MRPC News Release

For immediate release
April 20, 2017

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

MRPC discusses growth and future of small businesses in region

ST. JAMES—Small businesses in south-central Missouri are “healthy, growing and really diverse,” based on a recent study by the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in Rolla. Keith Strassner, Karen Leatherman and Travin Shelton from the local SBTDC at Missouri S&T shared this and other information with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board at its April 13 meeting at #4 Industrial Drive, St. James Mo, 65559.

SBTDCs are located throughout Missouri and help businesses in every stage – concept to startup, growth to renewal, mature to succession. Funded by Small Business Administration (SBA) funds and the University of Missouri Extension program, the local office provides an array of technical help to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. In the last three years, SBTDC staff across Missouri have worked with 9,515 small businesses, providing 2,119 training courses serving 38,786 participants. A total of 6,483 jobs were created all across Missouri, according to

According to a recent study completed by Rolla SBTDC, 81 percent of small business owners in the Meramec Region expect their businesses to improve somewhat or greatly over the next one to three years. However, Strassner discussed some topics of concern including – strategic planning, customer service, budgeting, attracting/retaining employees and advertising/social media/public service. SBTDC offers specialized workshops to help cover these potential problem areas for entrepreneurs.
Shelton then transitioned the conversation to the need for succession/transition plans for local businesses as the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age. The baby boomers are the most entrepreneurial generation, Shelton said. Transitioning properly from one owner to another takes three-15 years. The Rolla SBTDC is available to help businesses get these plans in place. He encouraged MRPC members to look around their communities for opportunities to share information on succession planning. The Rolla SBTDC office works in partnership with MRPC’s business loan program and shares clients.

For more information on SBTDC, visit or by phone at 573-341-4690.

In other business, the MRPC board:

  • Waived past dues for the city of Argyle, who rejoined MRPC in 2017;
  • Discussed the MRPC annual dinner. Request of venue forms are due by May 2 and nominations of outstanding volunteers are due by June 1;
  • Received an update from MRPC Executive Director, Chairman Ray Schwartze and MRPC Assistant Director Tammy Snodgrass on their trip to Washington D.C. to deliver the Meramec Region’s federal legislative priorities and attend the National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) Washington Policy conference;
  • Heard a report from Snodgrass about Region I Homeland Security Oversight Committee’s (HSOC) grant period being open and an upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training on June 3-4. Deadline to register is May 19;
  • Discussed the need for new officers on the MRPC and MRB board of Directors, as well as heard nominations for new officers on the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC); and
  • Heard about a Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant funded WorkKeys program being conducted by Dr. Sean Siebert in conjunction with the Crawford County Jail, where he teaches a five-week entrepreneurship course ending WorkKeys testing and in National Career Readiness Certification. The project is being funded through Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation (MCEC) using a Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant. The goal is to be able to replicate the program for other counties.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 25, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at

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