In December, Granite City welcomed new Economic Development Director James Amos and his strategic plans for the city’s growth and development.
Those plans involve a multi-year layout.
Traditionally, the director builds relations while cultivating the economic climate, which is part of business retention and development. The director also is a liaison for incentives to bring in businesses and whatever will benefit the city.
But he also has plans to follow a strategic design, the economic development strategic action plan, which was developed over 10 years and finished before Amos came on board.
“There are five areas of the community where I really want to help work together,” Amos said. “Those areas have groups that meet regularly within the community to help come up with ideas and ways to pursue those ideas.”
The five target areas include business and growth development, housing, neighborhood and community improvement, entrepreneurship and innovation, education and workforce, and city pride. These teams of people all connect in various ways to help facilitate the town to understand how it works and different ways to implement improvements.
“I personally believe that the community is the one to decide what is best for the city,” Amos said. “People know what’s right for the community because they live within it, and I believe that I possess that certain skillset to implement that plan.”
Scratch beneath the surface of the traditional professional and you begin to see the multilayered persona beneath the ambition. Along with the new position, Amos is a pastor at The Resurrection on Delmar in Granite City. Amos began the church when he moved to the area in 2011.
“I love Jesus and I care about learning about the growth within the community,” he said. “It really helps to hear the issues people have on all ends of the spectrum. Being a pastor as well as the director really helps me reach everybody that I can. I am able to learn about different problems, which in turn helps me to understand what is broken and what I can fix.”
Director, pastor … and musician. Amos said he has been in approximately 30 bands and has done some recording, as well.
At the end of the day, Amos goes home to fulfill his most important role, husband and father to four children.
“I have to be a little bit of a chameleon,” he said. “I do a bit of everything in my life.”
With so much invested in the city he calls home, the new position reminds Amos every day how important the success of the city is for the residents.
“Our community was founded on industry; it was a planned town to help bring in jobs,” he said. “A lot of towns have strayed largely away from industry and have seen the traditional college route. While college is a good thing, we are reaching a point that a college degree no longer guarantees you a job.”