Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hutchinson stepping down as CloudCorp director - Blade Empire

Ashley Hutchinson is stepping down as the Executive Director of CloudCorp.

She was appointed to the position in January, 2013, so for six years she has been at the forefront of Concordia's economic development efforts.
In this modern era where small town rural America is in a fight for survival, Hutchinson had perhaps one of the most difficult jobs for a civic leader. She certainly knows what it's like to hear the opinions of dissatisfied citizens. But to walk away from it all was still a difficult decision for her to make.
"It's hard for me to leave," she admits. "I'm a public servant at heart. But I've just made a total commitment to put family first now."
In February, 2019, Hutchinson will also step down as vice-chairman of the Kansas Republican Party.
In 2019, Hutchinson will begin her new career at the Citizens National Bank, where she will be involved with marketing and loan duties. She is looking forward to new challenges, but also realizes that she is going to miss what she's leaving behind.
"I got to meet so many wonderful people who make this all work, and make it work well. The city staff, the county staff, the community leaders and all the volunteers who give so much of their time to help the community. They're so passionate; they care about this town, and I'm going to miss that."
Hutchinson is proud of her six years at the helm of Concordia's economic development efforts, and points to the success of the 'Get In The Cloud' program as an important step for small-town growth. She also points to the mentoring program established in USD 333 and Career Day as positive achievements. But she's most proud of the way the community responded over the years to adversity.
"It was so impressive the way this town came together after ARVOS closed, and how they embraced the emergence of Concordia Technologies."
Hutchinson is still somewhat amazed at the way the community responded to the Tyson project. Even those who opposed the idea of such a large manufacturing facility - and the employees who would be needed to run it - coming to Concordia.
"Not everyone agreed with the proposal, and they let their voices be heard," she said, "But people were willing to listen to different viewpoints, both pros and cons. It was challenging concept for everyone involved, and we put together an effort that would make any town proud."
Hutchinson, perhaps more than most, is aware of the challenges facing rural America.
"Nationwide, there's just a growing urban-rural divide. It's a big challenge, and that means small rural communities like Concordia are going to have to work extra hard not only to grow, but to also maintain what we have."
Most everyone who lives here understands the main problem confronting Concordia: jobs. The town needs high-paying jobs that will attract new families to move here.
Hutchinson is optimistic for what the future holds.
"There's new and very interesting ideas coming forward in agriculture. And I hope everyone realizes one of the benefits of the entire Tyson project. We opened a lot of eyes around the state. The way this community responded made politicians and government entities - and large corporations and smaller companies looking to expand - much more aware of Concordia, Kansas. There's a lot of influential people who now know this is a town that is fighting hard to survive, and its people are ready to stand at the forefront of new development."
Best of luck, Ashely Hutchinson. Thank you for your years of passionate dedication to the community.


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