The Council for Economic Development in Orem (CEDO) is proving that it has some staying power.
Everything is not always a bed of roses, but CEDO's Executive Director DeLance Squire said he feels things are "going exceptionally well."According to Daryl Berlin, Orem's city manager, the major purpose of CEDO is to create new economic growth opportunities for the city and help retain the businesses that already exist.
"If you measure the number of jobs they have created and the revenue they have generated for the city, they would be considered a success," Berlin said.
CEDO has not been a major job generator every year, but no organization in any community does that, he said. "They are also a success by how well they are known in Orem's business community."
The commission has recently taken responsibility for the federally funded Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), which has been established to help businesses get and stay on their feet.
"We are still in a transition period," Berlin said. "The details are very important and some must still be worked out."
The CEDO staff needs to be trained in the RLF, and periodically the department of Housing and Urban Development will come out to see how things are going, Berlin said.
Squire, CEDO director for the past four and a half years, said a recent HUD audit showed some things that needed to be worked out, but there were only "concerns" and there were no "findings," which would mean something that must be changed.
These are small concerns, Squire said. The major areas of attention are the continued search for funding opportunities and the challenge of creating jobs.
"About 48 percent of Orem's population is under 18 years old," Squire said. "We have a tremendous challenge for the future to provide jobs for these people."
Another area of focus includes filling in the economic "blind spots" in the community.
According to Squire, CEDO has helped with some growth in regional shopping, for example, but only about one third of Orem residents purchase automobiles in the city.
"We have pushed hard to get more automobile dealers," Squire said.
CEDO is also preparing a "small business incubator," which would provide space with very little overhead to start-up companies.
"We won't be hatching chickens," Squire said. "Hopefully, we will be hatching new businesses."
Berlin said CEDO was created in the early 1980s when Orem had to decide what the role of the city should be in economic development.
The City Council created a non-profit organization to fill this role and to act as an advisory commission to the City Council on economic matters.
"It was felt that businesses would feel more comfortable working through a private organization as opposed to a government agency," Berlin said.
CEDO is an all-volunteer organization, except for the executive director.