Andy Long

MEDC Update

An update on the McCook Economic Development Corporation, by Andy Long, executive director.

Can Benjamin Franklin's idea help provide leaders today?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Iíve always been interested in history and biographies. One of the most interesting biographies I read was, Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson. Franklin lived an amazing life as a printer, inventor, scientist, politician, and diplomat. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris. I read biographies not just to learn about an interesting individual, but also see what I can learn from and apply from the life of the person.

One part of Franklinís life that intrigued me was how he learned about his profession. At the age of 12, Franklin became an apprentice of his brother James at a print shop. Through this experience, Franklin learned about newspaper publishing and eventually became a printer.

From my own experience, the best experience I had in college was working at the Office of Admissions and for UNLís summer orientation program. I learned about the world of work, but also through the job I was given ownership of my own projects, which included writing the curriculum for campus tours at the university. This experience helped lead me into higher education administration nearly a decade ago.

We would like to help more local students with internships. Throughout the next school year, we will be recruiting businesses and students to participate in internships next summer. As a part of the internships, we plan to give the students two days of soft skills training at the start of the internship and work with the students every two weeks throughout the summer to help them develop. We hope to connect students at the high school and college with opportunities that will bring them back to McCook after finishing their education.

A second part of Franklinís life that really interested me was the Junto Club. When Franklin was 21, he and a group of friends founded the Junto Club. This group of 12 tradesmen and artisans met every Friday evening to discuss a variety of topics. The Junto was a launching pad for ideas that improved the community including the first lending library, University of Pennsylvania, volunteer militia, and Pennsylvania Hospital.

Currently, Iím a part of a Catalyst group, where the Sherwood Foundation helps individuals get together every other month to grow and learn with each other. I also attend a menís group almost every Wednesday morning at my church. These small groups provide me with an opportunity to grow and learn and also support in challenging times and opportunities to celebrate during good times.

We would like to start the process of forming some local mastermind groups. These are groups that will meet weekly before work or over lunch and read leadership books, provide support for each other, and help in the growth and development of each other. We have a strong leadership program through Southwest Nebraska Leadership Institute and this is a program that gives individuals an opportunity to keep the personal growth ongoing after a great one year experience. I believe based on what Iíve read and seen from a variety of groups similar to this, we can continue to grow the next generation of community leaders.

We are hosting an event to provide more information on both the internship and mastermind programs at a MEDC Fiesta on Aug. 1 from noon to 1 p.m. or 5-6 p.m. at the Keystone 3rd floor training room. There will be food, a presentation from Lindsay Hastings from the Nebraska Human Resources Institute, and more information on our mastermind and internship programs. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Friday, July 27 so we have enough food by e-mailing angela@mccookne.org or calling 308-345-1200. If you have any questions, please contact me at andy@mccookne.org or 308-345-1200.

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