Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Wilson Bowling named new Economic Development Director for City of Kimball


The new Economic Development Director for the city of Kimball, Wilson Bowling, started work here in city offices April 29.

Bowling, a longtime resident of Alabama with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Auburn University, was originally informed about the job listing in Kimball through the Nebraska Economic Development Association’s website.

“The city here posted the job quite a few places in order to attract outside talent. I found it on there, applied, and for some reason they hired me,” Bowling said with a chuckle. “I was more than willing to move far off, especially after I came out here to do the interview. I was shown around to all the buildings and the industry already here. I knew this was a great place to be. There’s a lot of potential here.”

Before coming to Kimball, Bowling worked for the Economic and Community Development Institute at Auburn University, where he had been working on a broadband initiative in order to inform residents of rural Alabama to the importance of internet usage in this day and age and to teach what broadband exactly was to the general public who were uninformed.

“I made a bunch of presentations on different aspects whether that be the introduction to e-workforce, e-commerce, e-learning, and just all the different aspects to using broadband and how it’s changing the world and how if you don’t use it you’re getting left behind,” Bowling said.

Due to his background in researching and educating the public on the importance of internet usage, Bowling’s immediate focus in his first 90 days on the job is fixed mostly on updating the city’s Economic Development website.

“We have to update the website. There’s very little information on there. That’s the number one thing in economic development.That’s round one. Companies and site selectors look at the website, and right now, we’re not going to get to a round two. That’s my number one thing,” Bowling said.

However, in a long term sense, Bowling is looking forward to diving in to the rail spur project that has been in development here for many years and getting it off the ground.

“The rail spur is definitely the big one. It’s the thing that they’ve kind of been working on for years, been slowly gaining momentum, and I’m coming in and am really excited about getting that started,” Bowling said.

Bowling also plans to take on smaller projects along the way.

“I want to start looking into more workforce development. That’s huge for both the companies coming here and the population here. I’m going to look at some avenues to increase workforce development in the whole panhandle area, especially Kimball county,” Bowling said.

Though Bowling has only been in town for about a week, he already sees many positives to the city as a whole.

“I know that the population has gone done over the past number of years, but as I was researching the town, the standard of living is actually raised. With a lot of the businesses coming in like Castronics and Clean Harbors, they give out good steady pay checks, so standard of living is actually pretty decent here. I’ve had a very positive view [of Kimball]. It’s a small town. Luckily, I know small towns. Alabama is filled with them.”


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