Current Economic Developers

Current Economic Developers

St. Clair County Economic Developer, Sheridan Garman-Neeman
Sheridan was raised in St. Clair County and attended Lakeland Elementary School and Osceola  High School. She has a degree in Dietetics and has attended Central Missouri State University,  State Fair Community College and most recently Missouri State University. Although work and  travel took her to Kansas City and later Arizona, family brought her back to her roots, where she  went to work in the family business- Stewart & Kiefer REALTORS, LLC.
When asked about St. Clair County, Sheridan said “St. Clair County will always be home to me. It  is where I learned to fish, to hop a fence and where I learned to work hard. My first job was in  my parents’ small hardware store on the Osceola square, and in high school I washed dishes at  Dempsey’s Coach Stop. St. Clair County raised me and I have a special affection for its businesses. I am excited to be the new economic developer for St. Clair County because I want to give back to the place that has given so much to me.”
Sheridan’s experience in the auto industry, real estate and a broader education in community health and dietetics puts her in a unique position as she addresses the needs of the county. “In so many ways, this is my dream job” she said. “It gives me the opportunity to look at our cities and our county and to envision what we could make happen there, and then to chase down that vision and make it tangible.”
To contact Sheridan: call (417) 309-9662; email; or follow her on  and check out the new St. Clair County Economic Development website

St. Clair County Economic Development Brochure

For Immediate Release
City of Osceola, Missouri
Contact: Sheridan Garman-Neeman
September 19, 2016
City of Osceola Commissions Hotel Feasibility Study
Osceola, Missouri– The City of Osceola has retained the Growth Services Group (GSG), a national workforce intelligence and consulting firm, to conduct a Hotel Feasibility Study for the community. This Market Study provides a demographic and economic overview of the subject area to determine the overall feasibility of a new greenfield hotel development.  The purpose of this Market Study is to estimate the perceived demand and to estimate financial performance of a new hotel in Progress, Anywhere.
GSG will analyze market conditions, economic and demographic factors, and site conditions to determine their impact on a potential project.  GSG will utilize both primary and secondary data sources to analyze the subject area’s demand for additional rooms.  Research will also include local interviews with area representatives from a variety of public and private sector organizations.  The Report will include primary data and input regarding the overall feasibility of the project today and will analyze the potential for future growth in demand in the subject area.
The GSG Market Feasibility Study Report will address the estimated operating performance of a potential project and will provide recommendations as to the size and scope of the potential development. The report provides prospective owners, investors, operators and lenders with a snapshot of the overall feasibility of the potential project based on market conditions at the time of the study.
According to Sheridan Garman-Neeman of St. Clair County Economic Development “It is important for our community to ascertain the needs of our local businesses to ensure we are providing the necessary accommodations to support their efforts. Sheridan added that many potential employers require sleeping accommodations to host out of town employees, vendors and customers as well as the need for additional meeting space for meetings or training etc. Sheridan went on to say, “There is a lot of tourism and entrepreneurial investment potential in our area if we can provide high quality accommodations.  If not, the community and the local merchants will lose hotel stays and subsequent guest spending to other communities.”
In addition, the City has commissioned a GSG Supplement Retail Overview. This Retail Overview provides a demographic and economic overview of the subject area to determine the overall feasibility of a new greenfield mixed use development. Information and findings will be delivered via professionally designed multi-page Retail Marketing Flyer ready for use by the community/developer in their attraction efforts.
GSG will conduct a retail analysis of the subject area including the 15 minute and 20 minute drive times. The analysis will include a Housing Summary, Traffic Count Profile, Retail Market Profile, Retail Market Potential, Retail Marketplace Profile (Leakage/Surplus), Population Summary and Household Income Profile. The analysis will also include Retail Goods and Services Expenditures for various retail sectors.
Once completed, the Feasibility Study and the Retail Overview will be used to evaluate market demand and attract new investments as necessary.

Bates County Economic Developer, Shayla Sparks
Shayla brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission and Bates County, Missouri.  Shayla was raised in rural Missouri in Johnson County, and currently makes her home in Warrensburg.  Shayla is a fourth-generation farmer and she and her family still farm land in Lafayette County, Missouri.  Shayla plans to move to Bates County as soon as her youngest son Gunner, completes High School.  Shayla received her Bachelor of Science Degree from then, Central Missouri State University majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Psychology.  Shayla spent the first 5 years of her professional career in sales and then went on to complete her Master of Science degree in Industrial Management from The University of Central Missouri where she spent 13 years in Territorial Management and Business Development for a Fortune 100 Company located in Olathe, Kansas.   She then went on to teach at the University of Central Missouri for 4 years and then Shayla worked for the Federal Department of Treasury in downtown Kansas City for 5 years before coming to Bates County.  Shayla has a dual-career tract as she serves as a Captain and Commanding Officer in the United States Army Reserve, specializing in Provincial Reconstruction, Civil Information Management, working with Non-Governmental Organization Liaisons (NGOs) and Small-Team Warfare and Sustainment.  Sparks earned her Commission at the United States Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia in 2009. Sparks has served, led and worked at the Team, Company, Battalion and Division levels for the Army.  She credits her greatest accomplishment as raising two young men—her beloved Sons Chance (21) and Gunner (17).  Shayla has served on many local boards and committees in her community and her true passion is rural economic development.  Shayla wrote a manuscript that was published in 2008 on the Damaging Effects of Outsourcing in Rural America.  Shayla is currently finishing her PhD in Public Policy & Administration with an Emphasis on Terrorism, Mediation & Peace—tying both her civilian and military careers together.  Shayla is active in her church.  Shayla is a definite “Outdoorswoman” and is an avid Competition Trap Shooter and won the Army Sustainment Bowl Trap Competition at Fort Lee, Virginia in 2010.  Shayla enjoys the outdoors and golf, fishing, running, deer and turkey hunting and making homemade root beer.  She is committed to growing and developing Bates County.  In her short tenure in Bates County she has already, successfully written grants that were funded;  led and facilitated a campaign for a Community College; as well as assisted many businesses with growth, expansion and written business plans and also serves as Administrator for the Bates County Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board.  Sparks will begin her dissertation this next quarter and is excited to get to have a little “down time” to only concentrate on her family, Bates County and Serving her Nation.

While Shayla is bravely serving our country, Patty Cantrell will be working on some of her projects part-time.

Patty Cantrell researches, writes, and speaks nationally about local food as community economic development. She also offers strategic communications, facilitation and project development through her business Regional Food Solutions LLC. Cantrell spent 12 years developing and leading regional food programs in Michigan, including the 10-county northwest Michigan Taste the Local Difference and Food and Farming Network initiatives.
She recently returned to live and work in her home territory of the Missouri Ozarks. Current writing includes Good Food Economy Digest blogs for the Wallace Center at Winrock International, home of the National Good Food Network. Other recent work includes Food Innovation Districts: An Economic Gardening Tool, which won a 2013 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations, and Food Hubs: Solving Local, a report for the Wallace Center on wholesale regional food marketing. In 2012 Patty brought her food system insights and expertise to the TEDx Manhattan stage. She devoted significant time to food and farm policy outreach in 2007-2009 as a Kellogg Food and Society Fellow.
She holds a masters degree in business administration from Drury University and bachelors’ degrees in economics and political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her background includes a Fulbright Scholarship to study economic systems in Europe and newspaper and magazine work as a business journalist.
You can reach Patty at

Cedar County Economic Developer, Marge Vance
A panel of local government officials from Stockton, El Dorado Springs, and Cedar County joined with Kaysinger Basin RPC officials to interview and then hire a new economic developer for Cedar County. Margaret Vance of Columbia was hired to fill the position and she began her duties April 11, 2016.
Vance primarily has been a financial analyst and accountant, and she comes to Cedar County with degrees from the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota and the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Truman School of Public Affairs, where she received her master’s.
Jobs and business are going to be her focus, Vance said. “The most important thing is to bring jobs to the area. Rural America is losing jobs.” Vance has two main goals as an economic developer as she creates new jobs and develops the county’s economy. One is to expand existing businesses or bring in businesses which serve to support the existing economic base and build on; the other is to “go beyond, to bring in new business to the county.” Vance said she wants to build on what already works in the county and grow from there. She added her background in finance, business and economics will work well with the requirements of economic development.
To contact Marge: call (512) 433-0170; email