People are key to successful economic development

After attending this year’s Governor’s Conference on Economic Development and holding regular meetings with company officials and local economic development leaders, I am reminded that growing our community and our region is all about people.


            It’s really not just programs or policies or even projects that advance our prosperity and maintain the lifestyle excellence we’ve come to expect. It’s the people who work hard to build our part of the state—it’s volunteers who serve on committees, neighbors who support economic development and business leaders who continue to grow their companies, offering opportunity to our expanding population.


            Some of those people are elected officials, like mayors and city council members. Others are professionals with development companies or commercial real estate firms. Still others are the incredibly active local citizens who turn out for cleanup efforts or contribute time, talent and treasure to civic improvement campaigns. How could we get along without their dedication and commitment to our region?


            With summer just around the corner, most people start thinking about family vacations, weekends at the lake and the backyard activities that make the warm weather months so enjoyable. We’ll hit the links, take in a ballgame or polish up the fishing gear—and not give much of a thought to the fact that those economic and community development people are still on the job.


            Building community prosperity is not only a long-term job—it’s a twelve-month commitment. When a company executive comes visiting and wants to tour our region, it’s going to be at that executive’s convenience. The mayor, finance officer, city commissioners and local business leaders are going to have to give up that golf game, postpone the fishing trip and be there to show off our community’s advantages.


            As we go about our summer routine, let’s remember the people who support economic development and help make community growth happen. They are among our greatest assets—and they make us all proud.


By Dean Dziedzic, Interim President 

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