Economic Developement Council to hold partnership luncheon

BLACKFOOT — Roger Chase is a patient man. He understands that it takes time to entice companies to bring their facilities and jobs to Bingham County.
"We will have success but it will take time," Chase, who consults with the Bingham Economic Development Council, said over lunch last week.
"We've had five companies in for site visits in the past few weeks," he said. "The big thing is to get our name out there.
"There are some challenges we have to overcome," Chase continued. "We're somewhat power-restricted."
He and BEDC chairman Butch Hulse have been working with Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas in an effort to resolve problems related to utilities.
"Bingham County really is the center of East Idaho," Chase continued. "That's key.
"I really believe in the regional concept," he said. "What's good for Pocatello is good for Blackfoot. And what's good for Blackfoot is good for Idaho Falls.
"There are three important assets that Bingham County has," Chase said. "We're one of the top counties in the nation agriculture-wise. And our location is ideal. Plus, there's the low cost of doing business anywhere in Idaho."
Another thing that's a plus, Chase said, is the region's work ethic.
"Our workers stay with their companies a long time. And they're involved in the community. Employers like that," he added. "That's one of those intangibles we try to sell companies on."
With the impending closure of the Simplot plant in Aberdeen, Chase has been working hard to find a way to keep those 300 jobs in Bingham County.
"We've had some interesting leads," he said. "Simplot has been willing to let us use their building, so long as it doesn't involve potatoes."
He said a couple of companies have come to Aberdeen for site visits.
One element of economic development is the development of greater private financial support, Chase said.
Toward that end the BEDC is conducting a partnership luncheon at Tommy Vaughn's at noon on June 6.
"We want people who are interested in expanding or just staying in business to come talk to us," he said.
Seating for the luncheon is limited. Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas are sponsoring the event and paying for lunch.
For more information or to register, call Chase at 208-223-2620 or Leah Rigby at the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce, 208-785-0510.
"Some people ask why we would want to grow," Chase said. "To keep our kids here, you've got to bring in new jobs."
Several local businesses and communities are already partners with the BEDC. They include Bingham Memorial Hospital, Premier Technology, Mickelsen Construction, the INL and the cities of Blackfoot and Shelley. This list is not all-inclusive.