The city of McPherson is making a run for the title of the industrial hub of the Great Plains.
Situated near the very center of Kansas, McPherson enjoys easy access to central highway and railway routes, competitive electricity rates, low cost of living and workforce expertise in industries like plastics, energy, equipment manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
What it does not have is the name recognition—not yet, at least.
“We realized that we needed to better communicate our story,” says Kasi Morales, executive director of Go McPherson and McPherson Industrial Development Company. “First, McPherson is relatively unknown outside of Kansas—and certainly not known globally. This basic awareness is necessary for us to truly be considered for a project. Second, both our existing employers and companies considering expansion or relocation require a solid, qualified workforce.”
In a campaign to address both those areas, community stakeholders in McPherson aim to recruit a skilled, educated workforce and recruit industries that would be good fits for the city.
“We’re getting a lot of traction with our videos showcasing our recent industrial expansions and refreshing lifestyle,” Morales says.
And by working together, McPherson’s businesses and governmental bodies are able to make the region more attractive.
Working through the McPherson Board of Public Utilities (BPU), the region offers power rates that are 26% lower than the national average (based on most recent 2015 numbers). This is possible since BPU is an on-call provider for Westar during peak hours and can purchase electricity from Westar’s generators at a wholesale rate. The discount it passes on to local businesses potentially saves them millions of dollars each year. BPU also has been able to tap the region’s ideal wind-power resources and invest in wind energy to meet the clean power initiatives of many companies.
The city and county assist by providing tax exemptions for target projects.
It’s cooperation like this that has locals optimistic that more businesses and workers will choose to come to McPherson.
“We realized that we needed to better communicate our story.”
McPherson Success by the Numbers
Approximate amount McPherson National Cooperative Refinery Association committed in 2013 to expand and improve petroleum refining capabilities
Approximate amount of Pfizer’s 2014-2019 planned capital improvement investment in its McPherson facilities
Target number of barrels refined per day for McPherson National Cooperative Refinery Association investment
Amount of new square feet of McPherson manufacturing created by a 2014 Viega expansion project
Amount of new square feet of production planned by 2016 CertainTeed expansion project that will allow installation of four new injection molding machines
Number of new McPherson jobs targeted for creation by the Pfizer investment
Source: Kasi Morales, Executive Director of Go McPherson / Executive Director of McPherson Industrial Development Company