Bernie Andrews, REDI Executive Vice President, was named Professional Economic Developer of the Year for 2017 by the Missouri Economic Development Council. Bernie was presented the award by MEDC President Mark Strombaugh June 14 at MEDC's Annual Conference.
Bernie's nomination letters outlined the exceptional local and regional leadership provided by Bernie to locate two major projects in the Columbia area this year, American Outdoor Brands and Aurora Organic Dairy. These two projects alone offer initial investments with far reaching potential for the mid-Missouri region. Both projects involved Bernie's judicious coordination of elected officials, board members, taxing jurisdictions, regional stakeholders, media, and critics. These projects are not only the largest capital projects in Missouri this year, but the largest projects in Missouri over many years.
Bernie's expertise and his long hours of effort have created a history of success. Bernie was instrumental in establishing one of the first Missouri Certified Sites, the Sutter Site in Columbia. That site is now the location of Aurora Organic Dairy, which is currently building a $106 million milk processing plant that will employ 150 full-time employees with benefits and wages that sustain families.
Also this year, Bernie helped bring American Outdoor Brands to Columbia. This $55 million warehouse and distribution center will create 150 new jobs. Bernie also has recently worked on the expansion of Dana Light Axle, the retention and expansion of the Kraft-Heinz Columbia plant, and the expansions of Nanova, BioPharma and 3M. In the last 18 months alone, Bernie has played a critical role in the creation and/or retention of more than 1,000 fully benefited full-time positions for Columbia and Boone County.
Bernie's 32 years of professional economic development experience have earned him great respect among his colleagues and helped him establish numerous relationships around the state and the nation. Bernie always knows who, how or where to get the answers to a prospect's questions. And whether working on a business attraction, retention or expansion project, he accomplishes these tasks with his ever-present professional manner.
Please join us in congratulating Bernie and thanking him for his dedication and service to our community.