Economic Development

The Kaysinger Basin Region is well-positioned to facilitate the growth of its economy and the lifestyle of its residents. The area is situated amid fertile farm ground, which helps supply key industries engaged in diverse enterprises, ranging from agriculture to manufacturing. The region is crisscrossed with a network of highways and railways providing efficient distribution. The labor force in the region’s communities is exemplified by a “can do” work ethic that derives naturally from a place with agrarian roots. Quality of life is prized here, and people enjoy a balanced life resulting from the low cost of living, quality schools, safe neighborhoods, and abundant outdoor recreation.

Why the Kaysinger Region?

Our communities are more than a place to live, work, and play. They are a place to thrive. A place where folks still say hello on the sidewalk, people open doors for each other, and business is done with a handshake. A place where despite having retained old-fashioned values, innovative ideas find fertile ground to take root.

Located in one of the top-ranked states for business, the Kaysinger region is affordable, low risk, and home to a talented workforce. Our central U.S. location makes it an accessible location for businesses. We invite you to bring your business to the area and start experiencing its numerous benefits. We deliver more than expected for companies, entrepreneurs, visitors, and talent, where accessibility, natural beauty, and affordability merge to create a place where businesses and people thrive.

Transportation infrastructure in the Kaysinger region includes an extensive highway system and freight rail service. There are 4,784 miles of highways and primary roads. The region has particularly good north-south highway connections including Interstate 49, Missouri’s newest interstate, which splits Bates and Vernon counties with 18

intersections for local access; Missouri State Highway 13 is a divided limited-access highway from Clinton to Springfield; US Highway 65 is a divided four-lane from Warsaw north but two lanes south of Warsaw. The primary east-west highway is US 54 which runs across the southern tier of counties (Hickory, St. Clair, Cedar, and Vernon) and intersects with I-49 at Nevada. State Highway 7 is the primary east-west road in the northern counties connecting Warsaw and Clinton.

It is important for a region to have a strong workforce to grow its economy. We have the tools in place to assist communities with workforce needs to not only assist current businesses but attract new ones. The local workforce is renowned for its Midwest work ethic, loyalty, and skill. The region also benefits from strong educational and training institutions to ensure a solid pipeline of talent for the future. Kaysinger is home to the nationally ranked Cottey College, Crowder College, Midwest Welding Institute, and the Nevada Regional Technical Center. State Fair Community College also has a large satellite campus located in Clinton. Six of our counties are certified ACT Work Ready Communities as well.

Our Key Industries


One of the largest industries in the Kaysinger region is tourism. We are home to four beautiful lakes—Truman Lake, Lake of the Ozarks, Pomme de Terre Lake, and Stockton Lake—each has its own state park. These areas are vibrant ecosystems that create many recreational and sightseeing opportunities. There is an abundance of wildlife here, it may be the best-kept hunting and fishing secret around. The trailhead for the Katy Trail is located in Clinton and the trailhead for the Rock Island Trail is in Windsor, where the two trails intersect.


We have a long history of agriculture production. Agriculture can be found in some capacity in every county of Kaysinger’s seven-county region. Consistently producing some of the best livestock and produce in Missouri, the Kaysinger region is ready to be your food distribution hub. Vernon County is an Agri-Ready Community, a status designating willingness to protect the agricultural industry and jobs. The program encourages local leaders, farmers, and agri-businesses to strategically assess needs and opportunities to make sustainable, long-term decisions about investing and expanding farms, ranches, and agricultural processing. Every county has at least one active farmer’s market, and there are several local farms that sell fresh beef.


Healthcare is the largest and fastest-growing industry in the region and Kaysinger helps to foster that growth and assists when necessary. Six of our counties have hospitals and they are one of the largest employers in the region. Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare (GVMH) in Clinton, was recently named one of the Top 10 Hospitals in Missouri.


Manufacturing is one of our most valued industries, and our region strives to maintain and expand these opportunities. The Kaysinger region meets the changing needs of the state and national economy capitalizing on the region’s unique strengths. Our area offers a strong competitive advantage with a large, diversified, and hardworking employee base along with transportation opportunities for virtually any product. Our region is home to top-tier manufacturing companies such as 3M, Peerless Products Inc, Platinum Aerostructures, W. F. Norman, White River Marine, Schreiber Foods, Transcontinental, Champion Brands, AvFab Aviation Fabricators, Midwest Metalcraft and Equipment, DairiConcepts, Burr King Manufacturing, and many more.

Benton County Housing Study

In 2020, Benton County leaders began a process to determine why there is no balance in the housing market and how this affects its residents. Through community engagement, interviews, community tours, and market analysis, the process unveiled the market gaps and desires of residents and stakeholders.

Current Economic Developers

Teresa Heckenlively St. Clair County Economic Development Director

Teresa Heckenlively is the St. Clair County Economic Development Director.
She moved to St. Clair County in 2011 with her husband and two youngest sons after visiting on vacation in 2009. The great school systems, beautiful country, and relaxed atmosphere had them sold on the area. They started a small business and have been able to provide for their family and a service to their community. She looks forward to helping others do the same.

Ben Vickers Vernon County Economic Development Director

Ben Vickers grew up on a family farm in Vernon County and attended high school in El Dorado Springs. He’s a recent graduate from Missouri State University in Springfield, with a Bachelors’s degree in Political Science, a minor in music, and a certificate in Small Town Planning and Development. “Nevada has an incredible amount of potential for development, and because this area is my home I want to make it happen. I want to make a positive difference for my community.”

Jo Ann Lane Benton County Economic Development Director

“Benton County is my home and I want to see continuous growth.” Jo Ann moved to Benton County over 30 years ago with her husband and four children. While all the children have graduated and moved to different areas, Benton County is still her home. “Benton County has seen many changes in the last 30 years and will continue to see further progress. I am excited to be able to work in the county and support the local business community. Each town in Benton County is unique and has a great deal to offer.”