The amazing power of community

Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “If there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.”

I saw a lot of power this week at the Belpre (Ohio) Annual Chamber Dinner and Awards Banquet last week at Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna, W.Va. Belpre had a good year and is growing because of supportive, encouraging, positive people like the ones I met and had the privilege to speak to at that banquet.

When I got involved with Shale Crescent USA a little over two years ago, one of the first things I saw was the true spirit of community towns in this area have. This area is truly unique. People here have a pride in their communities that you don’t see in most places. You can hear it in their voices. When there are challenges like the floods of this year people just show up to help. These are welcoming communities. It was obvious to me that the Ohio River is not a barrier to this spirit. People from communities on both sides of the river were part of the more than 250 people in attendance. I saw this same spirit at the Marietta chamber dinner earlier this year and at events in the Wheeling area.

One of the strengths of Shale Crescent USA is the community support we have had. When I first started visiting with folks after becoming part of Shale Crescent USA one of the comments I heard routinely was, “Are you guys for real or should we look for someone else to put our hope in? We don’t want to be disappointed again.”

Maybe this is why the entire Shale Crescent USA Team works so hard to succeed. I am always amazed at how much time our executive committee and board of directors spend working for Shale Crescent USA. These are all successful business people with organizations they have responsibility for. I don’t know how they do it. Maybe that is why I get emails at 4 am.

I was encouraged to see a lot of young people at the chamber dinner last week. This is our future. They are in the right place. Who we spend time with is who we become. If you want to be successful then hang out with successful people. When I was in high school I carried golf bags for successful business people at a country club. My parents gave us great values but money was always tight. I noticed financially successful people looked at money differently. They were in a much better position to help the needy.

We have a lot of advantages in the Shale Crescent USA. We have abundant, economical energy. We have abundant water resources.

We have an experienced work force with training capabilities to expand as needed. We are close to markets being just a day’s drive away from 50 percent of the U.S. population and 70 percent of polyethylene demand. A recent IHSMarkit study commissioned by Shale Crescent USA says that this region is the most profitable place in the world to build a petrochemical plant. We need to have an attitude of hope and belief. This is what I saw at the Belpre chamber last week. These community leaders can encourage this attitude in others. When people have hope and belief they will take action. They are more likely not to give up when there are challenges.

In our regional high school soccer game last week against Oak Hill, we controlled the game and out shot them 21-1. But with 15 minutes to go the score was still 0-0. Our boys were frustrated but refused to give up.

The game winner was scored by one of our freshman reserves, who finished a shot that bounced off a goal post. He was in the right place to score because he was still working hard and making a run to the goal. He had the right attitude because the team leaders have developed this attitude in him. He knew what to do and had the skills to do it but he would never have scored the goal that put us back in the state tournament next weekend without the right attitude.

When community leaders have a positive attitude and belief good things happen. People and organizations want to be part of an exciting, successful and growing community. I don’t believe that we could have the success we are having at Shale Crescent USA without all of the community support and encouragement we receive.

We are heading to Chicago this week to the Global Plastics Summit. We are the lunch sponsor and have a number of tables where people can have lunch with experts that can tell them why they need to expand to Shale Crescent USA. We have meetings with prospects. The community support from you gives us energy and purpose. Thank you!

Success and the achievement of a big dream doesn’t happen in a day. It happens by what we all do day by day.

Thoughts to ponder.

Kozera is marketing director for Shale Crescent USA, an organization that aims to promote economic development of the local region.