Johnson County Maintains its Balance
As expected, the Johnson County economic development assembly was provocative and forward-looking. Nearly thirty area leaders with a keen interest in Johnson County, Kansas gathered on an absolutely perfect late September morning at the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College.
Co-sponsoring the assembly were Johnson County, Johnson County Community College and the Johnson County Partnership. Ably co-chairing this ED Assembly were the Honorable Annabeth Surbaugh, Chairman of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, and JCCC's venerable chief executive, Dr. Charles Carlsen. This assembly was part of Ingram's ongoing effort to highlight economic development issues and opportunities in the county and throughout KC's greater metro area.
Although there was candid talk about the challenges Johnson County faces, sparked largely by the shared desire to maintain Johnson County's role as what Commissioner Surbaugh called the metro's "county of choice," participants expressed their unanimous enthusiasm about the exceptional progress the county has been making.
As an opening question the participants were asked to identify what it is that makes Johnson County distinctive. Speaking first, Eric Danielson of the Lenexa Chamber/EDC seized the answer from the lips of everyone that followed.
"It is the quality of life issue," said Danielson unhesitatingly. He described quality of life as an "all-encompassing" virtue. He specifically cited the excellent education system of which he himself is a product and the high quality business community. These are the factors, he believes, that inspire businesses to relocate in the county. Sara Ritter of the De Soto Chamber/EDC could not agree more. "Quality of life is so important," she enthused.
Doug Robinson has a particularly instinctive feel for the county's virtues in that he is helping raise his four children here. He cited the libraries, the infrastructure, and, of course, the schools. "Nothing really compares to living here," he said. "We've been very fortunate."