Saturday, December 29, 2012

Economic Development Agencies Face New Scrutiny

In this article in by Josh Goodman of the Pew Center on the States the author describes how several states, most of them led by Republican governors, have experimented in recent years with the idea of turning their economic development agencies over to semi-private management. The results have not been uniformly successful. Many of these organizations are struggling to balance job creation with public accountability.  More here.

Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, Dow Corning team up to attract interns

By Kathryn Lynch-Morin |

 Every year, hundreds of interns head to the Great Lakes Bay Region for their first taste of career life.

For several months, they live, work and contribute to the communities in the area. The only problem?

Getting them to stay.

Terry Moore, president and chief executive officer of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance said he'd like to see more interns staying in the region.

That's why his organization, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, Bay County-based Dow Corning Corp. and Saginaw County-based Nexteer Automotive have teamed up to help better acquaint interns new to the area. More here.

Michigan internships: Key economic development driver

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) is using internships  to retain talent and prepare students for careers in Michigan.

Amy Cell, MEDC’s senior vice president for talent enhancement said in an MLive article that the use of internships is a tremendous opportunity for the state of Michigan to develop and retain key talent in Michigan.

The state has adopted or launched multiple programs aimed at keeping college graduates in Michigan, developing a skilled workforce and connecting workers with high-demand jobs. Read more here.

GWEDC’s holiday gift package impresses

Want to know what marketing materials impress site consultants?  Jay Garner, a site selection consultant from Atlanta was recently impressed with a promotional gift he received from the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. Read about what impressed Garner about their communication here

Wisconsin's economic development agency plagued by problems

An independent audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) found sloppy accounting practices, poor monitoring of loans and high turnover of employees. 

The WEDC is a quasi-public organization created by Gov. Scott Walker in July 2011, to be the agency leading his job creation efforts. But job growth in the state has been stunted, and the WEDC has been plagued by serious problems. More here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Economic Development looking to capitalize on booming rural economy

Loudoun County’s Rural Business Division presented a new strategy for the rural economy to the county’s Economic Development Commission.

The new strategy identified the top ten agricultural industry sectors in Loudoun County including beef cattle, equine, sheep, goats, sod, hay, Christmas trees, nursery products, and fruits and vegetables.

Agriculture is Virginia's largest industry and Loudoun County is first in several categories including number one in number of horses, number of wineries and in acres of sod harvested. The county also produces the second most grapes in the state, is fourth and fifth in Christmas tree sales and in hay and other crops respectively.

The purpose of the new strategy is to provide a voice for rural business to aid growth and prosperity. More here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Site consultant says 'Right to Work' will bring more employers to Michigan's doorstep

Site consultant Dennis Donovan of Wadley-Donovan-Gutshaw Consulting says the Michigan's new right to work law will result in more prospective employers giving that state a look.  The major reason he says, is that the law will help companies keep their work rules flexible to meet their changing business conditions.

Donovan said the issue is “critical” for about 20 percent of employers and “very important” for another 35 percent. That means half of all employers will not consider states that have not passed Right to Work laws. More here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Uselessness of Economic Development Incentives

In summary, Richard Florida says in this article that "The bigger issue is that incentives do little to alter the locational calculus of most companies. The broad body of evidence on incentives, including the Times series, finds that incentives do not actually cause companies to choose certain locations over others. Rather, companies typically select locations based on factors such as workforce, proximity to markets, and access to qualified suppliers, and then pit jurisdictions against one another to extract tax benefits and other incentives." More here

Jackson County Economic Development Foundation Succeeds with Aerospace Cluster

Existing aerospace enterprises and the hope of more to come was the focus for the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation's annual investor's dinner held recently.

Northrop Grumman's recent expansion of a new product line there is viewed as an indicator of the county's place in the emerging field of unmanned systems and where we are headed," Freeland said.

George Freeland, executive director of the JCEDF said that his group pursues job creation in fields with high-growth potential and that Northrop's unmanned systems are the highest growth sector in aerospace. More here.

Beachwood Officials Discuss Long-Term Economic Development Goals

In discussing Beachwood Ohio Economic Development Director Jim Doutt revealed some long-term goals this week to compliment the city's immediate hopes. His plans include developing partnerships and an entrepreneurial center as part of the city's economic development incentive framework More here.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Randy Parham: Economic development incentives are balancing act for cities

Written by Randy Parham
For The Tennessean
Do economic development incentives work? Are they good for the community? Why do communities like Nashville offer economic incentives to attract or keep businesses?

“Many times a community won’t even make the short list unless it is willing to offer some kind of incentive,” says Janet Miller, chief economic development and marketing officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

But how much is too much?

“There is no magic formula for this,” she said. “Each community must determine what is in its best interest based on its unique situation.” More here.

Manatee Rebrands

The Manatee Economic Development Corp.has been renamed the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. in an effort to sell companies on the idea of doing business there.

Along with the name change, the group adopted a new marketing slogan - "Think Global. Think Bradenton Area."

The new marketing effort, was developed by 13 volunteer members of the marketing task force and Atlas Advertising, a Denver based marketing firm which did surveys and market research. The research revealed that more businesses outside the area identify with the name Bradenton Area than Manatee or Sarasota.  More here.

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Pasco developing marketing strategy to lure high wage jobs

The Pasco Economic Development Council has adopted a "placemaking" strategy  to economic development.  The strategic plan was developed over the past year and a half in cooperation with business leaders and regional developers.

The plan leveraged changes in the land development rules and transportation fees and built on that to create long-term goals for each of the county's five market areas. They also renamed the areas based on their characteristics in order to improve their marketability. More here.

Economic development board looks at branding

"Business to Beaches" is the new tagline being used by the Economic Opportunity Advisory Council of Flagler County Florida as part of its branding effort. the EOAC is hoping to capitalize on the county's mix of leisure options and business-friendly climate.

Committee members responsible for the new tagline wanted to highlight the county's natural attractions along with a message that the county is "open for business".  The group wanted the branding message to be short and "memorable".  More here

New economic development structure gets an 'incomplete'

The state of Ohio decentralized its economic development efforts from Columbus to six regions with the creation of the still-controversial JobsOhio program.

In the Toledo region, and elsewhere, development officials say the new way of doing business has been rocky but improving every day. Local officials within each of the six regions are working together, but it is not without difficulties and uncertainty over the long-term viability of JobsOhio.  More here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lynchburg EDA hears ways to boost area's attractiveness to businesses

Site selection consultant Jay Garner of Garner Economics told leaders in Lynchburg that if they want to attract new business and bolster economic development in their region, they must address the issues of ease of access and a lack of project-ready sites. 

The News Advance reported that although Lynchburg has many assets in the “quality of place” category, Garner said the city’s “Achilles heel” is its lack of project-ready land. Garner has been hired by the Lynchburg EDA to help devise a new strategic plan for the authority. More here

Monday, November 19, 2012

'Unity' event showcases economic development survey

A "Unity in the Community" luncheon co-sponsored by the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates and the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity, featured a presentation on the results of a community economic development survey. 

 The group conducted 279 one-on-one interviews with a variety of groups representing residents, business owners and local government officials and staff. 

Respondents identified their biggest concerns as the lack of diversified employment opportunities, a lack of progress in economic development efforts, lack of a unified focus and  a lack of consistent execution in economic development efforts. More here.

New N.C. governor ups competition for job development

A former economic development executive for Duke Energy Corp. has been elected governor of North Carolina and is expected to make that state more competitive with neighbor South Carolina in the competition for new jobs. 

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory is credited with compiling a solid jobs record during 14 years as mayor of Charlotte and is the state's first Republican governor in 20 years.

Officials and executives who know McCrory predict he’ll make economic development a priority and work diligently to recruit jobs. More here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kenya: Now It Is Our Turn to Brand Towns, Cities and Even Counties

In Africa, a call to adopt place branding and place marketing techniques in order to further their economy and thwart increasing competition.  More here.

Regional economic development group making strides

The Peoria area has developed a new regional economic development group. 

The group's steering committee, bearing a new name, Focus Forward CI (for central Illinois), approved a prospective budget and announced the launch of a new website,

"We've done all this in 60 days with the help of 700 people," said Jim Baumgartner. More here.

Virginia economic development officials launch mobile app

More will follow suit: Virginia economic development officials have launched a "YesVA" mobile app to help bring business to the state. Users can perform site and building searches, compare Virginia to other states,  view profiles of Virginia communities, regions and metropolitan areas, as well as to receive news. Users can also contact  state economic development officials with the app.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Measuring the American Dream

Xavier University’s American Dream Composite Index™ (ADCI) measures the extent to which people living in the United States achieve the American Dream.  The ADCI is based on a random sample of no fewer than 1,000 adults who are surveyed online each month, with at least 400 respondents recurring from the previous month.

According to the latest survey results, we are 65.18 percent of the way to fully achieving the American Dream with room to grow 34.82 percent. 

Economic development professionals can use this tool to improve local public policy, infrastructure and asset availability that contribute to making the American Dream easier to realize. CEOs will likely prefer to locate their business operations in communities where residents perceive the American Dream is genuinely achievable.

Launched last year, the ADCI is a useful measure that the ED pro will want to monitor and use to develop local strategic plans to make their communities as competitive as possible for capital attraction. More here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Colleges join state marketing effort

The state's public colleges and universities have all agreed to join a marketing effort to help sell Virginia to economic investors.

A memorandum of understanding signed Monday with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership is "a needed catalyst" that will foster collaboration and further the goal of "graduating job creators, not just job takers," said Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, who represented his colleagues at the ceremony.

The agreement formalizes a long-standing relationship with universities that is intended to help corporate clients understand the resources that the state's higher education system offers them, said Martin Briley, president and CEO of VEDP.

"Not to be dramatic, but there's an economic development war under way globally, the victory in which is expressed in jobs," he said. More here.

New marketing brand pitched to business leaders

“Brampton’s most powerful, yet underutilized asset is the raw energy of its human potential,” said Gavin Barrett, of Barrett and Welsh, who delivered the keynote address during the Mayor’s Annual Business Breakfast held at the Rose Theatre. “We must unleash that asset and leverage it to build a mythology for Brampton’s economic brand.”

The city is rolling out a new marketing campaign that strives to set Brampton a part in a highly competitive international marketplace. More here.

In Houston economic development, ‘success follows success’

While Houston’s energy industry — and related support fields — has always been the area’s bread and butter, recent efforts by economic development officials to diversify the local economy have resulted in a tangible increase in jobs in other fields. More here.

Economic efforts making gains in Northern KY

Economic development efforts in Northern Kentucky are showing signs of great success despite the lingering effects of the Great Recession and aggressive competition from neighboring Ohio.  More here

Why Janet Miller loves hipsters, sort of

Twenty years ago people fresh out of college didn't care much about what city they'd wind up in. It was all about the company.

But today's young professionals are increasingly picking the city first before embarking on a career, and that change has shifted the way economic development programs are run.

"“It used to be all about: Go get the company and people will follow," said Janet Miller, chief economic development officer with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. "These days it's about the balance between jobs and the employees. Cities that are going to be successful in the future are going to be the ones that are attractive to talent and the companies will follow." More here.

Promise of jobs buried by changing market

 By Ron Maxey

SENATOBIA — If everything had gone as envisioned, this Tate County community would be halfway into a five-year plan to generate 500 jobs.

Instead, local leaders are trying to market a largely empty building that they thought would be humming with the sounds of high-tech solar panels being manufactured.

What went wrong, those involved say, can be summed up in two words: China and unpredictability. More here.

Destin, Chamber of Commerce plan economic development partnership

By MATT ALGARIN / The Destin Log

DESTIN — The city and Chamber of Commerce are working to come up with a strategy to spur economic development.

“Economic development has to be localized for Destin and a plan created for Destin,” said Shane Moody, president and CEO of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce. “We want Okaloosa County to stay on the map as well, but when small, high-tech businesses are looking for a place to locate, we want them to think about Destin.”

The chamber-formed working group would be comprised of representatives from the chamber, the city, the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County and business partners.

Moody said that job-creating partnerships between cities and chambers are nothing new, but is indicative of a trend that is taking shape all over the country in communities such Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C. More here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Szatan tells Missoula how to 'stay on the island' to attract businesses

Jerry Szatan isn’t a big fan of the reality TV competition “Survivor.”

But when it comes to explaining how cities like Missoula can be successful in attracting new companies, Szatan can’t help but bring up the show.

To win, “you have to stay on the island,” Szatan said.

As a national site selection consultant, it’s Szatan’s job to help companies find the best spots to start, expand or relocate. He explained his process Friday to a group of Missoula businesspeople, sharing his thoughts on how they could be on his clients’ lists of finalists. More here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Regional rebranding

Nothing against Hernando County, but when it comes to marketing the airport, Economic Development Manager Mike McHugh said he would have better success if the name Tampa was in the title.

The Hernando County Airport may be well-known to people here, but business interests around the nation have no idea where Brooksville and environs are located, he said. More here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Top 5 Resources of Location Information

Corporate location executives who are subscribers to Business Facilities Magazine and the Business Facilities Headline eNewsletter were surveyed about where they acquire information when making a location decision.  The results were:
  1. Internet (63%)
  2. Magazines (47%)
  3. Economic Development Agencies (45%)
  4. Consultant (42%)
  5. Referrals from Associates (38%)
The findings suggest that a multi-channel marketing effort is essential when promoting your location to site selectors. And, while online sources have grown in importance, traditional sources like print and face-to-face are still key resources for location information. 

Source: Business Facilities second annual Economic Development Marketing Survey: “How Executives Use Media During a Site Search”, 2012.

5 Best Content Ideas for Site Selection Consultant E-Newlsetters

E-newsletters continue to be a cost-effective, efficient way to communicate with site selection professionals. To improve open rates and organizational credibility, deliver high value content. Among the topics of greatest interest:
  1. Location information and project descriptions
  2. Deals and incentives packages
  3. Economic statistics
  4. Trends
  5. Market Data – size, growth, etc.
Source: Business Facilities second annual Economic Development Marketing Survey: “How Executives Use Media During a Site Search, 2012.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"We're Getting Outhustled" Says Dothan Mayor

by: Lance Griffin | Dothan Eagle

Dothan Mayor sat at a conference table three weeks ago and proclaimed that “we’re getting outhustled.”

He didn’t mean outworked. Schmitz and other area leaders have had the ear of scores of regional, national and foreign business executives over the past few years. Many of them come to Dothan. The vast majority of them like Dothan and the people.

But eventually it comes down to the deal, the hustle.

“In today’s competitive market, other communities and cities are putting deals out there that we just can't,” Schmitz said. “We need to get ahead of the curve. It is important to sell our community, our quality of life and everything that goes along with it, but it does come down to incentives at some time.”

Schmitz wants to find $1 million per year for an economic development fund for the purpose of recruiting new industry to the Wiregrass. He said the state’s budget struggles place more responsibility on cities now more than ever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

City leaders along I-55 form new economic development group

As industrial site selectors are taking a more regional approach when looking for locations, Southeast Missouri communities are making an effort to market themselves as a region.

"In this global economy, you've got to act regionally and that's what we're doing," said Perry County Economic Development Authority director Scott Sattler, a member of the new Interstate 55 Corridor Group.

The group has members from Sikeston, Scott City, Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Perryville as well as Perry, Cape Girardeau and Scott counties.

"It's still in its infancy," Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger said. "We've come together and had one meeting. We have no specific plans or marketing thoughts together yet."

The joint effort will not infringe on or supersede any local plans of any of the member communities, he said. More here

Chambers of commerce agree to cooperate

Chambers in Shelby County Tennessee signed a memorandum of understanding to not to invade each other's territory in pursuit of economic development.The Greater Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Arlington, Millington and Arlington chambers are participating. More here.

RI gov seeks 'back-to-basics' economic development

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee met Thursday with government and private-sector leaders to present his vision for a ‘‘back-to-basics’’ approach to economic development following the collapse of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s video game company.

Chafee convened the roomful of officials — ranging from the head of the state AFL-CIO to an executive at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce — in an attempt to put new life into lifting the state’s sagging economy and efforts to improve a business climate that is consistently given low marks.

Rhode Island has struggled with the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, now at 10.7 percent. More here.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Great Lakes neighbors bet on wet

By Rod Kackley

Michigan's more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline -- combined with all of its rivers, streams and inland lakes -- hold the potential to wash the rust off the state.

In neighboring Wisconsin and Ontario, that potential is starting to be realized for this "blue economy," where water is the fuel for economic development.

For now, Michigan trails both. More here.

What Site Selectors Like in Websites

Jay Garner of Garner Economics offered this list of of information site selectors want to see on an economic development website.  

•Contact info on how to reach a human
•Functional navigation
•Maps that show your geography
•The value proposition of your community/region, e.g. costs
•Transportation assets
•Sites and building database that is current
•Current labor, employer, demographic and economic data, especially if you are a contrived region that is not part of an MSA or CSA
•Info on community colleges, higher ED, career pathways and technical schools, and related curriculum that differentiates you
•Info on your community or region that we can’t find elsewhere, e.g. plant closings
•Targeted industries and the business case on why
•Incentive data
•Quality of place data

Contact Garner at

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Florida making major strides in economic development


SANDESTIN — Florida’s secretary of commerce says the state has gone from the minor leagues of economic development to the major league.

Gray Swoope, the secretary of commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida — the state’s principal economic development organization — says the state has made major strides the past two years to improve economic development.

“Florida had and still has good economic developers in place, but what had happened was the structure failed,” Swoope said. “There was just a total disconnect. When Gov. Scott came in, he put the pieces together. It’s still a hard process, but if you have the right people in place, you have the right attitude in place, you can move forward and make things happen.”

Swoope stressed the importance of regionalism in the success of economic development. He compared it to what he called the bear strategy, which is to make yourself appear bigger than you actually are if you are attacked by a bear.

“If you look at all those assets that this region offers and you start marketing together as one, then there’s nobody who can compete with you,” Swoope said. “You have everything from universities to land to buildings, professional economic developers, counties that are pro-business. There’s nobody that can touch you.” More here.

New name, new strategic focus for Chamber and EDC

RICH LADEN, The Gazette

The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC has changed its identity: Starting Thursday, the organization has rebranded itself as the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

The new name, along with a new logo and strategic focus, is the latest change for the organization after a merger in February of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp.

Read more:

Year after Collier economic council folded, county-chamber partnership takes shape


— Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, Collier County's new strategy for growing jobs is falling into place piece by piece.

It's a strategy that has unfolded over the last year since the county's Economic Development Council went out of business, following a firestorm of criticism about the public-private partnership whose longtime mission was to diversify the local economy and create high-paying jobs.

The council's last day of business was Sept. 30 of last year, the end of its fiscal year. The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce scrambled to pick up some of the pieces, continuing programs that recognize local businesses and help them grow. More here.

Gulf Coast reaping benefits of Airbus-fueled economic development explosion

As what may be the world's fourth-largest aerospace corridor prepares for unprecedented growth, Mobile and Baldwin counties lie at the heart of an anticipated economic development explosion that could easily stretch 300 miles in radius.

Spanning Interstate 10 from Panama City to New Orleans, the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor's direct employment outpaced the sector's national growth between 2005 and 2010, and Alabama's growth alone increased 20 percent during that period to more than 23,000 jobs.

And with more than 33,500 acres available -- and advertised -- for development across Alabama's coastal counties, aerospace leaders are confident the upward trend will only continue to increase as Airbus prepares to build a $600 million final assembly line at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile. More here.

$10 Million Economic Development Fund For Brevard

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast is pleased to announce that it has developed an economic development incentive fund designed to assist in expanding existing Brevard County high-tech and manufacturing businesses and attracting new businesses to the Space Coast.

This fund, supported by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, will supplement existing state and local economic development incentives to increase Brevard County’s competitiveness in economic development projects, while further mitigating the job loss and economic impact of the space shuttle program retirement.

“This fund provides us with an economic development tool that supplements our competitive advantages, including our highly skilled workforce and pro-business environment,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “The incentive program is designed to be the final push that influences a company’s decision to locate or expand in Brevard County, further diversifying our economy and moving the Space Coast beyond the shuttle era.” More here.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

University partners with Lee, Collier groups to spur growth

Economic development leaders from Lee and Collier counties have formed an alliance with FGCU to better attract and grow businesses in Southwest Florida.

This past week, representatives from the Horizon Council, Lee’s public/private economic development partnership; the economic development arm of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce; and FGCU signed a memorandum of understanding they will work together in the alliance.

Jim Moore, director of Lee County’s Economic Development Office, said there was momentum for a regional alliance for economic development about 5-6 years ago, but it lost focus amid the economic downturn. Lee’s Economic Development office is a county government agency, but provides staffing for the public/private Horizon Council.

“I’ve always been a big believer in regionalism and, in Southwest Florida, you cannot have a regional effort without Lee and Collier coming together,” Moore said. “When site selectors or business executives are looking for a place to do business, political boundaries don’t matter. They look at resources on a regional basis.” More here.

Chamber, Link will go separate ways by 2014

Carmen K. Sisson

By next month, the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link will exist only in the annals of local history, a fact which has left many to wonder what will happen to the Chamber of Commerce once the economic development portion of the Link is folded into a new tri-county regional partnership between Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay counties.

The short answer is: Nothing, for a while. The Chamber of Commerce, and all its initiatives, will continue to function under the leadership of Chamber Vice President Macaulay Whitaker for the next two years while a plan is created for the organization's structure, funding and future.

The long answer is a bit more complicated, with many details still undetermined. 

Read more:

Wichita Chamber, GWEDC launch $9 million fundraising, leadership campaign.

 , Web producer- Wichita Business Journal

The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and its economic-development partner are embarking on a new fundraising campaign and leadership development effort, both with the long-term goal of ensuring that Wichita is among the top 25 percent of metropolitan areas nationwide for economic performance.

The Chamber and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition announced the Business at Full Throttle leadership campaign for economic development on Thursday.

The campaign aims to raise $9 million to sustain GWEDC for the next five years and to fund a new Chamber leadership council. The council, made up of CEOs from the private and public sectors, will work to eliminate barriers to economic development and capitalize on opportunities. More here.

DCI Accepting "40 Under 40" Nominations

Development Counsellors International has launched economic development's first ever 40 under 40 competition.

They're looking for deal closers, job creators, investment attractors and marketing extraordinaires under the age of forty. If you know someone who would be a good candidate, including yourself if you're under forty, please go to to nominate him/her. 

Nominees will be reviewed by a stellar group of six thought leaders in the profession. Click here to see who's on the selection committee and learn a bit more about them.  

DCI will be accepting nominations through Oct. 31, 2012 and will be announcing winners at IEDC's Leadership Summit in Orlando in January. 

Nominate your candidate today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Marketing campaign promotes Wisconsin’s business climate

Written by Staff on September 26, 2012.

MADISON — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Wednesday unveiled its marketing initiative to brand Wisconsin’s business climate and promote the benefits of starting, expanding or locating a business in Wisconsin.

An integrated marketing campaign introducing the “In Wisconsin” brand launches next week in key business-focused media featuring five world-class Wisconsin companies that have set standards in their industries through innovation and leadership. More here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Economic development agency moves with high aspirations

By Thomas Bailey Jr.

The president of the Memphis & Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) grunts slightly — "Uhh" — on this Friday afternoon as he lifts yet another box from the floor to his new desk.

Reid Dulberger opens the boxes, labeled "Reid's," and pulls out all kinds of office and desk stuff, including stacks of business cards, a hair brush, a framed photo of his son, years' worth of minutes from old industrial development board meetings, and the framed certificate declaring Dulberger is a certified economic developer.

It's moving day for the fledgling five-person EDGE staff, who have finally left temporary office space donated by Boyle Investment Co. in East Memphis.

EDGE opens for business Monday morning on the edge: The south side of Downtown's core, high-rise buildings. More here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Building a Community Brand

This article from IEDC covers the basic elements of building a brand: from who to target, with what message, establishing your order of priorities, and a few keys to budgeting and measurement. The authors provide economic development professionals with the initial tools needed to identify their community’s unique advantage and the best alternative to achieving the community brand they desire. Article here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

St. Johns County starts to market itself overseas

JACKSONVILLE — Officials in St. Johns County intend to start marketing the county to foreign companies looking for a U.S. East Coast hub.

The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce is developing a new group, called the Economic Development Council International Delegation, that will target small to medium foreign companies in countries in Europe, Central America and South America and also in Canada, and in certain industries such as light industrial, manufacturing, information technology and financial services, said Norm Gregory, vice president of economic development. More here.

Chamber leaders not surprised by competitiveness study

 by Doug Walker, Associate Editor

Greater Rome economic development officials have their work cut out for them, according to a competitive assessment of the community by consultants from Market Street Services.

“Greater Rome has a number of complex challenges to conquer to realize its vision,” reads the report, which is available in full at

The competitive assessment offers a detailed analysis of the state of Greater Rome’s competitive position, regional economy, demographic and socioeconomic dynamics, talent base and quality of life for residents and visitors.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bangor seeks to market its brand

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor is no Fortune 500 company, and Tanya Pereira is no Bill Gates, but Bangor’s business development specialist is borrowing philosophies and strategies from both in her quest to elevate Bangor’s visibility.

The first sentence in Pereira’s 2012 economic development marketing plan for the city, which she presented to the Bangor City Council’s business and economic development committee Tuesday afternoon, illustrates her approach.

“Economic development marketing in the city of Bangor is overdue for updating and refreshing,” she wrote.
The six-page synopsis uses many words and phrases familiar in corporate America — such as “comprehensive marketing, entrepreneurs, product improvement, brand” — and refers to Bangor as “the product.”

The effort, which has been under way for several months, is being made to elevate Bangor’s visibility statewide and beyond, but also to re-create a brand for the city. More here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Officials look to coordinate economic development efforts

Chamber officials scouting Airbus suppliers, success stories at Berlin air show

BERLIN, Germany - Troy Wayman knew Mobile had truly arrived at the ILA Berlin Air Show when a random German aerospace vendor made the instantaneous connection between the port city and her ambassador's trek halfway around the world.

Wayman, vice president of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, said when he and the chamber's economic development director, Claudia Zimmermann, told the man they were from Mobile, he instantly smiled and said, "Ah, Airbus. You have a lot of nice things happening. It must be great."

What's great, Wayman told the Press-Register by phone Wednesday, is that the international business community is already associating Airbus with Mobile. The European planemaker unveiled plans July 2 to construct a $600 million aircraft assembly plant at Brookley Aeroplex that's expected to create more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs when the first planes are delivered in 2016. More here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Whitley County creates marketing campaign to draw in medical packaging business

In the hope of bringing in more medical packaging companies into the northeast Indiana area, the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) recently announced that it has developed a marketing campaign to bolster business growth.

The EDC is working with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP), and the initiative includes many outreach methods to attract medical packaging firms and encourage them to establish facilities in the area. Officials for both the EDC and NEIRP say these businesses could provide many benefits for the region, but they can also take advantage of the resources that the northeastern part of the state offers. Medical packaging companies could save time and money by moving to Whitley County and the surrounding communities.

"The Northeast Indiana region is gaining attention on a national scale for its efforts to strengthen the business climate of the region through collaboration," said John Sampson, NEIRP president and CEO. "The addition of packaging operations to an already robust medical device sector would help to complete the total package offering that the region can provide for companies across the United States and beyond."

EDC plan focuses on three R's of economic development

By Carlton Fletcher (974)

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is venturing into uncharted waters in its attempt to get back to the basics of job creation and industry retention and expansion in the area.

And in doing so, EDC officials plan to utilize the tried and true "three R's" of economic development: recruitment, retention and renewal.

"It's just like in eduction, they rely on their three R's: reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic," EDC Executive Director Ted Clem said. "As we've worked to put together a strategic plan, we've kept the three R's of economic development in mind in a back-to-basics approach. More here.

Calgary targeting Ireland and Scotland for potential workers

CALGARY — Calgary Economic Development is reaching out to Ireland and Scotland to attract potential workers to the city, the Herald has learned.

Mary Moran, vice-president of marketing and communications for CED, said the organization for the first time will be launching its Be Part of the Energy campaign internationally in the fall.

“Where we’re spending most of our attention and effort is around our Ireland and Scotland people attraction mission which includes job fairs. We’re in the recruitment process right now of getting companies on board,” said Moran.

“Our strategy is to have an own-the-market approach,” said Moran. “So we’ve been working with people in Ireland for quite some time to get Calgary better exposure than some of the other jurisdictions that are going.” More here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cities Have Long Been Skeptical of Economic Development Spending

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Read about it here.

For $50,000, Flagler County Hires Marketing Firm

The Flagler County (FL) Commission has approved a $50,000 contract with Orlando-based Solodev, a marketing and web-design firm that pledges to launch the county’s revamped economic development website by January 2013.

The county created a $450,000-a-year economic development department last year and hired its executive director–Helga van Eckert, formerly of Perth Amboy, N.J.–in January, with a nine-member advisory council, to bring jobs to the county. More here.

Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States

The latest Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States study, now in its ninth year,was released last month. Here's the Top Ten:
2012 Top 10 Pro Business Rankings
1 Utah 6 Nebraska
2 Virginia 7 South Dakota
3 Wyoming 8 Kansas
4 North Dakota 9 Missouri
5 Indiana 10 Oklahoma

More here.


As we see it, Council should be certain about marketing firm hire

There are some useful questions place marketers should be prepared to answer when presenting marketing plans to the public. - Ed.

Hudson City Council members are divided over whether the city should invest $254,000 over three years in a marketing firm to brand and promote the city. We side with the members who have expressed reservations about the investment.

The city's economic development department, led by Economic Development Director Chuck Wiedie, has already proven itself capable by streamlining the city's approval process to make it more welcoming for developers. It would seem the next logical project for this department would be to brand and promote the city to interested businesses.

If the city is willing to give an outside marketing firm three years on this project, couldn't it show the same amount of patience with its own department, which is responsible for engaging existing businesses and welcoming new ones?

Would a marketing firm do that much better than city staff? How soon would the city see a return on the investment? If the city is able to attract businesses, how much could be credited to the marketing firm and how much to the recent efforts of the city and volunteers in the community? Council recently put off roadwork in part because of financial concerns. Would taxpayers consider hiring a marketing firm a greater investment than fixing roads?

As we see it, Council should be confident that all the questions related to hiring a marketing firm are fully answered before making a three-year, $254,000 commitment.

Rival host cities of RNC, DNC vie for economic Holy Grail: more jobs

By Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Tampa Bay and Charlotte often become archrivals when businesses are looking to relocate, expand and — today's Economic Holy Grail — bring new jobs to employment-hungry cities.

The two southeastern metro areas are also the 2012 host cities for national political conventions. After a blustery start, Tampa just rolled out the red carpet for this week's Republican National Convention. Charlotte's home to the Democratic National Convention, which begins next week.

Business and economic development leaders in both cities are pursuing aggressive plans to capture the attention of some of the tens of thousands of attendees, many of them influential business executives. The common goal: to present host cities in a favorable and dynamic light in hopes of recruiting (or at least acquainting) new business considering expansion.

Tampa Bay versus Charlotte: Who has the smarter economic development strategy? What can each learn from the other? More here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Council questions marketing, economic development budgets

Here's an interesting twist-Pensacola outsources marketing to a private PR firm for $1.2 million annually.  More here.

Longmont to target Northern California companies

By Tony Kindelspire Longmont Times-Call

The Longmont Area Economic Council is launching a new direct marketing campaign to get company executives in Northern California to think about Longmont when it's time for them to expand or relocate.

The LAEC's board of directors got its first look Monday at a draft of the campaign's first email, which is expected to be sent out this month. The emails will be sent to 11,000 contacts at 1,600 companies in Northern California in targeted industries the LAEC wants to pursue.

"The primary goal of this email campaign is to introduce Longmont to these companies," said Ryan Schaul, managing partner with Colorado Springs-based Cukjati Design, a brand development and marketing firm hired by the LAEC. Pronounced "shoe-cotti," the firm is the same one used by the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., which has used direct email marketing for several years.  More here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chamber to announce new development alliance

The Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce is preparing to announce some big changes in its role in economic development.

A new, autonomous board will lead the job-creating efforts in this community. It's name is the Economic Development Alliance of Fayetteville and Cumberland County, North Carolina - or the Alliance, for short - led by outgoing chamber board Chairman Chris Bostock of Merrill Lynch.

The chamber still has policy-making and fiduciary responsibilities for economic development, but the Alliance will be similar to a separate division of the organization, said chamber President Doug Peters.

At the same time, the chamber will return to its traditional roots. More here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tulsa County seeks fund to attract, assist potential employers

A deal closing fund is needed to be more competitive with what other cities are offering to companies will take jobs from Tulsa to their communities, the senior vice president for economic development at the Tulsa Metro Chamber says.More here.

Indiana county works to attract medical packaging business

Following the completion of industry market research, the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has launched an intensive and targeted initiative to attract and develop a new medical-focused packaging concentration for the region.

"Regional market research confirmed that Whitley County is well-positioned for the development of a medical device and disposable-centered packaging concentration," said Alan Tio, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. "

In concert with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation now plans to conduct an intensive outreach effort to establish a new concentration of packaging capabilities to support the array of full-service medical and other manufacturing companies. More here.

Norfolk Southern Highlights Economic Development In New Television Ad

Norfolk Southern has launched a new television commercial that showcases the railroad’s role as a creator of economic possibilities – a powerful force for growth among the industries and communities served by the line.

City of Possibilities” begins airing Monday in 30- and 60-second versions on CNN, Fox News, and other channels. It will run during the Republican and Democratic national conventions and through the presidential election in November, appearing as well in event sponsorships at the convention sites in Tampa Bay and Charlotte, and in various digital venues.

The spot is a whimsical portrayal of a boy and his dog, and the steady growth of a railroad-served community that springs up while they sleep.

In the last decade, NS has participated in the location and expansion of more than 1,000 factories, distribution facilities, and other businesses along its lines, representing an investment by NS customers of $30 billion and some 46,000 jobs. More here.

Should California economic development go for gold, or set stage for jobs?

Whether California's economy is broken, merely hobbled or on the road to recovery is a matter of debate, but one area in which state government has clearly failed is economic development.

Now, a California  has put together what he calls "Gold Team California" to aggressively solicit out-of-state companies to move to California. More here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crafty Americans are trying to woo corporate headquarters away from Toronto

Office space in Toronto is in high demand—and is therefore expensive—which means some companies may succumb to the pull of cheaper digs in the U.S. More here.

Hamilton video extols the virtues of going Toronto-free

Trying to appeal to the tired commuter, Hamilton’s Economic Development office has commissioned a short animated video as a marketing tool to encourage businesses to invest in Hamilton.

The “Wake Up From Your Commuting Nightmare” video, which runs about two minutes, was designed to promote living and working in Hamilton as a viable alternative to Toronto and neighbouring cities. More here.

Marketing plan showcasing Grand Forks

The first phase of a marketing plan is underway to showcase what Grand Forks, N.D., has to offer for companies looking to do business in the west, but expand east.

The community — public and private entities — raised $130,000 for the marketing campaign, which is expected to run for at least two years. This campaign includes placing ads in specific oil industry trade publications, talking to direct contacts made at the conference, a mix of public relations, news coverage, radio and billboards. More here

Pure Michigan: Branding the Great Lakes state for 6 years

Many are unfamiliar with how Pure Michigan became one of the biggest travel campaigns in the U.S., one that has generated more than $1 billion, bolstered The Great Lakes State’s image across America and helped sell the idea that Michigan isn’t just a destination but also a state of mind.

Recently, the brand was extended to business attraction efforts.  Read more here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Midwest cities get smart about economic development

For cities, economic development is not a zero-sum game. Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary, Ind. are joining forces to drive growth. More here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alabama Airbus Plant Shows Fierce Competition Among States

The state of Georgia has placed a large focus on recruiting aerospace investment.  The Peach State already hosts more than 500 industry-related companies employing more than 85,000 workers,  according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

State officials there are wondering what's next for them as other states in the Southeast see the potential benefits of investment by the aerospace industry, which often brings both high-paying jobs and multi-million dollar facilities.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley recently announced Airbus' planned construction of the $600 million aircraft manufacturing and service facility in Mobile, Ala.

The Airbus facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile will be the company’s first U.S.-based production facility and is expected to create up to 1,000 jobs when it reaches full capacity, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

To secure the Airbus deal the state provided incentives valued at more than $158 million over the next five years from local and state development agencies as well as the Mobile Airport Authority. Airbus will also be receiving services valued at more than $51 million over a several-year period through the Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) program. More here.

NM Partnership focuses on building aerospace, defense and tech

Reporter- New Mexico Business Weekly
New Mexico’s economic development marketing arm will focus on trying to lure a host of companies to the state in the coming year, including aerospace, defense and technology commercialization firms, the organization’s president said.

The New Mexico Partnership will also seek out energy and natural resources and logistics, distribution and transportation companies, Partnership President Steve Vierck said. More here.

California Governor signs measure to aid and attract companies

California is beefing up its economic development marketing efforts.  
The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-Biz, is California's strongest effort to attract new companies and support existing businesses since the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency was shuttered in 2003 under Gov. Gray Davis. 

According to a GO-Biz news release, there is a first time allocation of $3.75 million. That should provide about 28 employees focused on the attraction, retention and expansion of businesses, international trade, small-business assistance, permit streamlining and more. More here.

Iowa counties compete for development

Adjoining counties in Iowa find themselves in competition with each other to to land a proposed $1.3 billion fertilizer plant. More here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Planning event focused on area’s untapped marketing potential

By Emily Ford

SALISBURY — Out of the eight counties in Tammy Whaley’s territory, Rowan County is drawing more interest from companies than nearly any other, said the economic development manager for Duke Energy.

“Rowan County is one of the top most active counties,” said Whaley, who helps companies find places to expand or relocate.

Whaley’s assessment came as welcome news to business and nonprofit leaders gathered Wednesday for a strategic planning event hosted by RowanWorks Economic Development.

But to help seal the deal and lure those potential job-creators and tax-base boosters, local organizations need to do a better job of marketing the Salisbury-Rowan area, participants said. More here.

Out-of-state firm to market cities

A South Carolina urban planning firm has been chosen to help two Maine communities with its marketing efforts. 

Arnett Muldrow & Associates, based in Greenville, S.C., will create a logo and an advertising message.
The firm was chosen because it has extensive experience in branding communities all across the United States.

Not everyone thought the decision to hire an out-of-state firm was a good one. A local marketing firm objected.  “We live and work here and we support other local businesses,” a representative said.  “Why wouldn’t they even consider a local company and bring us in to talk about the branding and what our thoughts are? There is talent here. You don’t have to go out of state.” More here.

Beaufort County staring at match point when it comes to economic development

When life is fair, Beaufort County officials will take a lesson from the current tennis matches in Wimbledon as it applies to the ongoing economic development strategy for the county, it is game, set and match.

Game loss came after the failed purchase of the Beaufort Commerce Park drove the original organization, the Lowcountry Economic Network, into bankruptcy. As the saying goes timing is everything, even if the park was better located, say directly on Interstate 95, the real estate market was crashing and not many businesses were looking to relocate or invest a lot of money to do. However, being located off the interstate, with no viable rail transportation or for that matter lack of public transportation, it was a questionable purchase at best.

Set occurred after fooling no one by recreating themselves under a new name, the Lowcountry Economic Alliance; they attempted to continue their efforts with no discernible, measurable results but with a newly joined partner in Jasper County, thus qualifying for additional state funding as a multi-county organization pursuing Economic Development within a geographically defined region. More here.

Rock County groups hope to spur job growth with marketing plan

Rock County (WI) launched an “unprecedented level” of marketing and public relations aimed at creating local jobs last week

Money for the campaign comes from Rock 5.0. Implementation will be through the Rock County Development Alliance. Rock County 5.0 is a public-private organization designed to build economic development collaboration, communication and connections to benefit the county.

The Rock County Development Alliance partners with the cities of Janesville and Beloit, Rock County, Forward Janesville and Alliant Energy.

The marketing and public relations campaign will “get the word out” about Rock County to business and industry decision makers in the Chicago area. It will run through the summer and into early fall using print, digital media, billboards and bus wraps, for example. More here

City looking to market its image, brand to out-of-towners

The city of Milan needs a new brand, an image on which it can build campaigns to promote itself to the outside world, officials said.

But recognizing the city can't do it alone, one member of the City Council wants to reach out to other local groups to see if there is interest in a more broad-based effort. To that end, the council gave its blessing to Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Armitage to recruit others in making a new image for the city. More here.

Tri-County development needs 'dramatic change'

The changes include the launch of a regional economic development strategy; the wholesale reorganization of the Economic Development Council; an integration of economic and work-force development efforts; a simplification of the Heartland Partnership's governance; and a merging of work done by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, the Illinois River Valley Council of Governments and overall economic development efforts. More here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What’s in a name? Image is everything when it comes to slogans

Pleasing everyone: can be an insurmountable challenge when creating brands and taglines for towns.

After hiring  a consultant to develop a new slogan for their town, Highlands, North Carolina discovereda new tagline wasn’t something they either wanted or needed

The marketing consultant tried to convince Highlands’ leaders that the town had an upgraded image and needed a new slogan to match. Their recommendation — “Simply Stunning” — was rejected, however, in favor of no tagline at all.  More here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In rare move, latest Atlanta economic development victory didn't require incentives

Why can't we see more stories like this?  State Farm to expand, create 500 new jobs in metro Atlanta without the use of incentives.  More here.

Oklahoma economic development agencies find common ground at BIO in Boston

Oklahoma economic developers travel 1600 miles to find new collaboration possibilities at BIO show in Boston.  More here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Iowa governor warns California: We are coming to take your jobs

From Area Development: Every year that California has budget trouble -- basically the last 10 -- another state licks its lips and boasts how it will reap the benefits as businesses and residents flee the Golden State. These poachers are usually more conservative southwestern states like Arizona or longtime California rival Texas. So, um, add Iowa to the list.  More here.

4 economic development agencies partner on D.C. marketing effort

Economic development authorities for Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties are partnering together to launch a marketing initiative targeting the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The Western Potomac Economic Partnership, or WestPEP, announced June 14 that the marketing effort will consist of several elements all with the same goal of wooing business and industry to the state.

In June, WestPEP posters highlighting advantages to doing business in the Eastern Panhandle will be featured in hundreds of DCMetro rail cars. A series of events coordinated with the Washington Business Journal will be sponsored by WestPEP, including the Journal's annual "Best Places to Work" awards breakfast, and the "Top CEO" awards luncheon. Special events also are planned for educating the commercial and industrial real estate brokers, consultants and developers about the Panhandle's close proximity and easy access to the Greater Washington Metro area.

"Our message is clear. We are an important part of the Washington, D.C., market, and your business will thrive here, without the costs and constraints of more densely developed regions around the beltway," Stephen Christian, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority, said in a news release. "We are coordinating a campaign through events, advertising, and web-based outreach that should begin to put the Eastern Panhandle on the radar for any organization looking to move or expand in the Greater Washington Capital Region." More here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Group director preaches on a balanced marketing approach

The quarterly meeting of the Flagler Beach (Florida) Chamber of Commerce featured a presentation by Helga van Eckert, director of the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity, on the county's economic development efforts.

Van Eckert reviewed current economic conditions in the county and and the reasons why Flagler County needs to focus its efforts in attracting new business development and job growth.

Van Eckert pointed out that the county has a lot of catching up to do to improve its 11.7 percent unemployment rate.

Van Eckert was quoted as saying an economic development strategy has to be comprehensive and address the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the county. More here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fort Wayne marketing campaign aims to educate local businesses on foreign trade

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance is launching a marketing initiative with the goal of educating local businesses and organizations about the benefits of foreign trade.

According to the Journal Gazette, the alliance will be sending small wooden trains, airplanes, ships and tractor-trailer rigs to companies in Fort Wayne and the surrounding counties. The businesses will also be receiving fact sheets listing the advantages of the foreign-trade zone designation, such as increased revenue and job creation. More here.

From the Creative Department

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Push/Pull of Personal and Corporate Branding Requires Balance

As the use of social media increases, there is a growing need to balance your personal brand with the corporate one. 

For instance, as the leader of an economic development organization, you may be a “free agent” that needs to maintain a strong personal brand to become noticeable to future employers.  You need to demonstrate your experience, competencies and value. Your professional image and reputation are important. 

On the other hand, too much emphasis on your personal brand could get you labeled as someone who is not a team player.  Your current employer, especially, wants to know you are concerned about organizational and community results, not just your personal interests.  Too much emphasis on the corporate brand though, can leave you unprepared to take advantage of new opportunities. 

Because of these conflicting interests, striking a balance can be difficult.  It takes care and a diligent effort to make it work for you and your employer.

Social media in particular, has helped demonstrate the need for balance between personal and corporate branding.  Social is a tremendous tool for community marketing and engagement.  Those Facebook pictures from your college frat party however, can seriously impede the credibility of your organization’s efforts. 

If you're on the staff of an EDO, your first duty is to your employer.  Don’t spend their time building your personal brand.   There is value though, in the EDO finding ways to attract those with strong personal brands. They can impact the community’s reputation and results.

What do you think? How do ED pros balance career and organizational interests? What issues do you see?  Are there those who have done a particularly good job at balancing the two?  We’d love to have your comments.