Longtime GIC President Honored

Longtime GIC President Honored

Friday, March 16, 2018

Every once in a while, something happens that changes the future course of a community.  In Gothenburg that happened in the spring of 1980 when Mike and Deb Bacon moved to Gothenburg from Lexington.  Mike moved to join Steve Potter in the practice of law.  We did not know it at the time, but Gothenburg’s future would be changed forever.

Mike moved to Gothenburg during a very interesting and challenging time.  The 1970’s was a decade full of inflation and rapid expansion of agriculture.  This cycle came to an abrupt end with the beginning of the “farm crisis,” high interest rates, and falling land values.  This put Gothenburg and rural Nebraska into a tailspin. As a community we had a choice to make.  We could sit back and let the events shape our future, or we could decide to be proactive and build our own future.

A small group of community leaders decided we needed to be in charge of building the Gothenburg that would last through difficult times and thrive when the economic cycle changed.  Mike Bacon was part of that group and began the journey of giving his full commitment to growing Gothenburg.

The leadership of this group recruited more supporters and helped build the vision for the creation of Dawson Area Development.  To grow our community, we knew we needed to be successful in recruiting more jobs to the area to replace the jobs lost from agriculture.  With no money and only a dream, Mike Bacon lead a charge forward to pass an economic development sales tax.  DAD supported the efforts of Gothenburg, Cozad, and Lexington to pass the special sales tax. At the end of the day, the vote failed in Cozad and Lexington, but passed by a slim margin in Gothenburg.

During this same period the Gothenburg Improvement Company was reorganized.  GIC was first organized in the 1960’s and was successful in growing our community.  With the commitment of new business leaders and money in the bank, GIC became a force in the recruitment space.  Many volunteer leaders played significant roles in our efforts.  The first major success came in 1985 with the announcement that Baldwin Filters would build a new facility in Gothenburg.  From that point on the GIC, coupled with great support from the City, County, and State, has been abundantly successful in growing our community.

Our success as a community has been the result of many dedicated and tireless volunteers.  Gothenburg is clearly a special place.  Mike Bacon, through his dedication and commitment, has been instrumental in leading much of this volunteer effort.  Mike taught us to never accept no for an answer; keep digging and find a solution so that every recruit had no excuse for not saying YES to Gothenburg.  Mike also became the “expert” at using incentive tools such as Nebraska Advantage and Tax Increment Financing. This gave our community a leg up on all our competition even if their community was larger than Gothenburg.

Building a strong and successful community does not happen because of one person.  But no one has contributed more to building the “Gothenburg Way” than Mike Bacon.  I’m very proud of our community and I’m proud to represent Gothenburg in the Nebraska Legislature.  I’m also very proud to call Mike Bacon my friend.  Thanks Mike for all you have contributed to our success.  I believe that Gothenburg has been forever changed because of your consistent commitment to excellence.

Matt Williams, District 36 Senator