In late October, Menominee County Administrator Jason Carviou started the ball rolling at what could be an economic benefit to the county as a whole and the county’s roster of business establishments in particular. He brought together a mixture of ideas from the county board’s Economic Development Committee, other members of the county board, and members of the general public to discuss branding in Menominee County.

The introductory session may have been conducted several weeks ago, but it’s not too late to voice our opinion. We think it was an excellent introduction by the county administrator, one we think was long overdue. When it comes to economic development, Menominee County has been in backward mode for a long time. It needs a fresh start, a shot in the arm to pump some Adrenalin into the way business is conducted, marketed and promoted.

Carviou said his major goal is branding the county and to encourage “business and people to come to the area.”

“What I envision the purpose of this committee is to be the salesperson for Menominee County,” he said at the initial session. “The reality is, at the county level we don’t have a lot of programs to offer. We don’t have a lot of incentives to offer, but we can be the salesperson, the cheerleader, for the county and promote it.”

Folks, we haven’t heard words like that spoken by a Menominee County government leader or civic leader for some time. Plain and simple, Mr. Carviou was right on target.

Commissioner Jan Hafeman, a member of the current makeup of the economic development committee who represents a constituency in the northern sector of the county, was quick to pick up on Carviou’s tone for change.

“We do not toot our own horn,” Hafeman said. “We don’t, and it is a big problem. We have to promote positive assets of Menominee County and we don’t do that.”

We understand Menominee County has been operating on a bare-bones budget for decades and it hasn’t had the resources to market what it does have. But the fault lies with previous county leaders and boards of commissioners. The county has also struggled with ways to balance the budget instead of devoting some attention to ways to improve and expand its resources so it could have the funds to do more.

Carviou noted the county board has a tremendous amount of clout to bring people together. “We have that ability to call people into a meeting and start those discussions. Smaller economic development organizations may not have the ability to get everyone into a room together. That’s what I think our role is right now,” he added.

He stressed the need to develop a more positive attitude and dispel the attitude that the county isn’t growing and lacks the motivation to meet the challenges it faces.

We like the pep talk that Carviou gave at the meeting of minds on the branding issue. By all means, we hope he doesn’t stop at that point. The next time this important topic is put as a public meeting notice there will be a room full of participants ready to roll up their sleeves and do something to get the county moving in a positive direction.

Menominee County has been spinning its wheels in negativity for years. Carviou has bluntly put out a challenge for county leaders and civic leaders and citizens at large — to rise up and do something to change what has become a contagious attitude.