Washington Competitiveness Council releases final report

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

In its final report released last week, the Washington Competitiveness Council recommends tax breaks as short-term measures to imporve the state's business climate.

Convened by the governor to recommend ways to remedy the state's competitive failings and limitations, the Council has made simple and sweeping recommendations in several areas, including K-12 and higher education, research and infrastructure. You can download the Council's final report and other supportingmaterials from its web site. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Job shortages in manufacturing

There are some large retirements coming up in skilled manufacturing professions, and not enough young people are preparing to fill them. Here's a good article from Albany that explores the issue. Read more.

These shortages create new opportunities for EDPros to respond to the problem. San Antonio, for example, is establishing the Manufacturing Technology Academy. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Developing brownfield sites

Baltimore is a leader in developing brownfield sites, and this article provides an overview of the city's efforts. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Overview of Indiana's initiatives

Monday, January 26, 2004

This morning's Indianapolis Star carries two good articles that review Indiana's new economic development initiatives. Like other industrial states, Indiana is coping with globalization and the impact of fierce competition on the state's industrial base.

The initiatives underline an important point. In economic development, you learn by doing.

Read more here and here.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Here are the best economics articles I came across this week:

Risks to global economic growth keep optimism at Davos forum in check
Hope and Danger in the U.S. Economy
Asia's rally defies most expectations
Growing Pains
The state of the Bush economy
Not quite the world's Silicon Valley
New firms key to economic growth
Can San Diego provide an economic roadmap for us?
We Can Shape The Global Economy

posted by Ed Morrison |
Building entrepreneurship networks in Northeast Ohio

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Building effective entrepreneurial networks represents one of the biggest challenges facing every region. Fragmentation --a lot of small, underscale efforts -- can waste resources.

Leaders in Northeast Ohio are focusing their efforts on JumpStart, a new initiative to combine four existing. It represents the type of collaboration that we need to build focus and scale.

The mission of the partnership is clear: To deliver vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs and the community, accelerating the growth of early-stage businesses and ideas into venture ready companies, and to ultimately transform Northeast Ohio into a nationally significant center of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Learn more. Download a report on building entrepreneurship networks in Northeast Ohio from Nortech, The Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Syracuse builds its entrepreneurship networks

The Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce has taken the latest step in its efforts to build entrepreneurship networks in a city long dominated by large industrial firms.

The latest effort is an incubator, the Syracuse Technology Garden. In addition, the Chamber has launched a web site and an angel investor network, both effective strategies. Learn more.

Unfortunately, the web site is not sufficiently interactive and does not go much beyond "brochureware". Compare the Syracuse site with a far more dynamic site in Northern Virginia, Netpreneur Exchange or a similar site from Washington State, Northwest Entrepreneur Network.

One way to improve: Connect with Syracuse University. The univeristy has a number of centers that can participate in an entrepreneurial network. For example,

The Center for Advanced Technology in Computer Applications and Software Engineering (CASE) accelerates development of New York's high-tech economy.

The Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Entreprises at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management supports the development of new ventures.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The Texas Enterprise Fund

Texas has a pipeline of about forty deals, according to the governor. And he intends to ask the state legislature for more money to attract firms.

All of the prospects in the pipeline could be considered for incentives from the state's $295 million Texas Enterprise Fund. Texas created the fund last year as a deal-closing fund to attract new employers.

The idea came after the state had trouble raising $15 million requested by Toyota for its new pick-up plant in San Antonio.

So far, Texas has awarded $91.5 million from the fund to three projects: $40 million to Austin-based Sematech, $1.5 million to Maxim Integrated Products for a plant in San Antonio and $50 million to the University of Texas at Dallas related to the construction of a $3 billion chip plant in Richardson by Dallas-based Texas Instruments.

Read more about what is happening in Texas here and here.

posted by Ed Morrison |
New Mexico's Direct Investment Program

Last year, New Mexico launched a Direct Investment Program that allows the State to invest directly into companies with New Mexico operations.

In its first year, the State completed one investment, $10 million to Eclipse Aviation, a startup company based in Albuquerque. In its first meeting of 2004, the State is considering two additional investments. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Technology commercialization report on Washington D.C.

The Technology Task Force of the Greater Washington Board of Trade has released Technology Commercialization in Greater Washington: January 2004 Benchmark Study.

The study compared this area with its technology peer regions; Silicon Valley and San Diego, CA; Boston, MA; Austin, TX; and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

It reveals that Greater Washington ranks well among its peer technology competitors in federal R&D funding, venture capital investment and Small Business Innovation Research dollars it attracts. However, the region needs to increase private industry R&D investment and university licensing.

Read more about the report. Go.

Download a copy of the report. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a deal: Renovating the Life Savers plant

Under a 1996 Michigan law, local governments can establish brownfield authorities and offer tax breaks to companies that redevelop blighted, contaminated or functionally obsolete industrial or commercial properties.

In a recent example, the state and local governments are providing $1.1 in tax incentives to a developer who will convert a plant formerly owened by Kraft, Inc. The facility, a 450,000 factory, was the last U.S. plant to produce Life Savers.

The developer will divide the plant into sections from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet. To qualify for the creidt, the developer must increase the value of the property. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Retention efforts in Philadelphia

There's a good deal of competition among the EDPros in Philadephia, New Jersey and Delaware. Governor Rendell has called on the CEO Council for Growth of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to work more aggressively to retain some of the region's largest employers.

In a recent conference call, the governor stated, ""We really aren't doing enough to keep companies in southeastern Pennsylvania. There's got to be an earlier warning system to find out when leases expire. We can't just leave it to happenstance."

Read more here and here.

Philadephia's incentive packages are controversial. A recent real allowed two large law firms to claim tax breaks for miving across the city. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: State broadband index

In an economy running on brainpower, our communities need to be connected. We are not moving as fast as we can to wire these connections, and we should.

As the Internet drives more of the global economy, communities that are still struggling with slow dial-up connections are fast losing their competitive position. As the case of Dickinson County, Virginia shows (see next post), even rural communities can move forward to be competitive.

Here's an article from the Detroit News on how other countries are moving past us in broadband deployment. Read more.

TechNet, a national network of more than 200 CEOs and senior executives in the high technology and biotechnology industries, last year released an analysis of state policies toward broadband deployment. According to the report, Michigan and Florida lead the nation in policies that encourage next-generation broadband networks.

They are followed by: Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Washington, Kansas, Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa.

Download the State Broadband Index. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Rural Virginia county goes wireless

Dickenson County in Southwest Virginia is the first county in the state to go wireless. Go. The system is being deployed in three phases:

Phase 1: Local government
Phase 2: Industry and business
Phase 3: Residential service

Dickenson County plans to create a “backbone” for services that will expand to neighboring counties in Southwest Virginia. Read more or visit the web site. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a deal: Boeing details revealed

A conservative think tank in Washington State, Evergreen Freedom Foundation, has revealed the details of the state's deal with Boeing.

Among the preferences:

Seven full-time employees hired by the state (with Boeing's approval) to expedite the company's permitting requests; coordinate workforce training; work on the company's transportation needs; provide advice and consulting on state tax policy, pursue and apply for grants, coordinate relations between the company and state and local governments.

Special exemptions from sales, use and property taxes.

Rate freezes for water, sewer, wastewater treatment and solid waste services.

Favorable treatment in environmental impact analyses.

State payment and management for all recruitment, screening and training of the workforce needed for Boeing's 7E7 project.

A state-bought (or built) facility to serve as Boeing's Employment Resource Center, with all costs associated with operation, maintenance and repair of the facility paid for by the state.

A provision instructing all parties with access to "withhold or redact" all details of the agreement "to the fullest extent permitted by law."

The deal has conservatives complaining about the "special treatment" given Boeing. Read more. You can download a summary of the deal. Go.

The issue remains controversial in Washington State. Read more here and here.

posted by Ed Morrison |
"Go lean or go away"

Friday, January 23, 2004

That's the choice facing manufacturers. And here's some common sense perspective from some good EDPros in Wisconsin.

Lean manufacturing is a set of well-established disciplines to improve manufcaturing productivity and quality. Yet, too few manufacturers have adopted the practices. For those firms, there's only one choice left.

Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Branding a key to retail development

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Smaller towns face difficulty in maintaining a retail base in their downtowns. There's no simple solution, but branding represents a core strategic concept. In a recent presentation in Millis, MA, consultants made this point.

To develop retail, Millis needs to create a sense of destination, a unique experience anchored by attractions and good design, and then promote itself. Read more.

Here is an example of how developers are using this strategy to revitalize East Ohio Street in Pittsburgh. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The tough task of branding

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Denver's mayor wants a new brand, so the search has begun. The city's consultants have refined three themes that they are testing. The leadership hopes to complete this process in the next month. Read more.

As one observer notes in the article, ""It's a hard thing to do, branding. There has to be agreement on the positioning, what Denver stands for, and then you have to get everyone on the same page."

Meanwhile, in Albany, NY, leaders are trying to establish the brand of Tech Valley. While the brand is taking hold locally, leaders are finding it tougher (understandably) to establish the brand with outsiders.

Equally important, Albany working on a transformational branding strategy. While Denver is working off assets that are widely known (beautiful mountains, frontier spirit), Albany if focusing on an emerging economy. Its tougher, because you have to deliver on the brand promise.

As one Albany leaders notes, ""We're talking about a total transformation of a region's economy and image. You can't go out with real slick advertising campaigns and say you are this thing Tech Valley if you haven't set the foundation showing that there is in fact depth and breadth to the tech sector."

Read more about Albany. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Poor education threatens California's nanotechnology future

California's weak K-12 education system poses a serious threat to the development of nanotechnology, according to a report released today. While the state's workforce is technically very good, it is aging.

The quality of high school education is not keeping up with the opportunities. Read more. Download the report. Go.

In the years ahead, we will be reading more and more about skill shortages. As baby boomers retire, we are not producing enough technically skilled young people to replace them. The challenges of outsourcing have just begun.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Regional group forming in Southeast Missouri

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In another example of EDPros getting their act together, leaders in six counties in Missouri have decided to form the Southeast Missouri Economic Development Alliance. Read more.

Initially, the group wants focus on regional marketng and branding. Regional marketing is the toughest area in which to build collaboration. It requires clear understandings on how prospects will be handled.

Equally important, over time, inequities inevitably emerge in regional alliances. How these inequities are handled will make or braek the Alliance.

Some locations get more prospects than others. Leaders in regional marketing efforts need to prepare for these situations. They can handle inequities through different arrangements, such as periodic reviews or more formal intergovernmental agreements to share revenues.

The main benefits, however, will come if the Alliance can build stronger communication and higher levels of trust. These networks will open the door to new collaborations beyond marketing.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Virginia: Shifting the debate on taxes?

This morning's New York Times carries a good article on Governor Warner's tax proposal in Virginia. The governor wants to raise taxes to make investments in infrastucture and education. He is swimming against an anti-tax tide, but he is hopeful that an appeal to economic development will carry the day.

If Governor Warner is successful, he could signal a reshaping of the national tax debate. For decades, the political landscape has shaped by anti-tax forces that have argued, "You cannot tax your way to prosperity".

Maybe so, but we also cannot achieve prosperity without making investments in infrastructure and education.

Read more. (Free registration required.) Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Monday, January 19, 2004

Not too many good economic articles appeared last week. But here are a few.

Shrinking workforce to knock economic output in EU, Japan: WEF
Agencies examine ICT role in economic development
UN: World economy to grow 3.5%
WRAPUP 4-U.S. retail sales edge up, manufacturing surging

posted by Ed Morrison |
The expanding role of smaller firms

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Small firms appear to be leading the country out of the recession, and there appears to be a growing trend toward self-employment.

Here are two articles that explore these trends. The first looks at the upper Midwest. Go.

The second looks at the Research Triangle region of North Carolina. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Creating a new platform for business leadership in Charleston

The biggest economic development challenge facing Charleston, SC is focusing attention on regional issues. To do that, the business leadership is evaluatiing a new "regional council for quality growth".

The recommendation is contained in a report I released a week ago.
Read more.

Developing a regional perspective on economic development will be tough for the Charleston region. Trust levels within the region are relatively low, and there is no immediate crisis to stir action.

Globalization forces us to compete regionally. (Here's another example from central Michigan. Go.)

Regions that figure this out -- and build the organizations that help them address regional challenges -- can compete effectively in the world ahead. The others will see their economies lose ground.

posted by Ed Morrison |
New urbanism and economic development of first ring suburbs

Sprawl creates more problems than it solves. One of the major challenges facing cities involves designing inner ring suburbs so they are attractive places for young professionals to live.

Michigan is exploring this territory with its Cool Cities initiative. St. Louis is another place that is integrating urban design into its economic development strategy.

Learn more about what is going on in St. Louis. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Connecticut moves forward with smart growth agenda

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The state legislature is continuing to inch closer to enacting changes in the way land use is regulated in Connecticut. Read more about what is happening. Go.

You can also download the "blue ribbon" report that includes a section on smart growth options. Go.

And, you can download a copy of the proposed legislation. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Responding to manufacturers' needs

If you are in search of a way to respond to your existing manufacturers, organize a support program for exporting. In Canada, Europe and Asia, exporting support for smaller firms plays a much bigger role in economic development. (Here's an example of an export support web site from Scotland.)

We have never considered the strategy very seriously. At Ashland College, outside Cleveland, The Institute for Human Investment and Economic Growth identified this strategy as a key component to their economic development strategy. It makes sense. Learn more.

Designing and executing foreign market entry strategies is not simple. But it is a solid way to respond to the pressures of globalization.

posted by Ed Morrison |
So this is supposed to mean something?

OK. Don Iannone touched a nerve in his weblog this morning. He points to a new survey by Area Development magazine. Area Development, according to its web site is "the world's leading magazine and information source for site and facility planning."

Don writes under the headline, Incentives Number One in Site Survey, "While many may not want to hear this news, state and local economic development incentives received the top ranking as the most important corporate site selection factor."

So, I download the report, and I find that the editors are making this sweeping conclusion based on 114 responses. As a rule of thumb, on a survey like this one, you need 200+ randomized responses to draw any kind of meaningful conclusions.

In the report, the analyst admits: "The results of a single annual survey do not indicate a trend or ? for that matter ? a clear indication of a changing approach to location selection."

You can download the report from this page. Go.

We need to understand one underlying dynamic of most site selection magazines. These publications are generally "controlled circulation" magazines. Readers do not pay for the magazine, which means they generally end up in the circular file.

"Controlled circulation" magazines exist for one purpose: to sell advertising. The quality of the editorial product -- as in this case -- can be mediocre. EDPros should understand these dynamics when they consider their marketing budgets. There are other, smarter ways to invest your money and build your brand.

posted by Ed Morrison |
WIRE-Net: Supporting innovation in manufacturing

My favorite business retention and expansion program is the West Side Manufacturing Initiative (WIRE-net) in Cleveland. It's a national model of an effective network to support smaller manufacturing firms.

John Colm, WIRE-Net's director and EDPro reader, passes on this story of a high tech company incubated within a traditional manufacturing company. Read more.

The story demonstrates an important point: mahufacturing firms are sophisticated bundles of technical skills. With the right management and support they can spin-out innovation and new companies.

In another case, WIRE-Net provided the support for a manufacturer who lost one of its major contracts. Read more

In still another, WIRE-Net supported the same Legos robotics competition I recently wrote about that is taking place with Toyota in Northern Kentucky.

EDPros worried about their manufacturing base should be learning more about WIRE-Net. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Roanoke telecommunications planning

EDPros concerned about their telecommunications infrastructure might learn something from efforts underway in Roanoke, VA.

The region is undertaking an effort to assess its telecommunications infrastructure. Learn more.

You can download a copy of the survey from this page. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Continuing challenge for EDPros: Realigning business groups

One of the major challenges facing EDPros is re-engineering business groups to overcome fragmentation and build a regional focus. You can see this development happening in a number of places: Baltimore, Cleveland, Silicon Valley and Charleston, SC to name a few.

Add Minneapolis-St. Paul to the list. Business leaders have formed the Itasca Group to foucs on a handful of regional issues: transportation, education, support of small companies. Read more.

Last week, I released a regional plan for South Carolina along the same lines. We called for a regional council on quality growth. Read more.

Here's another example -- on a smaller scale -- of realigning business leaderswhip in Clermont County outside Cincinnati. Read more

Taking this step is tricky. Business leadership is essential in order to frame the appropriate economic development issues. Business leadership is also essential for execution. But standing alone, business leadership is not enough.

Economic development also demands public participation. Multiple voices. Dialogue and inclusion. Balancing the two -- public participation and leadership direction -- is the tough part.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Unexpected benefits from Maine's laptop program

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Maine is providing laptops to every one of the state's 34,000 seventh- and eighth-graders.  In my book that's a very smart investment in economic development infrastructure. (Think of it as making the last connection in your information infrastructure.)

The $37 million laptop program is the brainchild of former Governor Angus King.

Now comes a story from Portland that Maine schools are forming " iTeams ," groups of students who have the technological ability to help other students and teachers quickly resolve problems with their iBooks. "The state considers iTeams such a successful idea that it is hosting a statewide conference today for students and educators who are on iTeams or want to learn about creating such teams in their schools," reports the Portland Press Herald.

"The First Annual Maine Learning Technology iTeam Conference is being held at Gorham Middle School. About 240 students and 70 educators from around the state plan to attend."

Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Building broadband

An increasing number of small cities and rural counties are taking matters into their own hands. Tired of the slow pace with which broadband is coming into their region, they are building their own networks.

This move is touching off concerns from traditional carriers. Here's a good overview of the issues from the Los Angeles Times (free registration required). Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
An idea for business retention and expansion

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Holding regional (or neighborhood) roundtables is a good approach to identifying the challenges businesses face in expanding. It's a more efficient approach than one-on-one meetings.

Here's an example from North Carolina. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Data on 100 largest cities

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Brookings Institution has developed an interactive web site where you can download Census data on the 100 largest cities. The data include population, education, housing, commuting, income and poverty, and other variables.

You can access the data from this page. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Policies for smart growth

The Smart Growth Network is a good place to start, if you are looking for background on what communities are doing to manage growth.

This week, they released a new report, "Getting to Smart Growth II: 100 More Policies for Implementation". This is a second volume of practical policies to promote more efficient development patterns. It provides with 100 policy options that can be adjusted to fit local circumstances.

You can download a copy of the report from this page. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
NY Governor's 5 point manufacturing plan

In his state of the state address, Governor Pataki presented a five point plan to aid manufacturing: 1) Enact a new job training program. 2) Reform corporate taxes. 3) Improve coordination of government assistance porgrams. 4) Improve Power for Jobs which provides cheap electricity to manufacturers. 5) Reform workers compensation.

Looks like a pretty thin soup. Learn more.

Improving manufacturing involves more than these types of general responses. In my view, we need to accelerate the adoption of lean manufacturing and six sigma among smaller firms. We need to boost both product and process development through technology transfer. We need to accelerate foreign market entry strategies. And we need to expand career pathways into manufacturing from high schools.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Washington State shifts from Boeing to biotech

Before he leaves office, Governor Locke would like to pass Bio21, an ambitious state development plan for biotechnology.

The risks are high, and his plan is still half-baked. But that's not enough to keep people from trying to expand the state's commitment. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Government grants

If you are looking for government grant opportunities, start with grants.gov.

If you are an EDPro in a rural area, you'll also want to keep up with the Department of Agriculture's rural development website.

posted by Ed Morrison |
South Florida moves toward regional cooperation

Trust. Regional cooperation. More and more regions are heading in this direction.

The latest example comes from South Florida. Yesterday, the economic development organizations of Miami-Dade and Broward County met jointly. Officals from The Beacon Council and The Broward Alliance called their meeting "historic".

(Hint: When someone calls an economic development meeting "historic", you know the turf wars were thermonuclear.)

Regional cooperation makes good economic sense, and funders -- utlities, for example -- are pushing this trend to be more efficient.

But regional cooperation has other advanages. You can build bigger networks. With higher levels of regional trust, these networks are more flexible. They can adjust faster to change. In today's world, speed is a competitive advantage.

Read more about what's going on in South Florida. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Wichita nurtures the critical element: trust

Wichita is taking another step toward productive economic development.

Last year, business and government leaders formed the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. The Coalition arose after a particularly contentious period of municipal politics, and it is making progress on ending Wichita's turf wars.

Yesterday, Dean Whitaker (a loyal EDPro subscriber) delivered a report to the city's leadership. His comments focused on the critical dimension that community leaders must have to compete in today's global economy: trust.

"In the past, we had all these entities that were trying to grab the credit. But what I see now is the developing of levels of trust."

Trust is not some "feel good", soft idea. Trust is a critical component of competitiveness in an economy based on networks. Value (higher incomes) is embedded in relationships. And relationships cannot function without trust.

Read more about Wichita's next steps. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Oklahoma's "action plan" for economic development

Oklahoma's governor establsihed the EDGE committee to develop an action plan to jumpstart the state's economy. (EDGE=Economic Development Generating Excellence). The committee produced a report of recommendations. Many are bold: a $1 billion endowment to suport university research and technology transfer, for example.

Here's what's valuable to EDPros outside Oklahoma: In the new economic development, we need to design strategic planning as a process that involves both public participation and leadership direction. The Oklahoma EDGE process includes both. In addition, the process did not take long. It started last August and finished in early January, about five months (with holidays sandwiched in the middle).

The EDGE process involved regional public forums at 29 locations across the state. The forums took place last November. Nearly 2,400 business, education and community leaders met to share their reactions to the initial EDGE proposals.

Read more.

You can download the report from this page. Go

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Monday, January 12, 2004

Here are the best articles on the economy from the past week.

To Understand U.S. Jobs Picture, Connect the Dots, and Find the Dots
Economic scene: Perils of a consensus
Not wanting to get it wrong, economists fail to get it right
Snow: Economy will help slash deficit
Job creation anemic, signaling lack of confidence in economy
Job growth in the U.S. comes to virtual halt

posted by Ed Morrison |
Why diversity and inclusion matter

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Here's a dose of evolving economic development theory.

We've entered a new era in our economic history. We are evolving toward a new form of capitalism. We are moving from industrial capitalism to network capitalism.

Hierarchies are giving way to networks. Value comes not in the control of resources. Value comes in the management of relationships. Value chains are giving way to value networks.

In this new environment, business leadership models for economic development are also changing. In practical terms, it is no longer possible for business groups to dictate regional agendas. They must consult more broadly with a range of other interests.

As we move to more network-based approaches to economic development, diversity and inclusion become critically important. Open networks can move faster and manage risks better than closed systems.

Valdis Krebs, an expert in social networks, has passed along this article that makes the point. Read more.

(REI@Weatherhead is working with Valdis to apply his social networking software to economic development strategy. Learn more about Valdis and his Inflow software. If you are interested in working with us on this project e-mail me.)

posted by Ed Morrison |
Tough talk from Kentucky's demographer

Kentucky's state demographer, Ron Crouch, doesn't mince words. While the South is poised to continue major job growth, troubling clouds are on the horizon. In particular, the aging of our population will pose some serious challenges for sustained growth. Read more.

Some quotes:

“Right now, what we’re seeing is a ‘middle-aging’ of the population, and the real aging of the population is still 10 years away. But you know what happens in 2010? All us Baby Boomers start turning 65, and all hell breaks loose.”

“People are going to have to change their view of retirement. They’re going to have to start working until they reach older ages than the retirement age in the past.”

Relatively low educational attainment is "going to be a serious problem over the next few years. The economy of the future is going to be based on smarter, better educated workers, and the ‘Bubbas’ of the world are going to be in serious trouble.”

The problem is indeed serious. We are not producing enough young people interested in post-secondary education. At the same time, high school drop-out levels are too high, and we are producing too many high school graduates with weak skills and no career plans.

Shortages are appearing in all sorts of skilled positions: nurses, pharmacists, long haul truck drivers, auto technicians. The list goes on. The shortages will only get worse in the years ahead.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Sign of the times: More local incentives

Here's another example of how incentives are accelerating. Commissioners in Guilford County have agreed to increase the local incentives they offer to companies.

The commissioners are making the change to attract a Belgian floor covering manufacturer. Under the former policy, the proposed $80 million investment would generate $1.7 million in local incentives. Under the new policy, incentives will increase to $2.85 million, an increase of 68%. Read more.

The impulse to increase incentives is a dangerous trend. The dynamic of global economic development is shifting to brainpower and innovation. Local governments need to make targeted investments. Looser incentive policies don't meet this challenge.

Smart communities are going to start making investments to build brainpower. For example, in New Hampshire, the governor has launched a pilot program to provide laptop computers to middle school students. (The program costs about $1.3 million for 640 computers and software, or $2,031 per student.)

The New Hampshire program is based on a similar program in Maine that has been very successful. In Maine, schools have seen an increase in student grades and a decrease in absenteeism, tardiness and disciplinary measures.

Learn more about the New Hampshire pilot. Go.

Learn more about the Maine program Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a Deal: Geico in Buffalo

Here's a good article that explains how Buffalo landed the Geico deal. The deal provides Geico with $100 million in tax breaks and subsidized training over 15 years. In return, Geico agrees to create 2,500 jobs paying an average of $40,000 a year.

Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a deal: State Farm in Louisiana

Saturday, January 10, 2004

State Farm is looking to consolidate three operations centers in : Monroe, LA; Columbia, MO; and Tulsa. Governor-elect Kathleen Blanco doesn't want to start off her administration with a missed opportunity, so she has put together a $33 million, ten year package to save 1,150 employees in the operations center in Monroe. Average wages is $43,500.

The $33 million includes $15 million in tax credits, $13 million in infrastructure improvements, and $5 million in training. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Baltimore BioPark: Connecting university to community

Colleges and universities are moving to the center stage of economic development. As they do, new questions arise. How do we make a place "sticky" to smart, young people?

Much of the answer to this question lies in the realm of physical planning. Ther key component is building connectios between the campus and the surrounding community.

This issue is clearly on the mind of the promoters of Baltimore BioPark, a $300 million development near the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The new development crosses the invisible line between the university and the neighborhood of West Baltimore. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Legos competition: Connecting business to schools

Now here's an interesting idea. In Northern Kentucky, the regional chamber and the regional economic development corporation are joining with Toyota to sponsor a Legos competition.

Students from 9 to 14 build robots using Legos and electronic components.

This contest is the type of economic development initiative that leading edge regions will use in the future to build brainpower. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Common sense on the fundamental shifts in economic development

Here's an article from someone who gets it.

Jack Uldrich proposes that Minnesota focus on building a workforce skill in math, engineering and the hard sciences. That's what economic development in the global economy is all about: brainpower.

"Minnesota's workforce is competing less with our neighbors in Iowa and Wisconsin and more with young workers in Bombay, Shanghai, Helsinki and Stuttgart."

The toughest challenge will be educate leaders and the public to the new dynamics of global competition. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Web Watch: Arts based web site in Maryland

Artisans in Western Maryland will have a new web site to dispaly and sell their products. This idea represents a good approach to building incomes in rural counties.

In addition, the site will be a resource for artisans, who need business training to be successful. A successful artisan needs two sets of skills. First, she must be able to produce a product people are willing to buy. Next, she must understand the fundamentals of business: how to keep books, file taxes, and understand basic marketing.

Frostburg State University is providing the technical expertise for the new site. The project involves Allagany County. As I indicated in my 2003 review, Allagany County is an excellent example of a rural county that is adjusting well to the new realities of economic development. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a Deal: DaimlerChrysler in Savannah

When the incoming Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, read the deal that his predecessor had negotiated with DaimlerChrysler, "his jaw hit the floor", according to his staff.

Georgia assembled a $200 million incentive package for DaimlerChysler's proposed van plant in Savannah. Last fall the company announced that it would not go ahead with the plant.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution got a copy of the deal by filing a freedom of information request.

The deal includes $9.6 million in annual cash payments to the company. The payments totaled $56 million over 6 years. In addition, the company received unprecedented control over the impact studies for the project. Learn more.

On Wednesday the Governor indicated that he would never again include cash incentives as a part of a deal. On Thursday, he reversed himself and said that he would , "Never again say 'never again'". Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Kentucky higher ed cuts: Heading in the wrong direction

By proposing an additional $45 million in higher education cuts, newly elected Governor Fletcher in Kentucky is heading in the wrong direction. But Kentucky is not alone. Across the country, states are making cuts in higher eduction.

This strategy makes no sense in economic development. As the new round of outsourcing makes clear, we are now competing in a global "brainpower" economy. The reason that companies can outsource higher value IT jobs is simple: Our higher educational institutions are competing on a global stage.

The sooner we recognize that the dynamics are shifting, the better off we will be. Think of it this way: Colleges adn universities are our "factories of the future." Read more about the cuts in Kentucky. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
BRAC 2005: The criteria

Economic impact will be a factor in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process as we enter another round of base closings.

But economic impact will not be among the primary factors that will govern the process. Instead, the BRAC Commission will examine the military value of various defense installations.

These decisions are reflected in the preliminary guidelines published by the Commission. We are now in the public comment period. These guidelines will be finalized by mid-February. Read more.

The BRAC process follows a very specific set of steps.

December 31, 2003: Secretary of Defense publishes draft selection criteria
March 15, 2005: President nominates BRAC Commissioners
May 16, 2005: Secretary of Defense submits closure recommendations
September 8, 2005: Commission submits report to President
November 7, 2005: President submits recommendations to Congress

posted by Ed Morrison |
Arizona needs "flamethrower leaders"

A new report by the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University states, "Arizona needs 'flamethrower' leaders who recognize the economic value of science and technology".

The report compares Arizona to four technology leading states in the West: California, Washington, Colorado and Utah.

Read more about the report. Go.

Download a copy. Go.

In a recent review of the Phoenix economy, leaders pointed to one of the central challenges ahead: improving education. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Michigan starts early stage fund

Friday, January 09, 2004

Governor Granholm has signed into law a bill that will invest $150 million in a fund for early stage copanies in Michigan.

The Michigan Venture Investment Corporation will be directed by a seven member board which will include the state treasurer, the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, two candidates to be selected by the Governor, one by the Senate, one by the House of Representatives, and one by the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Charleston regional economic development strategy

This morning, I presented a regional economic strategy for the Charleston, SC region.

Putting this strategy together has been tough, since the levels of trust within the region are relatively low. Although the region's leadership came together to respond to the closure of the Naval base in the late 1990's, no similar crisis is on the horizon.

The basic point is this: The Charleston region performed very well in responding to the Naval base closure. They followed a strategy of branch plant recruitment, and it worked.

Now, however, the region must respond to a new set of challenges if it hopes to build a sustainable, higher income economy. In the comoing months, we will see how the region's leadership responds to these challenges.

You can read about my report here. (Free registration required.)

You can download a copy of the report from this page. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Personal Note: Publishing EDPro this week

Publishing EDPro News this week has been a challenge with all that is going on. I delivered a regional strategy for the Charleston, SC region this morning, and I have spent part of the week on final details.

At the same time, we are launching a regional economic initiatives in Northeast Ohio. Read more. It's been a busy week.

See the next post for more information on the Charleston project.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Here's some of the best economics articles from the past week:

Fed's Ferguson sees promising signs for U.S. productivity
Social, economic changes big for baby boomers' retirement
Analysis: Inflation or deflation coming? Even economists unsure
The economy is finally firing on all cylinders

posted by Ed Morrison |
Arizona business group pushes for more incentives

Saturday, January 03, 2004

In the wake of losing the Boeing bid, Arizona got to see what other states put on the table. Statewide business leaders feel that the State does not have enough money for incentives. Learn more.

We're seeing the fallout from the Boeing deal. Businesses are becoming more aggressive about requesting incentives. That trend places more pressure on EDPros and politicians to tie incentives to income gains.

I don't favor incentives, either grants or tax expenditures. The paybacks are too unclear and hard to calculate. Alternatively, we know that other types of investments -- research, infrastructure, education -- have clear paybacks. In times of tight money, investments should be targeted here.

(See the comments from Missouri's top EDPro in story posted yesterday.)

posted by Ed Morrison |
Parting thoughts from Missouri's head EDPro

Friday, January 02, 2004

The outgoing director of Missouri's Department of Economic Development, Joe Driskill, has some valuable observations on the future direction of successful ED strategy.

"Fundamental investments in education, skills development, new research, new connections between business, university and government are very important things to do now.

"In the century ahead, we will not be successful if we fail to increase the education and skills of our work force."

Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The EDPro stories of 2003

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Like you, I am sitting on the eve of a New Year, so I thought that it might be useful to look back at some of the major stories of 2003.

A few of the major deals

Boeing needlessly dominates the headlines
Boeing stands out as the most publicized economic development deal, but it was far from the most significant. Some observers (I'm in this group) saw the Boeing deal as an effort by the company to create major concessions from the State of Washington. It worked.

Here's from EDPro Weblog on June 4: "The Boeing deal doesn't smell right. You've got a company that lost $478 million last quarter in an industry that is way over capacity. They are conducting a highly public search, and they have disclosed an unusual amount of information. It looks to me like a replay of an old game. Some years ago, McDonald Douglas -- now a part of Boeing -- pulled a similar ploy by threatening to build an airliner in Taiwan, all in an effort to get more concessions from the feds."

A week later, Governor Locke proposed $3 billion package. Locke is no dummy. (Disclosure: I'm biased; he was a classmate of mine at Yale.) He used the Boeing gambit to ignite a productive legislative debate on the state's business climate. Nevertheless, states flooded Boeing with proposals.

San Antonio lands Toyota truck plant
San Antonio won the site-selection contest for Toyota's $800 million truck plant, despite a local-and-state incentive package that was smaller than that offered by several other states. The plant will employ about 2,000 workers.

The $133 million in incentives pays for land, job training, a network of road improvements and site preparation, among other investments. Other states had offered incentives valued at $150 million to as much as $300 million. But Texas is the largest pick-up truck market on the planet, and marketing considerations worked heavily in San Antonio's favor.

Florida lands Scripps Research Center
In another significant deal, Florida lured Scripps to Florida with about $300 million in state incentives and $200 million in local incentives. After the deal was struck, the newspapers started questioning the deal. As one article noted, "[F]or the near future, Scripps' windfall of taxpayer money guarantees only 545 jobs by its seventh year of operation. And most of them will be filled ...[by] modestly paid research or administrative assistants who will earn salaries that hover around the county's current average of $37,000."

Texas holds on to Sematech
Like Washington, Texas woke to the fact that one of its major economic assets, Sematech, was "in play". Texas passed a $295 million Enterprise Fund for economic development. The purpose of the fund is to back various initiatives, including keeping Sematech in Austin. In response, Sematech indicated it will stay in Texas, even though it has moved one of its research programs to Albany.

Despite the economy, some states move ahead

If you look across the landscape, 2003 was a pretty good economic development year for some states. New York continued to build its technology strategy, and at the end of the year, it landed an important customer service center in Buffalo.

New Mexico's new governor, Bill Richardson, made important strides in improving the business climate. (Expect Richardson to run for the Democratic nomination in 2008.)

Other states, that made clear progress include Arizona, Tennessee, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maryland, North Carolina, and Iowa.

A handful of states started economic development strategies that may be having trouble moving ahead: Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Montana seem to fit in this category. Then, of course, in Alabama and Ohio, the voters defeated major initiatives in both states.

The same is true for cities

Arguably, cities are in worse financial shape than the states. Despite the weak economy, a number of cities moved ahead with some impressive strategies. Philadelphia, Tulsa, and Albany stand out.

Other cities are making some slow, but steady gains. Wichita is finally starting to move ahead collaboratively. Despite serious financial difficulties, Pittsburgh have launched some important initiatives. Buffalo scored an impressive win with the GEICO deal. Elkhart and Fort Wayne, IN are building new collaborations. San Jose, Providence and Winston-Salem have defined new strategies.

Austin and Atlanta, two cities we think of as major economic development engines, also started defining new strategies. Neither effort appears very impressive, though.

Rural entrepreneurship emerges as a force

When I look back on the year, one of the major trends that appears to be emerging that rural entrepreneurship is taking hold. 2003 was an important year. A conference by the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City was one of several important events in the year.

Branding takes hold

2003 will be marked as the year when economic development branding really took hold. Among the most notable efforts: Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Little Rock, Detroit. Some of the most innovative approaches included Greater Georgia, Bay Area Houston, Florida's Great Northwest, Einstein Alley in New Jersey and Treasure Valley in Idaho.

Early childhood education is emerging as an economic development issue

Stimulated by numerous studies on the importance of early childhood experiences to later brain development, business leaders are starting to push for more attention to early childhood education. An important conference by the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis underscores that these investments make sense. The business-led Committee for Economic Development last year called for improvements in early child care. (Download a summary.)

Universities become a real force in economic development

Colleges and universities are becoming major players in economic development. Indeed, most of the entrepreneurial energy for new approaches to economic development is centered on college campuses.

So, for example, in Arizona, the presidents of three state universities have unveiled a plan to build a joint biomedical campus in Phoenix. This is the type of Big Idea that has the potential change the economic landscape in the state.

Maryland has made technology transfer a centerpiece of the state's economic development strategy.

Arkansas and Ohio have moved forward with commissions on higher education.

There are other "grassroot" examples of innovation and collaboration.

The Central Michigan Research Alliance includes Middle Michigan Development Corp., Midland Economic Development Council, Saginaw Future, Inc., Central Michigan University Research Corp., Michigan Molecular Institute, and Saginaw Valley State University.

The University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University have formed the Multiscale Materials and Devices Center to compete for funds under the 21st Century Nanotechnology Act that Congress recently enacted.

The Ohio Valley Affiliates for Life Sciences includes four universities -- University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Wright State University. They have joined together in a collaboration to build life sciences in a region that stretches on both sides of the Ohio River. It ties together four metro areas: Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati and Dayton.

Global connections are on the rise

Universities are also part of another economic trend: the growing connection of local and regional economies to global partners.

Iowa is using Iowa State University as a lever to build a biotech business base with Korean companies.

Maryland is also focusing on South Korea. Recently, Maryland hosted about 45 companies from the state and South Korea to discuss ways they could develop partnerships. A Korean biotech company will occupy space in the Maryland Technology Development Center, a business incubator for high-tech companies.

Arizona State University is developing partnerships in Latin America and Canada that will help the state's economic development.

A Pittsburgh initiative is building connections with India.

The Port of Houston has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Panama Canal Authority.

States experiment with using the web more effectively

Both Kentucky and Wisconsin have launched interactive web sites designed to assist business people solve problems. Florida launched a new site to encourage start-ups.

Pennsylvania unveiled an interactive map of the state's telecommunication infrastructure. The main purpose of the map is to encourage collaboration to improve broadband access in the state.

Oregon launched a new workforce site that is a model of clarity.

Local web sites get more sophisticated

My favorite local sites this year are from Preble County, OH; Alleghany County, MD; Fayetteville, NC; and Tempe, AZ.

GIS systems in local sites also have become more sophisticated. The best new ones are Chattanooga; Indianapolis; New York State; Oakland, CA; Fremont, CA.

My favorite is in Northeast Pennsylvania, developed by the MAP Center at King's College.

Creative economy ideas percolate

Stimulated by Richard Florida's book, a number of communities are trying to develop new approaches to attracting the "creative class". This year marked Florida's Memphis Manifesto, an effort to distill what all this means. Meanwhile communities and at least one state (Michigan) are pushing ahead with some interesting ideas.

Michigan has a "cool cities" initiative underway. Durham is developing a cultural master plan. Schenectady is implementing a number of initiatives, including attracting new immigrants to the city.

Greensboro, Cincinnati, Rochester, Philadelphia (and other cities, I'm sure) have launched web sites geared toward young professionals.

Rural wireless making headway

We are seeing a growing number of rural communities getting proactive in building their own wireless infrastructure. My poster child is Alleghany County, MD.

There are other examples. Glenville, WVA is a small dot on the map, but it will soon have wireless broadband. The Center for Appalachian Network Access is building a wireless broadband Internet network in the town, funded with $250,000 from the Benedum Foundation and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Minnesota Wireless is leading the move to wireless communications in that state.

North Carolina probably has the most advanced rural Internet effort going.

Pennsylvania published a telecommunications map in order to encourage more discussions with wireless providers.

Manufacturing policy is disarray

Despite all the concerns about our declining manufacturing base, national manufacturing policy is in disarray. The Bush Administration wants to appoint a new head of manufacturing policy, but in the current appropriations bill, the one program that helps small and mid-sized manufacturers is being cut drastically. Go figure.

(To those EDPros who agreed to sign a letter protesting the MEP cuts, I am preparing that for early January. There's still time if you want to sign the letter. Learn more.)

Cool ideas

Last year saw a number of cool ideas in the EDPro Weblog. Toyota began providing classes to teachers in Northern Kentucky. The idea is to teach them team work and problem-solving skills.

Birmingham's Innovation Group continued its practice of taking annual field trips.

Alabama and Mississippi formed an economic development alliance to attract major economic projects to the rural counties of East Mississippi and West Alabama.

Business and education leaders in Flathead Valley, Montana developed an innovative model partnership to stimulate closer collaboration. The initiative goes beyond the simple minded and focuses on real career pathways, and it is becoming a model for the state.

San Antonio started a manufacturing academy.

Education leaders in Northeast Minnesota developed a plan for Tech North Prep Centers to house technology businesses focusing on software design. The centers would be developed in vacant stores across the Iron Range and in other parts of Northeastern Minnesota.

Kentucky's state workforce board is promoting an employability certificate.

EDPros in West Texas launched a hub and spoke incubator system.

The EDA agreed to fund an initiative in Connecticut to promote product development and process improvements among smaller manufacturers.

Bonehead moves

We've seen our share of bonehead moves in 2003, as well. Georgia went ahead to invest heavily in a site for a Chrysler plant that never got built. New Orleans provided $600,000 incentives to a company that was delisted from the American Stock Exchange.

Cincinnati's City Council negotiated an incentive package for Convergys Corporation, even though, when the deal was done, no one was quite sure what was in it. (After the dust cleared the total came to $52.2 million in tax expenditures and grants.)

My Bonehead of the Year award, however, goes to Senator Charles Grassley for stuffing $50 million into the pending omnibus appropriations bill for an indoor rain forest and aquarium in Coralville, Iowa. He calls it economic development. I call it a waste.

My guess is that the numbers behind this project are inflated. Besides, aquariums, science museums, and the like usually require huge public subsidies to operate on an ongoing basis. (Just ask, for example, Mayor Riley in Charleston, SC. His acquarium is not meeting its operating targets.)

Weird and funny stuff

And, of course, we have a fair amount of weird and funny stuff going on. Iowa's governor promoted a new technology strategy for his state, but it turns out that he cannot answer his own e-mail.

The mayor in Harrisburg, PA is moving ahead with plans to establish a National Museum of the Old West (in the middle of Pennsylvania).

Governor Bredesen in Tennessee wanted a new license plate slogan, so he opened it to the public. My favorite: "Tennessee -- Where fat lazy people have built a lot of damn roads" .

Puerto Rico added a news feed to its economic development web site. There's only one problem: the news feed includes stories on corruption and crime, which are both significant problems on the island.

Boeing's CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes commented publicly on Washignton's business climate, "I think we suck". That prompted a union leader to send out a blast e-mail with the subject line: "Washington--We don't suck". (All this happened after the governor proposed his $3+ billion package.)

Soap Lake, WA is still considering its 60 foot lava lamp as a tourist attraction.

But my favorite funny story of the year is ole' Baghdad Bob, the best spin meister on the planet and an inspiration to EDPros everywhere.

As troops were entering his city, he told reporters: "I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad." Later, when troops were confirmed in the city, he announced: "We blocked them inside the city. Their rear is blocked." Relentless optimism.

EDPro Weblog's leaders of 2003

Here is a list of my favorite places for economic development, places I see leading us into the future.

Philadelphia and Albany are good examples of older cities that have taken strong steps to redefine their economies. In the case of Philadelphia, a number of initiatives are underway to build innovative networks and keep bright people in the city. And Innovation Philadelphia stands as a model for metro economic development.

In Albany's case, the Center for Economic Growth has led a series of really well conceived initiatives. Albany also has an innovative site -- My Beanstalk -- targeted to young people.

With the GEICO project, Buffalo stands as an emerging example of where collaboration can pay off.

Hattiesburg, MS is a good example of where a university is guiding the transition to higher value manufacturing. The University of Southern Mississippi is a partner in an innovation and commercialization park to nurture and incubate new technology-based businesses in Hattiesburg.

Alleghany County, Maryland is my favorite rural county. They clearly get it that the world has changed. Their emphasis on wireless communications and high quality rural tourism is an excellent model for other rural counties to follow.

Howard County, Maryland is another favorite place. Howard County demonstrates that publicly led economic development can be very innovative.

Research Triangle Park also stands as a leader in my mind. Not content with past success, RTP has been engaged in a thorough and thoughtful strategic planning process in 2003.

Tulsa, following the example of Oklahoma City, shows that citizens are willing to make major economic development investments, if they are given a clear agenda of projects and a thoughtful presentation of facts. In September, Tulsa voters approved an $885 million community and economic development package. Now Wichita is trying to follow the models of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

AdvantageWest (in western North Carolina) is also one of my favorite regions to watch. They are making some really smart moves to build an entrepreneurial climate in a rural region.

That's it for 2003. With the economy improving, 2004 promises some really exciting times.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Pittsburgh's 2003: Tough sledding

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Like many industrialized cities in the North, Pittsburgh is going through some toung times. The biggest challenge is to remake the core city's economic foundation...the same challenge faced by cities like Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit.

It's easy (if not hectic) to be an EDPro in a growing economy: You wax your surfboard and ride the wave.

In economies facing extreme challenges, the job is diffferent. EDPro provides the community a steady hand.

Here's a review of where Pittsburgh stands. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Job outlook

The 2000-2010 Job Outlook in Brief isn't all that brief. It prints out to about 35 pages. It's based primarily on the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Industry-Occupation Matrix.

Download the report. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Florida's Panhandle gets a new look

Leaders in Florida's Panhandle have launched a branding campaign, and it seems to be working to reshape public perceptions. Florida's Great Northwest represents an effort to put the region on the map for corporate executives and site selections consultants.

While the initiative has not scored any major wins, it is making steady progress. Learn more. Visit Florida's Great Northwest web site. Go.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Collaboration in Tupelo

Most people in the economic development biz have heard how Tupelo, MS has built its strategy around collaboration.

In case you have note, here's a good review of Tupelo's approach from a reporter for a North Carolina paper. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Weblinks on economic development

Georgia Tech is one of the leading universities in economic development. Here's a good idea: Get a class of students to compile a list of economic development links. Go.

Today in our history of innovation...

In 1913, Dr William David Coolidge patented a method for making ductile tunsten for the purpose of making filaments for electric lamps.

When Coolidge joined the General Electric Research Laboratory in 1905, he was given the task of replacing the fragile carbon filaments in electric light bulbs with tungsten filaments, although tungsten was difficult to work. He developed a way to superheat the metal tunsten in order to draw it out into the fine threads used for lamp filaments.

posted by Ed Morrison |

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