Portage Regional Economic Development's incoming executive director's excited about moving to our city. Vern May's coming to Portage la Prairie from Minnedosa and shares one exception to his anticipation.
"I think the only thing I'm not enthusiastic about is the move in the middle of February," May laughingly explains. "I've got a wife and two youngsters under six-years-old, so I have a pretty good idea of how that whole operation is going to play out. I'll be doing lots of hefting and hauling on my own." He adds, "We're very excited about the move to Portage la Prairie."
May says his view on economic development includes the realization that ten different communities will give you ten different ideas of what it's all about. He explains he'll come into our community and check into its values to be able to articulate what opportunity is here. May adds one of his approaches is to come and discuss the perception outsiders have of our city. He notes we can't rely on old information of what we think people might already know about us and what we're all about.
May says, "Three years ago I was in Souris. When I came into the community, I was originally from there, and after being away for twenty years the first thing I did was do a Google search of Souris. All the search results were from the flood of 2011. People hadn't reconciled the fact that we recovered from the flood, and that the iconic swinging bridge that was destroyed was rebuilt and emboldened to let us know that if it ever comes down again, it will be a national news story and not just a local one. That bridge is bionic now. It's making sure that we're always talking to people and promoting; making them aware of what it is we have to offer -- not just for business, but for families as well."