Economic development @UNC

“If you’re looking for a 9-to-5 job, you can get up and leave right now.
This is not a job. This is a lifestyle.” – Ronnie Bryant, President, Charlotte Regional Partnership

Ronnie Bryant closed the economic development boot camp I attended at UNC last week and sold me on wanting to work in this field.

In the lean years at F4K, when John Shaw and I worked long hours to keep the lights on, I used to think, “That’s it. I’m going to find some high-need, stable job that won’t keep me up at nights.”


We didn’t sleep or earn much then, but I felt alive.
Economic development gives me that same motivation to get involved.

Simply, economic development is about creating jobs in your community.
That can include loving on your existing businesses and stealing recruiting businesses from somewhere else. Increase your tax base, improve the quality of life for people in your hood.

UNC’s School of Government runs this most excellent, annual course called “Basic Economic Development”.

Even for me, coming from a career and workforce development POV and not working in econdev right now, the course was worthwhile. We learned about ethics codes, business retention strategies and how county vs. regional economic development organizations work together.

Some memorable takeaways:

Incentives are BS.

Businesses look at workforce, infrastructure, workforce, education, workforce and oh, also workforce, when they consider moving to an area. Company heads may say they want incentives on the table, but generally after they’ve decided to move to your area. This came from a no-BS 20-year veteran site consultant.

Workforce, workforce, workforce.
Mac Holladay‘s exact words were: “If you don’t remember anything else I say here today, remember workforce. The rest is details.”

Businesses want to know they can hire the workforce they need, if they locate in, say, Person County, and they really don’t care, if that workforce is driving from Danville, VA or not.

Would-be entrepreneurs cite healthcare as the number one obstacle to starting a new business.

If you’re thinking about taking this course, take it. Add the dates to your calendar, so you don’t miss it. We had top-notch content everyday from veteran developers. And while I’m $650 poorer, I’m more resolved to come back from Korea and get to work. I miss being part of a movement.

Interested in economic development? UNC’s School of Government offers more than the basics boot camp.

2 thoughts on “Economic development @UNC

  1. Maximum Shred ONline says:

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues?
    A few of my blog audience have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

    • susanrene says:

      thanks, MSO. i write for clarity for myself mostly, so don’t have an audience. i use a theme from WordPress, so perhaps WordPress themes are optimized for different browsers.
      unless you’re a developer, how about looking into WordPress or other theme providers, so you can import a theme into your content management system?

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