For today’s expert interview with International Economic Development Council President and CEO Jeff Finkle we take you to Washington D.C, capital of the USA – a country with a long history of specialized economic development professionals, working for cities, regions and states.
Economic development is a key component of and often the main motivation behind initiatives aimed at building a strong, competitive place brand. It is a balancing act between stimulating economic growth and sustainable development. In his interview, Jeff Finkle tells us how 21st century economic development professionals tackle this and other challenges.
- What economic development is all about;
- How place management and place branding relate to economic development;
- Whether economic development organizations are prepared for the ‘smart city’ challenge;
- How to measure the success (ROI) of economic development initiatives;
- 3 books every economic development professional should read.
Jeff, do you remember the first time you heard about economic development? What got you interested?
I think the first time that I heard the words, I was probably in college. The first time I understood the words, I was working for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As I have worked in the field of economic development over many years, I think I have learned that my life has been a microsim of intersections with the term.
I grew up in the rust belt and saw the closures of many factories. I saw people lose jobs as a result of a military base closure. My hometown community had a beautiful downtown and then it was not so beautiful anymore, but now it is coming back.