Forbes Magazine rates Manhattan as top small place for business, careers

when Forbes Magazine put together a list of its “Best Small Places for Business and Careers,” the top five cities included Bowling Green, Kent.; Logan, Utah; Bismark, N.D.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. the No. 1 location, however, was Manhattan. Scott Hendrix, instructor of finance at K-State, said Manhattan attracts a lot of potential investors and that this can be beneficial for businesses and careers in the Manhattan community. “Investment comes in because of the growth opportunities here, which is tied to the growth in population, the possibility of [the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility],” Hendrix said. “The other thing about it is that entrepreneurs, you know, with Manhattan being a nice place to live, since they can be anywhere, that’s going to attract people as well.” Dan Kuester, the Roger Trenary Chair and director of undergraduate studies for the department of economics, echoed Hendrix’s ideas. “You have a pretty substantial demand for different types of services. you have a number of businesses that cater to students and certainly hire some students as well,” Kuester said. “With the labor, there’s a lot of demand for labor in those sectors. you also have some people who retire here and they demand certain type of services, and that creates some employment opportunities as well.” Kuester said the presence of all of these institutions in the Manhattan community contributes to its low unemployment rate. “The relatively low rates of unemployment compared to the national rates have held up pretty well, particularly in Riley County in recent years. you have the combination of a military base that is, I think, thriving by all accounts and hasn’t had the type of cutbacks that others have,” Kuester said. Hendrix also cited these two groups as well as Manhattan’s potential to be the future location of NBAF, which is a planned government-run research facility. “It might be similar to a Walmart situation in Bentonville, Ark., where you have a big player like Walmart come in and there are a lot of businesses that will want to do business with them, which can drive up the private sector there,” Hendrix said. Smaller companies also play a role in Manhattan’s relative economic success, such as the law firm Addair Thurston. the company has six employees, three lawyers and three secretaries and has offices in both Manhattan and Junction City. the firm works only with criminal and traffic law. Manhattan resident Tricia Garver has worked at Addair Thurston for three years and said she has enjoyed working at the firm and living in Manhattan. “I’ve worked for attorneys ever since I started in 1981,” Garver said. “I worked for an attorney for 17 years and he’s now a district court judge, but I love working in the law and Addair Thurston has that kind of personal, hometown feel.” Garver said that Tom Addair and John Thurston, the firm’s partners and founding attorneys, are active in the community and that is one of the reasons she enjoys working at the firm. “Tom Addair is a Manhattan boy and John Thurston has lived here a long time,” Garver said. “We do criminal and traffic law, but we’re in the business to help people and I like doing that.” John Thurston graduated from Manhattan High School and attended several courses at K-State and also worked as adjunct professor at the university. Thurston said working in Manhattan has been great in terms of community and raising a family. “I like being in a college town,” Thurston said. “It’s still got that hometown feel, but it’s got the culture and the arts. It’s a great place to raise kids. I actually went to high school here and after going to law school in Houston, my wife and I realized we didn’t want to raise our kids in a big city, so we moved back here and we really like it.” Garver, who moved to Manhattan in 1981, has seen much of this growth firsthand. Garver said the development on the west side of town as well as the development between Manhattan and Wamego has grown dramatically. she said that Kansas Highway 24 between Manhattan and Wamego was a two-lane road and has been expanded to a four-lane road since 1994, which is largely because of the growth Manhattan has seen. “The town just keeps getting bigger and bigger since I moved here,” Garver said. Hendrix said that for Manhattan’s growth to continue, the city will need to focus on developing infrastructure. “Some people might feel that the current east-west passage ways we have — Anderson, Claflin, Fort Riley — might not be able to sustain greater amounts of traffic,” Hendrix said. “Infrastructure would be roads, schools, housing — we can maintain growth by making sure that the growth is managed and that the infrastructure we need is in place to sustain that growth.” Garver said that while Manhattan has grown as a community, it has retained much of its unique character. “I think as much as we talk about how much Manhattan has grown, it still has a small town atmosphere, which I think is attractive to people and is why a lot of people move here,” Garver said. Hendrix also said that he had enjoyed living in Manhattan and said that he believes the future of the city looks positive. “This is my 12th year here; over the 11 years that I’ve been here I’ve enjoyed seeing the growth and I think it’s been managed pretty well,” Hendrix said. “I think Manhattan is a better place to live now than it was a few years ago and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue.”  

Forbes Magazine rates Manhattan as top small place for business, careers


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