EPIC Summit Notes

I attend the EPIC Toledo Summit on Thursday, November 1, 2012. My notes from the Economic Development track:

Dean Monske, RGP, on the Privatization of economic development in the region.

  • The talk was titled “White House Summit on Economic Development”, but Dean did not have a lot to say about that. I could not find a lot about it online either, just this blog posting. Dean was invited because of his experience with international development (e.g., getting Chinese investment in the region). Workforce development was apparently a theme of the meeting as well.
  • Dean then gave a history lesson about the RGP, how it started as a public entity and then was privatized: for the better, removing some of the politics and enabling work with companies in private.
  • JobsOhio was mentioned as another privatization of ED positive example. Commitment letters to companies wishing to locate in the state have dropped from 9 months to as little as 3 days.
  • Regional decision-making and regional cooperation (such as NORED) are also key factors that have improved ED in the area. It took a while to get all of the regional pieces in place: I believe the quote was “meta-plan circus” about some of the 2008-ish efforts. The meta-plan days were when I started getting tangentially involved.
  • Dean also went into detail about the sales and marketing strategy that RGP uses to target key site selectors and business leaders. It is not about putting ads in magazines and going to trade shows any more: it is about building relationships with the individuals that matter. The “product” – our region’s assets – sells well when you tell the right people.
  • I only recall one mention of the Toledo Region branding efforts. When talking about workforce development, Dean mentioned the tougher sell for attracting talent to the region (vs. developing programs to train people who already live here). The regional branding work was an effective tool for talent attraction: that is my interpretation of his comments, at least.

Paul Zito, RGP, on International aspects of economic development in the region.

  • Paul’s talk was both entertaining (I did not realize my German and French language skills would be put to the test!) and informative. At the heart of his talk was his personal journey, from international sales in the film industry (which I asked about, just as Dean told us to do), to working for the state of Ohio in Europe, to how he chose to work with us in the Toledo region.
  • He presented data on “international in” (Foreign Direct Investment) and “international out” (Exporting) for the US, midwest, Ohio and the region.
  • Hopefully I can get a copy of his slides and post a link to them here: I did not take detailed notes. [November 9 update: Paul sent me a copy of his slides and gave me permission to post them here (PDF). Thanks, Paul!]

The Future of Toledo session was also interesting. Check out the live stream recording of the session: I am at the 33 minute mark, maybe elsewhere. Read over the Strategic Plan (PDF) and plan on attending the November 29th session to get more involved.

I think this was my first official EPIC Toledo event. It was well worth it: I will have to try harder to attend more of them.