Katie Lingor of BEDC: A lot of opportunity in Borger

Katie Lingor
Sarah Harris
Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Katie Lingor has been in Borger since her days as an elementary-school student and has always called Borger her hometown.
She is now executive director of the Borger Economic Development Corp., or Borger Inc., where she has served since 2007.
“I have worked for mostly small businesses, either in accounting and finance or in marketing roles. Being familiar with Borger and Borger’s economy, I was drawn to the position of executive director of the Borger economic development corporation,” Lingor says. “And I thought I could have a chance to use some of the skills that I’ve learned working in private industry and bring that to government and nonprofit work that is aimed at growing our economy.
“The position appealed to me because Borger is a big enough town that I think there’s a lot of opportunity here. We have an incredible amount of industry, but it’s also small enough that I think a small group of people can really make a difference in a community this size. If I’m going to be doing this kind of work, I want to be in a place where I can make a real difference.”
The role of an economic developer is two-fold, to help the community maintain and grow its economy. This is done through the small business incentive program and the commercial building and improvement program. In the small business incentive program, the economic development corporation partners with existing or start-up small businesses, helping them improve their facilities.
The commercial building and improvement program targets vacant properties and works with developers to renovate and restore them, bring a new business into town, or take an existing business and help it expand. However, Lingor says, potential businesses “don’t have to fit inside a certain mold. Any business that is viable, that has the potential to succeed here, and has a driven person who is willing to put in the work, we’re happy to hear those proposals. We want to keep the businesses, particularly the larger employers, in Borger, and help them retain what they currently have and also to look for opportunities for them to expand and to grow in the community and add additional jobs. That’s about 80% of our focus. The other 20% of what we do is look for new business opportunities for industries that are a good fit for Borger.”
To persuade new businesses to come to Borger, the economic development corporation tells the story of Borger’s strong industrial economy. Borger is also unique in that many of its industrial businesses’ main headquarters are outside the United States in such places as Canada, Belgium and Tokyo.
“That really puts us on the map,” Lingor says.
Lingor says about her job as executive director, “I like that no two days are the same. I really like sitting down and meeting with business owners in our community, hearing them, what’s working for them, and what we can do to make Borger a more business-friendly place. That’s my favorite part — sitting down, listening, taking that information, and working with other parties to try to find a solution.”
Annually, the BEDC develops a plan of work, summarizing what it hopes to accomplish over the next year. Lingor encourages everyone to attend the city council meeting on Oct. 1, where this year’s plan will be presented. In addition, last year’s accomplishments will be summarized. Information can be found on the Borger economic development corporation’s website, which is www.borgeredc.com.
And, if a potential business owner would like to meet with someone to discuss ideas, that can be done by meeting with Spencer McElhannon, who is available at the Borger EDC office at 1111 Penn St. every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no charge for this service.