Local Leadership

August 24, 2015

It is never very crowded at the front.
-Creighton Abrams

Economic development is a team sport and, like any team activity, it needs leaders. Each year, public and private leaders are asked to serve on their local economic development boards, advisory councils and task forces to improve local strategies. To those who serve, we admire your leadership and your willingness to assist in this important effort. I feel confident in speaking on behalf of many in the profession when I say we look forward to partnering with you to strengthen the economy and create opportunity. Here are a few general principles to remember:

Your economic development team needs your encouragement. Economic development is a rapidly expanding profession that requires technical knowledge, political awareness and stubborn persistence. Your local economic developers work hard at both the science and art of the craft, so please support their professional development efforts. They are on the front lines of economic development and are competing for business on your community’s behalf every day, so equip them for success.

Your economic development team has its finger on the pulse of the economy, but they could use your perspective and your network. Communities work best when they leverage who they know and their collective networks. Provide economic developers access to your contacts so they can gain further perspective.

Your economic development team needs to be resourced and staffed to compete. For your team to stay active within the marketplace, they need both financial and human capital to act and be successful. It is equally important that resources are available year after year in order to have long-term impact. Help your economic development team build a sustainable funding model that allows them to fully function.

Growing an economy is a competitive process that requires focus and tireless attention. Economic development is a game of inches, and even the largest projects are often won by the slightest of margins. Economic developers are often on the frontline of the battle, and we need the perspective of others to help us serve the businesses and people involved in the process of growing an economy.

Working together, we can make a tremendous difference in our communities and our country.

Kenny McDonald

Are you an economic development ally with a perspective to share? Add your comments below.

One Columbus Update

  • This week, the Columbus Region is welcoming thousands of college students as they move in for the 2015-2016 academic year. These students are a critical component of our region’s workforce, and events like The Ohio State University’s First-Year Columbus Welcome are a great way to introduce students to the leisure and professional opportunities available.
  • The next One Columbus Investor Update will be held on September 22 and celebrate the economic progress being made in the Columbus Region. One Columbus investors are invited to join our team and leadership from companies that have located and expanded in the Columbus Region over the last five years. Click here to RSVP.