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Eastern Region: Movers, Doers & Shakers

By: Shelley Paasch, Regional Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Eastern Kansas


Shelley Paasch

I guess they never give you more than you can handle, right? Here’s the boss again (Erik Pedersen, VP of Entrepreneurship) asking “… can you work with Amara (Kniep, Product Manager, E-Community Programs) and convert this year-end summary into something we can tweet out and post?”  Yea, yea, sure, sure…I’m on it. Right after the holidays, vacations and the 2019 YEC kick-off time. I’ve got this, boss.

We, as coaches, representatives of NetWork Kansas, often give a ‘wrap up’ of the previous year to show our regions how well they are progressing…so here is my synopsis of what happened in 2018 (to the best of my knowledge & pride) in the Eastern Region (my movers, doers & shakers) of Kansas.

They all worked (and are working) hard in various ways throughout the year and I (we) couldn't be more proud at NetWork Kansas. 

We welcomed new communities, in Neosho County; Grow Neosho County, respectfully. They hit the ground running, completing 2 loans in 2018! They are laying the groundwork for YEC in 2020, committed to GRB (collaborating with Allen County) and are sending a group to DBC, taking advantage of the CRP!  What a great choice in this community partnering with us. We thank them for doing!

We welcomed new Economic Development Directors, in Julie Turnipseed, Anderson County and Jessica Hightower, Linn County as new Economic Development Director's in our region and couldn't be more THRILLED with the direction they are taking...and that's UP!!! These ladies have direction, dedication, and enthusiasm they bring to their respective county's. We thank them for shaking it up!

Levels + Zero Barriers

Whether they understood it at the beginning or not...they've got it NOW! They’ve embraced our changes as we see the change in economic vitality and ecosystems. Un-leveling the playing field for all of our communities and their choice as to how you want to work in this world and with us. We now have 60 E-Communities. LAST year we had 61...we saw the synergy emerge in Montgomery County to combine Coffeyville and N. Montgomery County. We witnessed the collaboration of 2 communities recognizing they need more critical mass behind them in joining forces with Humboldt welcoming Iola to create Allen County and Erie identifying the same and embracing Chanute, creating Grow Neosho County. We thank them for moving! (And being the catalysts for change).


Noticeably popular in the Eastern Region, our Board Certified Programs (BCP's) continued to assist to drive the behavior and prove value in your communities.  Check this out:

YEC - Altamont, Chase, Cherokee. Montgomery, Douglas, Lawrence, Leavenworth

DBC - Atchison, Coffeyville, Girard, Leavenworth, Montgomery

GRB - Leavenworth

IH - Cherokee (twice!), Montgomery (twice!)

MSBC - Cherokee, Montgomery

We thank them for doing!

Innovative ideas + pilots

So far, Altamont & Cherokee County, has jumped into the ‘pilot pool’ with their innovative ideas, as has Ciara Thyfault (in our central region).  Whether a façade program or a youth maker camp workshop…we know it takes time to put together the steps or the idea to flush out, and they did it. Whether something revolutionary, meaningful, innovative...dare I say entrepreneurial? Where we can help support them with seed money, kick off, etc. They got their half-baked ideas to me and figured it out!  We thank them for shaking it up!

With 15 EC's in the Eastern Region and 32 in the eastern part of the state, making loans, attending workshops, boot camps...we have a total of 545 loans to 518 businesses totaling $16,846,254 in 11 years! $4,595,668 happened in 2018!

For our region (and state, to be honest) to actively seek ways to partner and collaborate, interconnectivity can be endless. Interacting is definitely valuable by breaking down the silos and focusing on the synergy versus the competition. Big picture!  

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this and THANK YOU FOR YOU (and moving, doing and shaking) and your passion for what you do.