Business and community leaders gathered to honor their own at the Sedalia Country Club on Thursday night during the eighth annual economic development “Works for You” banquet.
The yearly event, hosted by Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County, is an opportunity to “recognize those who have donated years of time and passion to assisting in the growth opportunities for the Pettis County economic business climate, its progress, and its success,” according to EDSPC Board President Rusty Kahrs.
“We are presenting this year’s award to individuals who have consistently worked to assist us to build our community,” Kahrs said. “They have provided the time, the commitment, the tools and the wherewithal we need to market our area.”
During the ceremony the group awarded two “Works for You” awards to Tony Grandison, a former senior project manager with the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and past board president John Swearingen.
Kahrs praised Grandison as “a great friend, a mentor, an advocate” who provided valuable assistance to economic development activities until his retirement last year.
“He helped us with over 40 projects in the last eight years and traveled in to help us no matter what was asked,” Kahrs said.
Grandison thanked his wife and former co-workers in accepting the award before praising the community’s willingness to work as a team to see projects through to completion.
“What you all have that other communities don’t and that they can’t duplicate is, when you turn the page, everybody turns the page at the same time,” Grandison said.
Swearingen, who served as board president from 2007 to 2012, was hailed by his successor for dedicating “not hours, not months, but many, many years donating his time to economic development in Sedalia and Pettis County.”
“The key item about John Swearingen is that whatever and whenever we asked him for assistance and no matter what it may be, he is there,” Kahrs said, noting Swearingen’s humble nature and initial reluctance to accept the award.
Swearingen said he has “been honored to do this” and credited his fellow board members and EDSPC Executive Director Linda Christle for their efforts.
“Everyone in Sedalia and Pettis County is a stakeholder in economic development,” Swearingen said.