podcast

Episode 102: Are You Listening and Learning First to Expand Your Toolbox? | Tom Ryan, Pasco Economic Development Council
Episode 102: Are You Listening and Learning First to Expand Your Toolbox? | Tom Ryan, Pasco Economic Development Council 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“The key to leadership is taking the time to listen and learn from others. It is not the easiest trait to learn and it takes time to develop the patience to absorb the information, decipher what is beneficial and implement best practices in day-to-day business activities.” —Tom Ryan

When crisis hits or when the economy takes a downturn, economic development ramps up. In our industry, we know that at the bottom of those dips, the tide will turn and opportunities will rise again.

Tom Ryan, Director of Business Development at Pasco Economic Development Council, joins today and he talks about just that; how economic recessions and rising opportunities have influence and inspired his career journey. Tom emphasizes the importance of reading, researching and learning to truly understand various scenarios, whether with a global pandemic in mind or in learning a new industry, or anything in between.

Tom aims to stay humble, understands that project losses are not personal, and is hungry for learning. Tune in now to glean more insights from another amazing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developer!

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

Episode 101: Do You Want to Cultivate Deal Discipline? | Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission
Episode 101: Do You Want to Cultivate Deal Discipline? | Janel Carothers, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Success is uncomfortable, and I learn more from failures. It’s not always fun, but seeing the silver lining helps me stay centered.” —Janel Carothers

Deal chasing is part of the thrill of being an economic developer. But what happens when the chasing gets uncoordinated and ends up eating precious time and resources for projects that aren’t a fit for your community?

Janel Carothers, Chief Development Officer at Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, joins Faye Davis today. Janel talks about how she cultivated deal discipline and stopped wasting time and energy on the projects that weren’t a fit for her community.

Janel also dives into needing to tell the story behind the announcement; so often project announcement get their 15 minutes in the spotlight, yet no one knows the vast amount of time, treasure and resources it took to haul it across the finish line. Her insights on knowing when to pivot your people strategies to meet the team where they’re at mentally and energetically are on point.

Janel is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers this year, and her energy, dedication and industry knowledge run deep. Tune in now to hear more from this dynamite leader!

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

Episode 100: Why Is It Difficult to Actually Rely on Others’ Strengths? | Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority
Episode 100: Why Is It Difficult to Actually Rely on Others’ Strengths? | Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“There is no question off the table, just ask.” —Cal Wray

Today’s conversation with Cal Wray, President at Augusta Economic Development Authority, is a great reminder of why economic developers do the hard work to make our communities better. Cal shares what keeps him passionate about economic development, even when times are tough, and he also touches on how he brings himself back to his why and kick starts his energy.

While Augusta, GA tends to bring about a vision of golf tournaments, the conversation with Cal goes deeper than golf, talking about all the key ways that he has learned to truly rely on the team around him for their strengths. He shares why relying on others is a pivotal part of his leadership, his organization’s success, and a major component in the collaboration in his region.

Cal is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers, recognized for his professionalism, tenacity and speed of work within the industry. Tune in now to hear more from Cal, whose warm and honest insights are particularly relatable.

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

Episode 099: Can You Be Both Collaborative and Competitive? | F. J. “Josh” Fenn, Henry County Development Authority
Episode 099: Can You Be Both Collaborative and Competitive? | F. J. “Josh” Fenn, Henry County Development Authority 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I hope to be known as one who left everywhere he has been better than when he found it.” —F. J. “Josh” Fenn

Collaborative and yet competitive. Do you find yourself in that statement? Economic development is a delicate balance of both traits. Josh Fenn joins today and dives into how he balances fighting for his community first and foremost, while also supporting the efforts for the larger metropolitan region as a whole.

Josh also talks about the need to work harder than ever right now, and why he doesn’t mind pulling the long hours to ensure his community comes out on top. Josh shares how he reframes challenges to serve as fuel to propel him forward in his work, thus launching the community ahead through his efforts.

Sometimes it’s the most unexpected lives touched that become our beacon in darker days, guiding us ahead and keeping us grounded in our why. Josh shares the moment he met his “why” and how it still energizes him to this day. He is one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2021, recognized for his tenacity in the face of COVID impacts and his dedication to the profession and his community. Tune in now to hear more!

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

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