Tuscaloosa Bound!


More than 60 Chamber members head to Alabama on annual leadership visit tomorrow.

Around 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, more than 60 members of Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce will board a plane for Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for their annual leadership visit.

The primary goals of the trip are to introduce the delegation to innovative programs and impactful projects that may be adaptable to our community, to facilitate an exchange of best practices and lessons learned among participants, and to provide high-level networking and relationship-building among business and civic leaders.

Why Tuscaloosa? Home to the University of Alabama, higher education is a significant driver in the Tuscaloosa economy, and our towns are similar in size and median age. Downtown is a vibrant area of growth for Tuscaloosa, and they have been nationally recognized for their workforce development system. They are also collaborating on an innovative transportation infrastructure investment and recently opened an incubator and accelerator as a partnership between the University, the Chamber, and the City.

Trip activities include a tour and presentation at The Edge Incubator and Accelerator, as well as tours of the community, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Mercedes, and City Hall. Community officials and experts will also be on hand to lead discussions on entrepreneurism, transforming the county and county roads, sports and tourism, workforce development, and urban development and planning.

The trip is open to Chamber members who are interested in coming together to share ideas and make positive changes in our community.

This year’s attenders include representatives from MU, MU Health Care, the City of Columbia, City Council, Columbia Public Schools, Moberly Area Community College, Columbia Mall, Shelter Insurance, Veterans United Home Loans, the Columbia Board of Education, Columbia Board of Realtors, and the District, as well as local bankers, architects, small business owners, and more.

At a pre-trip mixer and briefing last Wednesday, KOMU General Manager and Chamber Chair Matt Garrett encouraged those attending to come away from the trip with one big idea. “What’s our one thing?” he encouraged them to ask. “The thing we can sink our teeth into when we get back.”

Stay tuned for daily reviews of the trip and what the delegation is learning.