“Well done is half begun.”
Everyone loves positive economic development headlines in their hometown newspaper. The ribbon cuttings are a positive outcome of a lot of hard work, and they’re worth celebrating. This past week, both Amazon’s HQ2 project in New York and Foxconn’s project in Wisconsin were in the news. These headlines make me appreciate even more the great work that goes on behind the scenes to help companies locate, build and expand facilities, and finish in a timely manner to meet customer demand. Major developments like these are difficult and complex to say the least, and they are made more difficult when they are the subject of national and international scrutiny.
What most economic developers know is that once the announcement is made the hard work has just begun. Whether your project is small or large, there is a myriad of things to accomplish after an announcement that require a close partnership between the local and state governments, utility providers and workforce partners, as well as a cadre of real estate, accounting and legal services…just to name a few. The economic development team remains a liaison throughout this process to make sure that what was promised on both sides is delivered as promised. And, there commonly are many things to work out and agree upon that may not have been part of an original announcement. Without this continuum of services by the economic development team, agreements can break apart and lead to unwanted stress, costs and sometimes the reversal of the decision altogether.
For community leaders, it is important to understand that there is a lot of hard work to be done after the news crews leave. For the economic developer, it is important to work diligently and document all agreements and promises so that all parties of the process are protected and enter into the agreements with eyes wide open. For companies, it is important to take the advice of development professionals so that there are not unforeseen costs or delays that would lead you to either reverse your decision or risk hurting your reputation and your ability to deliver the project.
Economic development matters. Let’s have a great week!