interview

Episode 199: Listening to the Market
Episode 199: Listening to the Market 150 150 America's Jobs Team

Development is about transforming the lives of people, not just transforming economies. – Joseph E. Stiglitz

What would you say your purpose is within economic development? For Desa Burton, changing the lives of those within her community through job opportunities has been the focus of her organization. Zip Code Wilmington focuses on providing quality software development training to adults looking to pursue careers within technology. Thanks largely to their “software bootcamp,” they were recently named a Top 5 software bootcamp program in the country.

Desa, Executive Director of Zip Code Wilmington, a graduate of the Naval Academy, as well as Penn Law School, explains that she fell in love with the overall mission of the organization after pursuing careers in other fields. The change and impact they were having in individuals’ lives was something that attracted her to this profession. The overall support from the region, as well as Delaware’s Governor have helped their program maintain success, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a result, that makes the Delaware region a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” she explains.

We first met Desa at ECONOMIX New Orleans in 2017. If you weren’t there with us, you’re in for a treat! Today’s episode of America’s Jobs Team gives a glimpse into Desa’s passion for Zip Code Wilmington, and why she is so enthusiastic about assisting her community. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 198: The Power of Team in Economic Development
Episode 198: The Power of Team in Economic Development 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

What would you say your economic development superpower is? Jason Giulietti describes his as the power of team, and he takes pride in playing a leadership role on his. Currently serving as President at Greater San Marcos Partnership, Jason takes the hot seat and puts a major emphasis on team and culture not just at his organization, but as well as his community.

The Greater San Marcos Partnership is located in and serves Central Texas. Jason describes the region as one of the best locations in the country, if not the world for economic development. Nestled between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos has recently seen exponential growth within their community due to the assets the region has to offer. “We’re doing controlled growth, we’re managing the growth, and we’re ultimately seeing success as we continue to grow our region,” he explains.

Today’s episode of America’s Jobs Team highlights the power of a team within economic development. Hear more from Jason as he expresses his passion for Central Texas and trends he’s seeing within his region. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 197: Taking a Leap of Faith
Episode 197: Taking a Leap of Faith 150 150 America's Jobs Team

Economic development is all about connecting, networking, and relationships.”  -Christina Frank

Have you ever considered taking a leap of faith in your career? For Christina Frank, economic development wasn’t quite in her sights as she began her career in social work after college. Despite her untraditional path towards economic development, this “leap of faith” has paid off for her in a major way.

Christina, recognized as a 2022 Top 50 Economic Developer, takes the hot seat on America’s Jobs Team to outline her career path and shares how she ultimately landed in this industry. Currently serving as Vice President, and lead of External Affairs at Cornerstone Alliance, she assists in small business development for local entrepreneurs. She explains that “small business is really the backbone of our communities.” The resources that they provide to up-start companies have led to sustainability and job growth for those she serves.

Christina’s work within economic development shows just how truly endless the possibilities are. Coming from a social work background, she applies her knowledge and skills to better assist those within her region. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 196: Connecting the Dots
Episode 196: Connecting the Dots 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“The ultimate resource in economic development is people. It is people, not capital or raw materials that develop an economy.” – Peter Drucker

What began as a small two-page business plan has developed into something spectacular. Jennifer Owens CEcD, President of Lakeshore Advantage, joins Carla Sones on America’s Job Team Podcast. She reflects on her time at Southwest Michigan First, the upstart of Consultant Connect, and her current role with Lakeshore Advantage.

Jennifer, a 2022 Top 50 recipient, discusses the future of economic development. “Understanding industry trends and outlooks and new technologies is really important,” she explains. Some recent trends she addresses include increasing inflation, supply chain issues, and the ongoing trouble of finding access to and attracting talent.

The beginning of any business venture can be tricky, and at times overwhelming. Today’s podcast episode takes a dive into Jennifer’s journey through economic development, and how Consultant Connect came to be. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 195: Long-Term Connections Within Economic Development
Episode 195: Long-Term Connections Within Economic Development 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Economic development is a great profession. It’s one where you do make lifetime friends” –  Jim Staton

Have you ever built a long-lasting friendship through a working relationship? Carla Sones welcomes in good friends Chris Schastok and Jim Staton to share their experiences and how they met through economic development.

Chris Schastok, Executive Vice President at CBRE in the greater Chicago area, describes the industry as a relationship business. Working with people day-in and day-out you trust and have a great deal of respect for is critical for success in this role. His good friend Jim Stanton, Economic Development Lead at The AES Corporation, recognized as a 2022 Top 50 Economic Developer, reflects on their friendship and shares his outlook on the future of economic development.

Networking and building relationships are key within this industry. Today’s podcast episode sheds light on all the possibilities of building long-term connections. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 194: Know Your Why and Create Trust Within Your Team
Episode 194: Know Your Why and Create Trust Within Your Team 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Trust is something that is built. Everybody has to come to the table being willing to bring their best to an event but also be prepared to flex in and out of roles.” – Carla Sones

When you bring site consultants or others into your community, what is your why? Why are you doing this event? Knowing your why is one of the most critical aspects of executing an event. But it is even more important to have a team that will help keep you accountable to your why.

Welcome back to part two of Carla’s conversation about all things event experiences, execution, and logistics with Cynthia McMullin. She talks about how she researches and finds venues for each event, the importance of staying true to the event’s theme, the trust and energy of your team to know that things will just get done, why you need to celebrate the strengths of the team, and beyond.

Do you know your why? Our why is to bring site consultants and economic developers together through various events and services and in partnership with One Columbus, we’re taking our annual conference ECONOMIX to Columbus, OH this December. If you are interested in attending ECONOMIX this coming December 6, 7 and 8, reach out to Nick Riashi at nick@consultantconnect.org or register via Eventbrite. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 193: Embrace a New Perspective to Tell the Community Story
Episode 193: Embrace a New Perspective to Tell the Community Story 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“I’m obsessed with giving the audience something they don’t see coming.” —Jordan Peele

Economic development is heavily focused on relationship building. And with relationship building comes event after event. Here at Consultant Connect we often get asked, how do you find the cool and memorable venues and moments that make all the difference?

In this week’s episode, our very own Cynthia McMullin, who provides a level of service like no other for each of the Consultant Connect events, lets you in on a few of her trade secrets to finding the most memorable stories for each community. The level of detail and preparedness that goes into each event is out of this world. Cynthia talks about the importance of taking an outsider’s perspective of the community and how important it is to immerse yourself into the world that many do not typically see. She also gives insight into the importance of finding small gifts that are packable in a suitcase and (most importantly) will not get flagged by TSA.

We hope you find this episode insightful as you plan your next event for your community or for your clients. And if you need a little help along the way, you can reach out to our team with any questions you may have. Stay tuned for part two next week where Cynthia and Carla dive into the execution of each event. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 192: Three Important Components of Long-term Economic Development Strategy
Episode 192: Three Important Components of Long-term Economic Development Strategy 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“Great thing take years to build.” —Sam Juraschka

In economic development, the pace of work can be grueling. Because we’re often operating in a short-term mindset due to full project pipelines and shorter timelines on projects, it can feel counter-intuitive to stop and think about the long term strategy of your organizations work. What are some crucial pieces of that long game vision? How are other economic developers focusing in to make sure their community is led by a proactive approach focused beyond the immediate future?

Today’s episode features three economic developers who share their thoughts around strategic components they deem crucial for a workplan that will stand the test of time. We’ll hear from Brandon Simmons, Vice President of Project Management at REDI Cincinnati, about his competitive endurance and how that edge fuels collaboration and longevity in projects and strategy. Then Emily Jerkins Hall, President and Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham Business Alliance shares her thoughts about the importance of having a research division embedded within the organization both from a strategic priority as well as a career planning point of view. Lastly, Matthew Slotwinski, Senior Economic Development Officer at the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, dives into the growing pains of project losses and how to utilize feedback from tough moments to inform the long term strategy moving forward.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for economic development strategic planning, but we hope this episode inspires new ways of thinking and spurs ideas on how to create a holistic long term vision and plan. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 191: How Does Amazon Approach Economic Development and Community Partnerships?
Episode 191: How Does Amazon Approach Economic Development and Community Partnerships? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

Amazon has created more jobs in America in the last decade than any other company. With such a level of job growth, it’s only natural that the company has built an internal economic development team with its own strategy around doing developmental project work. How does economic development strategy differ when operating on behalf of a corporate entity rather than a geographical location?

On today’s episode, Carla Sones is joined by Sam Blatt, Manager of Economic Development Policy at Amazon. Sam shares how his experience in “traditional” economic development translates into his role now, what is similar and what is distinctly different when representing a global corporation. He talks about the relationship between Amazon and local community partners and gives advice regarding working hand-in-hand to bring projects across the finish line. Sam also dives into Amazon’s goal to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and what effects that commitment has on potential projects.

Carla’s conversation with Sam dives into a new (and quickly growing) side of economic development. With an increasing trend in large global corporations building their own internal economic development teams, today’s episode helps shine a light on how we can all work together to ensure prosperous communities for generations to come. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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

Episode 190: How Can You Find Growth in Tough Lessons Learned?
Episode 190: How Can You Find Growth in Tough Lessons Learned? 150 150 America's Jobs Team

“It is not so much about what life hands you, but what you do with what you get.” –Idowu Koyenikan

Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way, and those tend to be the lessons that shape our leadership habits from that point forward. Whether it’s a lesson from a time where we assumed we knew it all and were humbled to learn those we politely dismissed actually carried significant knowledge, or the moment where we were acutely faced with the fact that our greatest strengths can also be wielded as the sword that cuts us down, everyone has experienced a moment in time where growth as leaders came on hard and fast.

Carla Sones and Faye Davis connect on this podcast to share a couple of their most memorable lessons that have shaped their leadership and the way they approach their professional lives today. They talk about the lessons that came after the initial moment of clarity and why these situations provided such humbling yet pivotal growth moments.

We are living through times of huge growth spurts. Leaders are embracing their capacity to learn and be vulnerable more than ever before, and today’s episode hopes to clear an even wider path to sharing mistakes, tough moments, and other authentic experiences that help teams see the humanity in their leaders and create a space accepting of growing pains. You can find today’s episode on our website, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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