KCEDA Is All About Business

This article was in Sunday’s (September 1st, 2019) Herald and News
Written By: Francisca Benitez 

Klamath County Economic Development Association is all about making things happen in Klamath County.

KCEDA is present at nearly every ribbon-cutting, ground-breaking and behind-the-scenes meeting for business in the county, yet many still don’t know of its existence and its purpose.

KCEDA pitches Klamath as the best place to do business. It also supports local businesses to help them grow.

In a new twist, KCEDA is taking on the lack of adequate housing for prospective employees in the Basin. And it works with higher education to develop a curriculum training a workforce tailored to a business’ needs.

“We recruit companies, we work with existing candidates to have them expand within our region. And we also are looking for what we consider opportunities for scalable entrepreneurship,” said Executive Director Randy Cox. “So projects birthed here in Klamath Falls from ideation all the way to commercialization,”

KCEDA is often working on dozens of projects at a time, and not all of them end up working out.

Cox said the largest project of this past year eventually fell through.

“It was a very interesting project because it did the full spectrum of what we offer on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, they canceled the project at the end,” Cox said. He said he still holds hope that the project could be revived, and the experience helped streamline KCEDA’s services.

Cox said KCEDA sometimes must be secretive about projects that are in the works, but he wants the community to know what KCEDA is and what it can do to help local entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses.

In the office building KCEDA shares with the Chamber of Commerce on Riverside Drive, the sign on KCEDA’s door says, “Ask me how we can help.”

“I’ve always always felt like there should be a line of people outside saying, hey, I’ve got an idea, can you help me? And we’ll get there,” Cox said.

“We have to be careful about how we can disclose our projects. What we do doesn’t have to always be secret about this stuff,” he said. Cox said he often finds out about new businesses too late and wishes KCEDA could have offered assistance.

However, KCEDA has had a record-breaking year. Membership is up 53% and revenue is up 63%.

Members range from individuals to businesses and even the City of Klamath Falls and the county. They help fund KCEDA to support its mission of creating purposeful economic growth.

KCEDA focuses on industries related to clean technology, advanced manufacturing, natural resources and tourism.

Recent successes for KCEDA include working with Ferguson Hotels to bring a Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel to Klamath, and working with Bogatay Construction as they expand their headquarters to Tech Hills.

KCEDA is also hosting Klamath Basin’s first Oktoberfest this year on Sept. 21 to showcase local brewers, entertainers and vendors.

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