Carving out a vision for the future of Mitchell was the focus of Monday's Community Vision launching party at Mitchell Technical Institute.
City officials, prominent business leaders, educators and community members filled the MTI Amphitheater, as Brian Klock opened the event, speaking to the audience about the importance of working together on the future of Mitchell.
"That's the only way we're going to make Mitchell better," Klock said. "I'm here to pound my fist and ask you all to help make the future of this city better."
The Minneapolis-based consulting firm Future IQ was selected as the group to lead the community vision efforts, after the Mitchell City Council gave its approval for the firm on January 22.
Klock welcomed the CEO of Future IQ David Beurle via conference call. Beurle laid out some of the goals he hopes to achieve with the community vision plan.
Beurle said his goal is to keep up with some emerging trends in technology that will impact the future of Mitchell. Chief among the trends is automation within the agriculture and automobile industries.
"The trends in the future that will impact your community are the ones we do a lot of research on," Beurle said. "Part of what we want to do is help Mitchell understand how the world is rapidly changing and explore ways the community can plan accordingly for those changes."
Providing an example of a trend Mitchell will be facing, Beurle pointed to driverless vehicles. Beurle said Artificial Intelligence is already being implemented with the creation of driverless vehicles, which will impact Mitchell given Interstate 90 runs through the city.
"In Mitchell, you're on a major transit corridor, so what happens when more and more truck fleets start to go autonomous," Beurle asked the audience. "How does Mitchell stay a competitive economy in that sort of new world?"
Beurle highlighted the process will be transparent and inclusive, using surveys to help guide what's being done along the way.
Being from a rural Australian community known for agriculture, Beurle said he can relate to the economic landscape of Mitchell, which he said will be an asset in helping establish goals for the future.
"I understand agricultural communities like yours, and I understand communities in landscapes like yours, and I'm certainly looking forward to building a better future for Mitchell," Beurle said.
Following Beurle's speech, Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson addressed the audience and urged a team effort moving forward with the community vision planning process.
Everson instructed how to sign up for the Future IQ community vision planning program, which can be found on the city's webpage under the Popular Links section at www.cityofmitchell.org. The Future IQ project site will provide surveys and progress reports, along with upcoming scheduled events, signaling the beginning of planning for the future of Mitchell.
"You guys are the key to making this successful, and the more people we can get involved, the better our community will be," Everson said. "I think this is great for the city of Mitchell."