New BKCEDC boss wants city, county to grow, but responsibly
Amy Story said she is an optimist by nature. She also said she loves her community and wants to help it grow, but grow responsibly.
Earlier this month, Story was named the president and chief executive officer of the Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Commission, an organization “that spearheads the development and diversification of the economy in Boerne and Kendall County,” its website states.
“We want to be deliberate and proactive in our attraction efforts,” Story told The Boerne Star. “We want strong companies with good-paying jobs to come here that won’t strain our natural resources.
“It’s our job to help bring these businesses here. We’re looking at new ways to attract those businesses and target the types of businesses we want here.”
Story took over the BKCEDC leadership responsibilities from Misty Mayo, who left this summer to become president and CEO of the Development Corporation of Abilene.
Story was hired by Mayo in 2016 to help with the marketing and communication efforts and some of the projects the organization was targeting. She now is part of a three-woman team that includes Alison Church and Natalie Mroz.
Now, as president and CEO, Story said she will lead the BKCEDC in its mission to promote business opportunities that will strengthen and grow a vibrant and diverse economic future for the city and county.
“It takes a lot of work to go out and recruit businesses,” Story said. “They just don’t fall into your lap. This organization is about selling Boerne and the surrounding area and using the tools we have to bring the right kind of businesses in here. During this time of transition, we have a great opportunity to sit down and visit with our partners and get their thoughts so we can continue to work together.”
Those partners are the city, Kendall County, the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce and the private companies that support the BKCEDC.
“We may tweak some things,” Story said of the organization’s approach. “But I don’t think our targets will be different. We may narrow our approach and we are going to emphasize being proactive and deliberate in our targets.”
Story said one of the EDC’s goals is to attract businesses that will help retain the talented workforce Boerne and the surrounding area has. She said currently about 68 percent of those who live in Boerne commute elsewhere to work.
“We want to provide opportunities here and keep our people working here,” she said. “And, we’d like our graduates to be able to find good, high-paying jobs here. We want to create opportunities where people choose to live and work here.
“The overriding theme is guiding the good growth we contribute to.”
A primary function of the BKCEDC is to offer assistance with site location, provide industry and demographic information, assist with the navigation of city and county location processes, facilitate interagency cooperation on projects, help with identification of applicable tax benefits or incentives and provide referrals to key players.
In a nutshell, Story said that’s what good economic development is all about.
“We provide opportunities,” she said. “Those opportunities allow the city and county to do the things they need to do. Everyone benefits – the city, the county, the school district, everyone.”
Currently, the organization is targeting bioscience and healthcare companies, advanced technology and light manufacturing, targeted retail, business services and corporate headquarters.
Story said the word is out and has been out for quite a while that Boerne is an attractive place to live, work and play.
“This is a terrific place,” she said. “We have a great school district, a great quality of life, it’s beautiful. Attracting the right businesses ensures we will stay that way. That’s what we want to do. We want to make this area a destination for companies, but making sure they’re the right companies.”
However, Story said that while recruiting businesses, it’s also important to preserve Boerne and keep it the great city it is.
“There’s room for growth while also being protective of the integrity of our community,” she said. “We want to keep Boerne Boerne. We can move forward yet still keep that small-town feeling.”