June 21, 2021

“I think that any time of great pain is a time of transformation, a fertile time to plant new seeds.”
-Debbie Ford

The long-awaited economic transformation is upon us. Industrial activity is at historic levels, and the planned capital investments underway in our largest and most sophisticated industries are moving at lightning speed. The infrastructure investments being proposed by the U.S. government will mark the next economic era in our country. These physical transformations in our industrial sector represent the “hardware” of the country and will be followed by a second phase of transformation in services and software.

The increasing urgency to remake our global supply chains so they are less exposed to geopolitical concerns and the re-ordering of the world’s structure around the U.S./China relationship are at our door step. The inequities that have been exposed and created across our country, and the world, are increasingly seen as more than problematic and more and more as an economic nightmare for both sides of the equation. Pressure is mounting for the “great transformation” and it’s coming at us like a runaway autonomous vehicle.
This sounds overly dramatic, but it is true that technology and a new world order are simultaneously making possible and demanding change. Economic development organizations are on the front lines. We’re exposed to the opportunities and see first hand the challenges created by them. These changes require a new type of workforce and the workforce is, in turn, demanding different things from the employers. I suspect it will work out over time, but it is messy right now. Methods of taxation are up next as business models, compensation, and social contracts are re-examined.

It is exciting, even exhilarating to be working on the issues that are shaping our future. Growth is happening, revenue is being created, and the wheels are turning in our huge economy again. These challenges require the intense collaboration of multi-sector leaders and a watchful eye for what is over the horizon. Inflation, as well physical and demographic limitations, will factor into how we move forward the balance of the year. It will be not be boring, it will be stressful, and I’m sure that if we lead with our values and maintain our economic principles we will have more success than failure. Let’s go to work!

​​​​​​​​​​-Kenny McDonald