Friday, December 04, 2015

A Trend for 2016

Our response to Janet Ady's article on complexity being at the forefront of economic development trends in 2016....

There is no doubt that economic development is becoming more complex due to the factors you describe and more.  This reflects an increasingly complex world we live in.  I think a more significant trend is convergence. 

By that I mean that more and more, social services, community services and other community organizations are claiming a stake in the economic development playing field.  Economic developers used to be considered the sole authority and leader in community growth efforts.  The field was defined mostly as business attraction and retention activities.  Now, however, we are required to be less narrowly focused on those activities and more concerned with total community systems management.  At the same time - and due to so many new entrants in the ED space - we are being forced to define our roles in the system more narrowly.  We are becoming one of many "place managers"  in a community who are simultaneously working to improve the place.

Place management requires a coordinated, area-based, multi-stakeholder approach to improving locations, by harnessing the skills, experiences and resources of those in the private, public and voluntary sectors.  It requires the economic developer to form partnerships with the different stakeholders who are concerned about or engaged with the place. Developing such partnerships takes time and leadership.

Other place managers in our little community alone include all levels of government, main street organizations, chambers of commerce, business associations, mental health agencies, veterans groups, employment agencies, social services agencies such as the United Way, schools and training facilities, colleges and universities, regional ED intermediaries, community foundations, tourism managers, property managers, municipal planners and science park managers. Also, many companies anchored in our place including leading employers, property developers, media companies, energy companies, construction firms and shopping centers.

Increasingly, the places often referred to today as the most successful are seen as the result of skillful place management. The implications for economic developers is profound.  It requires reaching out to other place managers to incorporate their activities into your own, to define more fully your organization's role in place management and to be more proactive in leading change.  It also provides an opportunity to position the EDO as a leader in the emerging place management movement or risk being marginalized as leaders from the other place management entities step in to to fill the void.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cities eye economic development alliance

City leaders go out of their way to praise High Point’s economic development efforts.

They point to a long list of success by the High Point Economic Development Corp. recruiting new businesses and fostering expansions of existing companies.

So why would High Point want any part of a possible countywide economic development coalition that is now the subject of discussion among local government leaders?

In short, officials said it could enhance the region’s chances of landing a major project like an auto plant, without diminishing local recruitment functions.

“I think for large projects, something like this could be highly effective,” said Mayor Bill Bencini. “If there is a countywide effort, I don’t see it in any way eliminating High Point’s economic development efforts.” More here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Selling the cold, Minnesota's tech community welcomes data centers

 Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune

The bracing chill of a Minnesota winter doesn’t make for alluring tourism slogans, but there is an industry beyond dogsledding in which it’s a selling point: data centers.

Selling all that cold air to tech companies that need to keep towers of computers from overheating has become the work of people like Tom Lambrecht, manager of economic development services for the utility cooperative Great River Energy.

“It’s hard to get a professional volleyball league to come up here, but we can get a data center,” said Lambrecht.

That’s the hope, anyway, of an increasing number of Minnesota cities from North Mankato to St. Cloud who see a long-term boost to property tax revenues in data centers — the places where all of the information on the Internet gets stored.  More here.

WEDC sings virtues of Wisconsin to national business leaders

After two consecutive years of economic growth, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is pumping up the volume on its marketing program and hoping that business decision makers are hearing why they should bring their companies to the Badger State.

WEDC, an organization that has replaced the state’s former Department of Commerce, began a marketing program in July 2011. Each year since, it has added a new element in an attempt to attract more business to the state.

The first two campaigns focused on branding, informing the national and regional business community what WEDC was about and that the state was open for business, according to spokesman Mark Maley. Those campaigns may have helped to encourage some companies to relocate and other to expand operations in the state.

This year, the organization is launching a $1.58 million advertising-marketing campaign that features social media, national business and trade publication advertisements, online marketing and focused radio ads touting the benefits of relocating to Wisconsin.

The radio ads will run on select stations in the Twin Cities and in Chicago.

“This is more hard-hitting,” said Kelly Lietz, WEDC vice president of marketing. “Though there is some national reach, the border states are important. We’re running the radio ads in these cities because Illinois is a prime market for us. While a number of companies have relocated from Illinois over the past couple of years, Minnesota also is an important market for us.”  More here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Missouri’s Economic Development Organizations Nationally Rank as Best in Class

The Missouri Partnership and the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) were cited as “Best in Class” for state and regional economic development organizations, respectively, in a new survey of location advisors. While the Missouri Partnership tied for fifth place with Kansas and Oklahoma Departments of Commerce for state economic development organizations, KCADC ranked first among regional economic development organizations.

Conducted every three years since 1996 by Development Counsellors International (DCI), the “Winning Strategies in Economic Development” report tracks trends in economic development to determine the best business climates among all 50 states. Key factors include tax climate, “pro-business environment,” incentives/financial assistance and workforce quality/availability.

The survey also ranked Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina as having the overall best business climates domestically, and China, the United Kingdom and Germany as the top countries for international investment opportunities.

DCI’s 2014 Winning Strategies report collected feedback from 356 corporate executives and location advisors, the greatest response to date. The report assembles the perceptions of business executives throughout the nation on the most effective economic development marketing techniques and strategies. Corporate executive respondents were equally divided among manufacturing and service industries, and nearly a quarter had gross revenues of $500 million or higher.

Albany-Dougherty EDC looks to phase 2 of community marketing campaign

ALBANY — As they bask in the embers of the afterglow from their award-winning “There’s Only One Albany” marketing campaign, members of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission face a daunting question.

What’s next?

EDC staff and board members started the process of finding an answer to that question at the commission’s monthly board meeting Wednesday morning.

"We don’t have an answer today, but it’s something we need to start thinking about,” EDC Chairman Jay Smith said after Economic Development Commission President Justin Strickland and Vice President Barbara Rivera Holmes recapped the marketing campaign that is winding toward its six-month conclusion.

Strickland told the board continuation of the campaign is vital, but he said the questions now are who will drive the campaign into a Phase 2 and who will finance it.  More here.

Mapping a nation of regional clusters

The U.S. Cluster Mapping Portal ( provides over 50 million open data records on industry clusters and regional business environments to promote economic growth and U.S. competitiveness.  The project is led by Professor Michael Porter through Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Economic Development Administration.

10-sided business card wins marketing awards

By Paul Huggins | 


MADISON, Alabama - The City of Madison's Industrial Development Board won three marketing awards, including "Best in Class" at the recent Southern Economic Development Council conference.

The top award in the communications competition was for a 10-panel, according-style business card that shows attractive statistics about the city. The Madison IDB competed in the small division category, which featured 20 total communication awards.

Mayor Troy Trulock commended Madison Planning and Economic Development Director Amy Bell Sturdivant and the IDB board of directors during Monday night's meeting. For the group to win three out of the 20 awards the first time it had entered the competition shows outstanding creativity and coordination, he said.  More here.

City of Seaford to launch branding/marketing initiative

SEAFORD — The City of Seaford is the latest Sussex County municipality with plans to take its image to market.

The city has hired Arnett Muldrow & Associates to conduct a branding/marketing initiative to create a consistent image package for the community and its partners to use to continue to build local pride, recruit investment to the community and market Seaford to visitors.

The marketing and branding resource visit for Seaford will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 9 with a series of round table meetings with various stakeholder groups. More here.

Major economic development plan for southern Indiana unveiled

By Mike Grant Times Herald
 A year long study looking at opportunities for development in southwestern Indiana was unveiled in French Lick. The study completed a regional economic development strategy aimed at fostering new growth and capitalizing on existing assets in the region. Since the $650,000 grant was awarded hundreds of meetings, interviews and focus groups have taken place at the direction of the planning initiative's steering committee.

The study focused on an 11 county area that included Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Martin, Lawrence, Monroe, Orange, Brown, Owen and Washington Counties. The end result was a 132-page report that is expected to produce a blueprint from growth and development in the region.

"I think the end result was very positive," said Ron Arnold with the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. "A lot of work and hours went into this. They talked with a lot of local people and tied it in with some expert information."

The study calls for the area to look for ways to maximize some of existing assets including Indiana University, Crane, and I-69. "There were some things in the study related to the Tech Park at Crane that were new," said Arnold. "The I-69 corridor was also a high priority in the study."  More here.