In November, the Joint Powers Board voted unanimously to adopt a new public facing name for what has been known as the EDC, while the legal name remains the same.
The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) was founded in 2003 as a joint powers authority between the City of Willmar and Kandiyohi County through special legislation. “The past name served the purpose of introducing who and what this new organization was,” said Kelsey Olson, Marketing and Communications Specialist, “but 20 years later, we’ve made huge strides in progress and innovation. The organization has moved into a new level of competitive marketing to attract people and businesses to Kandiyohi County. It has also been demonstrated that the work being done is being awarded through attaining a variety of project grants. We want people to be talking about us; frankly, a nine-word title wasn’t conducive to the simplicity people and businesses are looking for.”
Staff had long experienced ‘name fatigue,’ the continuous explaining of the locality relationship of Willmar and Kandiyohi County, people often questioning if the EDC served both Kandiyohi County and the City of Willmar, thinking the latter was outside the county. “After long introductions, prospective partners often needed reiteration of what an introduction call was about, concerned more about trying to understand the who and what than the why,” Olson explained. “It was clear simplifying our name was a solution to that.”
Through strategic planning sessions, the formerly known EDC acknowledged that community outreach supported our mission of being a catalyst for the economic growth of greater Kandiyohi County. Further community engagement came naturally with projects like child care and broadband development in 2023. “The name of the organization came up in these conversations, and we consistently heard that first, Kandiyohi County as the geographical locality of our work was important and felt inclusive. Secondly, economic development needed to be included. Kandiyohi County Economic Development (KCED) came as a natural result of these discussions and could be reflected in the work being accomplished and the audiences being served.” said Olson.
In addition to a new public-facing name, a new logo will soon be released, and a new website will come live mid-winter, at that time a full rebrand will be launched and the new name will be launched. John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” KCED is looking forward to seeing what the businesses and citizens of the county lead us to do in its work this year and into the future.
This article was first published in the Winter 2024 EDC Newsletter Published in January 2024, Issue 15.