Who is relying on us to perform?

April 23, 2012

In a few weeks the Brookings Institute will visit the Columbus Region on a worldwide tour of some of the most important metropolitan economies in the world. The Brookings Institute’s Global Cities Initiative, sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase, our Region’s largest employer, is studying global competitiveness and wants to know what our Region is doing to address the market challenges of the 21st century.

As our team and others in our Region plan for the event, several questions come to mind. First, what is our Region doing to remain or become globally competitive?  Second, what are we not doing that we need to consider or can learn from other regions of the U.S. and the world? How does the global competitiveness of our Region impact our country’s competitiveness? Finally, what is our role in making the U.S.A. the best place in the world to do business, be educated, and live a quality life?

Chicago’s former long-time Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is deeply involved in the initiative, addressed a group last week and pointed to his own perspective as a Midwest Mayor. He pointed out that he wanted to study the Los Angeles region and understand what they were and were not doing, because a huge percentage of his economy was dependent on the flow of goods that come through Long Beach every day. If Long Beach gets sick, so does Chicago.

This made me consider the Columbus Region’s role in the economy as one of the top inland ports, a producer of talent for the world through our 50+ colleges and universities, our manufacturing base, and as a finance and insurance hub. If we don’t perform to our potential, who else are we holding up?

Add this to the many reasons I believe professional, innovative economic development matters so much. Our team is here to move the Region forward so that economic opportunities are created for our people and our businesses, but that isn’t all. Often we only think of this in our community or state, but it is important to understand and consider the obligation we have to continue to strive for excellence in infrastructure, smart economic development policy, and talent development. Companies and people in metropolitan areas around the globe are relying on us to deliver products and services so that their economies continue to move as well.

One Columbus Update
Our team is back on the road this week in Hanover, Germany and at the IAMC conference in Austin, TX. Industrial Asset Management Council is a leadership group of corporate real estate leaders focused on manufacturing. It is critical that we continue to be present to understand our customers and educate others on the benefits of doing business in the Columbus Region and the State of Ohio.

Thanks to Dr. Mark Smith, President of Ohio Christian University and One Columbus Board of Directors member. Dr. Smith will host us in Pickaway County on Tuesday along with leaders throughout the area.  OCU alumnus and world renowned leadership expert John Maxwell will speak. Just another reminder of the great alumni connections the Columbus Region has around the world.

-Kenny McDonald