"Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

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"Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by T on Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:52 am

From The Rumford Reporter:

Well, Well, Well, The Lewiston Sun Journal Gets Slammed By the Citizens of Lewiston

I know what we should do. We should hire the Editors at the Sun Journal
to help us revitalize our town. It sounds like they think they know
everything about economic development and would be the perfect
candidates. Of course, they would have to fight over the position with
our volunteer Economic Development Coordinator, Phil Blampied, who is
waiting for that door to open. But, that is okay because competition is
key to finding the best, most competent, most educated, most
experienced candidate. Oh wait, Rumford doesn't hire people who are
educated in their fields.
I guess the Sun Journal editors won't get
hired after all.

therumfordreporter.com/

T

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:24 pm

T wrote:From The Rumford Reporter:

[size=16]Of course, they would have to fight over the position with
our volunteer Economic Development Coordinator, [b]Phil Blampied
, who is
waiting for that door to open.

therumfordreporter.com/

I find that comment odd.

I've tried to make it clear that hiring anyone, me or Jennifer or anyone else, as economic development director would probably not be worth the money.

Here's a little formula:
1. Economic Development is a sales job
2. Sales requires supervision
3. Most small communities don't have effective supervision of econ dev directors
4. Ergo, most economic development directors accomplish very little.

This is especially true in an economic downturn. But it is always annoying to watch the economic development professionals rush to take claim for the spontaneous arrival of new business in their areas.

What's the alternative? What we're doing, to put economic development money directly into targeted economic development projects. The first task is to identify the potentials for the community, the possible new businesses, industries, grants, partnerships which can be put together, and to develop a complete information profile of the community to present, including available property, infrastructure, etc. Then you build your call list from the research you've done. That's what our volunteer committee has accomplished, and I'm hoping to provide a summary at the end of the year which will serve as a specific economic development road map for the town.

The hard part is the calling. Most economic development hires fall back into their comfort zone, schmoozing with non-threatening state bureaucrats, non-profits, existing businesses, etc., a lot of meetings and business card passing and organizing an occasional sidewalk sale. But the real work is in calling people who don't necessary want to hear from you and to make your case. Getting someone to do that requires supervision. Economic development is not buying buttons that read "I love Rumford" and organizing advertising promotions (the Chamber should do that), it's bringing in new jobs, new investment, new business.

We are at the point with our committee, with many members having fallen off, that we probably need to start bidding out some of the projects to people who will be motivated to make the calls because they'll be paid for it. Not a massive blank check, but a specific amount for a specific project, maybe a thousand a project or so. The amount would be determined by a competitive bidding process. Who could bid? The Growth Council, Jennifer, existing members of the committee, advertising agencies, consultants, out of work former town managers, whoever. Each project would be specific and include deadlines and goals. If, midway through the contract, the contractor was clearly failing to meet the goals, the contract would be cancelled. I could go on for another hundred words with a hypothetical contract, but it's getting long enough already.

I regret Jennifer seems to be burning yet one more bridge. I would urge her to reconsider and think about how she might participate constructively on a specific project for us. She declared herself the "image subcommittee" of our committee, but no one ever discussed or approved that and she's never made any presentation to the committee about what she is or is not doing.

PS: It's a very good thing the $90k econ dev budget didn't go into the pocket of someone shuffling paperclips around a desk at the back of town hall. We need that money now for direct, targeted development efforts, including the 10 percent match needed to help draw down a quarter of a million dollar dollars in state CDBG money to help us with urgent housing rehab needs.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by C on Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:39 pm

I think trying the team approach is a wise decision, especially a team of dedicated volunteers. I think the money will go much further than if it way paying one person's salary. Has anyone thought of using some of that money for some sort of advertising or media promotion?
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:57 pm

In response to Mr. Blampied's assessment of Economic Development professionals. First, it sounds like he is pooling them all in the same category as the people that the River Valley Growth Council have hired. There first mistake was pushing Joe Derouche out of the position when he got sick. Had Joe Derouche stayed on board, that organization would have gone in a completely different direction. Secondly, Rosie Bradley, who has an associate's degree in Liberal Arts, was "appointed" to be the Executive Director of a very important role. She had no real experience or education in economic development. Then, Dianne Ray, who also has no economic development experience was appointed. And, look where it has got us.

The Rumford Board of Selectmen were looking to hire a professional who actually knows what they are doing and is educated in the field of economic development until Phil Blampied side swiped the idea so he could ensure he got his foot in the door. Unlike you Phil, the rest of us are too busy working full-time to pay our bills and can't "volunteer" our every moment to these efforts.

Phil, I don't need your permission to have a subcommittee of the EDC. I am a volunteer, remember? You are not my boss and I disagree with the direction that you are going in. We don't need Pizza Huts, craft co-ops, and food kitchens, although we also won't discourage them. We need big business that adds a substantial amount to the tax base to help us offset the losses we will take from the mill and a declining population. Although, I appreciate all of your efforts, they are only a very small percentage of what an educated Economic Development professional could do. Keep up the great work, though. Because in the meantime, you are doing it for free and we can use those monies to benefit our community efforts immensely.

I don't want a Rosie Bradley or a Dianne Ray or a Phil Blampied as our economic developer. I want a true professional who understands the big picture and will actually help us add to our tax base. Did you know that that the mill and associated business makes up 75% of our tax base? Now, just imagine if the mill was to shut down.

Whether I apply for the job in the future (which at this point I am not interested in) or we hire someone else, I don't care as long as they are educated professionals in the field of economic development. And, unfortunately, we may have to look out of state for that individual. Bottom line, you Phil, will be working for that ED professional.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by C on Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:08 pm

Here are some of the knowledge skills an ED professional should have. This probably isn't even a complete list. As a group, it is likely that most (if not all) of these skills could be encompassed. I all think those skills integrated as a group and applied as a team offers better potential for sucess than a single person could achieve. I posess 4 of those skills listed that I could contribute as well as
many that aren't listed, another person may have 4 more, if the group identifies what skills they have and actively recruits members that have skills the group needs, they should be able to do as well as a "professional" full time developer. If two heads are better than one....


Computer
Construction
Creative Writing
Economics
Education Development & Job Training
Engineering
Environmental Management
Financing
Geography
Government
Human Relations
International Relations
Law
Marketing
Planning
Public Speaking
Statistics
Real Estate
Technology Trends
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:38 pm

Any good professional, educated, experienced economic developer should have all those skills and more. Awesome list C. They should also have many groups of people that they work with utlitizing all of the skills that they have to offer. It is not about one person, it is about a good leader tapping into the skills of the volunteers and the community as a whole. And, making positive, worthwhile connections with other professionals, state officials, legislators, and of course business leaders. They need to take action and implement but after conducting research and preparing the town for development. Rumford needs some outside help given the catch 22 we are in with the mill. Someone needs to advocate on behalf of what we are dealing with. I want to see us be prepared for a closure as opposed to dealing with the crisis after it closes, if that happens. That means we need to take a good hard look at our municipal budgets and start reducing them little by little on a yearly basis so the blow of the mill closing won't hurt as bad because like I said earlier the mill and associated business is 75% of our tax base. For example, we can do this by not rehiring when people leave or retire and streamlining our efforts, i.e. combining services with Mexico, cross-training, etc. Bottom line, we really need the community to be involved and guide the decision making process regarding what would be best for us. I could go on and on but we'll talk more about this later. I have to go and tape the Selectman's meeting.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by 911Dispatcher on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:46 pm

Okay I have thought about this for awhile now. I may be way off because I'm 3000 miles away. However I am going to shoot for the stars and say this. I agree with Jennifer on the fact that we need to be looking on a bigger scale as far as providing jobs and a tax base for the River Valley. The Casino, although it failed, was headed in that direction but was a little misguided. For years Rumford lived off from what made the state strong and that was paper. As is with all history things are changing due to technology and advancement. We need to look at what the states strong point is and to grow off from that. Heres my idea....Rumford and surrounding communities are in general an area for families and the elderly. I know all too well about how frustrating it is to have to travel for good health care. Something that is in high demand for both the elderly and families. Why is the town not looking at expanding the Rumford Hospital and trying to compete with CMMC or the Portland Hospital. You could draw numerous jobs from construction, janitorial services, and professional jobs such as Doctors and nurses. While doing this you are also going to be drawing in educated persons such as doctors, medical techs, people who fix and run medical equipment, pharmacies, etc. These families are looking to live in small communities with good schools. What better place than the River Valley? You'll also need to look into bringing in other ammenties for those using the medical benefits. People from surrounding communities will need places to stay and eat. You could expand in so many ways. Why not a cancer treatment facility? Why not an imaging center? Why not some services that most in the area are forced to travel to Lewiston, Portland or even Boston for. You increase your tax base. There are huge fedeal government monies for programs like these. Its not a quick fix but it could be a permanet solution. People are always going to need health care, young and old alike.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:54 pm

Jennifer -

Welcome to this blog. It will make it a more rounded and more interesting discussion.

One of the cheap shot techniques our group has suffered from is people picking out one or two items and ridiculing them. Such people got a lot of mileage out of the Blue Ox proposal. "All they're doing is spending our money on some ridiculous plastic animal..."

The Blue Ox proposal was (it's been put aside for the moment) one of about 50 things we've discussed or done. You've unfortunately used that tactic by saying that all we're doing is trying to get pizza hut, a craft co-op and a food kitchen in town. The food kitchen, by the way, is the Growth Council, not us, and you've overlooked the work on a biodiesel refinery, possible massive redevelopment of Waldo Street, pellet mills, wood to energy technologies, transportation infrastructure, health care economy, work on a possible quarter million dollar housing grant and much more.

Having a college degree in a particular subject does not guarantee competence. You would establish your credentials more convincingly if you actually worked on one of our hard projects. Wood products industries is a challenge, with the mill resisting anything that might be competition for their supply of trees. Perhaps you'd like to cut your teeth on that. We're also discussing hydrogen technology at our next meeting. A logical follow up will be doing the research to understand the practicality of hydrogen as an energy storage medium, and speaking with local power generators (including wind turbine developers) about the possibilities, and maybe introducing people to one another, sourcing out the right equipment, doing some rough numbers, etc. How about that one? Getting something done, I would argue, might be a better resume than the mostly academic one you seem to have now.

And I would ask you to stop attacking me personally. You, of all people, should be figuring out by now how inappropriate a way that is to discuss public policy.

REGARDING EXPANDING HEALTH CARE: We are looking at that. Rumford Hospital is under a requirement to fill their own building before they expand out further into the community. I have been trying to get someone to take on a project which would involve speaking to all the major health care players in the area. I have a strong hunch an assisted living facility would work well here, starting with condo living and providing increasing care as needed to a certain point. Our committee brain stormed the need for a durable medical goods recycling business, but we need some help following it up. This would be rehabbing wheelchairs, walkers, O2 machines, etc. Region 9 might need to be brought in to provide expertise, and public money of some kind might be offered as a carrot to someone willing to be the entrepreneur willing to give it a shot. The Technology Center and the Growth Council are very eager to get Rumford Hospital to put something more into their building, but so far no movement in that direction. The assisted living/general health care topic could be one of the projects bid out, requiring conversations with all the hospitals in the region, identifying all the assisted living developers in the northeast, identifying feasible sites, possible investors, bringing people together to explore possibilities.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Dave on Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:06 pm

Experience and being professional trumps some degree.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:09 pm

When would you like me to do that Phil? During all my free time in the evening after I get home from commuting 1 to 2 hours each way? While I'm at work? On one of my 3 weekends off when I'm not at National Guard? I am not attacking you personally. I am providing my perspective on the matter and you shut me down at the first EDC meeting when I mentioned the fact that we needed to deal with infrastructure issues like upgrading sewer lines, beautifying the community so that it does not look as run down, upgrading the technical infrastructure to accommodate business, dealing with our housing stock, and looking at long term strategies for regionalization. So, I am moving forward with those projects without you. But, now that we are gaining some ground, you are all about getting involved by pushing a CDBG grant for our housing issues, which are considered infrastructure. Which is ironic considering you didn't even want to talk about it initially. Now, you want to steal the thunder and ensure that you are the hero, the man with the cash. You can't have big business come into town if you don't have decent housing and other important infrastructure upgrades to entice them. And, again you shot me down and told me to go deal with that in the Downtown Revitalization Committee which I left because no one took any action. So, just because I'm calling you out for what I felt was important to the Rumford, which is a full-time economic developer, does not mean that I am looking to get the job myself. As a matter of fact, I am looking for part-time work so I can follow my dreams which are to write books.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Admin on Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:46 pm

"It is amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit."

-John Wooden
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:50 pm

That is how I feel. I don't expect any credit for anything. I do what I do out of pure compassion for the community. I have a lot to offer and I like doing it, so I am doing it. I actually do not like attention contrary to popular belief on this site.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:57 pm

The idea at one point was to have the Revitalization Committee be the body working on infrastructure ideas, and there were a number of them to be pursued. I suggested you could pursue infrastructure through that committee. Unfortunately, the Revitalization Committee never got back on its feet, meetings were scheduled and no one showed up, although someone like you could have shown up and helped it get working again. But you of course are too busy for that.

The CDBG grant round was coming up and there was no one in town hall who seemed to be poised to take advantage of it. I started the ball rolling, and when we went to a workshop in Augusta with several tentative ideas for grant applications, the program manager seized on our housing situation and strongly urged us to go for the housing grant. That's how it happened, not because I wanted to be "the hero, the man with the cash".

What a childish way for you to describe the situation.

I suspect your entrance into this forum is going to wind up in a flaming blow-up which will be interesting to read until admin is forced to start deleting the odd stuff that you will no doubt post and provoke. Fasten your seatbelts, folks.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:01 pm

Phil, I got your number and you don't like that I'm calling you out on it. We will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't like the direction you are taking the EDC and I don't like how you side swiped the idea and offered to do it for free when we could have really used a full-time economic developer, not the RB type, to do the job. Whether it was me or someone who was better than me, it would have been better for Rumford to have that person and the EDC Committee and other committees.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:10 pm

Bizarre tactic. Call someone names and if they object, claim it's evidence that you've got their number.

Just realized that you just claimed that you're making progress ("gaining some ground") solving the sewer plant capacity problem, improving the housing stock and solving the area's infrastructure problems. How's the cure for cancer coming?

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:13 pm

Sorry bud. I've been waiting to say these things to you for a long time. I finally got it off my chest and I feel so much better. So, now it's over. Move on and keep doing what you are doing because at least we are not paying you with tax dollars. That is a good thing.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by xmashen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:16 pm

Ok, ok, it's good to get things off chests... but let's play nicely, boys and girls.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:22 pm

I'm not the only one that thinks this way but I am usually the only one to express how I feel and what I know. Sorry, that is just the way I am. And, you gotta admit, this is really fun!
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by xmashen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:25 pm

it's only fun if no one gets hurt.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:28 pm

It's funny you should say that. I didn't start the hurtful actions here in town but I certainly became a victim of them for some reason. I was really hurt for a long time but all of you and all of the Sun Journal commenters, and Doar's Blog commenters have actually helped me to gain a thick skin. So, there is a silver lining in every cloud.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by xmashen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:31 pm

well, despite how I may virulently disagree with someone, I would never want to personally hurt them. I much prefer to challenge them to open discussion. But you are right, a thick skin is a good thing to have!

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:37 pm

Especially in politics and I am going places. Nobody is going to get in my way. I love what I do and I am going to see that Rumford, Maine succeeds. I love this town and I love this community and I love my home!!! Rumford Rocks!!!
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by xmashen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:38 pm

ok, i will NOT, i repeat NOT, make a Sarah Palin joke here.

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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by Jennifer Stowell Norris on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:40 pm

Why not? I like your Sarah Palin jokes? Thay are funny. And, you guys have got to know by now that she is my girl.
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Re: "Rumford doesn't hire people who are educated in their fields"

Post by xmashen on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:42 pm

yeah, and i even have to admit on the GOP night, i was bowled over by her... but then i woke up

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