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Cooperation needed for regional success

June 1, 2014
By MARK KILMER , The Leader Herald

For this column, I would like to focus on the importance of cooperation and collaboration when it comes to moving our region forward in a positive way.

Although the two words are defined differently, you can't have one without the other, and in most cases, true success can't be achieved without both, and that includes economic success for our region.

But it all starts with cooperation. Solid marriages are based on, and rely on, cooperation. Great partnerships in business forge their success by practicing cooperation, and communities and municipalities need to cooperate with one another to achieve growth and prosperity that will benefit their citizens.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "cooperate" as "to act or work together, with another or others."

I would assume that to mean to work toward a common goal or benefit and hopefully share collectively in the positive outcome.

The art of cooperation can be very difficult since it means having to put aside things like politics, ego, personalities, histories and so many other human emotions that can stand in the way of partnering and collaboration.

And cooperation is something that really needs to happen in our region.

I do believe that the Fulton Montgomery region is on the cusp of real economic growth, or should I say, "could be."

Whether it be a new regional business park, or undertaking the process of extending water services and other upgrades to areas that are underserved, or unserved, eventually we will need to act in a collaborative manner with true teamwork.

To grow our region, individuals and government must make every effort to engage each other with civility and respect in a positive way, showing a sincere willingness to create a future of opportunity for our businesses and our communities.

This is particularly true when discussion and debate takes place in a public forum. If in a public forum, many things said could end up in the media, and the tone of that dialogue will reflect on our region. It is true that businesses looking to locate to a region do much of their research in the local news, and our actions carry a great amount of weight on their decision making process as to whether or not to invest in our communities.

So, I say, please think and act positively and respectfully, in the true spirit of cooperation.

Then, and only then, can collaboration occur so that we can begin the process we need to achieve a bright and prosperous future.

Mark Kilmer is the president of the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.



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