If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Kim Callis, South Hill Town Manager, you see a man dedicated to serving the town of South Hill. He shared his view on the media, newspapers specifically, as partners. His goal is to promote his town and community. He recognized that things are not always perfect and tragedies happen but at the end of the day, the community and town he represents is truly a great place to live.
When asked what his goals were for the town and ways that the media could play a role in seeing these goals come to fruition, he stated, “We want to be inviting to businesses that want to come and build the right kinds of business. We need to train, and promote, the workforce. We’ve been doing a lot of things with the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center and Chad Patton to get some vocational training there that can better train the workforce in our community that will help bring business in as well as help build existing businesses to grow. This is a joint effort in the works with South Hill, Southside Virginia Community College, Lake Country Advanced Learning Center and Microsoft to get technical skills that don’t require a four year degree like welding, HVAC and fiber optic line installation just to name a few.”
Mr. Callis expressed his extreme pride in VCU/CMH hospital. He went on to state that the expansion and growth of our community medical center was a true labor of love. He stated, “people really opened their hearts and checkbooks to make that happen and our community now has access to great doctors, the Massey Cancer center as well as a lot of other services.”
When asked where he next saw growth coming for South Hill, Mr. Callis stated, “That’s a tough question to answer. There’s room within the town, like the golden mile, are great places to expand. We are consistently promoting our industrial parks as well as properties that are conducive to residential growth.” He went on to say that, as a town, we need to be forward thinking and open minded. When we see growth opportunity we have to be willing to grasp it, embrace it and make it happen.
Mr. Callis stated that certain types of industry such as home building companies, are easily drawn in due to a well trained workforce. Boeing on the other hand would be a task that would take time. The workforce would have to be properly trained. These are the types of things the town and community are working on. Mr. Callis went on to state, “What I’d like to see happen is instead of industry that brings a thousand jobs to the area, two or three small industries that employ two to three hundred employees.” He compared his opinion to the areas of Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. In these areas, BMW opened a manufacturing plant and the businesses grew. There were tire companies and parts companies, so when the higher ups at BMW decided to shut it down and move their manufacturing back to Germany, businesses began to close and the citizens of the area lost out. He further explained that when several businesses, not necessarily related or reliant on each other, you can hopefully avoid the “clustering” effect.
As manager of the town of South Hill, he pushes his people to always keep their eyes open for more opportunity. His outlook for the town and community as a whole is positive and where he sees an ever present opportunity for growth, he also sees South Hill remaining that “small town” way of life community. When asked how he would label South Hill, as a thriver or survivor, he said, “Absolutely a thriver!”.