The push to support our local economy is nothing new to Hamilton or any other municipality for that matter. Everyone realizes a strong economic base comes from continually feeding local independent business. Regardless of how many Walmart stores come to town (or Target as the most recent big box chain to invade the city) the character and make-up of the local business scene is defined by entrepreneurs, by business and by culture. Those that are willing to step out, carve a unique offering in the marketplace and service a customer base looking for a different experience.
In Hamilton, Mohawk College grads are everywhere. They’re at the farmers market, festivals, in line at the coffee shop or running on the vast trail systems. Rarely a week goes by where I don’t bump into someone with a connection to the college. Many, like myself are born and raised Hamiltonians who found career opportunities and built our adult lives here in the city. Others are transplants, coming to Hamilton for academic pursuits and some remaining beyond graduation after securing a first job post-schooling. The challenge is finding more opportunities to encourage these numbers to grow. Hamilton is a city that once experienced; viewpoints tend to shift to be more positive.
The growing waterfront, advanced manufacturing, clean tech, arts and entertainment, hospitality and transportation networks collectively serve as defining points for internal and external conversations around renewed prosperity. Test this theory at the next event you attend. Ask people how they measure Hamilton’s success and what resonates when thinking about positive developments and community optimism. Pittsburgh and Cleveland are two American cities within five hours driving distance of Hamilton that present comparative case examples of rebirth and prosperity. I believe the more we ask, the more we uncover ideas and ways to celebrate this city.
Our gritty persona has gradually drifted away, in part to the decay of the steel sector and due to significant efforts to redefine Hamilton today and for the future. Mohawk College Enterprise, The Agency and other institution initiatives plus McMaster Innovation Park have done much to change the fortunes and attract a diverse population that have in turn found a home in the eclectic neighbourhoods and nodes. Carving out entrepreneurial spirit on many streets; Ottawa, James North and Locke, Hamiltonians are creating career growth which has begun to fuel spending at restaurants, independent retail shops, art galleries and entertainment facilities.
Why shouldn’t we place greater emphasis on making Hamilton a home for students beyond the years at Mohawk? Let’s find ways to increase our focus on retaining emerging talent, fostering new career and business development in the lead up to graduation. The best marketing voice is one that speaks for you, endorsing your value proposition and helping to tell your story. Helping to tell Hamilton’s story from the voice of those who have committed to the city; for the good of the city.
– Brent Kinnaird – Marketing Manager, McKeil Marine
Business Administration ’94
Follow Brent @brentkinnaird