(Bardwell, KY) - At a steering committee meeting on September 8th, facilitator Jonathan Miller announced the results of an online pick the best name with best acronym contest to name the group formerly known as the River County Economic Development Project. Miller said the overwhelming choice was Western Kentucky Alliance for a Vibrant Economy- WAVE.
The steering committee consists of county judges of Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton and Hickman Counties, elected representatives and leaders in all walks of life from the counties bordering the Mississippi River plus some honorary members who call in or drop by when in the neighborhood.
After organizing committees and writing a plan, the next step was a kickin' logo. One that is sharp and recognizable. One that embodies all the vibrant forward motion that WAVE wants to project. One that says great people, great jobs, great pay, opportunity for growth, happiness and bluebirds and all things chocolate. One that costs the four counties participating in the economic development project nothing.
Free. Zero. Zip. Nada.
And who will do the unpaid labor of coming up with the perfect logo?
Students of course. High school students to be precise.
As Miller told the steering committee, a top notch marketing group would cost big bucks. His solution - Have a contest and let the county judges ("they are judges, you know, Miller joked) pick the winner.
When I contacted Miller and asked about prizes or prize money for the selected logo, Miller emailed me the following:
"The schools might come up with one, but in my opinion, there's no better prize than to see your logo used by the entire region."
As chair of the Hickman County Arts Council and a former leader of the Hickman County Chamber Leadership Program, I strongly believe that art is work.
Work should be compensated. It should be compensated by those who get the benefit of the work.
What lesson is WAVE giving to students when it says "do this for free" while paying consultants?
Who does WAVE value more - our children or our consultants?
Jonathan Miller answered that question.