New Innovation Center Established in Kirksville

Nearly two years in the making, the Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center will soon be a reality. It was recently announced in the Kirksville City Council Chambers that this new center has been established and will be based in Kirksville. The new innovation center is a cooperative project of seven local organizations, including the City of Kirksville, the Adair County Commission, A.T. Still University, Truman State University, Northeast Regional Medical Center, Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc., and the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce. The innovation center is the result of an idea developed by local state Rep. Bob Behnen (R-2), who has encouraged the local partners and who has helped secure a state appropriation of $175,000 to get the center started.

The local partners and Behnen were joined in their announcement by Greg Steinhoff, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). The innovation center program is under the oversight of the Department, and the local partners had to submit a formal proposal that was reviewed and approved by the Missouri Technology Corporation and DED. 

The mission of the innovation center will include – but will not be limited to – serving as a creative economic development agency focused on the needs of rural communities and rural business enterprises across the state of Missouri with particular emphasis on the northern half of the state. In addition to addressing the statutory role of innovation centers to focus on businesses in the areas of life sciences, advanced manufacturing technology, and information technology, the center will include in its activities such other economic interests that reflect the needs and opportunities of rural Missouri, including but not limited to healthy aging, clinical drug trials, value-added agriculture, and other information intensive product development opportunities that may emerge from the partners or potential clients. The center will seek to foster the growth and development of technology-based businesses for a 21st Century economy in rural Missouri.

The Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center is incorporated as a nonprofit organization and will be governed by an 11-member board of directors representing the seven local partners plus an additional four members chosen from business, industry, and other agencies at large. The first order of business for the new board of directors will be to conduct a national search for an executive director to operate the new center. The current members of the new board are Michael A. McManis, executive assistant to the president, Truman State University, and chairman of the board; Mari E. Macomber, Kirksville city manager, and vice chairman of the board; Gaylah Sublette, associate vice president for grants and program development, A.T. Still University, and treasurer of the board; Phil Tate, director of job creation, Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc. (KREDI); Hank Walkley, chief executive officer, Northeast Regional Medical Center; Gary Jones, Adair County presiding commissioner; and Alisa Kigar, executive director, Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce.

For additional information, contact McManis at 785.4695.

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