From the Director's Desk
Lily Tomlin once stated that “The road to success is always under construction.” On our journey to achievement, there will be detours and delays. When the road work is completed, the smooth ride gives us a greater appreciation for those who sanctioned and accomplished the job. Sooner than later, signs will adorn the road again, signaling work is ahead. Economic development is very similar to this concept. The work of an economic developer is never done!
Economic development is a process, not an event. The process involves evolving every element of our community to make it a better place to work, live, and play. Effective economic development activities entail improving physical infrastructure, having available industrial and commercial real estate, producing a pipeline of skilled workers, cultivating a thriving educational system (K-12, higher education, workforce development), and fostering supportive government. These economic development activities should be continuously assessed and adjusted to improve quality of life.
Philosophically speaking, the goal of economic development is to provide an opportunity for personal wealth creation for every citizen. Those opportunities should exist within the community’s borders to prevent citizens from relocating elsewhere. In order to realize those wealth-creating opportunities locally, we have to redevelop the assets within our county and place them “under construction”.
Make our physical infrastructure stronger. Make our industrial and commercial real estate more attractive. Make our educational system more competitive. Create a pipeline of talented and skilled employees who can fulfill a variety of advanced positions. This is how we build our road to economic success.
We need to re-examine the emphasis being placed on chasing companies and ensure that we are properly investing in programs and projects that place Williamsburg County citizens in the greatest position to win!