Making a Difference

August 17, 2015

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
-Sydney J. Harris

I’ve taken a few weeks off from this blog this summer to recharge and reflect on the last five years. I’m more energized about the Columbus Region and the profession of economic development than ever before. I am also more convinced than ever that having visionary community leaders, a straightforward plan, a well-resourced team and bold goals can cause great things to happen.

Doubt remains about the future of the overall economy, even in the midst of unprecedented job growth, the attraction of capital investment and a rise in wages. However, there is also more faith that we can overcome the ups and downs of global economy by taking action, breaking old models and collaborating. There are more windows and mirrors today than there were five years ago.

I’m excited that our region is in a much better position to act and react to opportunities. Around the country, economic development is being revolutionized by the ability to collect, aggregate and understand data. This is leading to a better understanding of what drives local and state economies, and a more effective use of resources.

Challenges remain. We’ve all had to be reminded that job growth and consumer confidence — and not just low interest rates — are critical to initiating and sustaining the economy. We are also learning that job growth by itself does not lead to opportunity for everyone. More has to be done to lift all of the boats in the harbor, to lift families out of cyclical poverty and to create a workforce that will fuel businesses’ insatiable appetite for talent.

There is no better time than now to face these challenges and to act upon the opportunities we have in front of us.

The next six months will be exciting for One Columbus. The Columbus Region will execute four international missions and dozens more around the country. We will meet with hundreds of local companies and conduct research on a number of emerging industries in the Region. We will work with our state and local partners to prepare our communities for growth and investment and will continue to create a platform so we can understand our challenges and opportunities. Above all, we will listen to our public and private partners so that the One Columbus Regional Growth Strategy can be improved.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update