Our view: An explosive issue

By Dan Mehan

On behalf of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I would like to wish you a happy Independence Day.

As a state that’s long been a mecca for barbeque and fireworks — the mainstays of this holiday — it’s safe to say that no place celebrates the Fourth of July better than Missouri.

There is something special about fireworks on the Fourth of July. The whole country stops for the occasion, watching as bombs burst in the air, feeling the power of the explosions, and — when it ends — smelling the smoke and gunpowder that lingers in the darkness.

It’s a powerful reminder of the might of our country, the battles fought for our freedom and the destructive powers that we command.

The summer issue of Missouri Business is dedicated to the essence of our national holiday and how it intersects with our state’s economy.

Missouri’s long-held status as a fireworks-friendly state is much less unique today as many states have relaxed consumer fireworks laws in recent years. However, some longtime Missouri fireworks companies, including Fireworks Supermarket, have found expansion opportunities in their growing industry. Read more here.

Our state’s rocky topography has also given rise to a diverse industry of blasting companies that help clear the way for business development and infrastructure. Learn about one of those companies, Twehous Excavating, here.

In addition, you might not know that our own Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla is home to one of the nation’s most advanced explosives training programs. We profile the department here.

We also highlight a growing firearms manufacturer that is creating jobs in rural Missouri. Read about Black Rain here.

Finally, if there’s one additional thing we should reflect on during this holiday, it’s change. Change is a constant in our nation and our state. There has hardly been a time in our history when things were not in flux. After all, our system was built this way.

In America and Missouri, new leaders are always taking power as others leave office. Parties and ideas gain and lose influence. Laws are rewritten. Even our constitution, the bedrock of our democracy, can be amended.

That’s why we at the Missouri Chamber place such importance on our long-range strategic plan, Missouri 2030. The plan is a vision for a better economic future — and lays out the steps we need to take to achieve it. Read it at MO2030.com.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Missouri 2030 is the independence it has given us. Our vision is not reliant on any politician or party. Our long-term strategy doesn’t change course when power changes hands.

We are now three years into our Missouri 2030 plan and we’ve made strong progress toward the goals we set out at the beginning. We remain excited about the power this independent vision has to help move our state in the right direction and improve our economy.

In economics, one can never guarantee any action will lead to explosive growth.

But we can take actions that will help light a fuse for our state. That’s what Missouri 2030 is doing today.

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