VACCDC banquet highlights Vermillion community’s progress

VACCDC banquet highlights Vermillion community's progress Jerry Welsh, president of Welsh Marketing, urged Vermillion community leaders to think of big ideas as they plan the community's future. He was the keynote speaker at Friday's VACCDC annual banquet. by David Lias Vermillion's business leaders were told Friday to never sell themselves short as they plan the community's future.

"I'm very impressed with the determination to make Vermillion all that it can be � a small community with a great university," said Jerry Welsh, the keynote speaker at the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company's annual banquet, held in the Lacotah Room of the Coyote Student Center at USD.

"What a great opportunity you have. Think about it. Vermillion is all about potential," he said.

Welsh, president of Welsh Marketing Associates, Inc., New York, NY, formed his company early in 1988 to provide national and global corporations the means with which to address the marketing and communication issues of particular interest to senior management.

He shared some advice he's learned from his extensive marketing background.

Welsh urged the banquet crowd to not spread themselves too thin as they chart Vermillion's future.

"The problem is we have too many small ideas," he said. "We need an idea as big as Vermillion is in its belief system. We have to live up to what we are."

He offered a challenge to the community.

"I want you to all think about if you could have one big success in Vermillion � something that would just stagger the imagination � what would it be?" Welsh asked.

For example, he said, one of the nation's leading corporations may be attracted to locate its headquarters in the community.

"You may say that's impossible. Oh no, it isn't. Not after Sept. 11. When people found out just how horrible terrorism can be, people are looking for what Vermillion has � a sense of community," Welsh said. "If I fall down, you pick me up.

"Aren't you about ready for Vermillion, corporate America? Haven't you just about had enough? Aren't you about ready for a place where everybody knows your name?" he said. "We need to think big. If you have one or two big ideas, and one huge success � that's all you need. Big ideas are what I believe in."

Gene Lunn, the new president of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company, recalls that 10 years ago, he gave a presentation to Chamber of Commerce members about community projects that mainly were in the dream stage.

"We had attached to the walls pictures of project after project, sketches of dreams that we had that the city was striving to complete," Lunn said. "Among those projects was a new hospital, an 18-hole golf course, renovation of Old Main and the Newcastle-Vermillion bridge," he said.

All of those projects have been completed, Lunn said, and along the way, there have been signs of progress that were never expected.

"What we did not envision was a new industrial park, and two great companies like Polaris and Phase 2," he said. "What a decade for the Vermillion community."

Lunn said Vermillion is in position to take advantage of every opportunity presented to it in the next decade.

"What kind of businesses do we want? How many jobs can the area support? What kind of retail outlets does the community want, and how do we go about getting them?" he asked.

Vermillion recently has commissioned and received a housing study, a labor study and an industrial growth study. Staff from the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company are currently working on a proposal for a retail marketing study.

"Our Growing Vermillion housing committee is using the information provided by the housing study and we're working on a plan to best achieve the housing needs for the community in for the next 10 years," Lunn said.

He added that other committees are exploring further development of Vermillion's industrial parks, camping and cultural events, a revolving loan program and job creation and marketing.

"The chamber and development company's mission is simple � grow Vermillion's economic and cultural base. As you can see, we have a lot of people working on it. As you know, in a community our size, we can always use more help," Lunn said.

The recent merger of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and the Vermillion Area Development Company into one organization, he added, will help the community meet its long range goals.

"That goal is to facilitate the development of our existing businesses, and create the infrastructure and atmosphere to attract new businesses to our trade area," he said. "We do believe that growth in our trade area means growth in Vermillion."

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