In Missouri, we like to say that economic development is a team sport. It takes a dedicated team of individuals throughout the state working together to attract projects like Chewy Inc.’s new distribution center to the state. And it just so happens that Belton, Missouri’s own Carolyn Yatsook, the person who led the charge in attracting Chewy, was recently named Economic Developer of the Year by the Missouri Economic Development Council.
We sat down with Carolyn to get her take on the award and some insights on what it’s like to work in economic development in Missouri.
Congratulations on being named Economic Developer of the Year! How does it feel to win such an award?
For myself, it is amazing to be included with those esteemed professionals who have won this award in past years, but it is really the city of Belton’s team of professionals I am most proud of. Economic development is a group effort and the professional team here is so strong. I am thrilled with how far we have come in recent years. To have everyone’s hard work and determination payoff is very satisfying.
What first attracted you to working in the field of economic development, and how long have you been working here in Missouri?
I have worked for the City of Belton since 2007, starting in water services and then moving on to the finance department. The city took economic development inhouse in 2014 and the opportunity to make a difference for the community on a larger scale really spoke to me. I applied for the position then and have been the director since 2017.
What is your favorite thing about working in economic development?
The best thing about economic development is making a lasting difference in my community with the diversification of our economy and the addition of new family supporting jobs. It also is very satisfying that there are so many facets to economic development and no day looks the same.
Lastly, why should a company planning a U.S. expansion look at Belton, Missouri?
Belton has the most sought-after attributes for employers – an available workforce with an exceptional work ethic, easy access to the greater metro and the region, a business-friendly environment, terrific lifestyle assets and an effective, professional team of city professionals ready to make things happen.