"Time to make the donuts" - I am a big fan of processes. I am also a big fan of donuts. Have you ever wondered how a donut is made? It’s one thing to make them in the kitchen; that’s a little messy but relatively straight forward. When you are making hundreds of thousands of donuts at a place like Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, the process is a bit more complex. There has to be mixers, bakers, frosters, fillers, packagers and much, much more. I saw similar processes when I toured the Wicked Whoopie factory in Gardiner last year.
Not all processes are as refined. Our election process is an absolute mess, we can’t stop people from texting and driving (although we have the technology) and would someone please find a way to get us off an airplane in an organized but timely manner? The beauty of a solid and refined process is that you get to walk into a Dunkin Donuts and simply pick from the shelf, without thinking about all of the behind the scenes operations.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with 7th grade students at Cony Middle School. It was a chance for me to try to shed some light on the “behind the scenes” work that is done here at the Chamber. Many of these kids have grown up with the Kids Day in Capitol Park and are familiar with this aspect of what we do. What they were not aware of, however, is our collaboration with a variety of other organizations in Maine. I tried to simplify that and explain it to them, but wound up having a great interactive discussion about what businesses we need in Augusta. Thank you to Cony for inviting us.
Wednesday night I was part of one such collaboration. That got me thinking about how much we have done behind the scenes in the last few months to help this region prosper. About a month ago we received a call from Maine & Company looking for a location for an expanding business to relocate to in our region. We promptly connected them with several Economic Development folks and Developers. A few weeks ago, the director of the Augusta Downtown Alliance reached out to us to identify a few locations for a business looking to move to our region. Again, we connected them with Property Management companies that had available space to fit the needs of this company. That company toured our region this week. I have spoken with several business owners who contacted us directly and connected them as well. Finally, about a month ago, Brad Jackson and the team at the Kennebec Valley Regional Development Authority (KRDA) approached us because they had identified a high tech business that is interested in opening a manufacturing firm in Winthrop. Working with the KRDA team, we assembled a group of leaders from the Waterville and Augusta regions, specifically those with manufacturing firms. The group hosted a welcome dinner for the company principals at Maple Hill Farm Inn and Conference Center Wednesday night. The dinner and service was fantastic and leaders that joined us were welcoming and gracious. Our compliments to Scott Cowger and the staff at Maple Hill Farm! This final example is noteworthy as is involved both the Augusta region and the Waterville region coming together to promote the Kennebec Valley as one with a unified goal of growing this region.
This is how the donuts are made here at the chamber. We may field hundreds of contacts and inquiries before we get a company to the finish line, but we respond to each one with enthusiasm and professionalism. We are working to grow our list of contacts in all of our communities and throughout the region, so if you have a building or property for sale, please let me know so I can consider you when the next call comes. I am personally very excited by the energy that surrounds our 23 communities. There are folks actively seeking out information on this region and it has never been easier to respond with pride about the amazing people, businesses and benefits of living and working in the Kennebec Valley. You keep doing what you do, and we will keep making donuts.