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Sat, Jan. 18

Comments solicited for business survey
EDMC wants input on industries the community would welcome

KINGMAN - Economic Development and Marketing Commission Chairman John Kirby is hoping to get as many locals as possible to come to the Powerhouse Wednesday evening to participate in what will be Kingman's last chance to contribute to a community survey that will be used to attract businesses to the area.

Originally launched in May, the Community Business Matching Survey is paid for by a federal grant and was crafted by researchers at the University of Arizona. It is designed to gauge how receptive the city is likely to be toward different kinds of businesses and industries, should they choose to relocate here. The survey asks participants to choose one economic preference over another, and then rate how strongly they prefer that choice on a scale of 1 to 9.

Choices include general phrases such as "new businesses hire locally," "new businesses return profits to the community," and "new businesses do not emit greenhouse gases," and are frequently mixed and matched to better gauge how strongly each individual respondent truly feels about each issue.

The problem to date, Kirby said, has been that few people have participated in the survey, and many who have already represent various business and commercial concerns. Before the survey period is over, he said, he wants to get additional opinions from a wider spectrum of Kingmanites representing the full spectrum of age, education level, income, and other socioeconomic variables.

"At the end of the day it's for the good of the community," Kirby said. "I really want to get as much of a picture as we can, and I want more people than that core group that shows up for everything. I want to get what that guy down the street is thinking."

Due to its complexity, Kirby said the survey is generally best taken with a facilitator present. For that reason, he is requesting that the public come to the Powerhouse at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, where UA researcher Erik Glenn will be on hand to help guide participants through the survey, which takes about an hour to complete.

"I've got the Powerhouse reserved, and free refreshments are going to be served," Kirby said. "Wednesday the 13th is our last shot, and whatever we get from that meeting we're going to couple with the responses we got from before."

Following the final round of surveying, Kirby said Glenn and his fellow researchers will proceed to the next phase, crunching the raw numbers in order to prepare a report that the the EDMC will be able to use to show individual businesses how likely they are to be welcomed in Kingman.

"They have a database of different manufacturers and suppliers and industries, and they'll take the input from the city and match it with the database of what suppliers are looking for, then they'll churn out a report that says 'These are the industries that your community is willing to support and is ready to embrace,'" he said. "It's just another tool for courting businesses and jobs to come to the community. One of the nice things about it is it also takes into consideration sustainability and water usage of businesses."

For more information on the survey, or to request a copy prior to Wednesday, call Kirby at (928) 715-0394.

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