May 9, 2016 Survey Says… Executives are Coming to Saratoga County
When I’m on a plane or meet someone new the question often comes up: “What do you do for a living?” Everyone seems to know what economic development is but no one knows what an economic developer actually does.
Economic development is a process and an outcome. As economic development professionals, we take many steps to bring exciting projects to fruition, often with obstacles along the way. While there are many things we cannot control that have an impact on a successful project like global convulsions, the price of energy, natural disasters, workforce disruptions, etc, I have always remained optimistic about the impact our day-to-day work can have on a community. As we celebrate Economic Development Week 2016 and I celebrate my one-year mark in Saratoga County, I am more hopeful than ever before.
Much has been said about Saratoga County’s appeal as a place to visit. Its long history as a vacation destination has only recently been supplemented as place to do business and to build things. The enormous investment by the State of New York, the County, local government and the private sector to influence the decision to build the most advanced semiconductor plant in the world is just the top of the proverbial iceberg. The jobs created by this investment – GLOBALFOUNDRIES – average over $90,000 a year and fuel an economy. Can we, should we do more?
I, along with those in charge of leading the County and the Partnership’s board, think we should. Our society, culture and well-being depends upon an ongoing effort to evolve and grow the economy. Whether its through attracting high technology companies like we have recently been successful in doing, or helping to grow existing companies already deeply rooted in our community, the economic development effort here must continue.
We recently asked a bunch of corporate executives, semiconductor decision makers, and corporate site consultants what they thought of Saratoga County as a place to do business. We wanted to make sure we zeroed in data that would guide us in a business development and marketing strategy that works. Our survey results make it clear that our target audience knows about Saratoga County; however, they don’t always see this as a place to do business, or to locate a facility.
Our job as economic developers are to bring these nuances and details to the forefront and solve the problems that confront growth and prosperity here in Saratoga County. If we know what people are thinking, we can more effectively convert these prospects into real business opportunities. We are already working closely with our tourism and chamber partners on how we can best achieve this goal.
The one thing I have consistently said when people ask what I do for work, is that I build relationships. People do business with people they know and trust, and due to to our well-received tourism efforts and “playful” persona as a community, we are ahead of the game when it comes to establishing a rapport.