By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Economic development within the City of Liberal has been a very important topic among city leaders. Economic Development Director Jeff Parsons has found a way to take Liberal to the rest of the world rather than just wait for the world to come to Liberal.
Parsons along with his assistant, Virginia Webb, and New Boston Creative Group, a web design company in Manhattan have created www.chooseliberal.com in an effort to educate companies as to what Liberal has to offer. Parsons said he is specifically targeting wind energy companies.
“The purpose of the site is so that site selectors, those people who are looking to locate businesses, have easy access to our information,” Parsons said. “If they only have to go to one place, it is easier than to hunt around. And that way, we get to present it in a format that we like.
“It is information that they will look for – it is profile information, it is things like demographics, things that they are going to need,” he explained. “They have access to more in depth information, then we will present the Web site. It is a good place where they can go and see real estate information, information on our incentives and state incentives, that kind of thing.”
During a trip to Dallas, Parsons collected a list of companies involved in wind energy and contacted them in order to let them know exactly what Liberal had to offer them.
“We decided awhile back that we wanted to start targeting companies in the wind energy industry,” he said. “What we did was, I went down to Dallas to an international conference called Wind Power. I saw companies and I went to the trade show and visited with folks in construction, transportation, manufacturers – those kind of people. When we came back, we compiled a list and then we sent out letters to almost 600 companies in the wind energy industry.
“What we did was we sent them information on our location and where we are on the wind grid,” he continued. “We marked railroad locations and highway locations to show our access to transportation and where we are located within the wind grid. Then we followed up about three weeks later with an email to those same companies.”
Parsons said contact will not stop with the follow-up emails.
“We will at some point and time, after the first of the year, probably make additional contact with them,” he said. “What we have done, is we have pointed everybody back to this Web site. It has all of our contact information on it. But when someone makes the decision if they want to move to Liberal or not, they will do a lot more digging. What we have given them is some good, basic information.”
Parsons said the site is set up so that he can track any activity.
“We can track hits on the Web site,” he said. “We have been able to track how many people have been looking at the site, how many pages they look at, how long they were on and where they are from. Each morning we go on and we can see. We have gotten hits from China, South Korea and Canada. We know we are getting looked at, and we hope that when the economy improves we will get some activity.
“Have we gotten someone looking for a place to move? No, not yet,” he added. “But, a lot of this is just planting seeds. You want to make them aware of where we are.”
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