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BBA Economic Digest

Back to the 'Burbs Just like generations before them, as millennials settle down, have kids and look for cheaper houses and good schools, they're migrating out to the suburbs. Suburban growth had slowed in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Millennials just graduating from college headed to big cities, where the jobs were. Now, they're in a different stage of life, priced out of many cities and, thanks to the good economy, have more location flexibility. Suburbs with good jobs, relatively easy access to nearby city centers and moderate weather are growing twice as fast as the closest cities, per census data. "Millennials are people too. There was this idea that theirs was going to be a fu

BBA Economic Digest

In Praise of Older Pros It bothers me to see talented economic developers, especially older professionals who have proved themselves with a track record of success, to be out of work. An ED organization in Alabama where I've done some consulting work recently contacted me to say that they are in need of a new executive director. I passed along three names of topnotch candidates, all currently unemployed, who I'm confident could do the job. I would much rather see the job go to an experienced, out-of-work professional, because I know the feeling. Being unemployed can become a very trying, lonely time. What makes matters worse is that some employers will discriminate against an out-of-work (an

BBA Economic Digest

The Problem with Strategic Plans Frequently I will read requests for proposals from economic development organizations for strategic plans and think: "Bless their hearts. They don't know how to get there." Maybe all that is wanted is a plan, so that everyone can feel good. But that in itself won't bring about effective change. In memory of the late T. Boone Pickens, I will quote him to show how your "strategic plan" may fall short. Mind you, I'm not against planning. Pickens' quote #1: “A fool with a plan beats a genius with no plan every time." But here is the key, there must be a call for action. There must be actionable items with who does what when. Pickens' quote #2: "A plan without act

BBA Economic Digest

Out of the Wilderness My friend, we'll call him "Bob," was down and I was frankly concerned. Having lost his job as the head of an economic development organization, he struggled to find work in the field he loved. Out of more than 75 applications to ED groups, Bob got six or seven interviews, a far cry from a few years earlier when four ED groups were clamoring for him. Now, he found himself in the wilderness. During his nearly two years out of economic development, Bob's self-esteem took a beating. After seeing the jobs that he applied for all go to candidates 20 and 25 years his junior, he stopped looking and eked out a living for a non-profit, making a fraction of what he needed. But the

BBA Economic Digest

The Dallas Sessions It started over craft beers early evening, continued over Thai food later in the night, resumed the next morning over coffee and ended about noon. About seven hours in all. These were the Dallas Sessions, a follow up to me spending four days in Washington County, Mississippi, as part of our BBA Community Assessment/Resource Mapping for the Washington County Economic Alliance, based in Greenville, heart of the Mississippi Delta. This time around, Will Coppage, executive director of WCEA and Ed Gardner, Jr., director of business and economic development for Entergy Mississippi, came to Dallas for the expressed purpose of discussing the findings/recommendations from my repor

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