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BBA Digest: Why Regionalism

Why Regionalism Scale matters, which is why regionalism in economic development matters. If you are essentially selling a bigger universe, you will have more assets to tout, more of a story to tell. In competing for talent, export markets, and foreign direct investment, partnering with neighboring economic development organizations simply makes a whole lot of sense. The truth is that corporate investors typically will not pay much attention to political borders. Projecting a shared and common identity to outside business entities looking in -- "tire kickers" as I call them -- is best accomplished when there exists a backbone organization that coordinates marketing activities for a multi-coun

BBA Economic Digest: Big Shift

The Big Shift A "tectonic shift in global supply chains" is now occurring, according to a new survey of analysts who cover more than 3,000 companies from Bank of America Securities. What's more, companies in about half of all global sectors in North America declared an intent to "reshore" or move business back to North America, which should be music to the ears of economic developers engaged in industry recruitment. "This was particularly true for high-tech sectors and industries for which energy is a key input. If borne out, this could represent the first reversal in a multi-decade trend," BofA's global research team said in the note. Companies in more than 80 percent of 12 global sectors,

BBA Economic Digest: Changing Lives

What the Hell is Economic Development For? Within days of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, made an exceedingly risky decision to champion the stalled civil-rights bill. When an adviser tried to persuade Johnson not to waste his time or capital on the lost cause of civil rights, Johnson replied, “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?” I pose a similar question to my economic development friends: "What the hell is economic development for?" Most economic developers know that what they do is fundamentally right, and that they are in fact giving back to society. It's why the profession is so addicting. So what is economic development for?

BBA Economic Digest: Rocket Town

The Rocket City Rocks I joked that the photo above was a "Chamber of Commerce" photo. Incredibly, I took it from my hotel room with my smartphone through the glass window no less. You're looking at Huntsville, Alabama, long known for its knowledged-based economy. Redstone Arsenal, truly a misnomer today as it is home to more than 70 federal agencies employing about some 40,000, of which less than 1,000 are active Army. It is here where NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is located. So, too, the Army's Aviation and Missile Command, and the Missile Defense Agency of the Department of Defense. The FBI is currently building what is essentially its "HQ2" on Redstone that will employ about 4,000.

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