Sallie Hemenway, Nexus Group’s New Economic Development Finance Advisor
Sallie Hemenway is bringing her decades of experience with public service — particularly with economic development projects — to the Nexus Group.
Hemenway joins Nexus Group as its economic development finance advisor, the group announced Monday. Previously, Hemenway spent 25 years working for the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), a job she first started during the floods in 1993 to help with community recovery.
Having worked the principals for Nexus Group for several years, Hemenway said she’s most looking forward to working with a slew of its people again.
“My hope is that I can continue to apply what I have learned and assist communities and businesses with development opportunities,” Hemenway told The Missouri Times. “If I can help move projects forward or connect the right people in a way that positively impacts a community or region, I will consider it a success.”
Hemenway credits the flood as a “tremendous learning experience” for her to understand “the economic impacts to housing, infrastructure and community fallacies, businesses, and cultural resources at the macro-level.”
“A disaster really highlights how interconnected these sectors really are and the impacts to the community when one or more of them suffers significant losses,” Hemenway said. “A disaster also highlights perspective. … I learned a lot about the positive impacts that occur when people really lean forward and participate in their community.”
Hemenway said there are very few places in Missouri she hasn’t yet visited. At DED, Hemenway managed the division that housed many businesses, community, and redevelopment programs.
“Being at DED during that time period and learning the nuances of the different programs gave me an opportunity to participate in everything from bringing public water to small, rural towns, to working with the generosity of Missouri’s professional sports teams to build houses in Joplin after the tornado, and to working with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency project in St. Louis,” she said. “I am proud to have been part of all of them.”
When it comes to hurdles Missouri faces pertaining to economic development, Hemenway pointed to a “lack of skilled workforce” and “broadband in rural Missouri” as well as regional issues.
“Data and analysis show that we have approximately 12 regional economies in the state. Each of those regional economies faces different issues and are offered different opportunities,” she said. “We need to shift the view from the state to the region and allow the resources necessary for communities to work in unison within their region and allow the state to assist in a manner that is tailored to that region.”
Nexus Group said it is approached often regarding project-specific financing strategies in its government relations and lobbying capacity, and Hemenway will “allow us to expand those client services,” it said.