Day 77: What Makes a Utility a Great Economic Development Partner?

Day 77:  What makes a utility a great economic development partner?  Since I was the Director of Economic Development for a utility company for fifteen years, I think I might know a little about this.  In this months issue of Site Selection Magazine they picked the best utilities in economic development,  It appears the magazine put a lot of weight in business attraction, but it was unclear if the utilities were counting existing business in the total job numbers and investment.  Most of these were large utility companies too.  But, they are all great companies and are well known in the economic development arena.  While I am not intimately aware of all of these utilities programs I feel pretty confident that not man of them give direct assistance to their communities.  I know they all have a limited budget, so they pick the best impact they can have with least amount of dollars.  Some of them focus on technology tools that their communities can utilize.  Some of them just spend all their money on recruitment.  There is no wrong or right focus.  But, I would encourage them all to not lose sight that they don’t exist without a community.  The community is the product.  The utility is a feature.  Whatever the emphasis is for the utility, know it and stay in close contact with your utility company.  They have the most vested interest in the success of your community, but they tend to only help those that help themselves.  Use this wonderful resource.  Next:  Common goals

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