2017 40 Under 40 Winners
The wait is over: Introducing a carefully selected group of young leaders within the economic development field that aren’t afraid to disrupt industry standards and always raise the bar for achieving community prosperity. Scroll over each winner to view professional and contact information, and stay tuned as we roll out unique profile pages—including their coveted #econdev career advice—throughout the year!
There’s a striking similarity between navigating the wind and waves on Lake Michigan and piloting accelerated employment efforts for Southwest Michigan First, according to Associate Vice President Joe Agostinelli.
“From the high seas to the conference room, it’s my instincts that allow me to steer the course confidently during times of low visibility and uncertainty,” he says, “to ultimately lead my team across the finish line.”
When Joe isn’t directing a sailboat or collaborating with his team in the Michigan office, you can likely find him on a long-distance run or building furniture for this wife Susan and kids Nicholas and Grace.#ECONDEV ADVICE: Be a sponge -@JoeAgostinelli #DCI40Under40 Click & Tweet!
Ed Burghard, Founder, The Strengthening Brand America Project
Ed is the nation’s watchdog for Brand America. He started the Strengthening Brand America Project with a belief that teaching economic development professionals to more effectively use community branding would in aggregate help make Brand America more globally competitive.
Hi Strengthening Brand America blog provides coaching on a) the role of branding in community strategy development/deployment, b) how to lead diverse teams for breakthrough results, and c) managing a community’s brand image and identity.
Ed believes the ultimate success measure for both communities and Brand America is enabling residents to achieve their American Dream. In partnership with Xavier University, Ed provides insights into both the nature and health of the American Dream. Annually, he publishes a unique report ranking both state and major MSA performance based on resident perception of their degree of American Dream attainment.
Ed spent 35 years sharpening his branding skills at Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s preeminent branding companies, where he earned the distinguished title of Harley Procter Marketer in recognition for his expertise. Ed also led the development of the Ohio brand playing a key role in the state earning the annual Site Selection Governor’s Cup Award in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Cathy Chambers, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, JAXUSA Partnership
Cathy has over 20 years of experience working for Chambers of Commerce, regional economic development organizations and city government in both Jacksonville and Cincinnati. In her role with JAXUSA, Cathy recruits high-wage jobs and private capital investment to Northeast Florida.
Focused on growing the financial services industry, Cathy has helped recruit more than 11,000 jobs to Jacksonville, including projects with Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Fidelity National Financial, Macquarie Group, Fidelity Investments and Adecco. Cathy also oversees the Partnership’s strategic planning, marketing and research initiatives and coordinates partner activities for the seven-county Northeast Florida region.
Cathy currently serves on several state and local Boards, including her role as Vice Chair of Finance for the Florida Economic Development Council. She also serves on the Visit Jacksonville Board and is an Advisory Council member for the North Florida chapter of the Urban Land Institute.
Cathy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Miami University (OH) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Xavier University. She is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council and is an active member of CoreNet Global and the International Economic Development Council.
Chris Chung, CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
In 2015, Christopher Chung joined the new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as Chief Executive Officer, bringing more than 17 years of economic development experience at the state level.
As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC is responsible for a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports, and film promotion. With a staff of more than 60 professionals and an annual operating budget of $19 million, the EDPNC is focused on advancing the economic interests of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 10 million residents.
Chris attended The Ohio State University (OSU), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double-major in Japanese and economics. He and his wife Emily reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Todd Jorgenson, Managing Partner & Principal, Jorgenson Consulting, Inc.
Todd Jorgenson serves as Managing Partner and Principal of Jorgenson Consulting, Inc. Todd specializes in executive searches for nonprofit, community and economic development entities throughout the United States. Since 2002, Todd has worked closely with Joan Jorgenson to grow JCI into a dynamic executive search firm with offices in Colorado, Maryland and North Carolina.
Todd’s experience includes non-profit executive searches, information technology searches, executive compensation, sales operation management, business development and sales.
Todd began his career recruiting software engineers from the Department of Defense and National Security agencies to work on classified government contractor projects. Todd also worked in the field of information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, working for successful technology based companies like U.S. Robotics, 3Com and Universal Access. Todd’s experience ranges from business development to running the Middle East and Africa sale operations out of Paris, France.
Todd has a communications degree from Jacksonville University and is currently a member of the International Economic Development Council, American Chamber of Commerce Executive and International Downtown Association.
Kathy Mussio, Managing Partner, Atlas Insight
Kathy has almost 25 years of combined experience as a management, incentive and site selection consultant. She is widely considered an industry expert in the site selection and incentive negotiation business. Her consulting career has focused on securing incentives for various projects as well as helping site selection clients to select optimal locations for expansion projects.
Kathy has conducted successful negotiations for some of the world’s largest corporations. While the majority of Atlas’ clients are companies in the Fortune 500, Kathy has also assisted small to mid-sized companies with projects in various industries.
Kathy has an expertise in working on highly complex real estate development projects, including working with New Markets Tax Credits, Brownfield Tax Credits and various other land use entitlements.
Kathy is a reliable opinion source for trade publications and AP stories and has been a frequent guest of state governments to assist with development of strategic plans to attract business investment. Kathy has also written numerous expert articles for international publications.
Kathy holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from New York University.
Zach Patton, Executive Editor, Governing Magazine
Zach Patton is the Executive Editor of Governing magazine. He joined the magazine as a staff writer in 2004, and has received accolades for his writing, including the 2011 Jesse H. Neal Award for Outstanding Journalism for his story on economic cutbacks in Colorado Springs and other cities. He has been a Governing editor since 2010. Prior to his time at Governing, Zach covered Congressional politics for National Journal’s CongressDaily, and helped produce National Journal’s Almanac of American Politics. A native of Tennessee, Zach is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Development Counsellors International’s “40 Under 40” Award?
DCI’s 40 Under 40 is a list of 40 people who have achieved success in economic development before turning 40 years old.
Who’s eligible to win?
Candidates must be 40 years or age or under 40 years old as of January 1, 2017.
Can former 40 Under 40 winners be nominated again?
Yes, as long as they are under 40 years old or younger as of January 1, 2017.
When is the nomination deadline?
Nominations must be filled in completely and submitted by October 15, 2016.
Will the judges know who filled out a form?
No. Judges will not know who nominated who, they will just see the name of the nominee.
Can a person self-nominate?
Yes, a nominee can either self-nominate or be nominated by a third party.
Does the nominee need to be a “Certified Economic Developer” to qualify as a 40 under 40 candidate?
No, however, the nominee must hold a career within the economic development industry.
Will a CEcD help the nominee during the judging process? Having this accreditation may give the nominee a boost, but it’s completely up to teach judge on how they’ll rate or grade someone.
I have someone who is a perfect fit, but I don’t know the exact details on their success. What should I do?
Email the name and contact information directly to Susan Brake at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be sure to follow up with each person directly letting them know that someone thought they would be a good fit for the award.
How can I nominate someone for DCI’s 40 Under 40?
Nominations must be submitted online.
When will winners be notified?
Winners, and all others who submitted an application, will be notified of the status of their nomination, the first week of December 2016.
When will DCI announce its 40 Under 40 winners?
DCI will announce and recognize winners at the International Economic Development Council’s Leadership Summit in Jacksonville, FL.
Is 40 Under 40 an annual award?
No. We will release the award every two years. The next round of nominations will open for our 2019 class in late summer 2018.
What are the qualifications for DCI’s 40 Under 40?
We’re looking for young leaders who have raised the bar in economic development: those who have brought innovation, high standards, strong character and a track record of success to their community and the profession. Candidates must be under 40 years old as of January 1, 2017. For this particular award, service providers to the economic development industry are not eligible.
Who decides who will be in DCI’s 40 Under 40?
Our selection committee represents a broad mix of representatives from the economic development industry including recruiters, economic developers and site selectors.
How are the winners chosen?
After we receive the nominations, the selection committee will review and rank each nominee. DCI will compile all rankings to determine the top 40.
What is required of those who are selected?
Candidates who are selected must make themselves available for an interview with our digital team. They are also required to send us a photo to include in the website. In addition, if available, we’d love for them to attend a special recognition dinner during IEDC’s Leadership Summit in Jacksonville, Florida in January.
I never received a notification about my or my nominee’s status?
We sent an email to all applicants regarding their status during the first week of December 2016. We have received feedback that some notification emails got filtered through, so if you never received this email, please check your “spam” box. If you have questions regarding the status of your nomination, please contact email@example.com.
DCI 40 Under 40 Selection Committees are comprised of industry thought leaders with a broad range of expertise, including recruiters who specializes in economic development, previous 40 Under 40 winners, site selectors and industry leaders. Check out our committees from the previous years below.
2015 Selection Committee
Whether traveling around the world, working with a prospect or hosting international delegations, Barry is the head recruiter for the region.
He is a certified economic developer with over 20 years of leadership experience at the city, county, regional and university levels.
Previously, Barry served as Senior Vice President of Business Development of the Partnership for three years. He was hired from the Lincoln Economic Development Association in North Carolina where he served as the executive director. He also spent time as the Director of Economic Development for the communities of Goochland and Pulaski, Virginia, and the Special Projects Manager at the Economic Development Assistance Center at Virginia Tech University. He also interned 3 years for the United States Department of Commerce. Before a career in economic development, Barry sent six years as a manager for JC Penney.
Barry has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech University. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and a recipient of the Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award.
Always a servant leader, Barry serves as the Chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Board and is on the Governance Committee. Barry also serves of the Executive Board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is chair of the Alumni/Scholarship Committee.
Locally, Barry is a member of the Virginia Economic Developers Association and the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE). A foodie, he loves the restaurant scene in the region and frequents them often.
Barry was awarded Fellow Member status by the IEDC, named one of the 40 Leaders Under 40 (2002) by the Charlotte Business Journal, recognized as a North Carolina Main Street Champion and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.
Cathy is senior vice president of strategy and business development at JAXUSA Partnership, focused on growing the financial services industry. She has helped recruit more than 10,000 jobs to Jacksonville, including projects with Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Adecco, Advent Software, Fidelity National Financial and Web.com. Cathy also oversees JAXUSA Partnership’s marketing and research initiatives and coordinates partner activities for the seven-county Northeast Florida region. She has 20 years of experience working for Chambers of Commerce, regional economic development organizations and city government in both Jacksonville and Cincinnati. A 2010 graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, Cathy was named to Jacksonville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list at age 35 and she was also recognized by DCI as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Economic Development in 2013. She serves on the boards of the Florida Economic Development Council, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Visit Jacksonville. Cathy loves to travel, go to the beach, read and spend time with her two boys.
Eric has served Fortune 1000 corporations, hospitals and healthcare systems, privately held businesses and nonprofit organizations. His nonprofit work includes consulting with and advising Boards of Directors on their selection of CEO/Executive Director candidates for chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, business associations, cultural arts and educational institutions, and social and human service agencies. Mr. Peterson’s diverse clients include Boulder Chamber, Chamber of Huntsville/Madison County, Choose New Jersey, Cleveland Clinic Health System, Detroit Regional Chamber, Economic Development Alliance, Greater Cheyenne Chamber, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Greater Spokane Incorporated, One Southern Indiana, Tucson Metro Chamber and San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber.
Previously, Eric served as Vice President & Managing Director of the Cleveland office of StratfordGroup, a “top 20” national executive search firm. Earlier, he was Manager of Executive Search Consulting at Ernst & Young LLP. Eric began his career with recruiting and employment management responsibilities at AmeriTrust Company N.A. in Cleveland as well as training and development and branch office management experience at Star Bank in Cincinnati.
Eric earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Denison University and his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Xavier University. He is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the International Economic Development Council and the national Network of Nonprofit Search Consultants. In addition, Eric serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Service Alliance in Cleveland.
Waverly Partners is a national retained executive search firm formed in 2001 with offices in Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Kansas City, Louisville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Toledo.
Gilberto regularly meets with top-level executives of Fortune 500 companies pertaining to opportunities in Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros, Mexico and the Port of Brownsville, an area of 1.2 million people. Most recently, Mr. Salinas has been working a project of significant impact for the region with Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and its founder Elon Musk, who is considering building the world’s first commercial rocket launch site and command center at Brownsville’s Boca Chica Beach.
In 2013, Mr. Salinas received the prestigious nod of one of the 40-Under-40 Rising Stars in Economic Development in the United States. Mr. Salinas has been featured in different news outlets, including the Univision morning show ‘Despierta America’ where he discussed the burgeoning industry of the Borderplex region.
Mr. Salinas holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Communication.
In his off time, Mr. Salinas has been casted to play “bad guy” roles in Texas-based films, with his most recent being in Robert Rodriguez’s ‘From Dusk Till Dawn – TV Series.’
Jason is president of Hickey and Associates, LLC, a Global Site Selection and Public Incentive Support Firm representing a diverse set of industries from Consumer Products and Health Care to Defense to Renewable Energy. Clients include UnitedHealth Group, Lockheed Martin, General Mills and many others.
Jason specializes in location selection strategies, federal incentives, loan guarantees, grants and other public/private partnerships. While working for the Firm, Jason has also assisted Elected Officials at both the Federal and State level develop public policy recommendations, including The White House Domestic Policy Council.
He speaks at various events throughout the year to audiences on how best to create partnerships between public and private entities at local and regional Economic Development Forums. Jason has also been a guest lecturer at the University of Arizona.
Jason is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and serves as an Officer of the Northwestern University Alumni Association. Professional service includes the Industrial Asset Management Council’s Site Selection and IAMC 2020 Committee, member of the State of Minnesota
Economic Development Cabinet, as well as, a founding partner of the Site Selectors Guild.
2013 Selection Committee
Kathy is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Atlas Insight with over 22 years of combined experience as a management, incentive and site selection consultant. She is widely considered an industry expert in the site selection and incentive negotiation business. Her consulting career has focused on securing incentives for various projects as well as helping site selection clients to select optimal locations for expansion projects.
Kathy has conducted successful negotiations for some of the world’s largest corporations. While the majority of Atlas’ clients are companies in the Fortune 500, Kathy has also assisted small to mid-sized companies with projects in various industries. Kathy has an expertise in working on highly complex real estate development projects, including working with New Markets Tax Credits, Brownfield Tax Credits and various other land use entitlements.
Kathy is a reliable opinion source for trade publications and AP stories and has been a frequent guest of state governments to assist with development of strategic plans to attract business investment. Kathy has also written numerous expert articles for regional and national publications.
Before co-founding Atlas Insight, Kathy was a Regional Practice Leader in the Business Location Incentive and Site Selection group at BDO.
Kathy holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from New York University.
Ginovus is led by Larry Gigerich, a nationally recognized economic development leader with 20 years of local and state government, not-for-profit and private sector experience. Prior to the founding of Ginovus in 2002, Larry worked in a variety of economic development settings, including Deputy Director of Business Development for the Indiana Department of Commerce, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis for Economic Development and Workforce Development and President of Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation. Larry is a regular presenter at national conferences and has authored numerous expert articles and opinion editorials for regional and national publications.
Larry Gigerich has worked on approximately 500 economic development projects resulting in over $10 billion of capital investment, the creation of over 80,000 new jobs and the retention of over 160,000 existing jobs. At Ginovus, Larry has served nationally recognized companies such as: BP, Casey’s General Stores, Charles Schwab, Comcast, Dorel Juvenile Group, Formica, Genesco, Interactive Intelligence, Multi-Color Corporation, Oracle, OSP Group, Reckitt Benckiser, Roche Diagnostics, The Capital Group Companies, and The Finish Line.
Named by Governing Magazine as one of the nation’s best economic development officials, Larry is a regular speaker and panelist at national site selection conferences and events. In addition, he was instrumental in the launch and leadership of TechPoint, an initiative designed to nurture growing and emerging companies throughout Indiana. Larry currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and The Center for the Performing Arts.
Kenny McDonald, CEcD, joined the Columbus 2020 team in July 2010. As president and chief economic officer, Kenny serves as the primary leader of all economic development and business attraction efforts for the 11- county Columbus Region.
Kenny has an extensive background in site selection, regional economic development, community marketing, business recruitment and international business development. Most recently, he served as executive vice president at the Charlotte Regional Partnership. He has also held positions at the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation, Fluor Daniels Global Locations Strategies and Savannah Economic Development Authority. Kenny graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Dickinson State University and a Master of Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.
Kenny serves on the boards of the Columbus Chamber, International Economic Development Council (IEDC), MidAmerican Global Ventures, NAIOP Central Ohio, SciTech, and Transportation Research Center. Kenny also serves as chairman of the IEDC’s Planning and Business Development Committee.
Todd Jorgenson serves as Managing Partner and Principal of Jorgenson Consulting, Inc. Todd specializes in executive searches for nonprofit, community and economic development entities throughout the United States. Since 2002, Todd has worked closely with Joan Jorgenson to grow JCI into a dynamic executive search firm with offices in Colorado, Maryland and North Carolina. Todd’s experience includes non-profit executive searches, information technology searches, executive compensation, sales operation management, business development and sales. Todd began his career recruiting software engineers from the Department of Defense and National Security agencies to work on classified government contractor projects. Todd also worked in the field of information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, working for successful technology based companies like U.S. Robotics, 3Com and Universal Access. Todd’s experience ranges from business development to running the Middle East and Africa sale operations out of Paris, France. Todd has a communications degree from Jacksonville University and is currently a member of the International Economic Development Council, American Chamber of Commerce Executive and International Downtown Association.
Janet Miller has been a key player in Nashville’s commercial real estate community for over 30 years. She joined Colliers Nashville as CEO and Market Leader in September of 2014, following 21 years of service as the Chief Economic Development Officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. During that time period, Miller led the ten-county region’s top agency for recruiting new companies to the region and working with existing companies on retention and expansion projects. She was responsible for development and implementation of national marketing strategies promoting the Nashville area as a leading location in America for business, and led a team that was named a top ten economic development group in America for 3 of the last 5 years of her tenure. She successfully worked with over 400 corporations on major job-creation projects including Asurion, HCA, Beretta, Mars Pet Care, Nissan, Bridgestone, Dell Inc., BNY Mellon, UBS and numerous others. At Colliers, Miller is responsible for talent development, business and brand development and all operations for the Nashville office. Prior to her career at the Chamber, Miller was Director of Research and Marketing for Fulton Vaughn Armstrong Angle, a commercial real estate brokerage firm in Nashville.
2015 40 Under 40 Winners
Joel is currently the director of business investment at Greater MSP. Joel started his career with Pella Corporation after graduating in 1998 from Winona State University with a bachelor’s degree in business. While working at Pella Corporation, Joel earned his master’s degree from Drake University. Joel has worked in economic development since 2002, holding senior leadership positions for organizations including the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee and Capital City Partnership. Joel received his Certification of Economic Development (CEcD) in 2008 from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Globally, the most overlooked issue is access to proper sanitation and clean water. In the United States, it’s having a successful immigration policy.
Favorite Comic: Dilbert
Connect with Joel
Greater Minneapolis Saint Paul Economic Development Partnership
Originally from Lakeland, Fla., Jake enlisted in the U.S. Air Force following high school and served for six years before returning to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship from Western Kentucky University. This experience, combined with a foundation in rural economic development obtained as an associate project manager at The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, made him a natural fit for his initial role as project manager at the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. Jake is now the director of business retention and expansion at the EDC.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The most overlooked issue is the importance of true regionalism. Our elected officials and government leaders will always be biased and that is understandable. However, their overall message to the community needs to be one that supports their neighbor’s efforts and wins. Favorite place to travel for business: My favorite place to travel for business would have to be my fellow Florida communities. I feel Florida has the perfect combination of that pro-business attitude, mixed with a quality of life that is tough to beat.
Connect with Jake
Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation
Jason is the president and CEO of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce in south-central Kansas. This organization plays a key role in the sustainable economic growth of the region and the progress of the community. Prior to his current role, Jason was the director of business development for the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I’m not sure. I think I’m too focused on the usual issues like workforce skills, workforce recruitment, sites and infrastructure.
Favorite place to travel for pleasure: I love running, so I’m happy anywhere there is a good running trail.
Patrick has been involved in the executive leadership of economic development efforts for more than a decade. His efforts are firmly seeded in a belief of consistent high performance, continuous improvement and community service. Throughout his career, Patrick has secured top ranking new capital investment and new jobs for his community, incorporated strong data intelligence analytics into strategic planning, drove industry innovation and sought leadership roles to give back to his community and his profession.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? So much focus gravitates to the next big announcement. Many mid- to small-size communities stand a strong chance to find consistent economic prosperity by strategically focusing on creating a best in class diverse talent pool and business property offerings that complement their strengths.
Favorite band: Pat McGee Band
Todd Battle is the president of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), a role he has held since joining the organization in April of 2004. In his role as the president, Todd is responsible for leading the organization’s economic and community development initiatives. Prior to his current position, the Michigan native spent six years in leadership positions with economic development organizations in Iron Mountain and Muskegon, Michigan. He’s a summa cum laude graduate of Central Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree with a political science major and an economics minor.
He and his wife Katie reside in Kenosha, WI. They are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Cameron (7) and Darby (6).
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Politics trumping policy.
Favorite band: Currently, I would say Imagine Dragons, but I also listen to a lot of country music and like Jason Aldean and Eric Church. You also can’t go wrong with Johnny Cash and Don Williams.
Jamie has worked in economic development for 14 years, starting her career with the State of Ohio in international trade and economic development. In 2002, she was hired by Don Jakeway (former IEDC Board Member) and the Regional Growth Partnership to do international and domestic business development before returning to her hometown to serve as director for the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation. Since starting her career, Jamie has worked with and supported nearly $800 million in new capital investment projects representing $1 billion in overall annual payroll in Ottawa County alone. She is a 2002 graduate of Denison University (Granville, Ohio) with a bachelor’s degree in economics and German. She is married and has two beautiful boys, Kaleb and Corban.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Preparing our future pipeline of workforce to effectively fill attrition/retirements within our businesses. As a community of business and education leaders, we need to partner together to engage and expose our students to the many career opportunities available and help our students discover their talents and interests and then encourage them to pursue those talents and interests as they relate to entering the workforce.
Jon is a fifth generation Alaskan with more than a decade of experience working in the public and private sectors within the state. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology with an environmental focus from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jon joined the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation in early 2011 as the director of business and economic development and was promoted to vice president in 2012, the youngest in the organization’s 35-year history. He currently serves as the youngest deputy commissioner in the state of Alaska in the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. He has received the IEDC Young Economic Development Professional of the Year award and was named an AK Journal of Commerce Top 40 Under 40. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife Juli Lucky and their two children, Charlotte and Atticus.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I think that keeping up with the amazingly rapid changes in technology and cutting edge financing can prevent economic development professionals from knowing about all of the tools and techniques that are available to them, especially those in smaller communities. Things like cryptocurrencies, equity crowdfunding, commercial drone applications, 3D printing, crowdsourcing and commercial space exploration are already becoming old news but very few communities are taking advantage of what those areas have to offer, much less trying to get out in front of some of the cutting edge opportunities that are coming online now.
Connect with Jonathan
Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development
Emily is an economic development specialist at IEDC, where she manages the in-house think-tank, the Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP) program, as well as other projects in the Knowledge Management and Development Department. Emily’s background is in real estate and economic development, and she has worked in various planning capacities in non-profits and local government. Emily earned her master’s degree in city and regional planning from Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in economic development. She completed her undergraduate studies in English at Allegheny College. Emily is a member of the Urban Land Institute and a board member of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. In 2014, she was part of a team that developed the card game “Cards Against Urbanity,” which was kick-started at 280 percent of the set goal. She lives in Washington D.C. with her cat.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The metrics of success for economic developers are evolving. I see our members increasingly involved with long-term initiatives like workforce development and regional planning. These projects don’t deliver splashy headlines like landing a new business, but instead deliver result over several years. Being aware of this change, and finding ways to measure this impact is essential.
Lisa is the manager, marketing and communications at Calgary Economic Development. Her area of focus is around the “Calgary. Be Part of the Energy.” brand, national marketing and workforce attraction campaigns. Her role allows her to work with some of the most passionate Calgarians and tell the story of what makes Calgary a great place to live, work and make a life. Lisa joined Calgary Economic Development in 2012. Some of her key projects have included national and international labor attraction missions, including successful events in Ireland and Scotland and speaking tours across Canada with Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Lisa is also responsible for Life in Calgary magazine and the YYCisOpen Flood Recovery Campaign, which was created to support local businesses significantly impacted in the 2013 floods. The goal of the campaign was to assist businesses with recovery and return consumers back to the affected businesses. Life isn’t always about work. When Lisa isn’t juggling her two children’s busy schedule, she can often be found hiking with her family in the nearby Rocky Mountains or exploring the city looking for the best markets, cupcake shops and wine merchants.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Measurement. As the scope of the role of economic developers continues to expand in our communities, we need to sort out how we measure and value the work, and more importantly, the impact of the work we do.
Since Andrew assumed the role of president and CEO of the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University in 2011, the overall economic impact of the technology and research-based companies in the Research Park has increased by more than 60 percent to $450 million and the number of high-paying jobs has increased from 752 to 1,307. The increase in contribution to the region’s economy is largely attributable to the repositioning efforts Andrew has overseen. To insure that the Research Park has a viable pipeline of companies to grow into it, Andrew has refocused the efforts of the Technology Business Incubator (TBI), which now houses 15 emerging high-tech companies that between them raised $8.1M in investment capital in 2013 alone. Before joining the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, Andrew was the senior vice president for recruitment, retention & expansion with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Inc. In that capacity, he led the local team that successfully secured the Max Planck Society’s decision to create its first Western Hemisphere institute in Jupiter, Florida. In 2000, Andrew earned a master’s degree with honors in European studies from the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, and expects to graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in business administration in 2015.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The value of education in economic development is getting more attention but it needs to be at the top of the agenda. The US economy must better educate its young people to maintain its position as the number one country for invention and innovation. Economic developers are realizing that smoke-stack chasing is the way of the past and to replace it we must grow our own new companies that will be sustainable.
Thomas Ashley Edwards was named executive director of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission in 2013. He leads a team tasked with operating Port Bienville Industrial Complex, Stennis International Airport and the Economic Development Authority for Hancock County. Previously, Ashley served as executive director of Governor Phil Bryant’s Office of Recovery, where he was responsible for overseeing the closeout of Mississippi’s Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Ashley also served as deputy director of Governor Haley Barbour’s Office of Recovery and Renewal, where he was a member of the team responsible for coordinating the State of Mississippi’s long-term recovery from Hurricane Katrina, overseeing more than $5.5 billion in Mississippi’s Katrina-related Community Development Block Grants, and more than $2 billion in FEMA Public Assistance Funds. Ashley is a native of Petal, Mississippi and an alumnus of The University of Southern Mississippi, where he received his master’s degree in economic development. He received his bachelor’s degree Tulane University, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Tulane 34 Award, which recognizes students for their exemplary leadership, service, and academic excellence. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, Partners for Stennis Space Center, and the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Economic development is changing to reflect the realities of the new economy and economic developers are going to have to change with it. In an era of jobless economic growth, job creation alone can no longer be the sole metric on which economic development success is measured. The growth of the base sector economy, the quality of jobs, the impacts of industries on community’s sense of place and the technological and qualitative evolution of the workforce are equally important. Additionally, the changing economic development industry is going to require economic developers to place a greater emphasis on data-driven development. Economic developers should embrace export base theory, otherwise known as economic base theory, which helps explain how changes to specific sectors of the local economy can impact a broad range of other local economic sectors, thus creating ripple effects throughout the local economy. Economic base theory provides a framework that can help guide strategic public policy and practices related to economic development.
Matt leads the economic and community development initiatives for Georgia Power in eastern Georgia with a focus on growing existing industries and helping communities with leadership development and strategic planning. Previously, Matt ran the Fayette County Development Authority in Metro Atlanta where, in addition to performing traditional economic development activities, he also created and led a film commission, Film Fayette, after recruiting one of the largest purpose-built film studio complexes in the southeast, the UK-headquartered Pinewood Studios.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? We need to spend less time and resources “feeding people” and spend more time and resources “teaching people how to fish”. As a profession, we are often too traditional in our efforts. We focus on recruitment, retention, expansion and traditional financing, primarily for large industrial/office employers as a way to see new jobs and investment created in our communities. But are we doing enough to foster creation of new businesses and entrepreneurs that are potentially significant contributors to the economic base? Large companies are often focused on lowest cost impact, and though reshoring does occur, it is not bringing jobs to the middle class the way it once did. We need to spend more effort identifying ways to help the middle class become successful on their own through supported entrepreneurship, venture capital and ownership shares in exchange for guidance and education. People of the 21st century should not have to rely on others for their employment and success.
David Gilford is vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and a director of the Center for Economic Transformation. David leads clean technology, energy, and resiliency initiatives, building programs that translate NYC’s sustainability goals into growth opportunities. Partnering with the private sector, his group also helps stimulate demand for sustainable products and services through open data competitions and demonstration projects.
Prior to NYCEDC, David held finance and sales positions at General Electric, as well as worked for McKinsey & Company and the Federal Reserve. David is a member of the City of New York’s Energy Conservation Steering Committee and Building Resiliency Task force, as well as advisory boards for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Carbon War Room and New York Energy Week. David holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Williams College and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Management.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Investing in sustainability has tremendous potential to create local economic opportunity while improving quality of life, reducing costs and promoting more resilient communities.
Heather Gramm joined the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development in 2013 as director of regional growth and retention. In this role, she is responsible for the management, oversight and development of the Office of Business Development’s eight regional business development representatives and provides direct support for Frederick and Montgomery counties. Prior to joining DBED, Heather spent 11 years with the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development, most recently as DED’s business development specialist.
Heather earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hood College and the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) professional certification through the International Economic Development Council. She serves on the board of the Maryland Economic Development Association and is the chair of the MEDA Professional Development Committee. Heather resides in Middletown, Maryland with her husband and two children.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? For our profession, it’s re-evaluating and redefining metrics of success that are meaningful and relevant in a changing economy. Today, there are successes in economic development that can’t simply be measured in job creation and capital expenditures.
Connect with Heather
Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
Broderick is focused on recruiting high-wage jobs and private capital investment to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida as well as assisting in the expansion and relocation of information technology and life science companies to the region. Broderick relocated to Jacksonville seven years ago from New Orleans where he was deputy chief of staff for the city council president directly involved in the redevelopment of the city after Hurricane Katrina. An avid sports and music fan and “foodie,” Broderick enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and young son.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The need for greater collaboration around talent and workforce development.
Michelle is the executive director of the Colorado Innovation Network. Additionally, Michelle serves as the director of corporate development, and leads a team of five business development managers who all work to proactively recruit and retain companies within 14 key industries. In her tenure at OEDIT, Michelle has successfully recruited clients such as Visa, Woodward, Advanced Circuits, Avago Technologies, Charter Communications and Surrey Satellites, representing more than 1,400 new jobs with an average wage of $76,000. Her previous experience includes work with the Denver South Economic Development Partnership (EDP). While working at Denver South EDP, Michelle worked on the recruitment of Rio Tinto Minerals, Pro-Build Holdings, United Launch Alliance, and several other companies. She also worked on the integration of the TREX, a multi-modal $1.6 billion transportation improvement project. Prior to working with Denver South EDP, Michelle worked as an economic development specialist for Colorado’s fourth largest city, Lakewood. While at the City of Lakewood, Michelle recruited DaVita Clinical Research, Electro-Mechanical Products (EMP), Weston Solutions and more.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Talent and human capital.
Connect with Michelle
Liz is a business development specialist for the City of Hamilton, Ohio. Liz began her career in economic development as an ICMA Fellow for the City of Hamilton after graduating from Ohio State University with a master’s degree in city and regional planning and a master’s degree in public policy and management. Liz gained her passion for Rust Belt cities growing up in St. Louis. She lives in the historic Rossville neighborhood in Hamilton with her husband.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I think this is quickly changing, but the traditional retention, expansion and attraction efforts are only a part of the economic development puzzle. This is especially true in Rust Belt cities like Hamilton. In Hamilton, we have an “all hands on deck” approach that requires collaboration between all city departments, community partners and other stakeholders to revitalize Hamilton. It is through these partnerships that we are able to have a multi-faceted economic development strategy that not only includes business retention and expansion, but also business incubation, downtown revitalization, small business development and quality of life initiatives. There is tremendous value in all of these efforts that make a place attractive to live and work.
Jennifer has more than eight years of experience in economic development and is currently the director of economic development and special projects at The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership. In her capacity, Jennifer assists companies seeking to relocate and/or expand in Miami-Dade County. Jennifer has focused her efforts on job-generating investments in the life sciences and healthcare industries. A Miami native, she holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in travel and tourism management, both from Florida International University.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I believe that most communities are overlooking or have yet to acknowledge the fact that the traditional tax incentives model focused on large number of jobs and high capital investment no longer fits into the current paradigm of emerging industries as an investment strategy, where the emphasis has now shifted to human capital and creativity.
Amy is a lifetime Oregonian who grew up in a small town called St. Helens. She is a first generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University. After graduation Amy was hired as a volunteer through AmeriCorps VISTA with the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership. It was there that she was first introduced to the realm of economic development possibilities and the amazing professionals working in this field. She continued to work for McMinnville until she was hired to establish and lead a new business retention and expansion program for the Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office in July 2013. Her experience has provided opportunities to work on strategic statewide efforts related to marketing, food processing, unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced manufacturing, workforce and young professional network development. Her passion lies in working one-on-one with companies to help solve problems, celebrate successes and build lasting partnerships.
What’s the most overlooked issue in economic development? Economic development needs to put a higher priority on mentoring and growing the next generation of government and non-profit leaders. Historically, economic developers have needed to keep their cards close to their chest to stay relevant, but I believe this creates a knowledge gap for the next wave of industry professionals. We need to set our young professionals up for success and grow from within. I am a huge proponent of internships and relish the opportunity to mentor students.
Connect with Amy
Twitter: @CorvallisEDO (work) @Jauronamo (personal)
Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office
Mandy is an economic development professional with more than 16 years of experience at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. In June 2013, after two years of leading the Cabinet’s Office of Research and Public Affairs, Mandy was appointed to deputy commissioner of the newly reorganized Department for Business Development. In June 2014, Mandy was named commissioner of the Department. During her tenure with the Cabinet, Mandy has had the opportunity to participate in and lead a variety of initiatives, including the development of the state’s comprehensive five-year economic development strategic plan, the launch of the Cabinet’s state-of-the-art GIS system Select Kentucky, publishing the first ever Kentucky Economic Development Guide magazine and reenergizing the manner in which client information and services are delivered. Mandy is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management. She and her husband reside in Frankfort with their two children.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Workforce development, entrepreneurial growth and continued globalization are all the buzzwords in economic development, and rightfully so. They are some of the most important factors impacting economic growth. However, one of the most overlooked issues in economic development, I believe, is the importance of creating a quality of place within communities. More and more, I see communities recognizing the value of place making in economic development. Companies want to operate in communities where they can attract the best talent, places that can offer a real sense of work-life balance and those that embrace community engagement. This rings true in both large, vibrant cities and in smaller, rural towns. It’s no longer about just having an available site or building, but creating the kind of environment in which companies and citizens want to live and work.
Chris is a lifelong resident of Greater Cincinnati and spearheads the development of the startup economy. He was named by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one Greater Cincinnati’s 40 Under 40 and a “Next Generation Leader” in Public and Civic Affairs by “Legacy.” Most recently, Chris was recognized for cleantech advancement and creating one of the most innovate economic development strategies in the State of Ohio, which was recognized by IEDC. Chris holds a bachelor’s dree in Urban and Regional Planning, a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on regional policy solutions and organizational dynamics; and, a second master’s degree in Environmental Science with a focus on environmental policy, and sustainable land-use. Chris has served on a variety of regional and national boards, including American Society for Public Administration, ICMA, the Urban Land Institute. He’s a board member of Greater Cincinnati’s Regional Sustainability Initiative and serves as board president of the Butler County Regional Transit Authority.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The most overlooked issue facing economic development is the disconnect between traditional development organizations (chambers, port authorities, etc.) and the startup ecosystem. Startup businesses value the same attributes (skilled workforce, community amenities, etc.) of a region that the more mature, established companies cherish – yet in most instances the startups are completely ignored in place of the more glamorous win.
What is your favorite place to travel for pleasure? I’m a big fan of beaches (Hawaii has a couple of good ones) and roller coasters, and especially roller coasters on beaches.
Connect with Chris
Ann is the executive director of the Buda Economic Development Corporation in Buda, Texas. Ann has served in this position since January 2013 and currently oversees the organization and its $1.6 million budget. Prior to accepting the position in Buda, Ann worked as the vice president of economic development for the Ada Jobs Foundation in Ada, Oklahoma. Ann has nearly 10 years of experience in the economic development field and is one of the youngest people to receive the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation.
Ann has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Oklahoma State University and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.
In 2008, Ann was named Oklahoma’s Young Careerist by the Oklahoma Federation of Business and Professional Women. In 2014, Ann was named Buda Business Person of the Year.
Ann is a member of the International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Texas Economic Development Council, Team Texas, OSU Alumni Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Ann serves on the boards of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater San Marcos Partnership, and the Hays County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
Ann is an avid outdoorswoman, who enjoys spending time with her rescue dog Jasper, friends and family.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The education of future generations. Educational pipelines for all types of occupations need to be developed. Not every student is destined to go to college; that should be accepted more. Instead of encouraging our children to be doctors and lawyers, we should encourage them to pursue other fields as well. There are high- paying positions such as CNC machinists, technicians and welders that don’t require a college degree. Not only do these positions pay well, but they are also in high demand with the primary job creators that economic developers are always trying to recruit.
By exposing children to numerous career options early, they can start preparing for their career in middle school and high school. It’s our job as economic developers to educate children and their parents that there is a wide range of career options between obtaining a college degree and working at a fast food restaurant.
Mark found his way to the Canadian Arctic in 2008 after accepting a position with the Nunavut Economic Developers Association in Iqaluit. While living in the north, Mark was elected to Iqaluit City Council and became the youngest chair of the community Economic Development Committee. Mark accepted his position with the City of Fort Saskatchewan in February 2014.
Mark is a certified economic developer through the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC), has a certificate in economic development from the University of Waterloo, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is completing a master’s degree in community development through St. Francis Xavier University.
He and his family live just outside Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, Mark is a horrible golfer, an adequate skier and a master at playing Legos with his son.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Lack of understanding of the profession. Many people toss around the term economic development without ever actually understanding what it is.
Connect with Mark
City of Fort Saskatchewan (http://www.fortsask.ca/)
Tim currently serves as the vice president of marketing and communications for The Right Place, Inc., which is West Michigan’s leading economic development organization. Tim joined the organization in 2008 after a 16-year marketing career in the private sector for companies such as The McGraw-Hill Companies, X-Rite/Pantone and 20-20 Technologies. In his current role, Tim is responsible for leading all strategic marketing, communications and advertising initiatives to promote West Michigan as a global destination for business success.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I’m not sure if it’s “the” most overlooked issue, but certainly one of the most overlooked issues facing economic development is the long-term impact state and local economic incentives have on both host communities and the businesses that receive them. As the incentive stakes continue to rise into the billions for single projects, I’m concerned about the long-term implications of placing quality of incentive over quality of fit. Is the community really the best fit for the company and vice versa?
Dreaming up strategic marketing concepts is the fuel for Katie’s lead role on the external marketing team at Kalamazoo-based Southwest Michigan First. If it’s time to freshen up the website, host a creative photo shoot or design an out-of-this world marketing piece for an upcoming event, Katie is the person for the job. Katie is quick to explore new and innovative communication trends and keeps Southwest Michigan First cutting edge in its marketing efforts.
A life-long Michigan resident, Katie has an unwavering desire to grow her community to give future generations the same opportunities that she has had. Her leadership in organizations like the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and The Civic Theatre shows her commitment to continuing a strong legacy for her family in the community. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Cornerstone University. When not filling the office with energy, laughter and spontaneity, Katie cherishes her free time with family and close friends by soaking up the sunshine on one of Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches or at her family’s lake cottage.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Preparing emerging leaders in communities to take the reigns—in all industries and sectors. Finding successors to ensure legacies live on.
As vice president of business development at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Chris has facilitated more than 25 business expansions and relocations, leading to the creation of more than 1,300 new jobs. The resulting impact to the region’s economy is in excess of $160 million. Previously, Chris served as the vice president of marketing for GPEC. In 2011, Chris co-founded SEED SPOT, an incubator designed to help entrepreneurs launch their ventures through a network of support and collaboration. SEED SPOT launched its first application cycle in July of 2012 and since has helped more than 100 entrepreneurs validate and grow their business models into scalable ventures. In 2013, Chris was honored by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of Arizona’s “40 under 40” and also honored by his alma mater Northern Arizona University as the recipient of the 2013 “Excellence in Achievement Award”. He presented at the 2012 Ignite Phoenix Food event and the 2013 TEDxKids event. Chris resides in Phoenix with his wife Liz and two children, Jack and Lucy.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The one issue I feel is commonly overlooked in economic development is the engagement and education of today’s youth that economic development is a rewarding career path. The millennial generation is drawn to social issues and a career in economic development can lead an individual to help solve some of their communities’ largest issues.
As the chief executive officer for the DeSoto EDC, Jeremiah has focused the organization’s efforts on attracting regional headquarters in the medical and advanced manufacturing industries, raising brand awareness of DeSoto and southern Dallas county and developing collaborative strategies for economic growth. Results in his first 14 months in the role include the attraction of more than $115 million in new capital investment and 400 new jobs through proactive attraction, retention and expansion initiatives that further enhance the overall quality of life in DeSoto, Texas.
Prior to his current position, Jeremiah served as director of economic development for the City of Glenn Heights, Texas and in the Office of Economic Development for the City of Dallas.
Jeremiah was recently recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as a 2014 Top Minority Business Leader. He was also awarded one of Five Outstanding Dallasites by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce in 2011. In 2010, he was named to the prestigious Apex Society’s Power 30 Under 30 list and was also featured in Dallas Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty. Additionally, he has been listed several times in Who’s Who Among U.S Business Executives.
Jeremiah earned his degree in finance at Michigan State University and is a 2017 master’s degree candidate at the Universityof Notre Dame. He is married to Candice and father to their newborn baby girl, Avery Nicole.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In my opinion, there are a few: workforce development, primary and secondary education and addressing aging infrastructure. Retention, however, continues to be an overlooked issue because it isn’t as sexy as securing a new multimillion-dollar relocation project. We all know the stats of what an effective retention program can do for our respective cities, but often times we succumb to the pressure of wanting to get that headline-grabbing deal. I am firm believer that if you take care and nurture what you have, great growth will come from it.
Matt Rookard is the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), the regional economic development alliance serving southeastern Louisiana. In his role at GNO, Inc. Mr. Rookard is responsible for Business Attraction, Business Retention and Expansion, and Research. During his tenure at GNO, Inc., Mr. Rookard has overseen the successful execution of 37 business development projects, representing $3.2B in capital investments and over 9,000 jobs in the Greater New Orleans region. Mr. Rookard also led the redevelopment of WorkNOLA.com, the leading website for professional employment listings in the region, and created DestinationGNO, an online relocation tool that provides essential information on neighborhoods, schools, amenities, and more for the Greater New Orleans area.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Rookard worked for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development where he participated in the execution of large-scale, statewide economic development projects. Mr. Rookard is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University. He and his wife Kelly have one newborn son, Spann, and live in Algiers Point, the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The industry needs to be very thoughtful about the arms race of incentives. They are a powerful tool, but need to be deployed responsibly and thoughtfully to ensure taxpayers are making good investments with acceptable levels of risk.
Paul leads the Quad Cities Chamber’s economic development efforts, including Quad Cities First, which is a public/private partnership responsible for business attraction and marketing the Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa region. Paul’s duties with the chamber have also included leading manufacturing innovation, military affairs, downtown revitalization, workforce development, membership, communications and government affairs. He led the region’s Quad Cities Passenger Rail Coalition that successfully advocated for new passenger rail service to Chicago.
Paul serves on several state and community boards and committees, including UnityPoint Health Trinity – Robert Young Center, Goodwill of the Heartland, USO of Illinois Advisory Committee, and the Illinois Inter-agency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee. He also was honored as a Quad-Cities Leader Under 40 in 2011 by the Black Hawk College Foundation. Prior to his work with the Quad Cities Chamber, Paul was active in political and governmental affairs. He worked for various members of Congress in Washington, D.C., including U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.
Paul and his wife Leah are natives of the Quad Cities. Paul earned an associate’s degree from Black Hawk College and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Georgia State University.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In the dynamic and ever-changing economic development profession, it’s important to maintain perspective that the majority of economic growth consistently occurs from local company start-ups and expansions.
Janet is manager of business development with Enterprise Saint John, a regional economic development agency in New Brunswick, Canada.
Janet’s past economic development experience includes roles in entrepreneur development, microfinance, international business development, and marketing and communications. She has done work in China supporting Atlantic Canadian companies entering new markets, and led a micro-finance initiative for people living with HIV in Ghana, West Africa. As an entrepreneur, Janet was co-founder of an urban weekly newspaper that was named an Atlantic Canadian Finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and operated in two cities.
At 31, Janet was selected to participate in Next New Brunswick’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century program to encourage young people to help set the agenda for the future of the province.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Economic development is complex. Most people want to talk about job creation without appreciating the number of considerations required to drive it. From workforce development to research and development efforts, to new market exploration and strategic infrastructure investment, it’s all important. As economic development professionals, we are continuously connecting the dots between things like the importance of a vibrant urban core and the ability to attract high-tech companies. Initiatives that drive positive change in all areas of economic development need to be recognized for their importance in supporting job creation efforts. There are no quick fixes.
Madison is the president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation. He received his bachelor’s in economics from Centre College, and then earned his Juris Doctor and special certification in regulatory law and policy from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 2001. Madison then went into private practice for six years, first in Louisville, and then returning to Owensboro in 2003. In 2007, he joined the GO-EDC as its first vice president of entrepreneurship and high tech development. In 2013, Madison was named president and CEO of GO-EDC.
Madison is also an urban planner, having passed the comprehensive planning exam, giving him the designation of a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners. With his wife Amy, he has three children: Emma, Lilly and John Crawford.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Numbers. Sheer numbers. Our population is simply not keeping up with the demand needed for our future workforce. This will put pressure on states to compete for individuals, not just companies, in order to survive.
Connect with Madison
Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation
Christina is the director of international trade at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. She is responsible for leading the chamber’s trade promotion and development efforts in selling Alabama products and services throughout the world. In addition, she is responsible for fostering cooperation with local, state and regional trade entities to ensure a healthy climate for trade. Christina played a leading role when the chamber was awarded the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service for continued performance in increasing and promoting exports in 2014.
Christina is a graduate of Auburn University. She serves on the USA Mitchell College of Business Marketing Department Advisory Council, is a member of the Leadership Mobile Class of 2015 and was recently recognized as one of Mobile Bay’s 40 under 40. She is married with one son and one on the way.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I don’t believe that enough economic developers see trade as a viable tool to use for business retention and expansion.
Connect with Christina
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
As vice president of business development, Angela leads initiatives designed to strengthen partnerships with the 22 community members of GPEC, drive market intelligence of high-density employers, and attract new business units to the region. Prior to this role, Angela focused on recruiting new companies into the region. Over four years, she recruited companies that created more than 5,000 jobs and infused $200 million into metro Phoenix. Angela is on the board of the Arizona Association for Economic Development and was recognized as its 2011 New Member of the Year.
Prior to joining GPEC, Angela worked at New Mexico’s Economic Development Partnership and in economic development in Cedar City, Utah.
Angela earned a master’s degree in business administration and specialization in strategic marketing and management from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. She is active in the Arizona Association for Economic Development and is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Urban Land Institute, CoreNet Global, IAMC and NAIOP.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Income inequality and long-term implications of diminished economic mobility for children who grow up in impoverished social and economic conditions. It affects the overall viability of an economy by limiting job skills, purchasing power and educational attainment, as well as by reducing the drive for innovation and success.
At Southwest Michigan First, Tim’s main role is serving as president of the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce – a role focused on the support, education and growth of small businesses in the region. In addition, Tim’s passion for helping current and future leaders make the most of their potential helps accelerate the brand of the organization’s Catalyst Leadership Series, a program geared to empowering Michigan’s leaders to greatness.
Tim’s enthusiasm for impactful youth leadership programs is recognized by the boards of organizations on which he serves, including Kalamazoo Ready 4’s, the Governor’s Office of Metropolitan and Urban Initiatives, Michigan’s Children, the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and External Advisory Boards at his alumnus Western Michigan University. Outside of his professional responsibilities, Tim identifies his most important role of all to be spending time with wife Gretta and preparing his two children, Olivia and TJ, to be future leaders.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Leadership development. Our nation is in desperate need of people whose actions change the condition for the better. In order for our industry to earn and keep the respect of our communities and clients, our existing leadership must fully commit to mentoring and coaching up-and-coming leaders both in our community and in our own industry. We MUST build leadership in people who can sustain our industry and its efficacy and relevance in the future.
Nicholas joined the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA) in 2011 as its director of business development. Nicholas shepherds applicants from introductory meetings with the NCIDA through closing and also provides information on how companies can apply for and secure NCIDA benefits. Nicholas has more than 10 years of experience providing strategic public affairs and legal assistance to small, medium and Fortune 500 businesses, as well as leading nonprofit, higher education and social service institutions. Prior to his appointment at NCIDA, Nicholas served as executive director of New Yorkers for Growth, New York State’s premier pro-growth advocacy organization.
Nicholas received a Juris Doctor from New York Law School, a bachelor’s degree from American University, and is a proud graduate of Chaminade High School. He is admitted to practice law in New York.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? As Nassau County is a mature area in terms of developed land, our challenge is finding ways to incentivize redevelopment and adaptive reuse of vacant and/or underperforming properties.
As head of Ontario’s International Marketing Centre in San Francisco, Stephen serves as a main contact for business development, investment attraction, international trade, and research and commercialization.
Stephen’s career in economic development began in Eastern Ontario in 1997 and has included progressive roles in cities, regions and at the provincial level. More recently Stephen has successfully managed major business expansion and attraction projects, including 40-50 job investments and a $50 million company expansion. As a recipient of more than 25 awards in economic development and tourism, Stephen has been recognized for his vision and success. Stephen was a recipient of a Niagara 40 under 40 Business Achievement Award in 2010, and his leadership was recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2011.
Stephen is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and has degrees in environmental studies/geography and a master’s degree in local economic development. Stephen has obtained the Ec.D.(F) Economic Development Fellowship designation and is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP).
Away from work, Stephen is an accomplished nature and landscape photographer and enjoys time with family and friends.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? One of the greatest challenges in economic development is being able to allocate the necessary resources to business retention and expansion. There seems to be solid recognition of the importance of this core economic development practice, but when the RFI or new investment opportunity comes in there is also tremendous pressure and incentive to focus resources and ensure the red carpet is rolled out without a wrinkle.
Connect with Stephen
Alan is the president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, where he seeks to lead a comprehensive, team-based economic development program that provides innovative, customer-focused solutions to plan, build and equip businesses. Prior to joining the Whitley County EDC, Alan was a project manager with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. He serves on the governing board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, the board of trustees of Northeast Indiana Public Radio, and the board of directors of Passages, Inc. Alan is also immediate past president of the Indiana Economic Development Association and is a supply corps officer in the US Navy Reserve. Alan and his wife Laura have been married more than 12 years and have three children.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In my opinion, the two most overlooked issues facing economic development are: 1) the need to expand our focus to develop, attract, and talent in addition to doing the same for businesses; and 2) the opportunity to reset our conversations to focus less on incentives to reduce the cost of doing business and more toward programs and initiatives that help our clients to grow their businesses.
During his five years in economic development at the Birmingham Business Alliance, Jeff has worked 56 announced economic development projects, representing more than $199 million in announced capital investment and 1,786 jobs – a significant impact on the Birmingham region and its citizens.
Before joining the BBA, Jeff served as the manager of parks and properties for the City of Bessemer’s Industrial Development Board, where he carried out the economic development mission of the city and managed the industrial development board’s portfolio of 34 industrial properties and other assets totaling $20 million.
Jeff lives in the Birmingham area with his wife of 10 years, Alexandra, and their two dogs, Zoey and Montana.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? We all focus on workforce, incentive and available property issues. Many of us work to educate our local companies in international trade and we try to stay on top of the trends in site selection. Many times economic developers overlook their existing industries, which is the source of most job growth and capital investment. Economic development professionals need to work to establish relationships with existing companies and learn about the issues they face and their potential for growth.
Jennifer has 15 years of experience in marketing and communications and holds her accreditation in public relations (APR). She has extensive experience in strategic communications planning, executive consulting, proactive issues management and media relations. Jennifer joined the Orlando Economic Development Commission in 2006 as director of public relations and was promoted to her current position in 2012. Prior to her work at the EDC, Jennifer worked as the public relations manager for METROPLAN ORLANDO – the regional transportation planning agency – where she was responsible for media relations, marketing and public involvement. She also has previous marketing experience in the financial services and utility industries. She has received numerous local, state, national and international awards for her work. She is a former adjunct communications professor at the University of Central Florida.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The intricate link between marketing and business development efforts. In-depth marketing analytics help to provide a road map for sales success.
Kara leads the city of Grand Rapids’ economic development efforts and guides community business leaders in the advancement of the city’s economic growth through public-private partnerships and assists developers in implementing a variety of development finance incentives. In addition, she advocates for legislative issues to support economic development in the West Michigan region.
Kara holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University, an Economic Development Finance Professional Certification from the National Development Council and is a Certified Economic Developer. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, where she serves as a professional instructor. She serves on a variety of professional boards and associations, including the Michigan Municipal League Land Use and Economic Development Committee, Michigan Magnet Fund Board of Directors and the Michigan Economic Developers Association Board of Directors.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Educational attainment and the skills gap.
2013 40 Under 40 Winners
In Jon’s role as Director of Dorchester County Economic Development, he has facilitated capital investment totaling more than $500 million and 1,100 jobs. Jon’s economic development experience includes time working at the state, regional and local levels. A native of Walterboro, South Carolina, Baggett and his wife, Ann, reside in Summerville.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The education of our future generation of manufacturing employees.
What is your favorite season? Fall.
Clay is a next-generation economic developer who is passionate about collaborating with others to create better and healthier places to live. Clay has more than nine years of community and business development leadership for private-sector firms, non-profit, city and state organizations. Clay’s primary role is to recruit new industry and capital investments to the State of Tennessee and to help existing businesses develop and implement innovative growth strategies to become more sustainable and profitable.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The disconnect of services and data between economic development, workforce development and education.
Charlie has been an employee of the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology at Stennis Space Center since the spring of 1999, when he was named Incubator Manager for MSET’s small business incubator program for start-up technology companies. In 2003, Charlie was named Vice President of MSET and served in that capacity until September 2008 when he became President and CEO; this position also serves as the Technology Transfer Officer for the State of Mississippi. Charlie is a Gulfport, Mississippi native and lives there today with his wife, Audrey Spraberry Beasley, and four children.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Inconsistencies in the definitions of success.
What is your favorite weekend activity? Focusing on family and friends and all the good things in life.
Jerry was named Executive Director of the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) in December 2012. He has been with JEDCO for over 12 years and was previously JEDCO’s Deputy Director where he oversaw all economic development functions of the organization. Jerry has been instrumental in industry recruitment having partnered with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and other agencies in the attraction of new businesses to Jefferson Parish. Recently, Jerry was actively involved in the retention of Peoples Health, having retained 600 jobs and resulting in the subsequent creation of 125 jobs.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Understanding that most of your job creation and all of your job loss is coming from existing companies. Business retention and expansion are still paramount.
Kendra is certified in social media marketing, project development and management. Her past roles have been diverse, including regional co-op advertising coordinator and new business development with Golden West Radio, as well as business coordinator with Community Futures Entre-Corp.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Youth engagement. The youth will be the next generation of entrepreneurs contributing to the economic climate. As a whole, when we spend money, it’s essentially a vote for what we believe in.Their dollar and voice are just as much a representation of what works now and potentially what will be supported later. It’s why I think we need to ensure that they are knowledgeable on current issues, part of the conversation and engaged.
Jennifer oversees the day-to-day operations, manages the overall strategic marketing initiatives and projects for Wake County. In addition, Jennifer leads the recruitment and retention of the life sciences cluster in Wake County and leads the strategy and execution of the Triangle Region’s Talent Attraction initiative – Work in the Triangle, Smarter from Any Angle. Bosser moved to North Carolina in 2005, from Washington, D.C., where she served in numerous economic development and non-profit positions.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Workforce development. We have to get creative in solving the education issues that directly impact the success of our communities and our companies. It starts in early education all the way up through college and in the workplace. Education provides opportunity.
Daniel has worked as a professional economic developer for more than 10 years, starting his career with the San Antonio Economic Development Department. Daniel has managed projects including the $500 million Cisco Systems Data Center, the 450- employee corporate headquarters for PFSweb and the relocation of a 700-employee operation for Frontier Communications.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In my area, I believe the need to maintain aging infrastructure and consider the need for redevelopment and refurbishment on older buildings is sometimes overlooked. This requires proactive, long-term planning and should be considered even in newer, fast-growing communities.
Lisa worked as Gulfport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director prior to overseeing downtown development for the City of Gulfport post-Katrina in 2006. She currently heads up the city’s Business and Economic Development department. She lives in Gulfport, Mississippi with her seven-year-old son, Layton.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Small business development is the most overlooked facet of economic development. Large projects creating numerous high-paying jobs are very rewarding for economic developers, however, small business accounts for nearly 80 percent of all businesses in my community and their needs vary substantially from that of large industries. In addition, I believe early childhood development is essential to developing a competent workforce as well as to establishing a desirable quality of life for a community. Educating children early is the best way to ensure a community’s growth and success.
Dog or cat? Dog(s)
Edward has over 10 years of professional experience driving transformational initiatives in entrepreneurial, consultative and executive management roles in both the the private and public sectors. He spent the last 4 years in various economic development leadership roles at the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. He holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business of the University of Texas at Austin, a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelors degree in the same field from the University of Pennsylvania.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The most overlooked issue facing economic development today is stakeholder engagement and governance. Economic development organizations should respond to the needs and priorities of a broad group of local, regional and national stakeholders. Achieving this alignment and balancing competing or contradictory interests requires the active participation from the various stakeholders as well as a governance policy, structure and processes that continually monitors decision making and resource allocation. At the same time, and in order to be competitive, economic development organizations need to be agile and be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Designing and maintaining the right governance in order to maximize stakeholder engagement, alignment and transparency, while enabling agile decision making and action is necessary for sustainable economic development to take place.
Dog or cat? Cat
Connect with Edward
Chris oversees GPEC’s business development efforts, with particular expertise in renewable energy, emerging technology, tax policy and international economic development. He manages the domestic and international strategies in attracting new industry to the market. Chris has been instrumental in the design of the city’s Renewable Energy Tax Credit Program, which has been utilized by several renewable energy companies since its inception. In addition, he has directly assisted more than 76 companies in their expansions or relocations to Greater Phoenix.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? A national lack of commitment to the educational delivery system.
Steven is an expert in technology commercialization and Alabama’s first economic development professional solely dedicated to innovation and technology. Steven’s focus at the BBA is on supporting the growth of the innovation-driven economy in the Birmingham region.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Regions and communities tend to differ widely, with diverse stakeholders, assets and challenges for each. Because of this diversity there is no cookie-cutter key to economic development success that will work for all. I believe that economic development success will be driven by a community’s ability to understand their specific market and cultivate those opportunities that set them apart.
What is your favorite place to travel for business? I recently attended a meeting in Waterville Valley, N.H. The travel logistics were challenging, but the location was beautiful and worth the effort.
Cathy is focused on recruiting high-wage jobs and private capital investment to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, as well as assisting in the expansion and relocation of financial services companies to the region. Cathy has 18 years of experience working for chambers of commerce, regional economic development organizations and city government in both Ohio and Florida. Cathy relocated to Jacksonville 11 years ago and still loves exploring new parts of Florida with her two sons.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Talent mobility. The economic development community is going to have to figure out how to track and incent job creation in an environment where corporate talent is less tied to place. Our profession’s performance indicators are centered on recruiting jobs and talent to real estate and that model is evolving with advances in technology.
What is your favorite food? Seafood of any kind.
Since 2007, Chris has served as the first President and CEO of the Missouri Partnership. He is responsible for directing the Partnership’s efforts to market Missouri for new business investment and recruit new corporate expansions to the Show-Me State. He has more than 15 years of experience in economic development at the state level. He currently lives in St. Louis, Mo.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? For those in economic development, the most overlooked issue is how the profession attracts more “intentional entrants” into the field, especially beginning with recent college graduates. How the profession cultivates the next generation of practitioners and leaders is absolutely central to sustaining the profession as a credible and worthwhile vocation. In terms of the issues affecting economic development writ large, I believe that the profession may be overlooking – or at least underestimating – the potential for a cumulative public backlash against state and local incentives, as spurred by increasing scrutiny of the public benefits gained by use of these incentives. How that backlash may manifest – e.g. public policy at the national or state level limiting the use of incentives – remains to be seen, but in an era of tightening public-sector budgets and the natural questions on where best to spend limited resources, this is certainly a scenario that should be more of a focus of discussion than it seems to have been.
What was your favorite movie as a kid? Tough to pinpoint a specific film, but for a while there I was really into Japanese “chambara” films (i.e. “samurai westerns” like Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, etc.). I studied Japanese when I was younger, so it was a good way to practice some of the language in a very entertaining context.
In addition to assisting out-of-state companies, Dusty serves as the state’s primary liaison to the national site selection and greater corporate real estate communities. He resides in Holland, Michigan with his wife Kylee and two-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Availability of skilled labor; while technology will continue to improve/streamline production of durable goods, job/workforce demand continues to outpace population growth.
Amber is responsible for domestic and international lead development and business recruitment. Prior to joining the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Amber served as the business development manager for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She has 12 years of experience in community and economic development in numerous roles with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and communities within the state.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I wish I had a crystal ball and could predict the future challenges of this field, but as I look at the issues today, I believe our profession is profoundly aware of the workforce issues our nation will face, and the challenges of product development within our varying communities. However, something I feel we as a greater profession may be overlooking is a growing movement for stricter scrutiny of incentives. It will be interesting to see how states and communities compete in the future for business relocations.
What is your favorite weekend activity? My favorite weekend activity is spending quality time with my husband, Kerry, and our son, Finn.
Kelly develops and oversees the programs of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) that enhance the community, while collaborating with state economic development officials to promote economic development throughout Colorado. Kelly works to assist out-of-town companies with expansion and/or relocation and maintains relationships with local businesses to support their expansion needs.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In my opinion, it is that the typical standard by which we measure success and jobs is changing. As a result of the recession, businesses have learned to do more with less. Economic development practitioners need to be more flexible and adapt to the changing economic conditions.
Over the past ten years, Kristin’s career has spanned politics, finance, marketing, public relations and economic development. For the past seven years, Kristin has been responsible for industrial recruitment and business development for Cleveland County. Under her leadership, the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership has announced more than 40 successful project locations and expansions, totaling more than $4.7 billion in new capital investment and 2,600 new jobs.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Providing great customer service has become a lost art. It should be a priority even in the economic development profession. We serve many ‘customers’ in economic development; whether it be the site selection consultant, the client or existing companies in our own communities, and when we provide that level of care to them, it can be very impactful.
A native Georgian, Matt’s been involved in economic development for 10 years in three different Georgia communities working on projects in pharmaceuticals, heavy construction equipment manufacturing, customer service, R&D, design, plastics, metals, aerospace, corporate office and motion pictures. He’s also global, having recruited to Georgia the U.S. headquarters of Sany Industries, the largest private company in China. Matt is married to Allison and they have three children.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The growth of the service economy contrasted with the decline of available blue collar, low-skill positions. Education is vital, but not everyone will become educated. Where does that poorly educated individual find work? It used to be available in blue collar positions, but those are becoming fewer and fewer each year.
What is your favorite season? I love fall. In Georgia, it’s still warm, but usually not overwhelmingly hot, yet it’s not ugly and cold either. The afternoon light is the best for photography as well.
Steve works closely with companies and communities to drive capital investment and job creation in JobsOhio’s 18 county Northeast region. Steve has a passion for creating value and results through collaboration and optimization. In his previous role as director of Cleveland Plus Business Attraction, Steve managed Team NEO’s business development efforts towards site selection consultants and led Team NEO’s online marketing efforts, which included web, email, search and social media marketing.Steve’s initiative, knowledge, persistence and leadership skills were essential in successfully completing an expansion project in the automotive industry cluster in the county. The expansion helped retain over 500 full-time employees in the community and created 150 new full-time jobs.
What have you learned so far in your career? Economic development operates within complex systems upon subsystems of partnerships made up of organizations with varying interests and objectives, each sharing finite resources yet reporting individual results. While there is no shortage of people willing to talk about a better way while blaming others for the current state, there is a shortage of people willing to try a better way but give credit to others.
Before joining Visit Indy in 2005, Chris was part owner of a marketing firm in Hawaii, helping various tourism clients in the islands. A member of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee, he has traveled to three past Super Bowls and helped spearhead promotion and media relations for the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl. He lives with his wife, Catherine, and two sons, Kanoa and Kai.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The most overlooked issue facing economic development is education—breaking down barriers for adults to get back into a classroom to complete degrees, and incenting universities to provide better, stronger programs within their walls. Also, keeping the creative class intact within each community to ensure forward progress.
What is your favorite place to travel for business?My favorite place to travel for business is London—it’s teeming with action, and is an epicenter for media, fashion and overall world developments.Connect with Chris
Ken was elected to the Detroit Charter Commission in 2009. He currently serves on the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in Washington, D.C. and as Midwest Director for the U.S. Black Chamber over 12 states. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the Michigan State University in African American and African Studies and the Eli Broad School of Business Program.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Urban economic agenda in developed and undeveloped economies.
Victoria covers four of the fastest-growing Middle Tennessee counties and closely works with existing industries. Previously, Victoria worked as a senior project consultant for Thomas P. Miller & Associates, an economic development-workforce consulting firm where she worked throughout the United States on a variety of projects. Originally from New York City, this girl is enjoying the good life in Tennessee.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? We must have more conversations about collaboration and doing less with more. I realize this is not groundbreaking, but we (ED professionals, chambers, workforce, educators, etc.) have to be better about connecting the value chain and conversing with each other. Our end goals are the same – we want people to have opportunities for jobs that provide them with a quality standard of living in a great community. But working in silos is not advancing the dialogue about how we get to that happy place. We all bring different perspectives, resources and knowledge to the table.
Kevin Hughes was named the Director of the Suffolk Department of Economic Development in February 2010. Since joining the Suffolk team in 2005, Kevin has managed more than 120 new and expanding business projects totaling more than $403 million in capital investment and more than 3,250 new jobs. Hughes’ responsibilities also entail the supervision of the Division of Tourism, the Suffolk Executive Airport as well as serving as the Deputy Secretary Treasurer for the Suffolk Economic Development Authority.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The connection between schools and businesses. The business community must play a greater role in shaping the education programs in our schools to create the most prepared workforce for our country to remain a thriving economy.
Mohammed convinced the Governor of Anbar Province, Iraq, of the need for an effective economic development organization. With the Governor’s approval and the full support of the Deputy Governor, Mohammed organized the Anbar Economic Development Council representing all the Province’s primary economic sectors. He then hired and trained a dozen young “sector specialists” to form the Council’s support staff. The Council was launched in January 2011 and has since established itself as the first ever and premier economic development organization in all of Iraq.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? In my country, it is the political conflicts because everyone puts obstacles ahead of working together!
Cameron is responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategic plan for the University Research Campus (URC); supporting, coordinating and integrating Research Enterprise activities with industry; simplifying external access to OU resources to maximize the impact of OU capabilities; expanding the engagement pipeline (current and new relationships) via targeted solutions; and growing external relationships with Oklahoma economic development organizations. He is also responsible for all marketing and public relations activities related to University Economic Development efforts, which include the Corporate Engagement Office (CEO), Office of Technology Development (OTD) and the University’s student focused Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW).
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I probably have a different lens than others (maybe) given my higher education perspective but I firmly believe there are three key “quiet” issues due to find realistic solutions very soon.
- We have to get past using unemployment rate as the qualifying factor for Federal funding opportunities and look instead to fund the best ideas and opportunities in locales that have momentum.
- I am concerned about our collective abilities related to workforce development over the long-term. We as educators and economic developers need to make sure that we have the right ties to meet pending industry demands within a dwindling funding scenario, and that planning should not eliminate the liberal arts in favor of only STEM outcomes.
- The role of higher education in economic development is changing fundamentally. In some instances, it is becoming an additional mission, with universities being asked to define their role for the first time. Here is why this is an issue: No two institutions are the same. I am excited that IEDC, APLU, AURP and others have the chance to really grasp these issues and to create some clarity through a mix of research and practitioner engagement in the coming years. In fact, I think there are some fantastic people in IEDC who will really shape this issue in the near future.
What is your favorite season? College football.
As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller has focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency and developing strategies for urban economic growth. Results in his first 20 months in the role include state legislation allowing for benefit corporations, a policy framework to guide the use of tax incentives in economic development, and the attraction of more than $200 million in new investment and 3,500 new jobs through proactive attraction and expansion of corporate projects in the New Orleans market.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The role of companies from emerging economies in inward investment to the U.S. will change how we look at corporate attraction. These investments are growing, the companies more innovative, but the decision-making process is still murky and the information networks to source these deals are not fully developed. Markets that figure how to best source these deals a distinguishing value proposition will win.
What was your favorite movie as a kid? The Last Dragon.
Kim encourages investment, innovation and job growth through her marketing efforts promoting the City of Dallas as a premier location for domestic and international companies to do business. Moore has been involved in economic development efforts in Texas for more than 11 years and has a diverse background with a broad range of economic development experience. Since joining the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development five years ago, Moore has worked on projects that have secured over 2,700,000 square feet of new and redeveloped space, increased the tax base with committed investments of almost $293 million and created over 3,600 new jobs.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Workforce development. There is a mismatch between skills and job requirements in most communities especially in semi-skilled positions. We seem to be losing specialized trade skills. Community leaders are seduced by the glamour of buzzword (“creative class”) employment and are losing focus on the skill sets of their residents providing a disconnect in recruitment activities and existing companies’ and workforce needs.
What is your favorite cartoon? The Family Guy.
Jennifer leads Southwest Michigan First’s attraction efforts. As part of her responsibility for executing the organization’s site consultant strategy, Jennifer travels both nationally and internationally promoting the regional and state economies. In addition, Jennifer’s entrepreneurial skills as the co-owner and founder of a Michigan-based business and its private label barbecue sauces and spices allow her to understand the needs of the companies that seek the organization’s consulting services.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Developing a pipeline of future leaders. Way too many economic development organizations are headed by those just years way from retirement with no concentrated succession plan.
Trevor came to the Detroit Regional Chamber in January 2011 to launch Connection Point, an economic development initiative that has brought more than $200 million in quotation opportunities to Michigan companies. Trevor’s other accomplishments include being named to Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” List for 2012 and advising the White House Business Council on supplier diversity initiatives. Trevor is also an avid runner, completing the San Francisco and Detroit marathons.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Economic development has three needs we need to face, including the need for more economic gardening, open innovation and symbiotic relationship-building between industrial, product and graphic design (more needs to be done to tie the creative professionals in these fields).
What is your favorite place to travel for pleasure? Vancouver, BC
In 2010, Jonas was hired as the first President/CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. Since that time, the organization has more than doubled in size and is now recognized as one of the most productive in the State of California.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I think developers who have a competency in quantitative marketing will be indispensable. Also, the nuts and bolts of real estate transactions are often overlooked. The value of our profession would rise dramatically if we made a concerted effort to increase our skill set in those two areas.
What are you currently reading? During the past year our entire organization incorporated The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton of Gallup into our work plan. It’s a must-read for economic developers.
Harold was appointed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia in August 2011 to serve as the fifth Director of the Washington, D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), where he oversees the city’s agency charged with fostering the development, growth and retention of small businesses in the District of Columbia. As Director, Harold serves as the District’s chief advocate for small businesses, advising the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on all programs, policies and issues related to or affecting the local business community. At age 33, he serves as one of the youngest members of the Mayor’s Cabinet, and has led one of the most aggressive expansion of service offerings to increase the competitiveness of small businesses, targeting opportunities in the local, regional, federal and global marketplace and across multiple industries.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? I believe the most overlooked issue in economic development is the lack of coordination, strategy and focus on business services. The economic argument is long held that businesses, specifically small businesses, drive the stimulation of the economy through innovation and job creation, yet services in many jurisdictions throughout the country are disorganized and create a burden for businesses to start, develop and grow. I believe that the best trip to a government agency is the one that a small business does not have to take. There is a greater need to centralize services and create one-stop destinations to minimize interactions between government and small businesses so that they can focus their efforts on starting, developing and growing their business. Efforts are underway at the federal government, with the President launching Business USA, and the recognition of the problem with decentralized business services in federal government agencies. Similar efforts need to be replicated at the local level for many jurisdictions to improve the environment for businesses to succeed, which would result in small businesses further stimulating the economy, and driving job creation and growth.
Dog or Cat? Cats. My fiancé and I have two cats, Samantha and Minnie (like the mouse).
Scott specializes in innovative solutions involving emerging and mobile technology. Scott is serving his first term on the City of Madison Common Council, where he is a member of the Economic Development Committee. His recent accomplishments include passing the first open data ordinance in Wisconsin (second in the U.S.) and speaking at the White House about entrepreneurship and small business development. He is also the COO of Hardin Design & Development where he oversees all new business development.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Most economic development strategies fail to get “in-depth” in sector-based analysis. For example, a recent trend in economic development has been to talk about attracting entrepreneurship without focusing on the elements within a community that fosters new companies. Housing (pro-pet landlords), community activities, night life and transportation policies are equally as important as traditional strategies when attempting to attract new entrepreneurial companies.
Joel brings an innovative global approach to regional economic development, making him an influential leader in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. A two-term city councilor from age 24, Joel was the co-founder of the Fredericton Young Professionals group at the age of 28, the youngest president of the New Brunswick Cities Association and youngest chair of the Atlantic Caucus for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? That outside foreign investment is attracted by export active places. Locations should continually ensure they place a massive emphasis on growing their existing goods and services producing companies through export readiness to move them from selling just domestically to more sales in global markets.
What is your favorite food? Thai.
Gilberto regularly meets with top-level executives of Fortune 500 companies pertaining to opportunities in Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros, Mexico and the Port of Brownsville, an area of 1.2 million people. Most recently, Mr. Salinas has been working a project of significant impact for the region with Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and its founder Elon Musk, who is considering building the world’s first commercial rocket launch site and command center at Brownsville’s Boca Chica Beach.
In 2013, Mr. Salinas received the prestigious nod of one of the 40-Under-40 Rising Stars in Economic Development in the United States. Mr. Salinas has been featured in different news outlets, including the Univision morning show ‘Despierta America’ where he discussed the burgeoning industry of the Borderplex region.
Mr. Salinas holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Communication.
In his off time, Mr. Salinas has been casted to play “bad guy” roles in Texas-based films, with his most recent being in Robert Rodriguez’s ‘From Dusk Till Dawn – TV Series.’
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? It’s easy to overlook what I think is the most important factor driving decisions for site location – skilled workforce. Beyond infrastructure, real estate, incentives and a community’s quality of life, the availability of a labor force will dictate the longevity, health, stamina and success of a company.
Shelby joined the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation in 2001 where she first administered a tax incentive program and worked in a support role to develop a 1,400 acre technology campus in Malta, New York. She worked on the team which attracted Globalfoundries, a $7 billion computer chip manufacturing plant which now employs 1,700 people.
As the director of marketing, Shelby continues to promote Saratoga County as the premier global location for semiconductor, clean-tech and nanotech manufacturing while working with businesses on their retention and expansion needs. In 2010, Shelby led a year-long public relations and communications effort to garner international and national media exposure for the Saratoga County Business environment and Globalfoundries. This effort garnered stories from The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, the Huffington Post and other national publications.
Shelby also led the effort to develop a marketing video “Saratoga County: Life with Balance,” which promotes the assets of Saratoga County to a global audience. The video has won “best in class” marketing awards from the New York State Economic Development Council, the Northeast Economic Development Council and the International Economic Development Council.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Communities aren’t built overnight and there are rarely magic bullet fixes to attract job opportunities and meaningful investment. Economic development is not a one size fits all field nor should it be focused on one thing- incentives, infrastructure, sites or quality of life. The best communities lay out a vision for the future, build consensus around that vision and then they plan their work and work their plan over the long term.
Known as a tireless worker, Jay, a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer, has served as president and chief executive of the Sumter County Development Board since 2006. He has also assisted with the board’s private-sector partner, the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative. In his career, Jay has had a hand in more than $2 billion in investment and the creation of more than 11,000 jobs.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development?Workforce development in K-12.
What is your favorite place to travel for pleasure? Coastal South Carolina, Smokey Mountains, Europe and the Great Lakes Region.
Connect with Jay
As the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Hamilton, Joshua is responsible for a $350 million All Funds budget and oversight of 650 city employees. He serves on the National Center for Performance Measurement Leadership Committee and is a former member of the ICMA International Committee. Additionally, he has presented at ICMA conferences in Montreal, Quebec, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Richmond, Virginia and Corpus Christi, Texas on topics ranging from performance measurement to organizational behavior.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups. One would assume that more economic development strategies would concentrate on a group of U.S. companies that according to a joint report from Ernst & Young and The Kauffman Foundation, “collectively employ 700,000 workers and achieved a 30 percent job growth and 48 percent revenue growth between 2009 and 2011,” and this during the height of the recession. These high-growth entrepreneurial companies are defying the conventional wisdom of investors, economists and unfortunately economic development strategies for cities. That’s why in the City of Hamilton we are aggressively investing in entrepreneurs and start-ups as an organic measure to grow our 21st Century economy through advanced fiber optics, free community-wide Wi-Fi and city-sponsored crowd-funding platforms.
What is your favorite place to travel for pleasure? Cities. I love the vibrancy, character, life and soul that an urban area provides. More specifically, cities with Santiago Calatrava-designed buildings and bridges are my favorites. I have viewed his work in Dublin, Ireland; Zurich, Switzerland and Toronto, Ontario. This summer, I will see more of his works in Spain and Portugal. Closer to home is one my favorite Calatrava designs: the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is one of the most stunning art museums in the country, and where I attended Schomer Lichtner’s 100th birthday party.
As an award-winning multimedia producer, Kadie has created and activated several international campaigns aimed at attracting foreign direct investment and talent. Her recent campaign, Tomorrow in London, was acknowledge by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and given his award for marketing excellence, with her digital campaigns ranked sixth internationally by fDi Magazine (from the Financial Times Ltd.).
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? People. Richard Florida, with his Creative Cities Theory, was one of the modern economists who brought people back into the equation of economic development. The people who live in our cities are fundamental to their economic, cultural and social growth. Florida reminded us that people offer a tremendous amount of creative capital, and that economic developers would be wise to connect with local talent to promote innovation and attract investment.
What is your favorite cartoon? Who has time for TV?!
Claudia has worked with the Chamber since 2004, except for a brief stint as Director of European Business Development for the Alabama Development Office (ADO, now Alabama Department of Commerce). In her various roles at the Chamber, Claudia served as the local lead project manager for the ThyssenKrupp and Airbus projects, among others. Claudia is a native of Germany.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? Something that has been overlooked for the longest time but is starting to get more attention is primary and secondary education. Much of the educational focus and a lot of the funding (from legislators, educators and parents) have been going toward college degrees. But it’s also the skilled non-degreed, and oftentimes very highly paid, jobs that our children need to be made aware of.What is your favorite place to travel for business? That’s a tough one. Probably Paris. Traveling to Paris every two years for the Paris Air Show is a treat for me. While it entails mostly lots of work, I try to squeeze in a little bit of sightseeing and fall in love with the city every time. Being from Germany, I also love to do business in German cities, especially Hamburg, Munich and Berlin. That allows me to tag on a few days of vacation to visit my parents in Saxony.