MAEDC Board Member Spotlight: Horton Hobbs IV
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Meet Horton Hobbs IV, 1st Vice President/Treasurer and Incoming Board President
What have been some of the greatest advantages of being part of MAEDC?
The quality and caliber of MAEDC's presentations have been incredibly beneficial to me, but the most valuable aspect for me of being part of MAEDC is the peer-to-peer networking with fellow board members. MAEDC speakers have been out in front of economic development issues before we even know what we didn't know. Thinking that far ahead, really made me more engaged and interested in these big-picture economic development issues. MAEDC also provides a way to share best practices and challenge each other. It's just the greatest group of professionals and people, who are always willing to help.
This summer, you hosted the MAEDC Best Practices Conference in Springfield, OH. How was it?
The Best Practices Conference takes place every summer, and this year we hosted 142 people, which was the biggest Best Practices Conference in MAEDC's history. We were able to network, provide great programming, and have people be able to experience firsthand the growth and revitalization here in Springfield. I'm so proud to have been part of such a stellar program.
What are your goals when you become president of MAEDC?
I'm looking forward to continuing the strong focus on webinars and sharing best practices with our members that can be applied across communities. I would like to continue to have the Best Practices Conference prioritized, with an emphasis on the importance of "land labs" in both rural and urban communities. MAEDC is the most incredible economic development group I've been a part of, and I'm looking forward to taking on the leadership role of president next year and continuing MAEDC's history of excellence.
I'm also hoping to encourage more people to enter the profession, to make a difference in their communities or areas they represent. I truly believe I don't work a day in my life - this job is hard, and it's often like herding cats - but if you do it with passion and conviction, you really get joy out of this profession.
Tell us about your organization, the Greater Springfield Partnership, and your role.
I'm the Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Springfield Partnership, which is a hybrid organization driven by members, investors, networking, advocacy, and our convention and visitors bureau. We pull everyone in the community around the table, and we also hold them accountable.
What's your favorite thing to do in Greater Springfield?
It's my hometown, and I never intend to leave. I enjoy spending an evening in our fantastic downtown, going to a brewery or restaurant with friends or family, and just being able to hang out and see people with their heads up instead of their heads down looking at their phones. I also love just relaxing on my deck in my backyard. But perhaps my favorite thing to do is karaoke! We hosted a karaoke night in my basement to raise money for our local food bank, and that was a great time, while also doing good for the community.
What's one thing everyone should know about Greater Springfield and/or the Mid-America area in general?
Mid-America has unbelievable places, from remote as the Badlands in South Dakota, to urban as Chicago, and everything in between -- there's enough to fill your summer or your calendar for every weekend of your year. I encourage everyone to get out of their communities and explore, because when you do that you find all those hidden gems and a lot of best practices to apply in your own area, and it's wonderful to see those things come to life in your own community. There's no better land lab than the Mid-America states.