In Missouri, we like to say that economic development is a team sport. It takes a dedicated group of individuals throughout the state working together to attract new investment and help existing businesses expand. One person who is integral to that process is Kimberly Martin, Finance Programs Manager at Missouri Development Finance Board. Kimberly’s impressive career in economic development was recently recognized as she was named the 2022 Economic Developer of the Year by the Missouri Economic Development Council.
We sat down with Kimberly to get her take on winning the prestigious award and discussed what it’s like to work in economic development in Missouri.
Congratulations on being named Economic Developer of the Year! How does it feel to win such an award?
Thank you. Initially, I was just shocked. I had just been doing what needed to be done during a difficult time for our organization and I didn’t think anyone outside our walls had really noticed. Once it had sunk in, I was truly humbled. There are so many out there working hard and doing great things in this field that are deserving of recognition. None of the things mentioned when I won were done by me alone, I have many to thank for the successes we had in 2021.
What first attracted you to working in the field of economic development, and how long have you been working here in Missouri?
I started with the State Department of Economic Development nearly 22 years ago, not really knowing what I was getting into. I learned so much and enjoyed that my job allowed me to be a part of something that made real and significant improvements to our State and provide great opportunities for the people here. I held a couple different positions there, that experience gave me the opportunity to join the Missouri Development Finance Board about 8 years later and I’ve been there ever since. The Board does such interesting and impactful things for our state, I’ve really enjoyed the diversity of the projects and activities.
What is your favorite thing about working in economic development?
That the results of our work truly make a difference. Helping to create jobs and improve the quality of life for our neighbors is something you can feel good about.
Lastly, why do you think a company planning a U.S. expansion should look at Missouri?
Because Missouri is the best! I think our location, our combination of metro and rural offerings, and low cost of doing business are great selling points. We also have great opportunities for workforce training and a wide range of growing industries within our borders. Missouri is much more advanced than I think most give us credit for. Plus, we have the best team of professionals here to help them along the way.