economic development

Episode 098: Are You Struggling to Maintain Momentum with Projects and Timelines? | Sean Maguire, Town of Colonie, NY
Episode 098: Are You Struggling to Maintain Momentum with Projects and Timelines? | Sean Maguire, Town of Colonie, NY 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“My team knows that they can come and talk to me without judgment; it allows us to think of creative solutions to real challenges.” —Sean Maguire

Have you had problems pushing timelines forward over the last year?

You’re not alone. Today, Sean Maguire, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the Town of Colonie, NY, joins on the podcast to share how he was able to keep projects moving forward despite challenges from every directions these past 12 months. He shares his intentionality behind maintaining momentum with his community’s boards and committees in order to solve problems as quickly as possible.

In smaller communities, inter-municipality work becomes crucial. It is no secret that this work can also be really hard, balancing everyone’s goals and interests. Sean shares some really key insights into making these relationships more productive and getting more projects across the finish line.

Tune in now to hear more from this self-dubbed “PlanNerd,” though we firmly believe “PlanGenius” is more fitting!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 097: Do You Struggle Emphasizing the Hard Work That Goes Into Your Job? | Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
Episode 097: Do You Struggle Emphasizing the Hard Work That Goes Into Your Job? | Tammy Fields, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I live in a city that has amazing scenic beauty, but I truly believe that quality of life for people begins with a job.” —Tammy Fields

Who else struggles with telling their story and emphasizing the hard work that goes into economic development?

Tammy Fields, Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC joins Faye Davis, and Tammy shares well-articulated thoughts and very practical advice on not only communicating your organization’s importance to elected leaders, but also how to build and maintain strong relationships with those folks.

She has great insights about the shift from economic development being a purely business attraction industry to needing to focus on place-making and collaboration with community development organizations. Related to that, learn how motivation and seeing results are intricately woven together, and why the pandemic has tampers with that.

We’re so glad you’re joining us for another episode, tune in now to hear more!

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 096: Opportunities for Continued Learning Are Everywhere | RJ Ball, Empire State Development Corporation
Episode 096: Opportunities for Continued Learning Are Everywhere | RJ Ball, Empire State Development Corporation 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I see companies shifting their focus and working with economic development in new and unique ways; great companies continue to use adversity to find the path to new opportunity. “ —RJ Ball

Today’s interview is full of energy! RJ Ball comes right out of the gates with the same zest that has landed him on this year’s North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers list.

As economic developers, we are always learning new skills and diving into up-and-coming industries. RJ’s talks about the pros and cons of never-ending journey to expand his knowledge on anything in life; knowing that his impatience is both his strong suit and his weakness, and that his drive may well wind up burning him out one day.

RJ also dives into his innate drive to always serve others, to help in whatever capacity possible so that others can succeed in whatever their endeavors are.

One thing is for sure: RJ is dynamite in his role, and today’s interview will have you engaged from start to finish. Tune in now to hear more!

Bio:

With an incredibly diverse background and set of experiences, RJ Ball has achieved a high level of success in the areas of business development, project management, contract negotiation, formation of strategic partnerships, and overall economic development. RJ has worked with executives from the most notable Fortune 500 companies in the world and formed successful long-term relationships with a high number of them, thus giving way to three significant promotions in the course of six years.

His current portfolio includes the 62 counties of New York State, with an emphasis on the attraction of foreign direct investment and the promotion of foreign trade. Having managed projects connected with more than 40,000 jobs across the state and more than one billion dollars of investment, he brings a creative approach to Empire State Development which has led to a substantial pipeline of quality leads and long-term projects. His self-admitted greatest strengths are in his communication skills (both written and verbal), and in his ability and willingness to solve multifaceted problems through both critical and creative thinking.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 095: The Top Challenges for Economic Developers This Year | Thomas Kucharski, Invest Buffalo Niagara
Episode 095: The Top Challenges for Economic Developers This Year | Thomas Kucharski, Invest Buffalo Niagara 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Economic development is not for the meek of heart.” —Thomas Kucharski

If one person is not faint-of-heart, it’s Tom Kucharski. As the fearless leader of Invest Buffalo Niagara, which has grown to a regional power house under his leadership, Tom is also taking the helm of the IEDC Board of Directors this year. He joins Carla Sones for today’s episode of the America’s Jobs Team podcast.

Welcome to episode 095! Tom is a visionary and that becomes evident throughout today’s conversation. Whether he’s talking about the opportunities on the horizon as a border city with Canada or about the future of economic development, Tom looks at the past as inspiration from which to learn, and to the future with confidence and positivity. He dives into the issues which will undoubtedly come up for the profession in the years to come, but reminds us that we are well-trained and direly needed by our communities.

To hear more from Tom, his vision for economic development, and his thoughts on the role of family, tune in now!

Bio:

Thomas A. Kucharski has served as President and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara since 2000. Under his leadership, Invest Buffalo Niagara has grown from a start-up initiative to an innovative regional economic development organization that has secured more than 400 successful project wins representing $4.4 billion in investment in the region and over 42,000 jobs created and/or retained.

From the onset, Tom helped Invest Buffalo Niagara form strong, enduring partnerships with business, development and academic leaders throughout the Buffalo Niagara region. Today more than 150 organizations work with Invest Buffalo Niagara to provide support and expertise to companies from the U.S., Canada and other parts of the world looking to set up shop in Western New York. Invest Buffalo Niagara was recognized with the inaugural “Best in Show” award for its “Are You Right for Buffalo” video that was selected from over 600 entries world-wide.

Tom has been a Certified Economic Developer since 1992. Before joining Invest Buffalo Niagara, he headed up the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation in Eastern Pennsylvania, and prior to that served as executive director of the Horizon Council of Southwest Florida, a regional public/private partnership that included Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples. He is recognized nationally for his work in the economic development industry and is often quoted and referenced in national publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Newsweek, as well as numerous trade and industry publications. Tom has served as a Board Member and Chair of various committees of the International Economic Development Council for over ten years.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 094: When Is the Right Time to Seek New Opportunities? | Kurt Foreman, Delaware Prosperity Partnership
Episode 094: When Is the Right Time to Seek New Opportunities? | Kurt Foreman, Delaware Prosperity Partnership 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“You want to be in something where you feel passionate and like you’re making a difference.” —Kurt Foreman

How many times have you wished that you knew what site consultants were thinking and whether you should be hyper-project focused or long term focused? Lucky for us, Kurt Foreman has experience on the “other side” of the industry, and shares openly and willingly how he still draws on those lessons learned in his current economic developer role.

Welcome to episode 094, where we are joined by Kurt, president and CEO at Delaware Prosperity Partnership, who is recognized as one of this year’s North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers. He talks about how he and his team have utilized the past year to really understand their region’s workforce, as well as identifying faux trends in the industry, and what excites him about 2021.

Carla and Kurt talk through how to recognize whether you’re burnt out but still impassioned to stay in your current community, or if it is time to seek a new challenge for you to be reinvigorated by fresh opportunity. Tune in now to hear more from Kurt!

Bio:

Kurt Foreman was appointed President and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) in the spring of 2018. The Delaware Prosperity Partnership is the first public-private economic development organization created to promote the state of Delaware as a premier business location for companies considering new locations or expansions and to attract entrepreneurs and innovators eager grow in a vibrant and supportive environment.

Foreman’s extensive experience includes serving in various senior economic development roles in both
chamber-based and independent economic development groups throughout the United States, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the Washington, D.C. metro area. In addition, he has worked in the local and county settings and with multiple regionally-focused programs.

Foreman has also served as a site selection consultant, working directly with companies to assess and choose locations for moves and/or expansions. He was also an executive recruiter with a leading global executive search firm, supporting senior-level searches across a range of sectors.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 093: What Do You Know About Infrastructure-led Economic Development? | Clyde Higgs, Atlanta BeltLine Inc.
Episode 093: What Do You Know About Infrastructure-led Economic Development? | Clyde Higgs, Atlanta BeltLine Inc. 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Being explicit and intentional about telling people who you are, it helps to add comfort for people who aren’t built like you.” —Clyde Higgs

Economic development is evolving into an industry with subspecialties. Clyde Higgs talks about how his initial goal to be a hospital CEO and his current role in economic development are really not so different; the emergence of all the subspecialties has allowed him to take a more surgical approach with executing the Atlanta BeltLine vision.

Clyde is at the helm of Atlanta BeltLine Inc, which oversees one of the most comprehensive and massive revitalization efforts of our time. He talks about the power of this project and how he is inspired to grow and develop his leadership muscles every day so he can put his people first and keep driving this tremendous effort forward.

Early on in the pandemic, it was unknown how exactly the virus spread. People were flocking to the BeltLine at that time, and Clyde talks about being faced with public scrutiny for keeping these trails open during that controversial period, and how deferring to the experts rather than jump into defense mode was critical to pulling through.

Tune in now to hear all this and much more from Clyde!

Bio:

Clyde Higgs was named President and CEO of Atlanta BeltLine Inc. in February 2019 after serving in an interim capacity for a year and a half and as Chief Operating Officer for three years. In addition to overseeing the company, Higgs works to expand ABI’s strong working relationships with private and public partners across the region, state and nation.

Higgs brings 20 years’ experience in economic development, real estate, intellectual property, technology, strategic planning, design, real estate development, grant and donor funding, and government relations, with a diversity of projects including those that specialize in urban innovation, science and technology. He is a graduate of the University of South Alabama and holds a Master of Public Administration from East Carolina University.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 092: Why Should You Have a Startup and Entrepreneurialism Strategy? | Carolyn Rowley, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance
Episode 092: Why Should You Have a Startup and Entrepreneurialism Strategy? | Carolyn Rowley, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Work humble. I never ask others to do a task I wouldn’t do myself.” —Carolyn Rowley

To say that Carolyn Rowley was born into the economic development world is by no means an overstatement. Her father was an early pioneer in the industry, back when it was called industrial development, and she has had a long runway into economic development.

Welcome to episode 092! Carolyn shares candidly how her organization added a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship to their strategic plan a little over 10 years ago, and how they partner with educational institutions in the region.

She dives into what she’s seeing today and the various amazing ideas which she was able to judge for an innovation award. Carolyn’s insights on the serial nature of many entrepreneurs is a great reminder why supporting startups is so important.

Carolyn is one of the North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, specifically recognized by her peers for her thoughtful and pragmatic approach to economic development, especially with her efforts to recruit new business and support startup businesses. Tune in now to hear more from this dynamite woman!

Bio:

Carolyn Rowley is the director of business recruitment and innovation at the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA). Throughout her tenure in the industry, Carolyn provides the highest quality service, going above and beyond with each prospect. During the nearly nine years on LEDA’s team, she has worked with 14 companies, which has collectively created 898 jobs and invested $168.5 million in building and equipment into the Lubbock economy. Carolyn has shared her expertise in roles such as the vice-chair of Team Texas, which she currently holds. She is also a member of the Texas Economic Development Council Board of Directors and is a certified economic developer.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 091: How Honesty and Vulnerability Enhance a Team’s Commitment with Steven Jast (Research on Investment & Gazelle AI)
Episode 091: How Honesty and Vulnerability Enhance a Team’s Commitment with Steven Jast (Research on Investment & Gazelle AI) 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“We continue to try to create opportunities for everyone on the team to share, but we make it very clear: if you need time for yourself or speak to senior leadership, it’s a given, don’t even think twice about it.” —Steven Jast

Sometimes we make a decision based on a seemingly small motivation, which launches our life down a completely different trajectory. Steven Jast (President at Research on Investment and Gazelle AI) talks about how a job he took just to make a little money to go travel wound up leading him down his path into the economic development industry.

Welcome to episode 091 of the America’s Jobs Team podcast! Steven shares some really important lessons he learned from  his grandfather, who survived internment at a Polish concentration camp during World War II, as well as his father who always put his family first, knowing that any effort he put in would pay dividends in the future.

Steven also gets really honest about how 2020 affected him, how some days it was all he could do to drag himself out of bed and to his computer, and how that experience and his battle out of it subsequently impacted the way he leads his team.

We are so glad you’re here tuning in for another dose of leadership and economic development insights, and we can’t wait for you to hear from Steven about what he’s seeing in terms of leads and trends, and which industries are gearing up for growth and impact. Click the play button on the audio player below to tune in now!

Bio:

Steven Jast has over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of economic development. He began his career at boutique advisory firm CAI Corporate Affairs International, where he specialized in site selection analysis, jurisdictional marketing, and industrial clustering.

He was appointed Executive Vice President at CAI in 2001, and oversaw the creation of CAI’s ROI Research on Investment company, which he then spun off into an independent company, of which he is now president. Since then, ROI has grown from a staff of two, to an international company of 60 professionals, with offices in four countries.

Steve is a thought leader in the field of modern economic development and investment attraction, and has been published in the prestigious fDi magazine, he’s a regular speaker at international conferences and provides training and coaching to economic development leaders around the world.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 090: What Is the Impact of Politics and Media on Business Attraction?
Episode 090: What Is the Impact of Politics and Media on Business Attraction? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

What is the role that politics and media play in business attraction and how can these impact a community’s chances to land new projects? It’s a question we’ve been hearing increasingly more often in our industry. Last week, we talked with Kenny McDonald and dove into that conversation from an economic developer’s point of view.

This week, we will hear the site consultant’s side of the story. During ECONOMIX, our annual conference, we hosted a panel to talk about these impacts. Welcome to episode 090, we’re thrilled you’re listening in today!

Chris Schastok (CBRE) and Scott Kupperman (Kupperman Location Solutions) join Ron Kitchens to talk about the increased scrutiny and the amount of atypical things being taken into consideration in site selection over the past year. In their discussion, Scott and Chris dive into how an increase in anxiety about alignment between corporate values and community values, especially with the divisiveness in politics and renewed drive for social justice, is affecting the community selection process. They talk about the importance of being aware of anti-business legislation and making sure local elected officials know why economic development is crucial to a thriving community.

So, what can communities do to make sure their community is as attractive as possible to prospective businesses? What is the importance of educating elected officials? How can economic developers make sure that they aren’t hampered by anti-business legislation and toxic politics in their community? Tune in now to hear from Chris and Scott!

Chris is one of the national leaders of CBRE’s Location Strategy & Incentives practice. This advisory group assists clients globally with site selection and economic incentive negotiations, in conjunction with the overall strategy and execution of corporate real estate initiatives. With 15 years of aligning location decisions with business strategy, he has negotiated more than $1.5B in incentives and has vast experience representing clients on corporate headquarters, back-office strategy, food production/processing, manufacturing and distribution center projects.

Scott Kupperman formed Kupperman Location Services “KLS”, a corporate consulting entity providing site-selection and associated facility-acquisition services across the U.S, in 2011. KLS focuses on providing site consulting services designed to maximize the long-term value of a well-informed facility location decision. This initiative was driven by the desire to independently utilize 12 years of site- selection experience, client relationships and nationwide contacts and resources. Scott’s capabilities make him particularly well-suited to provide a strong value proposition for clients in need of warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing facility solutions. Scott has a history of serving clients with a variety of product types with specific manufacturing and distribution needs, including many in the food industry.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai

Episode 089: Kenny McDonald | One Columbus
Episode 089: Kenny McDonald | One Columbus 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Falling behind is not an option.” —Kenny McDonald

Industry titan Kenny McDonald had a unique vantage point in 2020 as the chair of the IEDC Board of Directors. Today, he talks about the lessons he learned in the midst of a pandemic over which no one had significant control, learning to let go and allow his team to execute and respond to the needs at hand.

As economic developers, we often have to communicate with the media. Kenny talks about how he honed his skills in navigating the press, and shares a crucial discovery exercise to do prior to making statements as an organization.

The new year is also brings with it the transition of many local elected leadership positions. How does One Columbus go about immersing new public servants into the world of economic development, and why is it so important to share the importance of economic development with these folks? Tune in now to hear this (and so much more) from Kenny.

Kenny McDonald is the president and chief economic officer of One Columbus since the organization’s inception in 2010. He is a leader and a visionary in the economic development space, and he has recently wrapped up his time as the chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC)‘s Board of Directors. He has helped lead the execution of the One Columbus Regional Growth Strategy and development of the Columbus Region’s competitiveness agenda, and he has also built local and national partnerships that have accelerated the area’s development. Kenny has over 20 years of regional economic development and management consulting experience focused on helping companies develop and execute their location strategies and helping communities achieve their goals.

America’s Jobs Team is sponsored by Research on Investment / Gazelle.ai