Audio Interview: Ralph Boots leaving post in Trenton to fill position of Director of Economic Development in Liberty

Ralph Boots

Community Developer at Trenton for the past eight years, Ralph Boots, is leaving next month to accept an economic development directors position at Liberty. 

Boots, a native of Moberly, spoke today with KTTN’s John Anthony.




As of the first of May, Boots had transitioned from the community development position for the city of Trenton to being the director of the newly-created North Central Missouri Development Alliance. That group, which has nine board members, is expected to promote and guide economic developments for Trenton, Grundy County, and the surrounding areas.

Knowing that Boots would be leaving, the alliance has hired Phil Tate of Gallatin to be the part-time interim director.  The president of the Alliance Board of Directors is Rick Hull.




Ralph Boots talked about the timing of his departure from Trenton, considering the alliance is still in its formative stage.




Phil Tate is a former state representative for the local area serving in the Missouri House from 1986 to 1997. He is a former director of expansion and attraction for Missouri department of economic development. And Tate served as president of the Hawthorn Foundation including as head of staff for former Governor Mel Carnahan’s’ international efforts.  For nine years, Tate was the economic developer for the city of Kirksville, retiring in 2012.

Tate will work on a part-time basis from his home at Gallatin, traveling to Trenton for meetings as required. His primary responsibility will be to work with ConAgra officials, and other interested parties, concerning the future use of the Harris Avenue plant. ConAgra previously had announced an intention to close the plant in May of 2018. Tate is to be assisted by Jackie Soptic, assistant director of the Green Hills Regional Planning Commission, in dealing with other current industrial prospects.

It is the intention of the North Central Missouri Development Alliance board to be working with Phil Tate during the interim and until such time as a new director is hired. 

Much has happened at Trenton during the eight years Ralph Boots served as community/economic development director. Boots today announced he will be leaving Trenton next month to fill a vacancy as the Executive Director for Liberty’s economic development corporation which is a public-private partnership that has existed there for the past 12 years.

During a KTTN interview, Boots reflected on his tenure at Trenton that started in the spring of 2009.




Boots of Trenton will be working through June 9th as the executive director of the North Central Missouri Development Alliance – a newly-created public private partnership that will be guiding and promoting economic development efforts for Trenton, Grundy County, and the surrounding area. Filling Boots’ position as alliance director during the

Filling Boots’ position as alliance director during the interim will be a former state representative and economic development leader: Phil Tate of Gallatin.

The North Central Missouri Development Alliance is a public private partnership designed to foster economic development efforts for Trenton, Grundy county, and the surrounding areas. It’s led by an executive director and governed by nine board members from the community.

Boots provides an update on the status of the newly created North Central Missouri Development Alliance.




Grundy County and the city of Trenton have both committed $40,000 to provide initial funding for the new organization. Other stake holders also are committing funds for the startup.




President of the alliance board, Rick Hull, says economic development efforts will continue while Boots is employed and then during the interim with Phil Tate.



Besides Hull, other board members of the alliance are Travis Elbert, Phil Hoffman, Gary Jordan, Phil Ray, Lenny Klaver, former Mayor Cathie Smith, Dan Wiebers, and Scott Wilson.