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Economic director young but savvy

Western Kansas native sees Hillsboro as a good match

News editor

There’s a reason people think Anthony Roy, Hillsboro’s new economic development director, looks young. He is. A 2013 graduate of Palco High School, Roy is working on a bachelor’s degree in public administration through Fort Hays State University.

However, he’s no newcomer to to economic development. A former Ness County director, he has been working in the field since high school.

Roy was one of six Palco students that Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech took on as summer interns. He chose to work in economic and community development.

“When I went into it, I didn’t really think that would necessarily be something I wanted to do,” Roy said. “The ability to work with businesses, I really enjoyed that. I enjoyed working with the community.”

Roy got a taste of city government as a Bogue council member while also pursuing an associate’s degree in political science/pre-law at Colby Community College. In December 2015 he was hired as Ness County economic development director.

One of Roy’s accomplishments was starting a community foundation, and he’s looking forward to working with Hillsboro Community Foundation.

“They’ve done a lot of good things from what I’m hearing,” he said. “Things like that are vitally important.”

Roy also got Ness County high schools to participate in a state youth entrepreneurship challenge. He would like to be engaged in similar efforts in Hillsboro.

“Working with youth, creating an entrepreneurial spirit, is something I want to impart on students at Tabor College and USD 410.”

Roy’s vision for economic development includes familiar themes of supporting local business development and encouraging people to shop at home.

“I definitely take the home-grown approach,” he said. “Most of our growth is going to be within. I also believe in shopping local, so I look forward to working with the chamber.”

At the same time, Roy will look for opportunities to bring new people and businesses to Hillsboro.

“You have to pay attention to businesses that are interested outside the county,” he said. “You can’t turn businesses away. I’m going to help them with whatever they need, especially if their values match the community’s values.”

Hillsboro provides a good climate for growth, Roy said, and is a good fit for him.

“People are very friendly; there are a lot of similarities between the culture here and in western Kansas,” he said. “The community seems to be pretty progressive. They have a lot of those rural small-town values, but they also have some of the conveniences a lot of rural towns don’t have.”

Former economic development director Clint Seibel will stay on through July to help with Roy’s transition.

“When they told me he planned to stick around, that was exciting, because it helped me to be more comfortable,” Roy said. “He’s been a ton of help. I’m sure I’ll be calling him every once in a while after July.”

Roy said he was eager to meet more people.

“Obviously I’m learning about the community, how my style fits Hillsboro, and how we can make that work,” he said.

Last modified June 14, 2017

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