IEDC 2013 Annual Meeting Day #2 Notes

Ed Burghard

For me, conferences are like little mental vacations: a chance to go visit an interesting place for a couple of days, and come back rested and refreshed with new ideas and perspectives.

Erin McKean

Another full day of meetings, both 1:1 and Conference sessions.  It is so great to catch up with people and learn a few new things.  Tomorrow is a travel day, back home to Ohio.

If you haven’t already, you might also want to read my Day #1 Notes.

Incentive Working Group Meeting

I have the privilege of participating in an ad hoc working group to provide IEDC leadership perspective on how the profession should be thinking about incentives.  My interest is in ensuring a full cost:benefit analysis is completed for deals prior to deciding if offering an incentive package makes sense, and then providing guidance on conducting a robust Return on Taxpayer Investment calculation of a proposed incentive package.  This allows EDO Boards to be confident industry best practices are being adhered to.  Two presenters shared the work they are doing.

Scott – Center For Governmental Research (CGR) a company started by George Eastman

  • Public Sector Consultants – Non-partisan, not-for-profit 501-c3
  • Work in the NE Region primarily
  • Program determines ROI of an incentive package.
  • It is used to understand the ROI of a choice to offer incentives.
  • It does not include a look at opportunity cost
  • It does not include valuation of other assets that are provided by the community.
  • It evaluates the ROI of the incentive offer not the ROI of the project.

Ian – OSCRE International Data Standards

  • OSCRE International – open standards commission for corporate real estate
  • Data definitions, data model and data exchange standards
  • Standards are developed with the industry.
  • There is a belief that there is a connection with the economic development industry
  • Likely around workforce, incentives, cost of doing business, etc.
  • A lot of discussion going on regarding Analytics.
  • OSCRE International is a not-for-profit organization

The Young and the Restless in Economic Development

This was an absolutely great session.  Thank you DCI for organizing it.  We had the opportunity to hear the real world perspective of four economic development professionals who received DCI’s “40 Under 40 in Economic Development” award.  I am proud to say all four had their initial training in Ohio and I personally had the pleasure of working with two of the four when I was CEO of the Ohio Business Development Organization.  Now you might think the audience was mostly Conference attendees under 40 years of age.  But, there was a great mix of people across all age ranges seeking to benefit from the insights of these inspirational leaders.

I am thrilled to share their insight with you.

If you are under 40 in the economic development profession …

  • Be intellectually curious and aggressively seek to Lear, work hard, don’t mind doing the grunt work
  • If you have a good idea, just do it. Ask for forgiveness not permission.
  • Reinvent yourself frequently and build your skill set. Be open to wearing different hats and taking on different roles.
  • Stay humble. Success is sometimes the result of being fortunate.
  • Find somebody who you respect and trust and make them your mentor.

Advice from mentors …

  • Learned that you need to have an on-going level of creativity to do the job.
  • Create your own personal Board of Directors and leverage their help in being more successful.
  • Celebrate wins and then get back to business.
  • Learn from everybody you interact with.
  • What can industry veterans do to better on-board new economic development professionals?
  • Be fully committed to the development of younger professionals.
  • Push them to get involved in organizations and a Boards to build confidence and find their voice. Teach to network.
  • As people prove themselves, increase their responsibilities and let them grow.
  • Seek their input rather than force your way of doing things on them.

What are you reading?

  • The Atlantic, The Economist, WSJ, DCI’s recommended reading list.
  • FlipBoard
  • Harvard Business Review Blog

Do You See a Cultural Shift in the Industry?

  • The profession is getting more professionalized. New entries are coming in with greater knowledge.
  • What role will social media play in economic development?
  • Makes information and connectivity to people easy.
  • Makes it easier to find things without needing to rely on people to make the connections.
  • Potential in place making. Viral, organic, authentic campaigns are more effective.
  • Can decrease marketing costs and increase effectiveness. But, you need to be strategic in approach.
  • Way to add community’s voice to a discussion or opportunity.

How well does IEDC meet the needs of younger professionals?

  • IEDC has come a long way. But one challenge is young professionals can get lost in the shuffle of a big conference.
  • All professions are facing the shift of leadership from older to younger leaders.
  • Engage young professional in smaller groups.
  • There isn’t much after course work for on-going education.
  • Create an Ambassador or buddy system to make it easier.
  • IEDC does have a mentor program

What are the most significant changes you seeing the US economy coming in the next 2 years?

  • How businesses react to health reform.
  • Nobody has yet defined America’s drug problem as an economic development problem. Workers are having a hard time passing drug tests.
  • How do you help people without advanced degrees find jobs?
  • Shift in competition for companies to competition for people?
  • Workforce challenge related to income levels. Be comprehensive.
  • Immigration as a means to address the workforce gap issue.
  • Infrastructure is falling apart.
  • Getting beyond partisan division to address big issues.
  • Incentives are under fire.

If you were king of economic development what mandate would you give to the industry?

  • If you can’t measure it, it didn’t happen. Put metrics behind what you do.
  • Develop a shared understanding of what economic development is.
  • Moving for the sake of moving operations should not occur.

What EDOs impress you and should be watched?

  • Columbus2020 – organization and community leadership involvement
  • Tampa Bay Partnership – out front in policy
  • Charlotte Regional Partnership
  • MEDC – the way they leverage procurement power
  • Kansas City – branding industries

Wisdom on managing Millennialist

  • They are motivated by encouragement and want freedom to operate.Draw the boundaries and let them draw within the boundaries. Be flexible.

How do you bring creativity but you a Executive Director doesn’t want to take risks and try something new?

  • Find the spaces where the manager feels comfortable.
  • Grow/innovate outside of the organization.
  • Make their life easier by volunteering to lead activities he/she would otherwise lead.
  • How to establish credibility with more senior private sector leaders?
  • Be humble.
  • Listen and be receptive to what people are saying.
  • Let a Board member know you want to build credibility and use them to get introductions.
  • Be as prepared as possible. Earn credibility by knowing the facts.
  • Build relationships and then be bold.
  • Relationships matter. It is a game of working with people.

Wrap-up Comments

  • When you are ready to quit you are about to have a break-through.
  • Focus on the meaning of your work to be motivated.
  • Have passion for what you do.
  • Check in on your people and be in-touch with their feelings and be sure they are motivated and excited.
  • Make a difference every day.
  • Consistently be aware and be responsive.
  • Have fun. It is a serious profession, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

Banding Together, Branding Together: Finding Common Ground through Regional Marketing

This session focused on providing insights into the drivers of regional initiative success.  I authored a post offering my 10 tips that I would encourage you to read as well.  Another post I’d recommend you read looks at the question of collaboration as an organizational strategy to achieve a specific objective.  Hopefully, you will also find the insights from this panel who work in successful collaborations helpful.

  • Return to regional and organizational goals to measure performance.
  • Shared objectives are key.
  • Identify resources up front particularly funding.
  • Provide communication weight to proof points.
  • Measure results.
  • Have a process in place to provide oversight.
  • Deliver value-added services.
  • Be clear on what the driving reasons for banding together before you worry about branding together.
  • There needs to be a clear and defensible benefit.
  • Educate and enable.
  • Messaging needs to be aligned.


I hope you find this reporting a useful service.  I’d love to get your feedback.  If you attended the same session as I did and have some insights I missed, please add them in a comment.  The more complete the notes are, the more helpful they will be.

The 2014 Annual IEDC Conference will be held in Fort Worth, Texas.  I encourage you to consider attending and adding your voice to the discussion about meaningful professional issues.

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