The Callaway Courier: Latest Economic Developer Begins Duties

CALLAWAY–In an article published in the Thursday, February 13 edition of the Callaway Courier, Callaway’s latest Economic Developer began her duties on Monday morning. Shelly Griffith brings a list of varied business experience but is the first to say she has a great deal to learn in applying those skills.

If the last name sounds familiar, she is married to Clark Griffith, son of Perry and nephew of Bob, both Callaway natives who live in California.Clark and Shelly hail from Orange County at Seal Beach and Los Alamitos, but are in the process of relocating to Callaway to the home they bought from Cecil Woodward in the northeast part of town several years ago.

Shelly said Clark was on his way back to California to bring back more of their household possessions. They’ve been gradually refurbishing and furnishing the new home. They have spent summers here for a number of years at the family home along Kimball Street. She grew up in Lincoln and the couple met when they were attending UNL. Clark and Shelly moved to California in 1991.They have two grown children, Sara of Spokane, Wash., and Levi who is attending college in California where he plans to stay.

“It will be our first time as empty-nesters,” she said with a chuckle.

So what does Shelly Griffith bring to the table in terms of economic development as it relates to Callaway? She said she has been working in healthcare all these years, particularly in hospice.

“I started out just working in a hospice as office staff and then throughout my career I moved into management and then opened a hospice; built from the ground up,” she said.
It was a joint venture with Uncle Bob Griffith and they sold it to a larger corporation.
“I went with the sale,” she said. “I went from a mom-and-pop situation, grass roots marketing, to the large corporate environment.”

It became one branch of many and she learned how to function in that environment. She liked and went on to work with many large corporations, working up to being a chief operating officer (COO) for a house call doctors group.

“I really liked that but the kids got older and the commutes got longer and …,” she said.
Each day was a commute of 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way on choked Orange County highways. They finally decided it was time to make a change. She was hired a few months ago by the Village Board of Trustees.

Griffith still does healthcare consulting, mainly with hospitals and hospices, and she plans to keep doing that. Economic developer is a part-time job in which she will devote her mornings.

So, how does her experience translate?

“I think how it translates is that it feels very familiar to running a corporation where you have many departments and department heads who are running branches, and you have to help them develop their branch to grow in their specific markets, or for their specific clients and clientele,” she said. “Here, instead of being one corporation its a village. Instead of departments it will be the business owners.”

Writing grants will be new to her and she has already taken an on-line course to get the basics when she accepted the job. It is, however, familiar to some of the work she has done in the past.

“I’m very excited about delving into that,” Griffith said.”

She will also oversee LB 840 funds collected from Callaway’s 1% sales tax.
Griffith is familiar with the village having come here with Clark every summer since they met. It’s a little too soon to have an overview of the village on an everyday basis. That will come.

“I’m excited to see what I can bring to the business owners as far as internet presence, maybe with web pages, Facebook marketing, internet marketing,” she said. “Kind of driving business to the town, maybe coordinating possibly like a community calendar of some sort.”

She is also interested in how the village can coordinate with other economic developers perhaps doing some collaborative things with the others.

“I want to see what my predecessors have done. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

For now, she plans to work 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, located in the Village Office. This will leave some hours to attend meetings, getting to know people, etc.
When not working, Griffith said she likes to do a lot of reading and attends on-line webinars.

“I’m kind of addicted to webinars,” said with a laugh.

She’s also excited regarding the prospect of having a garden, something not practical in Seal Beach. Not much vegetation and drought has made it more difficult.

“Our back yard was just a pool deck,” she said.

Griffith is also enthusiastic about being part of a community.

“I think that was missing in our lives before. In California, it seemed like we knew one or two neighbors but just didn’t belong to a community. You get up with the sun and you drive to work and you get home after dark. I’m just looking forward to getting to know people.”

So folks around here who know Clark are probably wondering what his part in all this will be.

Griffith said her spouse was a boat captain but there’s not much call for it in this landlocked community watered lightly by the South Loup River.

“Whatever he wants to do,” she said.