By Linda Kor
The Holbrook Business Development Group (HBDG) met last Thursday to discuss upcoming endeavors and improvements to websites that provide information on the City of Holbrook.
Those present talked about the potential timeline in relation to anticipated new industry in the region. Matthew Barger, chairman of the group, explained that although HBDG has plans to host a business forum and career fair, timing is important. He noted that in order for existing business owners to have a clear picture of what their offerings need to be for industries such as potash mining and the lumber products company, they need time to prepare, as well as a true picture of what will be coming to the area.
Peggy Belknap explained that she felt it was too soon to plan such endeavors without knowing the actual timeline involved. “With Pioneer (Forest Products), the project just keeps getting pushed further and further ahead as they look for financing. It’s not really certain when that will begin.”
In addition, the two potash mining companies, Prospect Global and Passport Potash, are waiting for permitting to be complete in order to begin construction, which could still take many months.
From an education perspective, both Belknap, who is Dean of Career and Technical Education at Northland Pioneer College, and Judy Bratcher, Workforce Investment Act executive director for the Navajo and Apache Counties Workforce Partnership, believe that career planning can begin at any time, and that certain certificates such as CPR (Cardiopulmonary, Resuscitation) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training can be obtained now and would be useful in any of those industries.
The consensus of the group was to wait until more information is available before moving forward with either project.
A more immediate need was then addressed regarding website development.
“Initially, we planned to develop our own website for HBDG, but I now think it may be best to improve the existing websites that promote the city and provide informative links,” Barger said. Those websites include the City of Holbrook, Chamber of Commerce and AZJournal.com, the website for The Tribune-News and The Silver Creek Herald.
The chamber’s website is being redesigned to include up-to-date membership information and business contacts. The city’s website provides basic information, but much of it is outdated and incomplete. AZJournal.com is updated regularly, but is also in the process of being redesigned.
HBDG, which also includes Chamber Director Kathleen Smith, decided that in order to maximize the value of each website, all three sites would benefit from a more uniform appearance, and instead of each site having a separate database of information, they provide links that interact with each of the sites.
Barger, who is the publisher of AZJournal.com, intends to add pages to that site that will include stories and photos of events, culture and industry, with past articles of events accessible through a built-in archive.
The group intends to meet again next month to discuss the progress of the sites, and other potential ways to promote industry and present Holbrook as a viable location for growth.
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By Linda Kor