Local Marketing District funds online campaign for Craig manufacturer | CraigDailyPress.com

Local Marketing District funds online campaign for Craig manufacturer

Jim Stoddard, co-owner of West Portal Industries, shows off his newly manufactured parts.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

A small, light manufacturing business in Craig just got a big boost to help it market some even bigger ideas.

In a split board decision at the Moffat County Local Marketing District’s Sept. 12 meeting, Jim Stoddard’s West Portal Industries was awarded $7,200.

According to a funding request provided to the LMD board, the funds will be used for a Kickstarter campaign that will “generate both awareness and funding to help drive … injection molding machinery and support equipment that will be put to work to help diversify the local economy, employ local citizens, and provide technical training opportunities to our students at both Moffat County High School and Colorado Northwestern Community College.”

Stoddard said Thursday he plans to hire a videographer and project manager to help drive the online response to his many current and planned projects at West Portal Industries.

“The crowd-funding program will include a compelling video to inspire people to join the cause,” Stoddard said.

That cause, in board member Randy Looper’s mind, is all about creating jobs in Craig.

“The board was split in the vote, but it basically came down to what we felt was good economic development for Craig at this time,” Looper said.

Rich Thompson, manager of Craig Station and LMD board member, voted for Stoddard’s request, saying he believes Stoddard will put the money to good use.

“He’s looking at getting investors involved in a couple successful projects he’s got going on and additional projects he’s got in development,” Thompson said Thursday. “He’s got some good concepts, but he’s probably going to need a little help getting those up and going.”

Once he does, Thompson is hopeful Craig can capitalize on the demand for light manufacturers.

“In the aerospace or auto industry, there’s just quite a few small manufacturing jobs out there,” Thompson said.

LMD Vice Chair Chris Jones and Secretary Tammie Thompson-Booker were among those who voted against West Portal Industries’ funding request.

Jones did not immediately respond to the Craig Press’ requests for comment. Thompson-Booker declined to comment when reached Thursday.

Looper said the LMD board’s mission is to mainly help in funding four areas: tourism, the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Visitor Center, economic development initiatives, and local events. In order to be granted the funds, Stoddard or anyone else seeking help from the LMD will have to spend their own capital first.

“We budget money in each area,” Looper said of the LMD’s four main priorities. “We don’t pay money in advance. You have to come up with money for the funds.

Looper said there’s built-in accountability for the funds Stoddard was awarded.

“He’s going to have to spend the money and show the receipts to the county,” Looper said Thursday of Stoddard. “…just like events, just like everyone else.”

Looper said the LMD is sitting on plenty of cash to fund more good ideas.

“We’re looking for new ideas,” Looper said Thursday. “Whether it’s the rec center or anything. We’re looking for people with good ideas they’ve thought through and planned through and we think will work.”