Five pillars to Economic Development

July 16, 2023 | Written by: Morgan

I am excited to be on board with the Sanford Area Growth Alliance and look forward to meeting new people and learning more about Sanford and Lee County. I will continue the practice of using this opportunity to provide updates on activity including projects, marketing efforts, and trends. However, I want to take this first chat to share a little bit about my economic development philosophy.

Economic development aims to create positive change in communities and people’s lives. It involves complex work, balancing the interests of various stakeholders, and economic developers regularly face challenges and questions on what is best for a community and how to do it the best way. Based on a recent research paper by the International Economic Development Council, I believe the five points below are a good working basis for our continued work in economic development.

  1. Do good work. This includes planning, executing the plan, measuring the results, and reporting them.
  2. Listen. Economic developers must be willing to listen and evaluate ideas and criticism. Whether objections come from a place of ideology or misinformation, or whether they raise valid questions, we must be prepared to engage and respond accordingly.
  3. Be transparent. Transparency fosters trust, which is the foundation on which economic development is built.
  4. Communicate and connect. The audiences for these efforts to educate and engage are extensive – commissioners and board members, state legislators, other governmental partners, local civic groups, neighborhood or special interest groups, service delivery partners, clients, the general public – virtually everyone.
  5. Build and enlist allies. All successes in economic development are born of partnerships working in varying combinations. This means understanding the motivations, goals and needs of these partners, and helping them all work together toward a common goal.

As SAGA continues to contribute to our community’s growth and vitality, we must always look for ways to educate others on what we do and why we do it. During the economic development process, we must be prepared to explain, build consensus, and articulate value to others. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to do good work and build on SAGA’s success.

Todd Tucker

Economic Development Director