New Reasons for Onshoring

June 7, 2011

Deep in the hearts of local economic development people everywhere is the hope that maybe, just maybe, jobs that have been outsourced to other countries will come back. It’s called “onshoring,” the idea that local companies who opened factories in other parts of the world will say, “this isn’t working…I’m going back to the old way of doing things.” Or rather, “I’m going back to the old place where I used to do things: the U.S.!”

But one of the newest reasons for this trend has nothing to do with our labor costs or quality issues. Rather, it’s the fact that workers here don’t get shot at.

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Weekly B-MOW: Washington Tourism Alliance Summit

April 1, 2011

Yesterday, I went to the Washington Tourism Alliance Summit. Talk about trying to make lemons into lemonade. As I’ve mentioned before, many different parts of the state budget are being cut significantly, but here is an industry that is having all of its state support eliminated. Literally, there will be no more state tourism office. It’s the 2011 equivalent of “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

And yet rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they’re picking up the pieces and making it happen on their own.

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Weekly B-MOW: Seattle Chamber Intercity Study Mission

March 26, 2011

Every year, the Seattle Chamber does an “intercity study mission,” bringing regional business, government and community leaders to a peer city for a three day exploration of similarities, differences and, most importantly, the best practices that we can take back and copy in our own region. This past week, a group of us traveled for this year’s trip to San Jose for an Intercity Study Mission to Silicon Valley.

The reason to do a study mission to Silicon Valley is obvious: as much as we fancy ourselves as a leading region for innovation, we pale in comparison to the sheer breadth and depth and magnitude of what has come out of that region – HP, Google, Adobe, Apple, Yahoo…the list goes on and on. So, what are those things that we can take from them?

Here are my top three takeaways:

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Validation About Validation

February 11, 2011

It’s one thing to be right about something and have someone else agree with your ideas. It’s another thing entirely for someone to take your same idea and begin implementation of it! Which seems to be happening with our BETI project and the City of New York.

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It’s a(n Economic Development) War Out There

January 13, 2011

One of the slightly humorous/very telling things that happened at the Brookings Chicago Summit was a interesting linguistic choice by the folks from Munich. As I’ve mentioned, on the first day of that event, each of the three Metropolitan Business Plan regions presented on their plans paired with presentations from international regions: Ohio with the industrial economy of Cleveland, Twin Cities with the high talent/quality of life economy of Barcelona…and Puget Sound paired with the high tech economy of Munich.

It was actually a decent pairing, especially because of their focus on aerospace and clean tech. And yet, there was an important difference.  When Munich was discussing their comprehensive economic development initiative, they didn’t use “strategy” or “plan” like we do. Instead, they referred to it as the Offensive Zukunft Bayern: the “Offensive for the Future of Bavaria”!

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Weekly B-MOW: Brookings’ Chicago Summit Prep Meeting

November 19, 2010

Can a meeting to prepare for a meeting be considered a “Best Meeting of the Week” candidate? It’s one of those age old ethics/taste questions that are up to the individual, like “can I wear the t-shirt of the band to their concert” or “can I post about cheerleaders on the Prosperity Blog?” Luckily, I’m like New York Times Magazine’s The Ethicist, with my clear-eyed judgment about these things, and I say you can. Which clears the way for this week’s B-MOW: Brookings’ Chicago Summit Prep Meeting. Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly REDEW: Supreme Court Upholds Municipal Water Law

November 1, 2010

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I am not a lawyer (my brother is, and he lives closer to home…). And so you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from GordonDerr LLP proudly announcing the results of a court case that I didn’t even know was happening…and can’t quite understand the impacts of. Sound random? You bet. Which means that it qualifies as last week’s Random Economic Development Email of the Week! Read the rest of this entry »