Quotable Quotes from the IEDC Conference

Ian Scott on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 3:15:38 pm 

ACCE has launched Creating Prosperity – a blog to discuss economic and community development trends and topics.  Check out Creating Prosperity for information, links and commentary on workforce, job creation, business attraction, innovation, entrepreneurship and much more.

To kick off Creating Prosperity, here are a few quotable quotes I jotted down earlier this week at the IEDC Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

“People are drawn to places with good education and abundant culture.”
- Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts on why art is an economic development imperative.

 “Start up businesses that begin in an incubator stay in business two years longer on average than other start ups.”
- Food for thought from David Monkman from the National Business Incubation Association

Four quotes from the workshop: What Would Google Do? Rethinking Economic Development in the Internet Age:

 “If you can’t be found (on the first page of a Google search) you don’t exist.”

 “Do what you do best and link to the rest.”

 “In the Google age, middlemen are doomed.”

 “Value is something that if you give it away, you end up having more.”

 "My final remarks at every business retention meeting: 'Don't plan, struggle or celebrate alone.'"
- Good advice for any chamber from Dan Preston at the Bowling Green (KY) Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Focusing on the Future in Florida

Joan Cozart on Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 2:39:43 pm 

While summer is often thought of as a time for R&R, the Largo Mid-Pinellas (FL) Chamber, on the other hand, was busy with its strategic planning process.  The process, which was led by an outside facilitator, included focus groups, staff and executive committee work sessions as well as a full-day session with staff and board of directors.  One significant piece of feedback that Chamber leaders received prior to the full-day session was that they need to work harder to attract more active young professionals – a task familiar to many chambers across the country.  To learn more about the Chamber’s strategic planning process and the other tasks the organization has identified for itself, click here:

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Collaborating in Michigan for Regional and State Success

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 1:16:24 pm 

If you’re wondering how to launch or ramp up a regional issues summit, then you could take a lesson from the chamber folks in Western Michigan.  Last week, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with chambers in Holland (MI), Grand Haven (MI), Muskegon (MI), Kalamazoo (MI), Traverse City (MI), and Saginaw (MI), presented the West Michigan Policy Forum. The event was the second installment this program, which had its debut in 2008 as the West Michigan Regional Policy Conference.  The 2010 version, like the first, intended to give attendees, representing the business, government, media and non-profit sectors, the chance to learn about and come to consensus on “policy directives” for making the state more competitive. 

With the state’s budget woes it was hard to realize significant progress on the goals established two years ago. “Unfortunately, we get an ‘A’ for effort but an ‘E’ for production because nothing has been passed in Lansing that allows us to put a check mark next to anything,” said Jared Rodriguez, vice president at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber.  The delays in implementing needed change did not discourage the chamber leaders of the summit.  Rather, they were more energized than ever to convene again this year to refocus on achieving results for their region, with the latest edition of the forum attracting nearly 600 participants. 

Learn more about the event, headlined by speakers such as Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford, political satirists Mo Rocca and P.J. O’Rourke, and ACCE's own Mick Fleming by clicking here:

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Livable Communities

Ian Scott on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 12:35:17 pm 

This afternoon I’m heading to a Livable Communities Summit organized by our friends at Partners for Livable Communities.  If you were at the ACCE Awards Gala in Milwaukee last month you know that Bob McNulty, CEO and Founder of Partners for Livable Communities, was the recipient of this year’s Alliance for Regional Stewardship John Parr Award for lifetime commitment to regional leadership.

“Livability” is broad term encompassing regional assets including quality of life, economic competitiveness, transportation and mobility, housing, cultural amenities and much more.  Basically, it is the work local chambers do every day to make their communities attractive places to live, work and invest.

I’ll report on Livable Communities Summit tomorrow.  For now, I’ll leave you with a story about the Washington DC Metro region’s efforts to improve livability and mobility through a large scale bicycle sharing program.  Anything to take some cars off this region's streets and highways gets my support.

Check out - D.C. rolls out largest bike share program in U.S.

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Oklahoma Governor Opposes 744

Ian Scott on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 5:03:05 pm 

Opponents of Oklahoma State Question 744, a controversial constitutional amendment, got a big boost today when Governor Brad Henry signed on as honorary chairman of the One Oklahoma Coalition.  Check out this article from The Oklahoman - Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry joins fight against State Question 744

Supported by the Oklahoma Education Association, State Question 744 would require state education expenditure to equal the average per pupil expenditure of Oklahoma's six neighboring states - Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.  It is essentially an unfunded mandate to ratchet up education spending at the expense of other budget priorities.

This is what Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber had to say about the proposed amendment:

"The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has been active in supporting education, including more funding for years, but to tie funding to an arbitrary average, and either force funding education at the expense of other vital programs or by enacting huge tax increases is not the way forward."

The sentiment was echoed by Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce:

 "...the passage of State Question 744 would be detrimental to the health of all other areas of our state government by taking funding away from pertinent services like transportation, infrastructure and public safety. It simply moves money around and doesn't address the fundamental budget issues facing Oklahoma."

The State Chamber of Oklahoma has created a Facts about 744 page that outlines the core arguments against this measure.

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A Win-Win Partnership in Lubbock

Joan Cozart on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 2:03:38 pm 

Eddie McBride, president and chief executive officer of the Lubbock (TX) Chamber of Commerce, wonders why no one at the Chamber thought of a Junior Ambassadors program before a Lubbock High School business teacher came up with the idea.  Now, in conjunction with the high school, the Chamber is giving 19 business management students the opportunity to gain real-life business experience while representing the Chamber at events and programs, as well as helping to recruit new members for the organization.  Read more about this ground-breaking partnership that is sure to make quite an impact on the students, Chamber and community by clicking here:

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Increasing Demand for Corrections Reform

Ian Scott on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 10:21:10 am 

Spurred by research, like the Pew Center on the States' 1 in 100 Report, leaders from the public and private sectors are calling for a reevaluation of sentencing guidelines and prison spending.  The calls are not surprising considering that the precipitous rise in incarceration costs many states have experienced over the past decade does not correlate to a similar increase in public safety.  In short, we need to be smarter about what we spend for public safety.

Here are two recent articles on the topic worth reading: 

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO David Adkisson makes the case for smarter prison policy in an op-ed for Kentucky business newspaper The Lane Report.  Read - Correcting the State’s Budget  

Recent headlines have brought some very welcome news about an effort to improve public safety and tackle the skyrocketing costs of Kentucky’s corrections system. A bipartisan group of state leaders from all three branches of government – including the governor, Senate president, speaker of the House and chief justice – have partnered with the highly regarded Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States to find ways to slow the dizzying pace of spending that has marked the corrections budget in recent years, and get a better return on the dollars that we do spend. ... The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is especially concerned about this because of what it means for education: As corrections spending has grown, education’s share of the budget has declined. 

Sue Bell Cobb, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, address the issue in an article for the Anniston Star.  Read - Stopping the revolving door

Our state is in obvious need of change. Alabama can alleviate prison overcrowding while at the same time hold offenders accountable. Research shows there are effective corrections strategies for low-risk offenders that can produce less crime at less cost, while saving expensive prison space for violent offenders who need to be there.  It is time for Alabama to take a data-driven approach to corrections policy to better preserve public safety and our state’s pocketbook. We must stop the revolving door.

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"I wish I was . . . homeward bound"

Mick Fleming on Friday, September 17, 2010 at 5:16:13 pm 

     Though my friends (and the data) say I’m crazy, I still think I’m more likely to experience a flight cancellation or seriously delay in summer than in winter.  Trip home from Michigan not going so well this afternoon, but Concourse D in Cleveland’s airport is more comfy than most. 

     The actual visit I just finished in western MI was great.  Breakfast session with nine chamber leaders, followed by podium appearance at the regional policy summit.  As everyone knows, the most dangerous place in the world to stand is between Mick and a microphone.

      Today was a bit of an exception because I had trouble adapting to such a diverse audience.  Most of the time, this job calls for addressing chamber professionals, not “civilians.”  It didn’t kill me, so it must have made stronger, right?

      What made the trip cool was witnessing the resilience and can-do attitude of the oft-battered Michigan gang.  From Amway executives to insurance brokers, the company people I met were impressive and determined.  From Muskegon to Kazoo to Saginaw, the chamber people find genuine reasons for hope.  They also work to get/maintain every job.  They also fight hard together at all levels of government to improve the business climate and investor appeal of their region and state.

     In this, they are like the chamber people I meet all across the country . . . only more so.  Congratulations, Jeannie Englehart on a great event and all y’all on MI’s west coast for your indefatigable spirit.  I think I will need similar character in order to get home tonight.

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Help Wanted in Northern Kentucky

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:02:09 pm 
Those looking for a job, and who are willing to move for that job, should consult the Northern Kentucky Chamber's job board.  The Chamber has recently witnessed a spike in employment postings, especially jobs in the nonprofit, sales and marketing sectors.  According to Nancy Spivey, the Chamber's senior vice president, workforce, education and health care solutions, "We have been averaging about five new job postings daily, although I spoke with an employer (recently) who is sending me a posting and that employer needs several hundred workers."  Read more about the Chamber's free job posting feature and its other valuable services here:
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"Viva Las Business" in Vegas

Tania Kohut on Monday, September 13, 2010 at 9:40:03 pm 

Today, the Las Vegas (NV) Chamber of Commerce announced a marketing campaign aimed at helping the city's businesses during this tough economy. According to the Chamber's president and CEO, Matt Crosson, the "Viva Las Business: Vegas is Coming Back" campaign will work to " . . . to focus the general public's attention on the fact that it is small businesses and the hiring that small businesses do that is going to pull us out of the recession."  Learn how the campaign will utilize radio, television, billboards and social media to publicize the city's small businesses and communicate the the importance of supporting the local economy by clicking here: (Las Vegas Business Press)

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