works properly. Following review, changes will be made as needed in which a final approval will then be given. From that point, training will take place on the content management systems of the site.The board was also informed of the city's public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 9, on the budget and that for next year's budget, following city recommendations, SEED will stay in line with the city's timeline.Executive Director of SEED, Ken Becker, discussed the continued progress of the city's Industrial Park and has been looking at similar area economic development groups and their industrial parks to gain more insight on each group's work.Discussions within marketing have also been taking place with AWEA regarding a report on wind energy and water — which is not used in the wind projects — during the summer drought. In addition to marketing, with the heavy travel season on the verge, Becker has asked Smith to assist as needed.The Denmark Trade Mission is upcoming in September, and scheduling has made it possible for Becker to tour the London extension of Ludlum Measurements while en route to Denmark. Though a request for an iPad2 for next year's budget was made by Becker, the tech gadget will be ordered earlier than anticipated for his use during the trip, which should prove to be a great asset in communicative efforts.